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Nov 20, 2010

New Contour HD Helmet Cam, Dirt Bike Trail Ride

Christmas comes early a lot for me because most of the things I like to get are more useful before the snow falls. My GoPro helmet cam has been a great camera and still is, but it's not HD and I was getting tired of the batteries going dead and/or ending up recording when I thought the camera was off or visa versa. Maybe the new GoPro HD is better with this issue, I don't know, but the design and function appears to be identical to the old model. The Contour HD has a design that seems much easier to use to me. The large sliding button on top of the camera allows easy function even with gloves, and you always know just by feeling where the button is, weather it is recording or not. Besides this, the camera gives a very distinct and loud beep when the recording starts and 2 beeps when you stop recording. I spent a lot less time fiddling with the camera. Despite some advantages of the GoPro, this was the selling point for me. It also has a very nice built in rechargeable battery(the new gopro does as well) so I can always keep it charged up. With 16GB of storage and an extra battery, I don't have to worry anymore about capacity. One potential issue with the Contour is the mounting system. It rotates up and down, but has teeth that it engages into, which means it is not an infinite adjustment. Time will tell if the slots are fine enough to make fine adjustments up and down. Give me some feedback on the video, I'm wondering if the camera angle is good, or if it needs to go up. The laser beams and rotating lens are awesome to align it sideways and easy to use. The camera also has the ability to record in "Tall HD" which would record in a regular 4:3 ratio and give more view up and down instead of a wide screen view. I've always liked the wide screen format best, but watching this vid, I can see how the Tall HD might be nice in some cases.

This video was recorded in 720P at 60fps and a "High" bit rate setting. You will notice some wind noise. It was very windy during the ride, and I am hoping this won't be too much of a problem in the future. The audio gain can be adjusted on the mic, and editing software can "fix" wind noise. I put it up in the raw format here, but I still had to add music..it just needed something. The lens is 135 degree wide angle which is narrower than my 170 degree lens on my GoPro. This means that potentially less of the action is captured, but it avoids distorting the image too much and it's better for recording someone riding in front of you for example. Ok, enough talk. Here's the video. Let me know what you think! I'll do a more complete review of the camera once I'm able to use it more..so far, I love it!!

Toggle the HD on and off on the playbar.

5 comments:

  1. you dog...I thought you said when you were going to test it after work that it was just monkeying around with it at home - not actually getting on the bike! hehehe

    Looks really really good when in HD on the Vimeo site. That song is really cool too...of course!

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  2. Yea man, I had to give it a proper test!!:) I can't decide if I need to tilt the camera up at all. Personally, I like seeing the trail and the bike interacting with it, otherwise it just loses the feel for me. I found myself wanting to look up though. It's basically pointing where I am looking, but?? It looks good on Vimeo...as good as it can online. It's much better on the original version of course, but this seemed really smooth and nice. I'm happy.
    I might bump the bit rate up and try it sometime too. By the way, I got my gps back from Garmin! The took care of me!!

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  3. ...sometime, I may try taking some footage with my go-pro of the front or rear tire, then sync it with the contour and embed the go-pro footage in a smaller frame to watch both angles on the same video..I'm a geek.

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  4. Ya, you are a geek. Cool video, I really like the view at the end. I gave up on my camera, lol. If you are interested in buying mine for the boys or something, I'll sell it dirt cheap, I don't know, whatever you want to pay. Remember that cam I showed you? It's not that exciting but it might be good for the boys.

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  5. at little PiP action of front and rear would be really cool...other than you will start looking a little 'alien-esk' with that many cameras attached to your helmet! ;)

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