2010 is yet another year where technology has greatly advanced. I am not the type to write articles on objects or subjects not directly linked to ATVs, but I must admit that I have been using the HD Contour Camera for a few months now, which has prompted me to share with you the discovery of this high technology, trustworthy and solid product, which has undergone the ATV Trail Rider Team’s test. After covering it with water, sand and mud, we simply could not break it.
VholdR is a U.S. based company. As a first step, these people have developed an on-line video sharing system, which, as soon as you are equipped with one of their cameras, will bring a sense of belonging to the off road family and to all those other extreme sports or not, practiced throughout the world. Their website is very interesting. I spent hours watching videos of all kinds taken by Contour Camera users and I must admit it was very pleasant. This allowed me to get a good idea of the camera’s possibilities, videos shown not being retouched and showing the quality of amateur video filming. Videos come from all over the world, classified by activity or country. Technical support is excellent, the F.A.Q. (Frequently Asked Questions) section containing almost all answers to your questions. The VholdR internet site meets very high standards. More so, the instruction manual is available in 5 languages (French, English, Spanish, Italian and German). Let us now go over the camera’s characteristics.
I have not been trained to be a cameraman, but I have had the opportunity to test several helmet mounted cameras. The Contour HD 1080 camera is, according to my judgment, a good reference in terms of quality and efficiency. Its design is very well conceived. Once installed on the helmet, it is turned on by an easily reached and operated button: a sound signal confirms that recording has been activated. All other controls are located at the back of the camera under protection against foreign bodies, such as sand and water. This little wonder of a camera resists splashing, but if you choose to submerge it, a protective device is available for this use. The people from VholdR offer all the accessories you might need, according to the use you make of the camera.
Linking the camera to your helmet or your protective goggles is child’s play, nothing complicated, no screws or other gadgets: the 2 fasteners supplied with the camera on purchase will accommodate almost all ATV riders. In case of need, several models of fasteners are available.
Some people might ask what use is a helmet camera. Well, I love to use it! It allows to get your family outings on film and bring back memories, or to map out unknown trails. More experienced ATV riders will use it as a tool to study their riding posture on the quad, in order to improve certain techniques. The camera can also be attached to any part of your quad, in order to visualize the reaction of certain parts, such as the suspension under intensive use. I realized a short video of my son, using the camera as a classic camcorder. It is evident that framing is not easy with no view screen. But, to my great surprise, the result was quite satisfying. The image was nice and stable, the sound a bit weak, but that was partly my fault for not adjusting the microphone properly.
Once connected to your computer, you will have access to all possible adjustments on the camera. Parameters such as resolution, volume, contrast and exposure can be modified.
The battery supplied with the camera is rechargeable. Its autonomy is excellent (about 3 hours in high definition) and it can be recharged with your computer, via a USB cable or simply with an optional charger.
A MicroSD card should be used for memory (maximum 16 giga-bites), enough for hours of fun filming. A 2 giga-bite MicroSD card is included with the camera, an appreciable little detail that will avoid you the trouble of shopping for one before filming.
All in all, the Contour HD 1080P is a very well designed product, with nothing left to chance and with an image resolution of 1080P (1920×1080), it is hard to do better! I would even say that the problem for certain of us will be to possess a computer capable of reading at such a high resolution. In such a case, it is possible to make adjustments. I filmed many of my videos with a 960P (1280×960) resolution, image quality was excellent and it allowed for more filming time. A small item that could have been added with the camera at purchase is a lens protector for transport, some kind of small sheath as on a camcorder would have done the job. Apart from this small detail, I have nothing else to add.
So there, I just wanted to share my discovery of the year with you, concerning accessories that are not directly related to ATVs. Pardon the expression, but I really “tripped out” on the Contour HD Camera. At an approximate retail price of 370 $, according to the retailer, it is an excellent gift idea for Christmas and I would even add for any day of the year. Visit their site at www.vholdr.com for more information and remember to visit us at www.passionperformance.ca , in the ATV section. We will soon show videos realized with the Contour HD Camera.