Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Memory Card for GoPro

Samsung EVO Plus microSDXC
Which memory cards are good for GoPro HERO action cameras?

Many professional photographers and videographers swear by SanDisk Extreme and Lexar Professional memory cards because they have proven to be tops in reliability and performance.

But as of September 2018, arguably the best card for GoPro HERO (and for most other devices) is the Samsung EVO Plus (2017 Model). With Class 10 U3 speed (up to 100MB/s Read and 60MB/s Write), the 64GB capacity (with adapter) is widely available for only $21.

For reliability and performance, format cards with the official SD Association Memory Card Formatter.

Counterfeit cards are a huge problem. To protect against counterfeits, always (a) buy from a major reputable reseller like B&H, and (b) test before use with H2testw 1.4. Example of testing a 64GB Samsung EVO Plus in a Lenovo ThinkPad T460p:
Test finished without errors.
Writing speed: 57.7 MByte/s
Reading speed: 70.2 MByte/s
H2testw v1.4
(After testing with H2testw, be sure to either delete the test files from the card or format the card.)

Thursday, March 1, 2018

FZ1000 No Limit Video

Lumix DMC-FZ1000
The Lumix DMC-FZ1000 by Panasonic is a terrific digital camera for stills, thanks in part to an amazing Leica branded long zoom lens, but what really sets it apart is excellent 4K video, except for one unfortunate limitation: the length of a video clip is limited to 29:59 (30 minute limit, thanks to an EU tariff, even on a USA camera).

One way around the limitation is to feed video while monitoring (not recording) over HDMI to an external recorder like Atomos.

Another way, not documented by Panasonic, is to hack the FZ1000 into service mode with the following procedure:
  1. Start with the FZ1000 turned off, with Drive Mode dial set to Single, and Recording Mode dial set to Program AE (P).
  2. While holding down Right Cursor, DISP, and AF/AE LOCK (yes, all 3), switch the camera on.
  3. Press green Play button to enter Playback Mode.
  4. While holding down Up Cursor and AF/AE LOCK (2 things), switch the camera off.
  5. Switch the camera back on.
Notes:
  1. PAL cameras must be switched to NTSC frame rates to remove the recording limit. (This is not needed on NTSC cameras.) Format memory cards in the camera after making this switch.
  2. Recording limit is removed only for 4K video, not HD or other video formats.
  3. Yellow exclamation mark that appears when turning off the camera in service mode can be ignored safely.
  4. With this hack, FZ1000 is able to continuously record over 80 minutes of 4K video on a 64 GB SDXC card, ending with 2 of 3 bars battery (when starting with a fully charged battery).
  5. This hack reportedly also works for a number of other Lumix cameras with the 29:59 limit.
Reset to normal mode:
  1. Start with the FZ1000 turned on, with Drive Mode dial set to Single, and Recording Mode dial set to Program AE (P).
  2. While holding down Right Cursor and MENU/SET (2 things right next to each other), switch the camera off.
  3. When the menu appears, press Right Cursor until the camera actually turns off.
  4. Camera has now been fully reset to normal mode with all settings restored to defaults, so must be initialized again (language, date, time, etc).
Helpful videos:

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Transcode with VLC

VLC as a Recorder
In addition to being a great way to play video and audio content, VLC is also a great way to record Internet streams (e.g., radio) -- see Record Internet Radio.

MP3 streams are the simplest to record because they can just be dumped to a "raw" file, but that often won't work with other types of streams. The solution is to transcode (convert) streams into MP3 format with VLC before writing them to a "raw" file. It's also a good way to reduce the bitrate of MP3 streams for speech.

Example of VLC output without transcoding:
--sout="#std{access=file,mux=raw,dst=Recording.mp3}"

Corresponding example with transcoding for speech
(bitrate 48 Kbps, stereo, speech sample rate):
‑‑sout="#transcode{acodec=mp3,ab=48,channels=2,samplerate=22050}:std{access=file,mux=raw,dst=Recording.mp3}"

Corresponding example with transcoding for music
(bitrate 128 Kbps, stereo, music sample rate):
‑‑sout="#transcode{acodec=mp3,ab=128,channels=2,samplerate=44100}:std{access=file,mux=raw,dst=Recording.mp3}"

For the complete recording procedure, see Record Internet Radio.