We've had several requests for more info on the BalloonPong basket cam. So here we go, this is the first of two reviews. Next week we will be reviewing the Vholdr camera.
We are currently using a GoPro Hero Wide. It is standard definition and has a wide angle lens allowing for 170 degrees of viewing. The wide viewing angle allows for the majority of the basket to be seen even at close range, i.e. mounted on an upright. We put a 4GB memory card which allows for almost 2hrs of recording time. GoPro recommends Energizer Lithium batteries which gives the camera several hours of life. We can do several flights on one set of batteries. Recording video with the Hero is a very simple one push on and one push off sequence. The camera also features several different modes of still photography including an option that will take a photo every two seconds, and another that will do three shots in about a second for a cool time-lapse effect.
Velcro is the ideal way to mount the camera in the basket. It is flat on the bottom and rear making it ideal for adhesive velcro, which will attach perfectly to the velcro that we all have all over our baskets anyways. When we need a little space between pilot and camera, our R&D department rigged up an outboard mounting system that moves the camera roughly two feet outside the basket. It sounds high tech, but in reality it is just a flexible grill light with more velcro. The clamp attaches to an Aurora upright or a Cameron/Lindstrand pole and the light area offers lots of surface area to velcro the camera to. GoPro offers lots of mounting equipment options, but don't bother with them. We tried to make several of them work, but nothing compared to balloonist's best friend, velcro.
We've only had one problem with our GoPro camera, but we contacted their very helpful support staff. After troubleshooting several options they replaced free of charge under warranty.
If we were buying a new GoPro we would purchase the HD Hero Naked. It retails for $259 here. If you are looking for something cheaper you can go with the standard def Hero Wide for $99 here.