DogCam Bullet HD video camera

A video camera the size of your thumb…

The DogCam Bullet HD 720p video camera is that small, has no wires, and will shoot up to 2 hours of video on a charge of the built-in battery. That’s about as much as I know about video. I just mounted the camera on the handlebars, went out for a couple of rides, and pressed the ‘on’ button to begin recording.

Bullet cam mounted on drops below hood

YouTube video (4 mins)

About halfway through the movie is the new chicane I’ve complained to the local Council about. A white Volvo Estate squeezes past where the road is narrowed at a bus stop (I now have my proof that this feature is not a good idea).

The top of the bars is a better place for the bullet cam than below the hood. It comes with fittings to attach it to a cycling helmet but this looks a bit fiddly. On the bars you know exactly which way it’s pointing.

Bullet cam mounted on flat bars

YouTube video (7 mins 33 secs)

The video image size straight off the cam is 1280 x 720 pixels with a view angle of 63 degrees. Viewed on my PC the HD quality is good but the file sizes are far too big for the web. I processed the movies in Windows Live Movie Maker and saved them at a size of 426 x 240 pixels for uploading to YouTube where they are shown at 640 x 360 pixels. On this page they are sized down to 500 x 280. Inevitably the picture quality is now much lower. For best results, press ‘play’ then ‘pause’ while the pink bar gets well ahead, then ‘play’ again and choose full-screen mode.

The difference in image quality between the original .MOV file downloaded from the bullet cam and the YouTube full-screen version is evident in these stills:

Straight off the bullet cam

Loss of definition in the YouTube version

The vehicle’s numberplate – and even the driver’s face – can be clearly read in the first image but not in the second (click images to enlarge). The date and time at the bottom corner are also unreadable. I assume this loss of detail is because the video has been shrunk in size, then the shrunk size enlarged again.

I’ll write a user review of the DogCam Bullet HD in due course. Initial impression: a good cycling toy for under £100. Windows Live Movie Maker, incidentally, comes as part of Windows 7 but is only a very basic video editor.