ContourHD

Not long after I bought my SV, I also bought a bracket that allowed me to mount my DV cam to the gas tank. I only ended up using it once… because DV cams at the time were still pretty big to be bending over one riding a motorcycle… it took space normally reserved for my tank bag… and it was only high enough to be peeking out through the mini windshield on the bike. Good to protect the camera from wind blast… but you know how clear plastic can get enough fine scratches on it that it appears hazy? Yeah, that’s what I had… so the video I did record was less than stellar.

Fast forward a couple years, and I friend I met through the ODSC site, BJ, owned a GoPro HERO Wide helmet cam… and I wanted one! It took good video and was compact enough you didn’t notice it on your helmet. So after seeing the raw and YouTube versions of his footage, I went online to get one myself.

“But…” I thought, “before I commit… I should look around and see what else is out there”. Maybe I could wait for a new version of something just a bit shinier?

I found the ContourHD. A little bit larger than the GoPro, but could take a bit more detailed video and accepted larger SD cards. It came with a standard sticky mount and one designed for the strap of your goggles, like you use on a dirtbike. Here it is on my crusty old helmet:

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At the highest detail (1280×720, 30fps, 135 degree FoV) it consumes a gig of storage every 30 minutes, and at the lowest res (848×480, 60fps, 90 degree FoV) it can store 60 minutes of video in the same space. Since it only comes with a 2GB card out-of-the box (1 hour of HD footage) I bought a 16GB card to go with it. Theoretically that should allow about 8 hours of HD… more than enough for a days ride…. but my second battery hasn’t shipped yet. So I have storage for 8 hours… but with the standard single battery I only have the juice to record 2 hours.

All the goodies are behind one door on the back: microSD slot, battery, USB port, and HD/SD switch. It’s fairly easy to use: a button on the back to turn it on (15 minutes of inactivity and it turns off)… big slider on top (easy to use with gloves): push it forwards and it beeps once to indicate the start of a new recording… slide it backwards and it beeps twice to say it has stopped.

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And… something I’ve never seen before: for a couple seconds on initial startup or for about 10 seconds if you hold down the power button for 3 seconds… two tiny laser lights to indicate where the camera is pointing, and if it’s level (the lens can be rotated through 90 degrees in case the mount point is crooked). Here you can see the 2 red dots on the wall, and on the camera:

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I don’t have any real footage yet, but as a sample of what I get off my 3rd floor balcony on a sunny day: (note: playing these links in my browser seems to make the video jerkier than if I play them in a standalone player like VLC):

SD Example Clip (7.5MB)

HD Example Clip (13.5MB)

I can’t wait to use it for real this weekend!

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