Sunday, January 31, 2010

GoPro HD camcorder

The GoPro is a wearable 1080p HD video camera that supports 1080p / 960p / 720p HD resolutions at 30 and 60 fps (60 fps is in 720p only). Unlike it's chief competitor, the ContourHD - which is shaped like a tube - the GoPro HD is a small box-like thing. They sell a variety of mounts for the cameras, and it's sold in a "naked" version (with a water-proof housing) as well as in a Helmet, Surf and Motorsports versions which include specific mounts. The suction cup mount looks interesting.

You can find sample movies on Vimeo and YouTube showing this camera in action. Some of this stuff looks pretty amazing; particularly when filmed at high-speed and then slowed down. It actually smooths out some of the bumps and shakiness that would be visible if the video was played back at standard speed.

The one problem with both of these cameras is that operation can be a bit hit or miss - it's impossible to know exactly what's being shot, and it can be difficult to know what mode the camera is in because the controls are so small or obscure. That said, for less than $300 you get a quite robust HD camera that fits into small spaces.

If there was a better option for a small camera in tight spaces, the Sony HXR-MC1 would be it, as it has a lens module, with a separate playback/recording/monitor unit connected by a 110 inch cable. The only problem is that one is that it's not waterproof, and it costs $2,439 (right now there's a mail-in rebate for $300, bringing it down to $2,139 which still makes the camera too expensive!)

Check out the video below taken with the GoPro. It's a great collection of shots, and the music goes well with it. Almost makes me want to go out and learn how to skimboard!

GoPro HD - Skimboarding In A Storm! from Patrick Lawler on Vimeo.

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