First of all, they guys at VholdR let me borrow the 720p version ContourHD camera. I liked it so much, I paid $330 at BH Video to buy the 1080p upgraded version. I am not being paid by VholdR to write this blog. I am doing it to help you decide if this camera is right for you. I need to get my hands on the GoPro next.

Please look at these other blogs about the ContourHD cameras if you are new to my site:

ContourHD 720p Road and Trail Test
ContourHD 720p Indoor/Outdoor Test
ContourHD 1080p – A Day in Television

I took a few minutes today to drive around with both the ContourHD 720p (model 1200) and ContourHD 1080p (model 1300) point-of-view cameras mounted to my car. I chose a car as my mount because I had to lug around my Mac Book Pro running the software to configure the 1080p camera to record at the five different formats/frame rates. There is just a “hi” and “lo” switch on the back. You must dial in the switch to the specific settings using special software.

camera mount

I wanted to get about one minute of video in all the formats/frame rates that these two cameras can record onto the microSD cards.

The ContourHD 720p camera is able to record in two different flavors: SD (848×480 @60FPS) and in HD (1280×720 @30FPS)

The ContourHD 1080p camera can record in five. Full HD (1920×1080 @30FPS), TALL HD (1280×960 @30FPS), CONTOUR HD (1280×720 @30FPS), ACTION HD (1280×720 @60FPS), and FAST SD (848×480 @60FPS).

I have included the original untouched files directly off the ContourHD 720p and 1080p camera’s microSD chip below for you to download and test out. They vary in size from 40MB to 225MB so a fast internet connection is a must!

I am testing out these cameras in full because I will be using them on a shoot in Florida this week and I do not want any surprises. I plan on just shooting 1080p and 720p HD @30FPS using the supplied 2GB cards and my new 16GB card. I will have my computer with me at all times!

I have found that the audio on the newer 1300 model camera is much better when it comes to heavy wind. I am still having trouble with a slight hiss and audio “interference” noise when using the camera in a quite room. If you turn the speakers up, you will hear it. VholdR told me that this was a problem on earlier models, but I found it on the new 1300 model as well.

I also found that the factory default (and not user adjustable) color and contrast setting on the 720p camera looked pretty good, even at the lower resolution when compared to the 1080p version. The 1080p version was smoother and packed with resolution, but the picture was almost too flat. The newer model 1300 does allow you to adjust the picture setting using the free “Easy Edit” software, but I have not yet deviated from the factory set default settings.

I found the 1080p camera to be much more noisy (grainy) as far as the video goes in the low light of my edit suite. The 720p version seemed to be cleaner. The cameras also did not really match color temp wise. You will see this much better in the XDCAM EX 1080p video blog edit download at the bottom of this page.

I have changed the audio gain setting in the 1080p camera from default 33 to 42 and found that it seems to work well at that level. I also changed the “bit rate” setting from “default” to “max”. This has changed the bit rate on the 1080p 30FPS footage from about 1MB/sec to about 1.7MB/sec (according to Final Cut Pro). I will be using this resolution and frame rate most of the time and I want the bit rate as high as possible for less video compression.

A problem I ran into was trying to get the “ACTION HD” 60FPS footy into 30 FPS but running at slow motion. I searched the VholdR website for help on how to use Compressor, QuickTime, or another piece of software to achieve this. I could not figure it out. Final Cut Pro would not let me bring the 60FPS file into my project.

So, I need your help. Please download all the files below, but specifically the file titled, “ACTION HD”. It was shot 720p @60 frames per second. Let me know if you figure out a way to bring the file into Final Cut Pro as a 30p files running slow motion.

The guys at VholdR just emailed me the bit rate setting for the formats on the ContourHD 1080p.

Here are the bit rates but note they can vary drastically from frame to frame because it will try to conserve space if there is little or no activity to encode (e.g. static frames with little variance in colors will be lower bitrates even if the setting is Max).

bit rates

Please download these original H.264 .mov files taken directly off the ContourHD memory cards and uploaded to the server. Have fun with them and see how they work with your NLE.


ContourHD 720p (model 1200)

  SD (Model 1200) 848×480 @60FPS (37.6 MiB, 457 hits)

  HD (model 1200) 1280×720 @30FPS (83.3 MiB, 755 hits)

ContourHD 1080p (model 1300)

  FULL HD (model 1300) 1920×1080 @30FPS (198.7 MiB, 1,365 hits)

  TALL HD (model 1300) 1280×960 @30FPS (183.5 MiB, 430 hits)

  CONTOUR HD (model 1300) 1280×720 @30FPS (158.2 MiB, 545 hits)

  ACTION HD (mocel 1300) 1280×720 @60FPS (224.7 MiB, 708 hits)

  FAST SD (model 1300) 848×480 @60FPS (117.9 MiB, 388 hits)

More Downloads:

1080p @30FPS (XDCAM EX) version of demo video posted at top of this blog. yikes…611.4MB!

  ContourHD Formats Video Blog (1080p) (611.4 MiB, 430 hits)