Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Things We're Using: Spark Mini Video Camera

Many readers who have watched our recent videos have asked what camera we've been using to record on-the-bike video.  Answer: the Spark mini camera from Bad Vision.
We've used a variety of video cameras on the bike, and the Spark is one of the best. It's certainly the smallest camera we've ever used. It takes decent video (see an example here), and it's very easy to use--push a button to start recording, push and hold the same button for two seconds to stop. It's easy to upload the videos to your computer, where you can use your favorite editing software to create your own videos.

The Spark is advertised to take up to three up to two hours of video. I haven't tried to take that much, so I can't vouch for that claim.

On the downside, the camera suffers from the same wind noise problems that have plagued every videocam we've ever used on a bike. The Spark offers a "windproof" cap that also makes the camera (according to Bad Vision) totally waterproof, but it muffles the sound too much.  In practice, I usually replace the loud windy noise in my raw video with music.

The camera also doesn't take HD video--it produces nice 30FPS video at 640x480. If you're looking for HD, try a Hero of Flip Mino HD camera (which is much larger).

Bad Vision's Mike Boester is a former bike shop manager and definitely knows customer service. I was having problems with the audio on my camera (problems that turned out to be specific to that camera), and he promptly sent me a new one. He's easily accessible by email if you have questions: badvision10@gmail.com

We'll continue testing the Spark in the coming months--our goal is to take video during the Paris-Brest-Paris randonee' in August.  Check back for updated results.

Full disclosure: We paid full retail price for our camera at a local bike shop here in our home town.

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