Cameras

By April 10, 2016 Read More →

Setting up a Home Security Camera on a budget Part 1: Perch

IMG_20160409_121743Installing an IP camera on your house is one of the cheapest and best solutions to using an old smartphone and keeping track of your house when home and when not home. There are many articles on net about how simple it is to convert an old phone into a  security camera and truth is this probably the best utilisation of an older phone, and it certainly beats the expensive of a Foscam set-up any day of the week. Of course this kind of IP camera set-up is not going to be 100% reliable and will suffer moments of downtime, set-up annoyances and tricky methods to store the data.

I have been using a set-up with Android phones, IP Webcam Pro application alongside the tinyCam Monitor PRO application to view, there are free versions with Ads available too. Including a couple of cheap phone stands/cradles from Amazon or Ebay this set-up costs roughly £10 not including the price of the phones. Primarily I have been using some budget phones I had lying around taking up space from ZTE and Acer running Android 4.3 Jellybean.  Using all phone holders with suction cups for cars to attached the devices to windows is a little spark of ingenuity I was quite proud with. Running power to the phone’s made for some creative decisions rather than having walls lined with USB cables and extension cables running across the floor. There is no one solution for all here.

Once installed an IP camera becomes easily one of the most useful tools in day-to-day life. The obvious one is monitoring your house when you were not there on holiday perhaps or just at work. Other applications allow you to view who is calling at the front door, keep an eye on a car in the front garden, watch animals or your children play in the garden. Many many more other applications will be found and more applications will present themselves once the person gets to grips with the setup.

Right now, I would recommend one of two options.

The first would be the best way to dip your toe in the water. Download an application called Perch to your phone. Perch might be in Beta however it is a great start. It is also free for the time being however I would imagine that there will be a paid model once the application comes out of Beta.

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Perch gives you a simple stream from the camera on a phone and presents it on their website or through the app on another device for the user to view. There isn’t too much in the way of options and whilst this could be seen as a good thing for the newbie a seasoned vet of IP cameras may find Perch annoyingly limited.

As a beta Perch is rather well laid out, the stream is quite reliable and footage is quite good. There are some basic features like motion detection with notifications, the ability to record sound from the camera and recording at scheduled times. There isn’t much more than that and the features have not been expanded in the year since I last used their service. They have, however, become more reliable and solid. So work is being done to stabilise the platform before launch. One might suggest that it is pretty much rock solid right now.

Perch

Unfortunately there is no way to export the videos from Perch and this is a really off putting for the user. You can check your timeline to see something that happened and this goes back seven days. If a crime has been committed then you might have to go to Perch. Currently there is no information on their website about export the videos.

One problem I have encountered is the motion detection is incredibly sensitive. Some days it looks like the camera has been recording non stop for over 6 hours. Whilst I cannot be certain I believe a shadow of a bush moving on the area I am watching is triggering the record function. This makes Perch more of an indoor camera than outdoor for most.

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However, what if you really need more in the way of features and are prepared to make the effort to set up a more robust system? Next week we will be taking a look at a home made camera setup that does not only secure your home, but doesn’t open things up to anyone to potentially hack very easily.

By February 17, 2016 Read More →

Eggcellent drone PowerEgg unveiled by Powervision Robot

image006Powervision Robot Inc., a leader in robotics and big data best known for its industrial drones, announced their first consumer drone, the “PowerEgg,” today. The PowerEgg features an innovative egg shape which, in addition to being aesthetically different than the many X-shape four-axis drones currently on the market, makes it foldable and easy to transport. The lightweight PowerEgg can be easily folded and carried in a backpack and will be available in early Q2 of 2016.According to Powervision CEO Wally Zheng, “Powervision wanted to create a beautiful yet functional design for the PowerEgg.  We think the oval shape is not only clean and pure but also has the structural and functional benefits. 

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This simple yet vital design means that this is more than a flying robot but a work of art.” Although PowerEgg was developed for the mainstream consumer market to allow everyone to enjoy the drone flying experience, it still includes advanced technologies that rival industrial drones, including a 360-degree panoramic 4K HD camera on a 3-axis gimbal, real-time long range video transmission, advanced “optical flow” sensors for indoor navigation, as well as an intuitive and easy-to use-remote control,. The Powervision team spent over 18 months perfecting this one-of-a-kind product. Although extremely lightweight, it has a compact and revolutionary structural design.  The unique design includes larger propellers that required advancements to transform from the compact egg shape to the larger flight mode.  In addition, on the software side, Powervision used its extensive software expertise to make the drone easier to fly.  Currently, the average consumer drone requires at least 10 hours of flight time for consumers to learn how to use.  By using their extensive knowledge in design and user experience, Powervision is able to lower that significantly.  As Zheng explained, “We want flying a drone to be child’s play, something even a five-year-old can do.”

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Zheng believes that the entire drone industry is going through a transition from the easy to transport drones to a revolution in ease of use.  “With this next generation of drones, much like the Internet expanded access to information in the virtual world, drones 2.0 led by innovations like the PowerEgg can expand access to the physical world and bring together humans and machines in this journey.”

Posted in: Cameras, News, Press Releases
By December 8, 2015 Read More →

Syma X5sc Explorers 2 Unboxing

vlcsnap-error161SYMA X5SC QUADCOPTER HD CAMERA is currently selling over at Red5.com. This modestly priced Quadcopter an updated, upgraded, bigger and better version of the popular Syma X5C Quadcopter with an HD Cam. This improved version still has all the same capabilities as the X5C, but with a few changes to get more out of its feature set. The rotor guards have been increased in size to further protect them from damage and the landing skids have been raised to give you the best possible viewing angle.

The Syma X5SC is a 2.4GHz Quadcopter with a built in HD 720p camera allowing you to film all of your flights, as well as taking some still images along the way.

This quad comes with a 6 axis gyroscope and 4 channel flight making it ideal for newbies who are just starting out on 4 channel flyers, as well as the pros who want to do some sweet tricks.

With a range of approximately 50 metres, boasting incredible stability, and indoor and outdoor usage, the Syma X5SC Quadcopter With HD Camera is worth checking out.

You can pick one up for only £58.95 here.

Check out the full review over at TracyandMatt.co.uk in the next week…

By October 23, 2015 Read More →

Boomerang loops little videos for Instragram

downloadContinuing to evolve, Instagram has unleashed a new app that makes for fun and creative way to make short videos to share with your friends and family. Boomerang take 10 quick images and stitches them together to make a 1-second looping clip.

Like most video interaction in photo apps this is very simple to use, there’s just one button. Press it when you’re ready to record, and it does the rest. When you share the clip to Facebook or Instagram it’ll be on an infinite loop for anyone who wants to watch it.

For example:

 

Who’s not looking at you kid? #boomerang

A video posted by Gareth Myles (@garethmyles) on

 

Give it a quick download over at Google Play!

Posted in: Apps & Games, Cameras, News
By October 20, 2015 Read More →

Blackvue Dashcam Unboxing and Review

vlcsnap-error491The Blackvue is, simply put, a high end dashboard camera. Recording the daily routine with every feature you could imagine. In the following video we take a look at the key features of the camera, the additional hardware, the quality of the footage and the desktop software.

The Blackvue gives users the ability to record their journeys in full 1080p at 30 frame per second. A built in G-Sensor reacts to movement as you drive and adds additional peace of mind to the recording practice. Adding WiFi support allows for the unit to connect to a phone and utilise the Blackvue app to modify settings and preview footage on the go. Built in GPS ensures increased accuracy when travelling and integrates the position into the desktop suite to help locate any incidents that may have occurred with the added help of the G-sensor.

The camera is a wide angle 133 degree lens with an optional rear camera. A 16GB class 10 Micro SD card has been included however there is support for cards up to 64GB

You can purchase the single camera option from Mobilefun for £180:

Or the dual for £274

By October 13, 2015 Read More →

Debo Steadyvid EX Video Stabilizer Unboxing

vlcsnap-error287The Debo Steadyvid EX Video Stabilizer is a video stabilizing system designed to help  reduce shake and stabilize video on cameras and camcorders weighting up to 2.1 lbs (0.95kg). The Steady Vid EX features aluminum construction, comfort grip handle, super-smooth gimbal, polished chrome counter-weight, sprit level, rubberized camera mount and thumb stabilizer. The Steady Vid EX is probably the most affordable full-featured stabilizer on the market. 

Features:
1.Supports digital cameras and camcorders up to 2.1 lbs 
2.Comfort grip handle 
3.Super gimbal for smooth, accurate motion 
4.Polished chrome counter-weight 
Specifications:
Load Capacity: 2.1 lbs (0.95kg) 
Construction: Aluminum body, rubber padded handle, polished chrome counterweight
Package Contents :
Stabilizer x1

By September 29, 2015 Read More →

GoPro Hero+ the perfect entry-level action camera

CHDHC-101_main1GoPro has unveiled the Hero+, their new action camera that featuring Full HD video capture alongside Wi-Fi connectivity for £169.99, including free P&P this bring the Hero+ into budget camera territory and will no doubt become a market leader.

The Hero+ is shoots in 1080p at 60, 50, 30, 25 and 720p at 60 or 50 frames per second, as well as 8-megapixel photos and time lapse videos. GoPro now provide an app for playbale and monitoring the shots you are setting up. A Smart Remote over Bluetooth and Wi-Fi is also available for £64.99. The integrated housing, which is not an optional extra, allows the camera to be waterproof down to a depth of 40m.

The Hero+ doesn’t have 4K support, a touchscreen or dual mics like other models in the line but at a budget price, there certainly will be a depend for the camera to capture some of the users crazy antics at 60fps without breaking the bank.

The Hero+ will go on sale on GoPro’s site as well as retailers across the globe on October 4.

Posted in: Cameras, News
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By September 24, 2015 Read More →

EasyAcc Selfie Stick QuickSnap Pro Unboxing

vlcsnap-error118Here is another option for the Selfie craze that still grips our society. The EasyAcc Selfie Stick Quicksnap is a modestly priced monopole with Bluetooth build in. Designed to cater to phones such as the iPhone 6, iPhone 5S, Samsung Galaxy S6 and S5 the 9.7 cm maximum length of the clasp will accommodate most phones. The Quicksnap brags a 270-degree adjustable head to help find a better angle when taking a selfie. Despite it’s 80cm reach when extended the stick is only around 20 cm when folded making it easy to store.

However, as this is Bluetooth the stick requires a charge to continue to operate. The 60 mA battery will probably only take a short time to charge however the charge will only stay for 3 days, so you must think ahead or have a portable charger in the event you need to use it on the fly.

 

  • Material 
    - The smart phone ABS holder is stable and durable. The clip on the holder can fix the phone very well so that you can enjoy your selfie photos. 
    - Stainless steel stick can be 7 times extended, which offers you long enough selfie distance and a stable position for various situation of photos. 
    - The ABS handle is comfortable to hold. 
  • Design 
    - The smart phone ABS holder can be folded, when you don’t need to use it. 
    - Via Bluetooth the selfie stick can be connected to the camera from smart phone directly, and you don’t need to set up wireless Bluetooth remote. 
    - It’s only 20 cm once it’s folded. Considering our travelers, we made it so easy to carry. 

Can be purchased from Amazon for £12.59

By September 18, 2015 Read More →

Parrot Drone tour

vlcsnap-error610Parrot have a wide range of drones available and here we take a look at four of them. Each device has a particular twist on ability and it’s easy to see what this is. Whilst being designed for fun there are practical uses in Search and Rescue for each device. These device become more sophisticated every year and the flexibility is endless.

Air Drone 2.0

  • 720p – 30FPS – H264 encoding base profile
  • Low latency streaming
  • Video storage on the fly with remote device or with USB flash drive
  • JPEG photo capture
  • As you fly, the HD video is recorded and sent directly to your device

Bebop Drone

Parrot Bebop Drone produces the best flight performance ever seen in a leisure drone. The feather-weight ABS reinforced structure makes Parrot Bebop Drone robust and safe. In case of an emergency, the emergency function automatically stops the propellers and lands the drone. EPP hulls are included in the pack and ensure that indoor flights are safer

Hydrofoil NewZ

Discover Parrot Hydrofoil Drone, one of our second-generation Minidrones. The hydrofoil is a hybrid drone that uses its propellers to move on fresh water. Its nautical structure props the Hydrofoil Drone up 5 to 6 cm above the water, in a balanced manner. Fast and easy to pilot, it speeds up to 10kph (6.2 mph) on water. You can also fly your Minidrone for an incomparable piloting experience!

Jumping Night Buzz

Discover Parrot Jumping Night Drone, one of our second-generation Minidrones. Energetic, ultra-stable and easy to pilot, this astounding drone is equipped with two powerful LEDs for exploring in the dark. Be it at night or day, shed light on your path and get ready to perform incredible moves and create light and sounds effects with this animated Minidrone. Parrot Jumping Night Drone is a responsive Minidrone with a strong personality that rolls, rushes, zigzags, circles and makes quick turns. In a flash, it leaps up to 80 cm/2.5 feet in the air. It is a true explorer and can see everything, even the darkest places, thanks to its two headlights. You can record videos with sounds directly onto the internal memory. The embedded camera puts you at the heart of the action! 

 

By September 15, 2015 Read More →

GeForce Car Dashboard Camera Unboxing

vlcsnap-error288A dashcam is a sensible move for most on the road today as there are many terrible drivers out there. Recording how an accident occurred could be vital evidence for an insurance claim. Those who spend all day on the road would actually seek a higher end product, however those who take to the roads once a day, or perhaps a couple of times a week are probably reluctant to shell out too much on a capture device to keep things in check.

Mobilefun have sent over the Ge Force Car Dashboard Camera, a cheap and cheerful alternative for only £24.99. This camera does exactly what you would expect. Set it and forget, you plug this in and it will happily record your daily commute over and over until the horrible day you might need to use the footage. Adding in the ability to grab a little motion detection footage you can rest easy knowing that your cars view point it being recorded in the shopping center car park, and anyone meddling with your car in the record area will be captured, as long as the battery lasts.

  • Record your journeys in 720p high definition
  • 6 IR sensors for night recording
  • 120 degree wide angle lens
  • Super slim and lightweight
  • SD card slot – supports cards up to 32GB
  • Removable rechargeable battery
  • Resolution of 1280×720p
  • 2.5″ TFT display
  • 1/4“ CMOS Sensor
  • Working temp: 32 – 104 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Time and date feature on video
  • Automatic on/off
  • Includes HDMI, USB 2.0 Interfaces
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