Sep 092012

CorvetteSummer may be over, but there’s still time to get some action footage while the weather’s nice. Wired reviews your options for point-of-view cameras–and yes, shows an electric skateboard holding its own against a Corvette.

Still Water staff already rides electric bikes. How long until electric motors–which can run on renewable energy and deliver instant torque–show up in all kinds of transportation?

Yes, This Is a Corvette Racing an Electric Skateboard | Autopia |

Creator Joshua Tulberg pitted his motorized skateboard, the Gnarboard Trail Rider, against a C5 Chevrolet Corvette in a series of 75-foot drag races. Yes, you’ll want to watch this.

Competition with the Chevy aside, the Trail Rider posted some impressive numbers for a motorized skateboard. With four 850-watt electric motors making 3.4 kW of power, the board will spring from zero to 28 mph (its top speed) in 1.9 seconds. With a full two-hour charge, the riders have a 13- to 15-mile range, possibly more with a liberal use of the regenerative brakes. A truck damping system keeps speed wobbles to a minimum and softens the roll over rocks and dirt when off-roading.

With the acceleration advantage, the Trail Rider flew off the line past the Corvette, but the C5′s power caught up quickly. At the end of 75 feet, they mostly tied.

Now that you’ve got your speed on, what are you going to wear to the party? To GoPro or not to GoPro…

Review: ION Air Pro Wi-Fi, Contour+, GoPro HD HERO2

GoproWhether you’re a sports fanatic or an indie filmmaker on a budget, POV cameras are great for adding a humanizing bit of perspective to your video. Strap one of these to your head, body, board or bike, hit “record,” and put your audience directly into the middle of the action. Drop in on a wave or jump out of a plane, and your viewers get taken along for the ride.

One player has dominated the market recently: GoPro. Since its foundation in 2002, the company has been challenging the idea of what should be expected from an affordable POV camera. Recently, however, several other companies have introduced cameras that compete with the same core strengths — picture quality, ruggedness, usability and price. We decided to test the GoPro HD HERO2 against two of the strongest contenders, one camera from Contour and the ION Air Pro. The video above shows results from all three, and the full reviews are below.

Here’s a “futuristic” alternative that sounds a lot like NMD alumnus Sam Lynch’s iGlasses.

Futuristic Concept Camera Tracks Your Eye, Shoots When You Blink | Raw File |

Iris 2Our photo director, Jim Merithew, once said that he hates cameras — he just wants to blink to take a picture with his eyes. Now he can.

A new camera concept, called Iris, aims to use eye-tracking technology and biometric detection to provide an impressively frictionless device for taking photos.

“When we are learning to use a camera we are really training ourselves to adapt to the product, and I believe it should also be the other way around,” says Mimi Zou, a 24-year-old American and recent graduate in Innovation Design Engineering from the Royal College of Art in London. “Products should be more intelligent and they should have the ability to also adapt to us.”

With Iris, eye-tracking controls all the mechanics of the camera. To make the camera zoom in you squint slightly. To make it zoom out you open your eyes. And to fire the shutter you hold your gaze and blink twice.

Of course, the other option is to mount a camera on the side of the Corvette and green-screen yourself into the scene as though you were screaming alongside it. Thankfully, Wired offers some tips on chroma-key compositing in its How-To Wiki:

Chroma Key Your Way to a Green Screen Dream – Wired How-To Wiki

Green Screen 2First you need a wrinkle-free fabric or roll of paper to use as a seamless backdrop. I use a $25 13- by 16-foot piece of fabric that I found on clearance at a fabric store.

Hang the screen in any wide open space — your garage or living room will work, but you’ll want at least an 8-foot-wide wall with at least 8 or 9 feet of vertical space where you can be positioned 10 to 15 feet away from to set up your camera. You want the fabric to lie on the floor with a curve.

Set up your camera on a tripod and determine the distance that the camera needs to be placed away from the subject depending on what lenses you are using. You want to make sure that the subject is a good 5 to 7 feet in front of the blue screen; this will prevent shadows from being projected by the subject onto the screen behind them.

If you have some money to drop, buy or rent a light package, but if you are going guerrilla, you can use high-wattage lamps and any other lights that you have around the house. The goal here is to get the backdrop lit evenly. The best bang for your buck is to buy three or four 500-watt tripod-style work lights from the hardware store for about $35 a piece.