Memory and Battery
The rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery fits very snugly into the back of the camera, and there is a latch to hold it securely in the position, which greatly helps the jarring vibrations that mountain places on the battery. A loose connection means loss of footage, data corruption, and that anomalies can be introduced. The 3.7 volt and 1050 milliampere-hour battery, gave me anywhere from 2-2.5 hour of usage, and its limit varied on the video resolution and bit rate used, air temperature and the number times that I cycled the on/off and stop/start recording switches.
Contour+ Battery Pull Tab
The battery is a pain to remove if you want to swap it out when it’s discharged or low, but a simple trick is to use a small piece of scotch tape on the battery, making a pull tab for easy extraction. The unit comes with a 2GB MicroSD card, which was good for 30-60 minutes of recording time in HD mode (15-30min per GB in HD). I went out and bought a 8GB MicroSD card for maximum recording time, since the memory gets maxed out when the battery limit is reached. I always bring an extra battery, and MicroSD card, if I desire more footage, or had forgotten to charge the battery or clean the card. To charge the battery, connect a mini USB cable from the cameras back port to a computer USB, or the optional car and wall chargers. The indicator on the back will stay red until the battery is fully charged, which can take a couple of hours depending on how drained the battery was, and it turns green when complete.
Contour Storyteller Application – Video with Map View
Interfacing with the Computer
To download or view the video’s you recorded, open the USB rubber gasket on the back of the camera, and connect the mini USB to the camera, and then the other end of the connector to a computer USB port. The unit will appear as a Removable Disk, and just navigate down to the appropriate directory (example: F:\Removable Disk\DCIM\100MEDIA) and either download or view the video straight from the camera. For faster downloads, use a standalone SD card reader, and bypass the camera as the downloading interface.
The preferred software to use for the Contour camera line is their Storyteller application, and it lets you to do camera configurations, video and GPS imports and exports, editing (primitive), viewing and uploads to their Community site. The highlight of the Storyteller is the map and video interface for the GPS data, if that option was engaged. When playing a video within the utility that has embedded GPS, an accompanying popup shows the map location, elevation and speed of your route as the footage plays. In addition, you can upload edited (Storyteller only to retain GPS) or unedited files to the Contour Community website as a ‘Story’, for sharing with others.
Contour Community Story:
I used the Storyteller Application predominately for inventory and import purpose for the camera, along with making changes to the Position 1 and 2 settings. I didn’t use it much for editing, as I much preferred more robust and professional video-editing software packages. Although, it was handy to edit or trim a small portion of footage by clicking the ‘+ Awesome’ button to retain GPS data so that it could be uploaded to the Contour Community site. My usual preference, is to upload my footage as a raw file directly to Vimeo, as I think that offers the best quality without any editing degradation.
Contour Storyteller Application – Camera Configuration
You can configure the global camera settings (frame rate and automatic power off), and then the Position 1 and 2 macro setup, which includes video, audio, lighting and GPS settings, by clicking on the tabs for each position. The video portion sets the mode (1080p, 960p, 720p/60fps, 720p, photo), the bit rate quality (high, medium, low) and white balance (auto, 2800K – 10000K), while the audio does microphone sensitivity (0-59), external microphone sensitivity (0-59) and camera beeps (on, off). The lightning sets the metering weighting (spot, center, avg), and has two predefined conditions (everyday outdoor, dusk) and a manual customization, which has settings for contrast (1-100), exposure (-4 to +4) and sharpness(1-5). The GPS can be set to come on at power up (on, off) and the capture rate (off, 1, 2, 4 times per second).
I always left the bit rate high, since I didn’t worry about resource issues (battery and memory) and wanted the highest quality output possible. I left most everything else as factory default, except for my specific video resolution for Position 1/2. Anything could be reset in the field on a smartphone, especially the lighting setting, which was extremely useful when light got dimmer, or the ride was going to be predominantly in the deep dark woods.