Rockin’ the helmet cam
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – An epic day on the slopes can be more than just a distant memory with a new kiosk that provides high-definition helmet camera rentals.
This winter, entertainment industry veterans and entrepreneurs Steve Jordan and Thomas Richter launched EMotionCam, bright blue kiosks that rent high-definition cameras for about $35 per day at ski resorts throughout the West. The 4.3-ounce cameras shoot up to two hours of footage while strapped to goggles, handlebars or a helmet. Users can downloaded the action to a data DVD, USB stick or microSD card. A waterproof case allows the camera to record summer sports, too.
“We were both enthusiasts when it comes to sports,” Richter said. “Steve was a ski bum for a while before he became a producer; I grew up in Europe skiing the Alps.
“We always thought, ‘Why is there no HD camera for this type of stuff?'” Richter said. “They were all pretty low quality, so we merged the idea – why don’t we just rent it? We know people who go on vacation once a year. They don’t buy a camera for that one vacation they’re taking.”
Around Lake Tahoe, the cameras are available at stores at Heavenly Mountain Resort, Squaw Valley and Kirkwood Mountain Resort.
Richter said families and vacationers are the primary rental demographic.
“It’s both the first ski lesson but also the 14-year-old kid on skis and dad,” Richter said.
“Every family has a video camera,” he added. “It’s so much easier to have it on their head.”
The business model is a partnership between EMotionCam and the stores that rent them. Richter said they buy the cameras wholesale from Seattle-based VHoldR, with the company’s blessing of the kiosk business. The stores that stock the kiosks receive a 20 to 30 percent cut of the rentals in return for customer service and floor space.
Shoreline of Tahoe at the Heavenly gondola carries the cams, with a blue kiosk just inside the front door. Associate Mike Reed said rentals have averaged about two per week, but customers are asking a lot of questions.
“They’re excited,” Reed said. “They love the idea of getting footage of them and their family out there.”
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