Tag Archives: video-camera

FlipLive: The Camera That Might Have Been

Cisco announced this week that they are shutting down several parts of its consumer business to refocus on four of their “key company priorities.” These include core routing, switching and services, collaboration, architectures and video. Their priorities do not include the Flip video camera we all know and love, though. Cisco has pulled the plug on the popular device and will no longer be working on their newest version, the FlipLive. The little camera that could will no longer, and that makes this geek very sad.

My Flip Ultra HD may not produce the highest-quality video in the world, but it certainly does a decent job. It’s light and small – perfect to throw in my pocket when I’m out and about. You cannot argue about how simple it is to use, which is what made this device so beautiful. Anyone could use it – including grandma shooting videos for the first time when the kids come to visit or a youngster just beginning their journey into the world of technology.

The FlipLive would have been pretty damn sweet, I think. The same little video camera you know and love would have allowed you to also stream live from any HotSpot you could find! Yes, yes – my iPhone can do that. Your device can do that. But can they do it well? Can they do it in a manner that’s simple enough for anyone to figure out right out of the box?

I honestly think Cisco has gone a tad bit loco with this move. Of course there are other devices and gadgets out there which can do the same thing. However, ease of use with any product is one of the key selling points, and the Flip camera had a lock on that arena. Am I the one who has lost his marbles? Do you think this was a bad move by the company, or do you feel that the market is saturated enough that no one will really notice?

readySTEADY Portable Video Camera Stabilizer System Review

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Everyone seems to have some type of pocket video camera these days. The issue is that most of these cameras don’t have any type of optical image stabilization. Thankfully, there are products available to help, such as the readySTEADY stabilizing system.

readySTEADY fits right into your pocket and actually works very well to stabilize your camera. It is durable, made of sturdy aluminum, not plastic. Most importantly, it puts an end to the impossible task of trying to hold your pocket video camera steady for more than 10 seconds.

Do your viewers a favor: use a readySTEADY to shoot your next video. They will thank you for it.

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Do You Want a Logitech HD Webcam?

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I have been addicted to webcams since they were first introduced to the market. I still have the first one I ever owned sitting in a box in the closet! I have to thank Logitech for passing along their new HD C510 webcam, which is part of their new series. This little device may be small, but it packs a lot of punch!

The Logitech HD Webcam C510 with 720p Video and Swivel Design boasts fluid 720p HD video recording and video calling in 16:9 widescreen. It allows you to upload to your favorite sharing services with a click of the mouse.

The camera takes awesome 8 MP photos – much higher quality than the 5 MP ones that Logitech’s C310. They are crystal-clear and very sharp. The built-in automatic light adjustment works well in harsh or dim light situations, making it easier for the person on the other end of the line to see you.

The built-in microphone is actually pretty dang good. It picks up the smallest sound that you could ask it to… such as my dogs playing on the other side of the room. You won’t have to worry about the other person being able to hear you.

Automatic adjustments for brightness, contrast, color saturation, colors, focus and face tracking make high-quality video calling and recording a breeze. The “follow-my-face” feature only seems to work in standard resolution. I’m not sure that I appreciate everything on this camera being “always focused” instead of having the auto-focus capability found on their C910 model.

The software works very well, but there is one major drawback… there’s no software available for the Mac. You can use the webcam with a Mac, but you don’t have software to take full advantage of everything it has to offer.

If you’re looking for an HD webcam with an easy way to record and then push up to YouTube, this may well be the device you’ve been looking for.

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Lorex Security System Review

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I’ve demonstrated home security systems in the past. This time, I’ve gotten my hands on a couple of different systems from Lorex. I’ll even be giving one of these products away at the end of this video review.

One of the systems allows you to “Connect. See. Hear. Protect”. You can connect the camera to any electrical outlet. It then transfers to a wireless receiver which is connected to my Slingbox software. The other allows you to record as well as watch what’s going on. So how would you like to win one of these systems?

The LW 22-series, the receiver features single view, auto switching or quad (4 camera location) view. That’s right – you can connect up to three other cameras to this so that you can keep an eye on several locations in your house at once. You can view in VGA resolution for high quality video or CIF res for real-time observation. There’s also a mic built in to provide audio.

The other system I was sent performs these same functions. However, it also comes with the ability to record. It is the fast and easy way to add video security to your home or small business. The digital wireless micro-receiver plugs directly into your surveillance monitor, DVR, or TV. Set up the security camera near the front or back doors, garage, backyard, patio, kid’s room, or any location that you would like to keep an eye on. Thanks to wireless technology, there is no need to run video cables between the cameras and the receiver!

This system is what I’m offering to you! I will send the video surveillance system recording device to one of you in our community. You may have a small business that you need to protect. I got to review a few products that I happen to like, so it’s time to pay it forward. I’ll choose a random winner from either the blog comments or YouTube comments left for this video.

I have to thank Lorex for passing these products along, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity to have tested them. I also did like the QSee Surveillance System.

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Sony Bloggie Camera Review

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I’m very glad that Sony sent along the new Bloggie PM5 and CM5 for me to review. I decided to record half of the video using one of these little devices, and half using the other one! They can take still shots, and record in full 1080p format! They support a media stick, or SD media, which is impressive to see. Both cameras are capable of creating very nice YouTube videos!

The great thing about the PM5 is the swivel screen. The camera features a unique lens that swivels up to 270 degrees and, when rotated, instantly powers on the camera so you can start recording video or taking still shots immediately.

SteadyShot image stabilization helps reduce blur caused by camera shake. It boasts 4x Digital zoom that lets you move in close and capture the action in crisp detail. Face Detection technology recognizes faces and optimizes camera settings for both video and still images, so faces are captured more clearly and skin tones look more natural.

Both the PM5 and CM5, much like the Kodak Zi6, suffer from blurring during low-light recording. This is something I’ve repeatedly tried to tell companies about in the past. However, it looks as though not many of them have figured out an answer yet.

Once I switched recording devices to the PM5, I noticed a few things immediately. The CM5 Bloggie is all about simplicity and ease of use. Simply push the video button to shoot a movie, and the photo button to snap a picture.

The CM5 definitely handles close-up video better than this PM5 does. You can see in the video how far out of focus this thing is, and I’m not happy about that. I definitely recommend the CM5, as long as you are not planning to shoot in low-light situations.

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HD Web Camera Wants to be Yours

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While covering the CES conference for us recently, Traci was astounded by the new Facevision TouchCam N1. It’s an HD video cam with an embedded H.264 codec chip, and dual microphones! This allows for crystal-clear HD video and superior audio at the same time. This little gadget is the first Skype certified video camera, and works perfectly for all of your video-conferencing needs.

The folks at Facevision believe they have developed the next generation in webcams with this TouchCam N1. It’s a natural extension to video camera users. It’s plug-and-play via USB, so it works on any operating system. This is not only the World’s first Skype certified webcam, it’s also the first HD webcam! It renders in true 720p!

Over the years, Skype has evolved into one of the premier ways to keep in touch with business contacts, family and friends. By using the Facevision TouchCam, Skype users can enjoy HD-quality video conferencing. The picture is so true-to-life that it will almost seem as though you can reach right through your screen and touch the other person!

The camera will be available in early March, 2010, and should have a retail price of around $119.00 USD.

Thanks to Creative for sending Traci the Vado 3 to use during CES!

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Security Camera Systems for Home

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The Vue is a wireless camera connected to my home network, thanks to the base station. The kit includes a base station and two wireless cameras. If you’re looking to add something like this to your home network, this is about easy as it gets. This was sent to me as a review unit, but I asked them how much it is for me to KEEP it. That’s how well this works!!

Essentially what I have is a personal video security network. Set up the base station, press a button on the cameras, and you’ve got the ability to see what’s going on inside your home. You can check this feed out from anywhere you are in the world, because the video can be accessed from anywhere. You can easily position Vue cameras anywhere with peel and stick magnetic mounts!

You can even share your feed if you like, by using your my.VueZone account. When you purchase the camera system, you’ll get 2 GB of storage and your first year FREE! You can even keep connecting devices to your base station… buy as many as you like, and add them anywhere in your home.

I asked the people at Avaak if there will be an iPhone App at any point, so that I can access my feeds on the go. I haven’t heard back from them yet, but I’m still holding on to hope! Having the ability to keep an eye on my home from anywhere in the world using my mobile device would be the ultimate icing on the proverbial cake.

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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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What’s the Best Video Recorder to Buy?

I received this email from Kieran “Zer0” Hill the other day, and thought it was worth sharing with the rest of the community – since I seem to be asked this question every day…

We have never spoken before, so I hope that you don’t have a problem with assisting me. The general impression that I got from your youtube video on the comparison between the Flip Mino HD, Kodak Vi6, and Creative Vado HD, left me thinking that you would not mind being asked for assistance on the matter. You seem to be a very knowledgable person on the majority of genres, which you do reviews the products of, so I feel that it would be very appropriate for me to as you my question that I have on this matter.

Moving on, my name is Kieran Hill (online gamer tag [EVGA]A.Zer0pWnZ) and I recently qualified for the grand finals of the Command and Conquer: Red alert 3 Ladder Season Finals in Cologne, Germany. On this trip, I will be an exclusive member to the alfa testing team on the next game, and will therefore be partaking in the CnC4 community summit. My point – I want to buy an HD video camera to document the entire trip, and to use footage on the show, which I am the lead producer of, Red3TV (the main RA3 web show on the internet, and a product of gamereplays.org.) I will be using the camera mostly indoors; in lowly-lit rooms, with a large amount of monitors present. I will need to have good audio quality for my video, so that any developer interviews, which I conduct, will be flawless, and good enough quality to be included in the August episode of Red3tv, (which is displayed in a 720p HD flash player.)

After the LAN tournament, I will be using which ever camera I purchase, in order to record the news coverage segment of the show, ( which we greenscreen.) My question, is in your opinion, which HD video camera should I buy? I am only 17, and therefore naturally want to spend as least possible on the product; however, I am not saying that price is an issue, rather that it is important that I am not spending an extra $300 for a few extra features, which I will not need.

The main things, which I am looking for in the camera that I purchase will be: (in order from most important to least)

  • Video quality in low-lighting areas
  • Audio quality
  • Compact design (I will be bringing this wherever I go during the grand finals and community summit)
  • Accessories functions available (I have a very expensive USB M-Audio microphone, which I wouldn’t mind connecting, along with an optical wide lense, which I could attach if needed.)

I would really appreciate it if you can give me any feedback possible on this matter. I also saw your Kodak Zx1 unveiling, so if you would like to expand on your thoughs about that, then please do.

Honestly? My choice is still the Creative Vado HD. It’s not perfect (sound is a bit tinny, no external audio solution, etc.), but it certainly leads its class in terms of overall quality. I have high hopes for the next iteration of the Vado, and have given the Creative team direct feedback on what they need to improve upon. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion, but my opinion stands: the Vado HD rules. And remember, I purchased the Vado HD with my own money.

Kodak Zx1

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I’ve had the Kodak Zi6 pocket video recorder for awhile, and have even posted a review of it. I like it fairly well, so I was excited to test out the new Zx1 when Kodak sent it to me for review. Not only was I ready for even better quality, I was stoked to find out that it is considered to be “weather-proof”. Since I was heading out to Kayak this weekend, I figured it would be the perfect camera to take along.

The main thing that bothered me about the Zi6 was the fact that it dropped frames quite often. It was a good camera otherwise, but frame dropping is just a big no-no in my book. I wanted to give this Zx1 a fair shake.

The Zx1 records 720p at 60 fps with 16:9 aspect ratio. The rubberized doors protect all ports from rain, snow, sand and more. The view screen is 2 inches, and there are cables included to allow you to watch footage on your HDTV. You can also easily upload recorded footage to YouTube with the built-in USB and software.

We’ll see this weekend how well the Zx1 stands up in an outdoor setting. If you have a Zx1, feel free to leave me a follow-up comment or video. Let me know what you like and don’t like about this particular camera. I’ll be sure to post more at a later date on my experiences.

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