What video camera will meet my requirements?
March 24, 2013 1:40 PM   Subscribe

I want to have a very lightweight camera that has no wires, but sends a video feed to an android device. I want to mount it on a telescoping pole for close-up inspection of stained glass windows. I do restoration and repair of stained glass for my living. So it would be great to be able to use a camera on a pole to do assessments onsite without ladders or scaffolding.

I'm thinking battery operated. It would be handy if it had onboard storage, preferrably an SD card. But I really need to be able to watch a screen HERE while the camera is up THERE, and have no wires. I would prefer to purchase from amazon, but am open to other sellers. Also willing to consider other solutions entirely. Let's pretend cost is not a big factor.
posted by yesster to Technology (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I mean, you're describing a phone with FaceTime or Skype video chatting, really. You hold one phone, you attach the other phone to the pole. Phone will have a camera, battery, wifi and/or 3G/4G, and the ability to beam it to a laptop or a phone or a tablet in your own hands.

No wires needed. Could use an iPod Touch, a Samsung Galaxy Wifi thing, or any number of used/cheap phones/wifi devices that would do the job. If you stuck with Wifi only you'd avoid having to pay for a plan for the camera, but you'd have to get a little clever with making calls... I'm sure an Android app exists that would allow you to make an ad hoc connection to your other device, but that gets a bit tricky then...

Either way, it's probably going to be a better place to start than trying to find a purpose-built, wifi-enabled, battery-operated web cam that's able to interface directly with Android. Though Samsung has a Galaxy Camera, so you may want to look there too.
posted by disillusioned at 2:29 PM on March 24, 2013

Before you put too much time or money into the search, I would recommend putting your phone on the end of a pole and basically doing the same operation you're planning with an external camera, then check the video after pulling it back down.

The reason I say that is that I'd worry that the resulting video would be too shaky to really be useful. Any tiny movement you make at your end of the pole will be magnified, and once you combine that with the rolling shutter found on most CMOS sensors (which is what produces the weird "jelly" quality in a lot of digital video) you may have a really hard time getting anything usable.

Testing with just the phone will give you an idea of how much of a factor shake will be. You may be able to eliminate the jelly effect by choosing a video camera with a CCD sensor, which doesn't have a rolling shutter, or finding one of the (fairly rare) CMOS sensors without a rolling shutter.
posted by duien at 2:32 PM on March 24, 2013

Why no wires? If you've got a pole, then you could run wires along it no? I know it'd be neater to be wireless when it's packed away, but with wires you could just use one of those cheap backup cameras designed for your car, where you mount the camera on the rear and the LCD in the dash or wherever.
posted by trialex at 3:22 PM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Expanding on disillusioned's idea, you don't even need FaceTime or Skype. You can turn an Android device into a wireless webcam, which can then be viewed from another device. The advantage of this is that it doesn't need an internet connection.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 3:49 PM on March 24, 2013

I believe a GoPro would probably meet all of those requirements. Their built to be mounted on stuff and they are rugged as all get out. The new 'Black' edition can stream directly to an Android device.

They are battery operated and also store on SD. Plus: they are great fun for: swimming, tobogganing, cycling, attaching to pets, driving, timelapses etc etc.
posted by Sleddog_Afterburn at 4:16 PM on March 24, 2013

Not going to "best answer" anything yet. But intrigued by the vibe in the responses so far. I do have a 1 year old phone with a camera, so I might play around with that.
posted by yesster at 5:59 PM on March 24, 2013

How high do you have to get up? That's really going to determine how easy/difficult it will be. My thought was check out building a cheap camera jib - there are videos on Youtube. Then you could use a phone camera (maybe with a car phone holder attachment at the end?) and have another phone (or laptop) with a similar video call program. You also could check out a music microphone stand with an extra long attachment maybe. Stable and semi-mobile.

If you gotta go big - gyrocopter. No doubt about it!
posted by packfan88c at 6:58 PM on March 24, 2013

Just run wires up the pole, the quality will be so much better.
posted by fshgrl at 10:42 PM on March 24, 2013

A Looxcie camera on the end of a pole might work. It's small enough to wear clipped to one's glasses, and the video quality is decent (those were all shot using the lower-quality setting to extend available recording time; there's a higher-quality setting, plus apparently Looxcie has now introduced an HD version).
posted by Lexica at 7:18 PM on March 25, 2013

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