Contour GPS MiniHD Video Camera

Posted Dec. 4th, 2011 by Daniel J. Cox

I recently posted the image below on our Natural Exposures Facebook Fan Page of my Godson Colter helping me rig one of the newest additions to my image capture arsenal. He was working to connect my Apple iPad and iPhone to a MiniHD, video camera known as the ContourGPS so my two Apple devices could each be used as a wireless viewfinder. A comment that came in on the Facebook page made me realize many of you may not be familiar with this technology and why it’s so compelling for capturing unique moving images.

Colter working on the Contour GPS video camera, getting it hooked up to the IPad via Bluetooth.

The Contour GPS is just one of several options out there that give you a small, HD quality, video capture devise that is super simple, can be placed almost anywhere, and produces stunning video images. The two most popular options include the Contour series of cameras and the GoPro series. Another option has shown up recently made by Delkin called the WingMan but it doesn’t get quite as good of reviews as the Contour or the GoPro.

I’m not going to get into the details of each camera since everybody has their own opinion as to what is important to them. The links I’ve provided will help you make a decision on what features YOU may want. I chose the Contour due to it’s small compact size and shape. I wasn’t to excited about the square GoPro. I also like the idea that the Contour would allow me to use my Apple devices as viewable LCD screens via the Bluetooth connections. The downside to the Contour is that if you don’t have an Apple or Android device you have to basically guess at what the camera is seeing since there is no built in viewfinder. The Delkin does have a a built in screen and the GoPro you can order one as an option, but neither of these other devices has the quality or form factor I wanted so I settled on the ContourGPS. So there you go, those are just a couple of things to chew on that delineates the three different models I’ve looked into.

The question that came up on Facebook was, “what is a Contour GPS camera, and how does it work with an iPad?” The iPad part I explained above but the “What” part is more of a question of, “why”? So here’s how I plan to use this camera in the future.

If you take a look at the ContourGPS web site you notice that they highlight video from vantage points we don’t typically see. Many of the videos where shot from what is known in the video world as POV or (Point of View) of the person shooting the video. Below is a very nice introduction to the ContourGPS by NETWORKWOLRD that gives you an idea of POV shooting.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBFS8ujzyVU[/youtube]

Along with the HD camera you get software that allows you to work with the movies you produce. They call it SorryTeller and it gives you a fairly nice video editing setup that has easy options for uploading your video to Youtube, Facebook etc. However, I personally use Apple’s IMovie. IMovie is very easy to use, has tons of options for special effects and is also user friendly when it comes to uploading movies to several different places on the web.

How do I plan to use this camera you ask? Well I’m not completely sure yet. I do know that it will be a great option for hard to access locations that I’m sure to run into while shooting for the Arctic Documentary Project. I can see attaching this to the hull of a ship, maybe the tallest mast of a sailboat, on a remote controlled vehicle, on a helicopter, airplane to name just a few. Time will tell but the options are limitless.

[issuu width=420 height=210 backgroundColor=%23222222 documentId=111018214420-6fc1de5a21b14417a258fcfbde85ced4 name=arcticdocumentaryproject username=danieljcox tag=adp unit=px id=a3bdffa5-c6cc-0382-642a-84c3701106cb v=2]

The Contour GPS had numerous accessories and the one I picked up when I ordered the camera was the underwater housing. This housing is hard to believe due to the incredibly low price of $39.00. Compare that to the underwater housing I bought for my D2X several years ago that cost well over $6000.00. I realize the Contour and D2X housings are two different animals but for doing underwater video work the Contour GPS housing is a fantastic option. Other add ons for the Contour include the Rotating Flat Surface Mount, XL Bike Mount, Headband Mount, Vented Helmet Mount, Rollbar Mount, Suction Cup Mount, Goggle Strap Mount, Surf-Wake Mount, and the list goes on and on. You get the idea. You can stick this thing just about anywhere. Hope this explains the why that my friend Joel brought up on Facebook. If you have any further questions just let me know.

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