Posts Tagged ‘contourHD1080p’

I have about 2 hours of raw footage to edit, export etc and it will take me quite a while so I thought I’d post up a clip of Tightrope for you to have a look at. Resolution is 720p but YouTube does not do it justice. I will put the final file(s) on Vimeo. The film was shot with the Contour 1080p using a prototype handlebar mount a mate built up for me. As you can see it is steady as a rock particularly when you consider the test rig was my rigid Swift. We rode over rougher terrain too and it showed no sign of camera wobble there either.

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I fitted this to the Swift yesterday and took it out for an inaugural try out. I didn’t go far, down the road, along some very lumpy fire road and back. Despite riding a rigid bike, the picture was very steady with no sign of wobble at all. I’ll be going out to Thetford this morning, probably over to Santon Downham side and back via the Gay Trail (don’t ask) which will cover almost every type of terrain. This will be the best test yet. I’ll post some clips on this entry later in the day if I get time.

Oh yes, yesterday for the first time, I noticed the slight fish eye quality to the film that others have spoken of. No big deal when you get used to it but a little weird ar first!

I am in the middle of downloading the video clips to iMovie so it will take several hours before i can even start editing but having watched  the raw footage I can confirm that the image is very stable with no sign of camera wobble at all. I rode on fire road and some very lumpy single track as well as some really buff trails (currently in perfect condition). I didn’t want to give the camera or the mount an easy ride so I fixed it my rigid 29er with a reasonable amount of pressure in the tyres. Rich and Dan were my riding companions and both have the legs on me at the moment though I don’t doubt I can edit the footage to show me on their tails all the time! I think the experiment was a success and with the camera mounted low-ish you got a really good impression of the speed we were riding at whereas mounted higher up, the impression of speed just disappears.

After my films of the locale taken at an “interesting” angle, I decided to buy a handlebar mount. A quick look online and I spotted that almost every review was negative -ish. Too much wobble being the predominant comment and many people returned the mounts to the retailer as not fit for purpose. I mentioned this to a friend of mine who promptly came over to my house, grabbed the camera and helmet mount and said he’d be back in a day or so with a solution. True to his word he popped over yesterday with a handlebar mount fashioned from a billet of aluminium. The clamp was measured up to fit the bars exactly and it fits as snug as a bug in a rug. Designed so the camera is slung underneath the handlebars it is unobtrusive (i.e. it doesn’t get in the way) and is easy to aim at the target.

At this stage it is untested and very much a prototype. I’ll take some photos later and post them up. The proof of the pudding however will be in the film quality. Anyway, if it works and can be refined to make it marketable he’ll be prepared to make them for less than the official mount. Watch this space!
Handlebar Mount - prototype

As I said this is very much a prototype to test the principle – will it give a rock steady platform, how easy is it to use etc? If it works then we’ll start to refine it – starting with slimming it down, taking off the sharp edges etc. My bike is really due to be stripped down and have the shocks serviced, new headset, new cables etc etc but I’ll see if I can’t take it out for a run with the camera on to see how it works before i start spannering.

Contour HD1080p Headcam

Posted: January 13, 2011 in 2011, Product Reviews
Tags: ,

By some amazing chance, Santa happened to drop one of these off at my house over Christmas so I thought I had better use it! If you search around on the net there are several reviews going into great depth about the technical features, inherent qualities and how it compares with competitors. Let’s get something straight, right from kick off; I do not know much about cameras, video cameras etc and I am not about to embarrass myself by trying to talk techno gibberish in the vain attempt to prove myself more erudite than I am.

I have only taken a few shots with the camera so it is early days yet. These then, are my first impressions which will hopefully be followed up by clips when I am out riding.

The camera is compact. light and refreshingly free of buttons to play with. Setup is simple so even I will struggle to cock it up. Turn it on, adjust the lasers (to ensure you are not shooting crookedly), slide the big button to ‘on’ and that’s it.

In the box are a choice of mounts, none of which are bike friendly unless you wear a full face helmet and can stick it on the side, or attach it to your goggles. I bought an extra ‘vented helmet mount’ which s very similar to the mounts used for a helmet light. It fits easily and securely and there were no signs of wobble, even when I felt my head was doing a Noddy impression while riding over rough stuff.

I have a 16GB micro SD card and a recent 2 hour+ ride failed to fill it up. The 2GB card that came in the box is fine but if you are shooting in HD or with a high frame rate it soon fills up.

Editing software is basic and while it seems to work ok, I’ll have a go with iMovie to see if I can achieve better results, more quickly.

In use, the camera felt no heavier and no more obtrusive than a normal HiD helmet light. You know it is there but it isn’t enough to make your helmet slide all over the place. Setting up is simple, strap onto helmet, make sure it is shooting straight, slide the big button and go. Picture quality was ok, sound is pants; the wind effect blocks out any attempts at dialogue unless you really shout. I discovered later, that you need to go online to adjust the camera settings so I’ll play with it later.

Why no film clips of the rides I have done so far? They have all been done on my CX bike which necessarily means I am riding in more of a head down position. I haven’t found the right position for the camera on my helmet yet and as a result, I have taken some very nice pictures of road and puddles, mud and even a dead piglet and not even I can pretend that is interesting! I have also discovered that I ride with my head tilted to one side so all the footage is at an angle! This is where an LCD screen would be good as the only way you can check the picture is to download it to your pc… all part of weight saving I guess.

I will be using this to film Timber peeps riding singletrack come the summer. By comparing their riding with that of a much better rider over the same sections, I hope they will be able to work on their technique and make even bigger leaps in ability this year!

Anyway, film clips will be posted when I have any.