Tag Archives: vado

iPhone 4 Indoor Video Test


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I recorded a quick video with both the EVO 4G and my iPhone 4 at the same time. I wanted to compare, and let everyone decide for themselves which is the better device when it comes to video. I used the default settings for both phones.

The reason I chose to shoot indoors (with and without artificial light) was to better illustrate “extreme” conditions – knowing that people shoot video “inside” all the time with little regard for light sources.

Notes:

  • I didn’t edit the raw footage for a reason; compare sources for yourself. Original HTC EVO 4G sourceOriginal iPhone 4 source
  • The Evo seems to have a wider field of view compared to the iPhone.
  • The iPhone audio sampling rate is 44k (64Kbps) vs 8k (12.8Kbps) on the Evo.
  • Sunshine through my red curtains was difficult for each camera to handle.
  • The Evo lens seems to tint blue or red at times.
  • Frame rates were diminished on each device: 24fps (iPhone) vs 11fps (Evo).
  • The Evo produces an MPEG-4 “3GP” file vs an MPEG-4 “MOV” file from the iPhone.
  • The default Evo camera app is superior in features, but lackluster in performance.
  • Research indicates the Evo upscales 320p to 720p, FWIW.

Clearly, the Evo (with default settings) doesn’t hold a candle to the iPhone 4 (with default settings). I’m sure other camera apps would force the device(s) to record differently, but this test was designed to compare phone defaults.

While the iPhone isn’t perfect, I’d certainly consider it a Flip, Kodak Zi*, and Vado killer.

You are more than welcome to upload your own tests as video responses to this.

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HTC Evo 4G Indoor Video Test


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I recorded a quick video with both the EVO 4G and my iPhone 4 at the same time. I wanted to compare, and let everyone decide for themselves which is the better device when it comes to video. I used the default settings for both phones.

The reason I chose to shoot indoors (with and without artificial light) was to better illustrate “extreme” conditions – knowing that people shoot video “inside” all the time with little regard for light sources.

Notes:

  • I didn’t edit the raw footage for a reason; compare sources for yourself. Original HTC EVO 4G sourceOriginal iPhone 4 source
  • The Evo seems to have a wider field of view compared to the iPhone.
  • The iPhone audio sampling rate is 44k (64Kbps) vs 8k (12.8Kbps) on the Evo.
  • Sunshine through my red curtains was difficult for each camera to handle.
  • The Evo lens seems to tint blue or red at times.
  • Frame rates were diminished on each device: 24fps (iPhone) vs 11fps (Evo).
  • The Evo produces an MPEG-4 “3GP” file vs an MPEG-4 “MOV” file from the iPhone.
  • The default Evo camera app is superior in features, but lackluster in performance.
  • Research indicates the Evo upscales 320p to 720p, FWIW.

Clearly, the Evo (with default settings) doesn’t hold a candle to the iPhone 4 (with default settings). I’m sure other camera apps would force the device(s) to record differently, but this test was designed to compare phone defaults.

While the iPhone isn’t perfect, I’d certainly consider it a Flip, Kodak Zi*, and Vado killer.

You are more than welcome to upload your own tests as video responses to this.

Want to embed this video on your own site, blog, or forum? Use this code or download the video:

PlayPlay

Creative Vado HD 3rd Generation Video Camera Review


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Ever since I purchased it, I’ve been pretty happy with my Creative Vado HD first generation. I really like it because it has a wide-angle lens. Now, I have in my possession the Creative Vado 3rd Generation! It definitely looks a lot different than the one I already had, that’s for sure. Let’s see how it works!

They’ve improved things with the 3rd Gen. The file format now records in MP4, which is good for both Mac and Windows users. There’s also an audio jack on the top. That allows you to not only listen, but also to plug in an external microphone, as well. It still has the same wide-angle lens, which is a very good thing.

It can record up to two hours, or longer if you use lower resolution. However, if you use the HD Plus format, you can only record one hour. The additions to the Vado HD are nice. Theoretically, it makes it better than previous versions. However, if you didn’t notice, there’s already fingerprints all over it. Even though I’ve only had it for two weeks, it’s all smudgy and icky. I’m grateful to Creative for sending this to me for review. However, I just don’t like the glossy finish.

Another thing I don’t like about the Vado HD is that the only button on the back is really the record button. Do you know how many times I accidentally brushed the wrong buttons during or before recording? You have to be extremely careful when recording. This is the problem with touch controls.

Yes, it’s nice that they have the audio jack. But at least with the first and second generation versions, I didn’t have to be so careful not to press the wrong button at the wrong time. The color is more true-to-life than in older models, and I am happy with that.

Do you own – or have you used – a Vado recorder? What are your thoughts on them? I’m giving this one a 3.5 out of five stars. I really don’t like the glossy look, and I am not happy with the touch screen.

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16 Tech Things in My House


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I was challenged by Lamarr Wilson to showcase 16 “tech things” in my house. Of course, I opted for the most portable items. How many of these do you have (or want)? Here, in order, are the items that I used:

If you’re inclined to record your own showcase, leave it as a video response to Lamarr’s original video, not mine.

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Creative Vado HD Video Format Help

David Fay appreciates my hardware recommendations:

Thanks a lot for all your vids posted on YouTube. It was very helpful in my decision to buy the Vado HD. I had originally purchased the Kodak zi6, but thought it was a bit bigger than I wanted to carry in my pocket every day. So, I got the vado HD and LOVED it.

The AVI format does not work in iMovie ’09. I read a bunch of blog entries with this issue, and downloaded “ffmpegx” which seems to take a while, be a huge extra step, and I do not know if it is possible to batch process. I have a MacBook Pro, and love the ease of dumping vids in iPhoto, then making movies in iMovie ’09.

Is there an easier workflow to convert files into a better format?

Yeah, Creative screwed the pooch on Mac support – but there’s a perfect way to fix their shortcomings (until they wake up and realize that not everybody in the world uses, or WANTS to use, Windows).

My suggestion for both Windows and Mac OS X users is to download MPEG Streamclip (freeware). It’s got a batch processing feature for you. Simply adjust your output accordingly (I’d recommend experimenting and finding your own favorite MP4 setting). I believe the Windows version is on par with the OS X version, so you should be good in that respect. I also use this utility to watermark URLs in the lower right-corner of videos that weren’t produced live.

Still Image Quality from the Best Video Cameras

“musicmaster890” was awestruck by the scenery in Seattle (specifically, the landscape shot in my recent video camera field test). He decided to take high quality stills and sew them together into single panoramic photos. I say the results were quite striking – further lending credibility to my argument that the Creative Vado balances color better than the Zi6 and the Mino HD.

I’ve uploaded these images to my Flickr account (obviously, opting to embed them in this post as well). If you’d like to view a higher resolution image, simply click the thumbnail. They were all taken from the videos in this series. No, I don’t live on a lake; the mirror effect was added for artistic purposes. The photos were not retouched in any other way.

  • Pure Digital’s Flip Mino HD is, as expected, a bit washed out. Yes, all it needs is a bit of contrast and saturation adjustment, but this was lifted directly from a video. Wouldn’t you have better colors from your video camera without needing to edit in post?
  • Kodak’s Zi6 does fairly well with contrast, but the sky is a tad oversaturated (almost looking like the Mino HD’s sky – minus the Mino’s inexplicable green tint).
  • Thanks to its wide angle lens, Creative’s Vado HD captured much more (vertically) compared to the other two devices. The sky’s blue and the clouds’ orange seem true to my memory of the scene, too.

Which one looks best? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. One thing’s for sure: I love my backyard!

Kodak Zi6

Kodak Zi6 Stitched Landscape.jpg

Creative Vado HD

Creative Vado Stitched Landscape.jpg

Flip Mino HD

Flip Mino HD Stitched Landscape.jpg

Video Camera Comparison Test: Mino, Zi6, Vado!

I kept the camera(s) as steady as possible as I panned across the landscape from the vantage point of my bedroom window this evening. Watch the full HD version on YouTube, or scroll down to watch the high-quality embedded version.

Each series of clips were taken back-to-back – the first series, earlier when the sunset was striking the clouds in a dramatic fashion; the second series, when it was a bit more overcast (and there were both pink and blue hues on the horizon).

In each set, the cameras were used in this order: Flip Mino HD, Kodak Zi6, Creative Vado HD. You’ll see annotations lead off each scene (then quickly disappear).

I removed the audio from this video to alleviate volume level discrepancies, as well as to provide further concentration on the video quality at hand. Obviously, viewing in HD is required for fairest judgment.

Processing was NOT done to any of these videos; these recordings were sewn together in a seamless fashion and uploaded to YouTube in their near-original condition.

  • The Flip Mino HD pretty much washed out the sky’s vibrant colors in the first set, and effectively made a drab mountain view appear even more drab in the second set.
  • The Kodak Zi6 did a good job with the colors, but couldn’t strike a good balance between the bright sky and the dark landscape in either set.
  • My verdict still favors the Creative Vado HD – not only with its wide-angle lens capability, but its truer-to-life colors and exposure balance (between dark and light in the same shot).

Best Video Camera: Creative Vado HD vs Flip Mino HD vs Kodak Zi6?

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First, I got the Kodak Zi6. Then, I got the Flip Mino HD. A few hours ago, I received a recently-ordered Creative Vado HD and decided that instead of doing a full-on review of it, I’d compare it directly against the Mino HD and the Zi6 – in a short video shootout.

  • Flip Mino HD Likes: small and lightweight; has decent software that runs on both Mac OS X and Windows; decent “foreground subject focused” audio in noisy situations.
  • Flip Mino HD Dislikes: Touch controls are too sensitive; there’s a plastic protector that flips out along with the USB connector; colors are always washed out; flat video quality; white balance is impossible; tons of noise in low light; my skin tone never looks right indoors; built-in YouTube uploader decreases quality automatically; tiny LCD screen; cheap plastic wrist strap.
  • Kodak Zi6 Likes: decent saturation; decent audio; great LCD size; uses AA batteries; uses SDHC media; macro switch; great quality when not blurring.
  • Kodak Zi6 Dislikes: unpredictably blurred recordings in low light; no clear audio when noisy; no Mac software support; can be oversaturated in certain scene; heavy construction.
  • Creative Vado HD Likes: great balance of color and saturation in the average shot; tends to favor skin tones; wide angle lens; can record two hours; replaceable / rechargeable battery via USB; lightweight; sharp definition.
  • Creative Vado HD Dislikes: included skin doesn’t accommodate battery replacement / hard reset; audio is treble muted from behind (in narration); skews to light which isn’t always neutral; has a wrist strap slot but doesn’t come with a strap.

The Flip Mino HD is the worst of the bunch to my eyes and ears, and I’m looking to sell it (hardly used) at a good price. The Kodak is completely unusable in artificial light (due to uncontrollable blurring), which rules it out for where I’d need it most. I don’t think Flip is going to fix their problems with a software update, but I’m holding out hope for a Zi6 fix. Kodak has to get its act together – so does Pure Digital.

For my money right now, it’s the Creative Vado HD. The wide angle lens is absolutely essential when you’re trying to get closer to a subject – or if you want more in the scene. That’s all you need to know – and all the reason to go with a Vado HD over the others. Even if you think the Zi6 isn’t bad, the Vado’s wide angle lens trumps it. You have to be much further away from your subject to get the same shot as you can with a Vado (closer, and with MORE in the frame). Keep that in mind the next time you’re in tight quarters, or when you have to take three steps back just to get the shot you wanted.

Plus, the Vado does a much better job with skin tones and saturation (generally) compared to the other two in indoor situations. The HDMI cable may be another win for you and the Vado, but I seldom use video out in these cameras – so that’s just a value add. Hardware controls are comfortable on the Vado, and I like how its USB connector is flexible.

Now, you can watch the following videos inline – but I’d also recommend viewing them on YouTube (where you can watch the original 1280×720 as recorded and uploaded without editing). I’ve linked to the HD versions in the list above. Understand, too, that the Zi6 was at least six inches behind both the Flip Mino HD and Creative Vado HD in this test – even though it appears as though the Creative Vado HD was the furthest away. I’m telling you: that wide angle lens is AWESOME.

Flip Mino HD

Kodak Zi6

Creative Vado HD