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Thread: $15 gum stick video camera

  1. #1
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    $15 gum stick video camera



    Pictured is a "gum stick" digital video recorder next to a 9mm Luger cartridge. It records in 720x480 motion JPEG to AVI containers.

    It's advertised as 30 frames per second but with a 4GB class 4 microSD card I'm getting significantly less, 23-25 fps. I have class 6 cards on order and perhaps the higher throughput will help the framerate.

    The color is good, there's no image stabilization so it's jittery, it doesn't have low-light capability, and the sound is inconsistent with shooting and motorcycle riding in traffic. However, it's good enough for recording conversations with people several feet away. Others have described it as "cell phone video."

    The built-in battery is charged via USB. While testing its longevity, it seems I filled up the 4GB card with just under 1.5 hours of recording without draining the battery. The DVR gracefully saves the current file at full memory or low memory. It seems this DVR could record over 1.5 hours with a 8 GB card, despite the crappy Engrish instructions which say it's a one-hour battery.

    It includes a pocket clip and only about 1/2" of the device, with the lens, protrudes above the clip. Status lights are on the side opposite the lens, with a red light blinking while recording. I will use black gaffers tape in high-risk situations to cover the lights, the function button, the on/off switch, the photo/video switch, and the memory card slot. (A video camera containing Brady evidence was stolen from me previously.)

    The device can also be used for still photos and voice recording but I haven't tried it for such functions. The video function has a standby mode where it records upon sensing sound greater than 60dB but I haven't tried that either.

    It records video by first sliding the switch to the ON position, then holding the function button until the red light blinks. At that point it's ready but not recording. Hold the button again until the red light blinks repeatedly and you know it's recording. To stop recording, hold the button again until the red light stops blinking.

    It's about $15 direct from China on fleabay. You'll need to spend a few bucks more for a microSD card.

    After testing this one, I have more on order.

  2. #2
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    Someday soon, everybody will be able to record everything they say and do 24/7/365 in full color via a pin-sized device. Won't that make the powers-that-be just a tad-bit nervous? It is no wonder they are trying to enforce evesdropping laws on those who record in public.

  3. #3
    Regular Member 4angrybadgers's Avatar
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    Do you have a link to one of these, or something like a manufacturer and model name? Not sure if an eBay search with the info you gave would return much useful.

    On a side note, I wonder how hard it would be to wire in a higher-capacity external battery pack...

  4. #4
    Regular Member Dreamer's Avatar
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    Apple recently patented a technology that enables concerts and "secure facilities" to shut off the recording capabilities of iPhones (and it could easily be adopted to work with all other smartphones...)

    http://cryptogon.com/?p=22722

    I imagine that ALL digital video recording devices will soon be fitted with circuitry to take advantage of this tech (if they are not already).

    It is only a matter of time before all police cars (and even LEOs) are equipped with such DVR countermeasures. Then it won't matter how many people have tiny video cameras. With a "video dead zone" around all LEOs, it will be just like nobody is carrying a camera...
    It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggression—and this is hogwash."
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    Regular Member GuidoZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4angrybadgers View Post
    Do you have a link to one of these, or something like a manufacturer and model name? Not sure if an eBay search with the info you gave would return much useful.

    On a side note, I wonder how hard it would be to wire in a higher-capacity external battery pack...
    I just did a search for "gum stick video" and came up with these. (3 total at the time of search, only one in the quoted price range.)

    Thanks for the info. I'll certainly check it out!

    ::EDIT:: Looks like there are a number of options available.

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    Last edited by GuidoZ; 06-27-2011 at 02:13 AM. Reason: See above
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    mini dv gum cam

    I did a search on youtube and these seem to record well. The only downside is that the shipping says it can take a few weeks to a month!

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    Regular Member TechnoWeenie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dreamer View Post
    Apple recently patented a technology that enables concerts and "secure facilities" to shut off the recording capabilities of iPhones (and it could easily be adopted to work with all other smartphones...)

    http://cryptogon.com/?p=22722

    I imagine that ALL digital video recording devices will soon be fitted with circuitry to take advantage of this tech (if they are not already).

    It is only a matter of time before all police cars (and even LEOs) are equipped with such DVR countermeasures. Then it won't matter how many people have tiny video cameras. With a "video dead zone" around all LEOs, it will be just like nobody is carrying a camera...
    Infrared is line of sight.

    Same principal that your TV remote works on.

    It's just as simple as putting a piece of electrical tape over the IR receiver. It'll never rx the kill command.

  8. #8
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    My Brother just retired as an LEO. He thinks mandatory video recording is coming

    Quote Originally Posted by Dreamer View Post
    Apple recently patented a technology that enables concerts and "secure facilities" to shut off the recording capabilities of iPhones (and it could easily be adopted to work with all other smartphones...)

    http://cryptogon.com/?p=22722

    I imagine that ALL digital video recording devices will soon be fitted with circuitry to take advantage of this tech (if they are not already).

    It is only a matter of time before all police cars (and even LEOs) are equipped with such DVR countermeasures. Then it won't matter how many people have tiny video cameras. With a "video dead zone" around all LEOs, it will be just like nobody is carrying a camera...
    My brother thinks that within 10 years, all LEOs will have mandatory helmit cameras that are on whenever they are on duty. If the camera malfunctions, they will be called off duty until it is fixed. I think that is much more likely than devices that can stop people from recording being widely used and available.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ccwinstructor View Post
    My brother thinks that within 10 years, all LEOs will have mandatory helmit cameras that are on whenever they are on duty. If the camera malfunctions, they will be called off duty until it is fixed. I think that is much more likely than devices that can stop people from recording being widely used and available.
    Ever see the TV series police POV? They are wearing cams on their heads like glasses.

  10. #10
    Regular Member Yaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HolyOrangeJuice View Post
    Ever see the TV series police POV? They are wearing cams on their heads like glasses.
    Here you go...

    http://www.amazon.com/Contour-1300-C...9286544&sr=1-1

  11. #11
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    The fleabay provider I got mine from is mastation. They seem to offer just this one 720x480 model.

    I used mine this weekend at a pistol match, taped to my right earmuff. Video was choppy and there was sound clipping. Two of the stages I recorded have corrupted files. I wonder if that's because I slid the switch to OFF before pressing the main button to stop recording.

    I got some 4GB Class 6 cards and did a recording test. It doesn't seem to improve the frame rate. I attached it to my motorcycle and rode to work. I'll review the video at home tonight and see if it is any better.

  12. #12
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    Here is some footage shot from my motorcycle and some footage shot from my earmuff.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Hx3JewaNvQ

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0ENoiqGvm4

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    Videos you posted to YouTube convinced me. Got one ordered.

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    2A
    Last edited by OC-moto450r; 08-02-2012 at 09:02 PM.

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    Regular Member GuidoZ's Avatar
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    After a bit of research (after posting my first comment) I ordered up one as well! Very impressed with it for the 2 hours I had it. A friend who is VERY involved in legal battles and rights in my area saw it and immediately offered to buy it for $40. I said "I only paid like $15, so how about $25?" He paid cash on the spot. After all, now I had to wait for the 2nd one... but it arrived 2˝ weeks later. =)

    I have a 16GB SDHC in it and it works like a dream. It can be used as a simple audio recorder as well when in video mode. the mic can pick up sound easily 8'-10' away clearly, even when in a shirt pocket out of sight. I only wish it could be used while plugged in and charging... though 16GB gives me plenty of recording space, the battery dies just after 2 hours. (I carry a battery backup with te USB plug for my phone, and a quick cable switch would give this thing life for the entire day if only it would record while plugged in...)

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  16. #16
    Campaign Veteran marshaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dreamer View Post
    Apple recently patented a technology that enables concerts and "secure facilities" to shut off the recording capabilities of iPhones (and it could easily be adopted to work with all other smartphones...)

    http://cryptogon.com/?p=22722

    I imagine that ALL digital video recording devices will soon be fitted with circuitry to take advantage of this tech (if they are not already).

    It is only a matter of time before all police cars (and even LEOs) are equipped with such DVR countermeasures. Then it won't matter how many people have tiny video cameras. With a "video dead zone" around all LEOs, it will be just like nobody is carrying a camera...
    And then people will start selling cases with this stuff in the lens cover, or just modifying existing cases in this manner.

  17. #17
    Campaign Veteran marshaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TechnoWeenie View Post
    Infrared is line of sight.

    Same principal that your TV remote works on.

    It's just as simple as putting a piece of electrical tape over the IR receiver. It'll never rx the kill command.
    Not as simple as the. The "IR receiver" is the camera itself. My idea will work, however.

  18. #18
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    I do not operate my truck or motorcycle around town without one of these recording, so I have a lot of hours on them now.

    - The battery capacity exceeds the recording capacity of a 4GB card
    - Video is sometimes choppy or jumpy
    - Thumbing the switch will abort the current recording
    - I dropped one and the picture/video switch fell out; maybe the on/off switch can be removed to prevent unwanted aborting of recording, requiring a pen tip to operate
    - Sticky Velcro helps attachment
    - It's unobstrusive on the front of the rear view mirror
    - Gaffers tape is needed to go stealth, covering the blinking red recording light, button, and switches to prevent detection and unwanted aborting of recording

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tjSviK9tmI
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doyOsQ9cjNk
    Last edited by Yard Sale; 07-28-2011 at 06:48 PM. Reason: around town

  19. #19
    Campaign Veteran marshaul's Avatar
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    Either my microSD card is messed up, or I'm an idiot. All I can get is a solid red light. No blinking, and no recording as far as I can tell.

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    Regular Member GuidoZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marshaul View Post
    Either my microSD card is messed up, or I'm an idiot. All I can get is a solid red light. No blinking, and no recording as far as I can tell.
    The extreme Engrish user guide (pamphlet?) doesn't help matters either. Basically, this is what I figured out works...

    1. Make sure card is formatted as FAT32. (Even though there is a 4GB file size limit, the device handles this surprisingly well by making multiple files.)
    2. Have Picture/Video slider in the proper position before turning it on.
    3. If doing video, after flipping the switch to on, tap the big button once. (Should get Green light and a flash of red, then only green.)
    4. Once you have a solid green, tap the big button again to begin recording. (Should be solid green and flashing red.)
    5. Tap the big button again to stop recording. (Green will stay on, red will flash a bit then go off, meaning video recorded.)

    For picture, 1 & 2 are the same, but #3 simply takes a picture (tapping the big button after turning it on.) Hope this helps!

    P.S. I've been able to get almost 4 hours of video with a full charge and a 16GB MicroSD. The instructions say something about 8GB being the max, but I've had no issues with 16GB. Not sure about larger than that.

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  21. #21
    Campaign Veteran marshaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yard Sale View Post
    I do not operate my truck or motorcycle around town without one of these recording, so I have a lot of hours on them now.
    So did you decide definitively if there is no improvement from the class 6 microSD cards?

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    Will this camera work with the USB plugged in for charging? I only ask, because I wonder if it would work in combo with something like this.


    http://cgi.ebay.com/5000mAh-External...item41572e1bc0


    I have also been considering a camera/watch combo. like this.


    http://cgi.ebay.com/4GB-Full-HD-1080...item3369a7ef87


    They go up to 16 GB, but from everything I've read the battery life makes anything over 4 GB overkill. There also may be an issue with the audio picking up the ticking of the watch. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  23. #23
    Activist Member carsontech's Avatar
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    I found where one company had these in stock here in the US, so no shipping from China. I ordered 2 of them at 17.99 piece and free shipping. One for me and one for the wife. Hopefully quality control is good for whoever makes these things.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by marshaul View Post
    Either my microSD card is messed up, or I'm an idiot. All I can get is a solid red light. No blinking, and no recording as far as I can tell.
    Quote Originally Posted by marshaul View Post
    So did you decide definitively if there is no improvement from the class 6 microSD cards?
    Yeah the C6 cards don't help. QuickTime Player shows ~30 frames per second regardless. It maxes out at 30.99 fps. (Whatever I was using before reported the slower framerate.)

    Left switch down for video. Right switch up for On. Hold button for a few seconds to get one flash of the red light. It's now standing by. Press button to get flashing red light. It's now recording. Press button again to stop recording and return to standby. Do not stop recording with the On/Off switch or you will lose the recording!

    I numbered all my cameras and generally use #1. Yesterday I was using #2 and #3 and soon after I put them both in standby mode, they both started recording. I think they have the sound-activated recording feature but camera #1 doesn't.
    Last edited by Yard Sale; 08-08-2011 at 01:04 PM.

  25. #25
    Regular Member GuidoZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SavageOne View Post
    Will this camera work with the USB plugged in for charging? I only ask, because I wonder if it would work in combo with something like this.


    http://cgi.ebay.com/5000mAh-External...item41572e1bc0
    I have a portable USB charger for my phone, and this camera WILL NOT continue to record while being charged. (This is one of the first things I tried - was very sad to learn it won't.) As soon as you plug in the power, the camera switches to charging mode (red/green solid on) and no video is saved (if it was recording), nor can you start recording until it is unplugged.

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