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457 posts

Ultimate Geek

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Topic # 32086 11-Apr-2009 17:30
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Not sure if this is the right forum for this, but thought I'd start a discussion about the Creative 'Vado HD' pocket video camera seeing as I couldn't find some of this stuff anywhere else. 

I was recently sent one from the U.S and I have to say I am very impressed. At first I was a little sceptical about it, unsure if the 'HD' video would really be that good from such a small camera. I was looking at getting a still camera that did HD video as for what I need I didn't really want to get a full size HD Camcorder. 

On first opening the box I couldn't believe how compact it really was. Although small and light weight, it doesn't feel flimsy or easily breakable which I really like. It feels good to hold and (unlike my iPhone) I am not worried about just leaving it lying on the side and getting scratched. In the box you get a silicone cover for it. Now I wasn't going to use this, but it just adds a layer of protection and doesn't over-bulk the Vado. It fits really easily into your pocket, to give an idea of size it has a smaller footprint than the iphone, but slightly thicker.








The screen on it is fine for what you need. It could be bigger, sure, but doesn't really need to be. 

One of the other great things is the built-in USB connector (comes with an extension cable in the box). It just pops out from the bottom so you always have it with you, meaning you don't necessarily need to take anything else with you.

It has 8GB of memory built-in but it's not expandable. With the 8Gb on the highest setting (HD+ higher compression than HD) you can record up to 2 hours of video, which is how long the battery lasts. It has two other settings HD and VGA which will give you 4 and 8 hours of recording respectively. To be honest I have found that 2 hours is plenty, if you're really into your videography and going to be doing more than that between being back at a computer then I would recommend you look at something else. This is for the casual home user taping the kids playing sports, opening birthday pressies or recording the new baby. It's not for the pros but I really like the video it produces , which btw is H.264 encoded videos at 30 frames per second with a 1,280x720 CMOS sensor and saves them as AVI instead of MPEG-4.

It also comes packaged with a HDMI cable to connect and play straight to you TV. You basically need nothing else although you can buy extra batteries and a wall charger for it. 

Needless to say I love it, but there are some pitfalls i.e it doesn't do stills but the main one for me is lack of Mac software. It comes with a program "Vado Central" built in so when you plug it in you can start the program, edit and upload your vids straight to Youtube, The Box, or Photobucket. However it is ONLY for Windows, it's a very good program if you have Windows. 

Mac users have to fend for themselves on this one, and unfortunately this is where it gets hard. You can get away with just having Perian installed if you just want to play them and upload them to Vimeo or Youtube. If you plan to do ANY kind of editing of the clips you record you NEED to have iMovie HD, not 08' or 09', but iMovie HD. It's the only one the will play nicely with the AVI's the Vado creates. You need to create a new movie at HDV 720p. Once you have created your movie you can export it at "Full Quality" (this is a setting in the export menu) Now...I had a clip that was originally 63.2MB in size. I imported it and exported it straight away, without adding any additional transitions or audio the file had jumped up to 460MB and it wasn't HD encoded! So here is what I suggest. Install DivX Convertor then export using "Expert Settings" choose "Movie to DivX" then select 'Options' from here you can set up the DivX export to output to the best HD settings. I have the following config:

DivX Profile - 1080HD Mode

Settings - Advanced Settings: - Under Video Tab - Source Pre-Processing = Extreme, Framerate 30fps

Under Codec Tab - Encode Performace = Insane, Average Bitrate = 12000kbps


Now when the file is exported it is only 90.1MB (much better) ad these settings are remembered for the next time :) 

These are my settings, if anyone out there has any better ways of doing it on a Mac and keeping the video quality then let me know. 

Here is a good video comparison of the Vado HD, Flip Mino HD and the Kodak Zi6

Here is a video of Christchurch Square taken with the Vado HD - http://www.vimeo.com/3839776

This is one of a time lapse from Christchurch City to Redwood - http://www.vimeo.com/4041615 

(recorded on the Vado HD, edited with iMovie HD and exported from iMovie using Divx convertor)

I find it great, I take it with me everywhere as it is so small and use it all the time.


Anyway let me know what you think.




Cheers
nzbullet
Note: My thoughts and comments are my own and not of anyone else including my employer

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3000 posts

Uber Geek

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  Reply # 206501 11-Apr-2009 20:47
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That first Vimeo video of the square is jerky at times, is that the device or some Vimeo setting?

In the second video at 00:34 you ploughed through an orange light. naughty!

I did find in the video samples the the sound was a bit too quiet and lacking in high end but this may have been done to avoid hiss..

It is kind of a neat device, I'll tell a mate because as much as the n95 shoots awesome video he wants a small standalone camera.



457 posts

Ultimate Geek

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  Reply # 206511 11-Apr-2009 23:53
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paradoxsm: That first Vimeo video of the square is jerky at times, is that the device or some Vimeo setting?

In the second video at 00:34 you ploughed through an orange light. naughty!

I did find in the video samples the the sound was a bit too quiet and lacking in high end but this may have been done to avoid hiss..

It is kind of a neat device, I'll tell a mate because as much as the n95 shoots awesome video he wants a small standalone camera.


The jerky video is a mixture I think, of me using it for the first time and Vimeo playback. Some of it may be the device as well but I think the videos are better when played locally. 

The law says to stop if you can do so safely, it wouldn't have been safe for me to stop. Wink

Yes the Audio can be an issue. If you're subject is not facing the camera when they talk it goes real quiet.




Cheers
nzbullet
Note: My thoughts and comments are my own and not of anyone else including my employer

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