So yes, last week after a short love affair that started with a Lidl catalogue I went and got myself an action camera from Silvercrest, aggressively priced at £79.99, but with similar features to those of a far more expensive GoPro.
It came with a whole array of accessories, including two sets of cases (one water-proof, one splash-proof which features some holes to enable the camera to record audio through its built-in microphone), loads of different mounts and straps including a bike handlebar mount (which should also be compatible with a rowing shell’s outrigger).
The camera itself can record Full HD video @ 30 fps, or 720p @ 60 fps. It has a few nifty features which I have yet to explore, including time lapse and wi-fi remote control & viewing (I had to install an app from Google Play for that; there’s also a version available for iOS).
The camera with its fully waterproof case (to 60m) and velcro strap – I used this configuration when I took it out for a quick run last Sunday, worked well! (although in the beginning it was pointing quite a lot towards the sky…) Apologies for the lack of focus, I was messing around with my point-and-shoot camera and didn’t pay much attention to the distances! 🙂
Can’t comment on the battery life as I haven’t done a full cycle yet – got it with about 1/4-1/2 of the charge and took it for a 40′ run on Sunday, didn’t manage to deplete it completely! I will write a follow-up post once I get to use a bit more (and perhaps under some nicer weather).
As for the video footage, here it is in its 720p-glory (after a bit of encoding). For some weird reason when I post-processed the video (with kdenlive) it rendered it with a lot more time (1h36m!), filling the end of the clip with black frames. I still need to optimise that, work in progress! 🙂
The track itself, to be absolutely honest with you I think it was the first time I actually ran it (!) – I’ve obviously done parts of it, but this particular loop was a novel configuration, mostly chosen to avoid muddy bits (I am too lazy to scrub my trainers after a run and plus I was running with my newest set, which are still looking rather nice! 😛 🙂 ).
Starting from Tyler Hill, I headed to Blean via Tyler Hill Road (those two bends next to Hothe Court Farm are a bit dangerous, I wouldn’t dream of doing that bit wearing headphones as it is basically a blind bend on a road with no pedestrian paths!), then took the A290 (Blean Hill) towards Canterbury, passing through Rough Common and the junction with Giles Lane (towards the university campus).
Afterwards, I followed the National Cycle Route 1 down the hill, through Neals Place Road and ending up in that housing estate next to London Road. Ran Westgate Court Avenue all the way till its junction with Whitstable Road, and descended a bit more into town, turning left just a bit before the St Dunstans roundabout.
Followed Beaconsfield Road until the junction with St Michaels Road (a popular route for people cycling into the UKC campus given that it links directly with the Eliot foot/cycle path) , from there I followed the foot path up to campus. Crossed the campus until its eastern end (Darwin), and took the B2205 back into Tyler Hill.
But since I was still about 400m away from my 10k goal I decided to do a few silly loops around the village until the Garmin finally acknowledged it (the locals probably think I’m crazy, but then again there weren’t that many people outside with that fantastic weather! 🙂 )
Right, before this turns into a running-only post, just to sum up the camera: so far I liked it, the OLED display is very good, should be very readable under direct sunlight (can’t verify that for a while, though…), the recordings are made in MP4 in a fairly Linux-friendly codec (I have the bad and ugly gstreamer plugins, though…), not requiring any special software (some basic video editing software is included in the package, but it being Windows- and Mac-only meant that I couldn’t really do anything with it …). I still have a significant amount of testing to do, but for now I’m quite happy. I do intend to get the optional RF remote that can be ordered separately, which will allow me to start recording remotely without having to use my phone (useful if I’m on the boat, especially considering that the remote comes in the shape of a wrist-watch…). Keep tuned for more videos, hopefully I should make a few more soon!