Thursday, November 21, 2013

More Geek Toys

Here are the latest additions to MY toy box for techy agility equipment over the last six months or so. 

I will start with my latest purchase, a Panasonic HC-720 video camera.  I have been wanting a solution for starting my video camera remotely for a while.  At trials, either I have to bribe someone into filming me or I end up with gigabytes of extra footage if I start the camera, go run my dog and come back to turn off the camera.  Not to mention that I often forget to turn off my camera :(

I won't go into all the features, you can read them here.  But the new HC-720 comes with a wireless feature and a phone/tablet app (android or iphone).  My phone is a Galaxy 4.  The phone app will pair with the camera and act as a remote.  You can zoom in/out, change various capture settings, start/stop recording and turn off the camera.

 It was actually fairly easy to get the phone and camera paired.  One of the methods that is used is a QR code that the phone reads (it is displayed  on the camera screen) and gets all the pairing info needed.
I haven't completely tested what kind of a range I have with the wireless connection, but in the initial tests I can get over 100 foot outside or in an arena.  In the house the walls limited the connection to a couple of rooms away. Perhaps this weekend will afford me more time to play.

So far the only downside that I have noticed with this setup it the ability to BURN camera battery time.  I had the camera going to about 90 minutes last night, filmed 5 runs remotely at the highest resolution and I used the whole battery life.  I think I can deal with this by turning off the camera (and the wireless) in between runs, perhaps carry an extra battery.

I haven't investigated the live streaming, and time lapse capabilities yet, give me a couple of weeks.

The other item that I got a while ago (for the older model of this camera but fits the new) was a super wide-angle lens  by Japan Optics for the camera.  When setting up the camera on a tripod typically I couldn't get a whole course in the field of vision.  The wide angle lens allows me to do this.  I get a little bit of interference on the sides, but there is no picture bending distortion which is nice.  I would like to get a wide angle that didn't show at the edges, but for now it will do.

On the wish list is a tripod or mount that will allow the camera to be up higher so that I have a better perspective of my runs on my agility field.