8. Can I see the difference between the Solo 8 and lower resolution cameras?
We have taken photos using the Solo 8 and other camera brands. In side by side comparisons, we see a noticeable difference. The Solo 8’s 8MP image is so clear you can see the details in skin and even the states on a U.S. $5 bill. Your customers will definitely see the difference.
9. I googled and found a 10MP USB document camera. How does the Solo 8 compare?
The performance of Solo 8 is unequaled by any other USB camera. For other manufacturers, using a sensor with a higher pixel count is straightforward and there are CMOS sensors with 20MB resolution available. However, a camera incorporating a 10MP sensor must have supporting processors and software to deliver high resolution to a host computer. Short of doing so, the vendors are either sending less than 1 frame per second, which is unacceptably slow, or, they are reducing clarity to 1MP, which is unacceptable clarity. Only the Solo 8 delivers the sensor’s full 8MP resolution at 30fps. No compromises, no short-changing the customer.
10. What’s the longest USB3.0 cable I can use?
We offer a 15 ft optional USB3.0 cable. A lot of data must be transmitted over the cable at very high speed, so at this time it’s hard to make a SuperSpeed USB 3.0 cable longer than 15’.
11. What if I need a USB cable longer than 15’?
If you need to have a USB cable longer than 15’, such as 30’, we recommend you purchase our tested 30’ extended USB2.0 cable. The Solo 8 still delivers 30fps video over USB2 with light MJPEG compression.
12. Does the Solo 8 require any external power adapter?
No. The Solo 8 uses less than 500mA of power, which is within the maximum power supply capability of a USB2.0 port. You only need a USB cable, included free with the product, to power it. No external power adapter is needed.
13. Sales tip - How does Solo 8 zoom?
Solo 8 is the only document camera featuring USB 3.0 connectivity and delivers 8.0 MegaPixel resolution video over USB at 30 frames/second uncompressed with no lag or delay. No other document camera in the world can do that. Period. (Except our Ultra 8.)
14. What’s mechanical zoom?
The Solo 8’s camera head can be raised 50cm above the base to capture a large area. It can also be lowered to 5cm for close up shots. This mechanical movement raising and lowering the camera head is what we meant by "mechanical zoom". It is equivalent to 10x optical zoom.
15. Customers ask about the Solo 8 zoom. Is it optical?
The answer is no, it's not optical, but we reinvented zoom in a document camera to deliver fast, high quality zooming without degradation that is the equivalent of optical zoom. We call it ASR Zoom - Adaptive Sensor Resolution. We use a high resolution 8 MP sensor while outputting 1080p resolution. Since 1080p is about 2MP resolution, that leaves us an extra 6 million pixels Solo 8 can use for dynamically cropping and zooming the image, without any loss of quality.
Beware of other document cameras claiming 8MP resolution and speed ... the only way they are able to achieve 30 frames per second is by compression, which seriously impacts image quality. And, they don't have ASR zoom.
16. What’s the different between HoverCam’s ASR zoom and digital zoom?
When the term "digital zoom" is used, it usually means pixels are enlarged to give users a bigger but coarser picture. Normally digital zoom is not visually desirable. With some interpolation or smoothing algorithms, digital zoom can be made to appear less pixelated; yet, this is still an attempt to "fool" your eyes and doesn’t replace optical zoom.
HoverCam’s ASR zoom
is achieved by displaying sections or a full frame of a high-resolution image onto a smaller display screen. There is necessary cropping or scaling; however, there is no pixilation. It stops at the final and original size of each pixel. ASR zoom is an effective replacement for optical zoom. Solo 8 with its ASR zooms clearly without distortion. This is a significant technological feat and benefit for users.
17. What are the improvements with Flex 10, Solo 8’s new software?
Flex 3.0 was based on Adobe Flash technology. While it is cross platform software that gives users a consistent UI on both Mac and PC computers, it comes with performance loss on newer hardware. Flex 10, HoverCam’s new software, is designed from the ground up as a native application for Windows and Mac. You will notice immediately that the software launches and operates much faster.
Flex 10 supports Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 and Windows XP. On the Mac, Flex 10 is compatible with OS X 10.7 and later. At this stage (mid-April, 2014), the software is often updated, so be sure to check for updates.
There are numerous improvements and new features in Flex 10, in addition to speed. The main navigation screen has been eliminated so we no longer have "tabs" representing different modes, "Scan", "Video", "Connect" and "Archive". For the first time ever USB cameras can take a high-resolution snapshot with a single click while a smaller area runs a live view video. (E.g., taking an 8MP still image while live preview is in a 720P screen area.) You won’t need to switch modes to scan anymore.
Recording was implemented as a sequence of screen captures in Flex 3.0, which could only capture 7 frames per second. In Flex 10, users can record live video with real time annotations at 30fps. You can also record with reasonable storage efficiency at about 15MB/Minute @ 720P window size or 25MB/Minute @ 1080P window size.
18. What is "select exposure"?
When there are high contrasts in a scene, the camera by default measures the exposure level by taking the average of the light intensity. Select Exposure lets you select the area you feel is the most important to measure, so you get the right color and brightness for it.
19. With Flex 10, can you select a focus area?
Yes. This is part of the advanced camera functionality available with the Solo 8. You can click on any area on the screen (or in the viewing frame), and the camera will focus on that area. This is useful when there are multiple objects with different heights under the camera. You can just click on the object of interest to make it clear.
20. What is "select exposure"?
When there are high contrasts in a scene, the camera by default measures the exposure level by taking the light intensity average. "Select Exposure" lets you select the area you feel is the most important to measure so you get the right color and brightness for it.
21. Do you have a MSI installer for network deployment?
Yes, the installer for Flex 10 is a MSI installer. You can deploy over a local network easily.
22. Why are there two USB3.0 ports on my Solo 8?
One USB3.0 port is called "Install" which is connected to the built-in "thumb drive" which contains Flex 10 and other software applications. You plug into this port first to install the software. The second port is called "Camera". This is the USB connection to use after the software is installed. Technically, we could have designed the product with one USB port on the back, but this would have added significant cost and since many customers of ours are schools we felt this was an area where we could keep the cost down.
23. Where can I find the serial number of a Solo 8?
Serial numbers are on stickers on the back of the Solo 8 unit. You can also display the serial number electronically via Flex 10 software. In the future, you’ll be able to submit a "support ticket" through Flex 10 software.
24. What’s the Solo 8 warranty?
Solo 8 includes a standard 2-year limited manufacturer’s warranty. When an end-user registers their warranty, it is extended to 3 years. In the United States, volume purchasers qualify for a free 5-year limited manufacturer’s warranty when you register your opportunities through our Deal Registration Program.
25. How can the VersoBoard help reduce glare?
Glare from glossy surfaces can sometimes interfere with the HoverCam image. The VersoBoard can help. VersoBoard is a pivoting stage device designed especially for HoverCam Solo and our new generation models. The main pivot at the base of the VersoBoard allows rotation to tilt the stage so that overhead lighting does not directly reflect into the camera lens. Since the Solo 8 can pivot in virtually any direction, the VersoBoard can be paired with it to achieve glare-free images.
26. How long can I record a video with Flex 10 and Solo 8? How much disk space is required?
200GB for 200 hours of 720P video or 400GB for 200 hours of 1080P video. all at 30fps full-motion video. (Note: 1080P @ 30fps recording is only possible on newer computers, such as those with Intel Core i5 processors.)
27. Do you have a split-screen feature?
Yes, this feature will be available soon in Flex 10 as an update. Drag a thumbnail image into the video preview main screen and split screen will appear. Or, go to the "Split Screen" button located in the "View" submenu and the split screen appears with the last captured image automatically.
28. Can I record live video with annotations?
Yes, you may record video while annotating. The intelligent Solo 8 assesses the power of your computer and the resolution of the screen to determine the optimum recording resolution for recording at 30 fps. For newer computers, video is recorded at 1080p resolution at 30 fps; for average computers, video is recorded at 720p resolution at 30 fps; and for older computers video is recorded at lower resolution such as 800 x 600 resolution at 30 fps.
29. Can you scan multiple pages of a book or pages of a document into a single PDF?
30. Do you support OCR?
Yes. There is a basic version of the Tesseract OCR built into Flex 10. We recommend TopOCR as a low cost but high quality OCR software tool. There are multiple OCR software products on the market, such as ABBYY FineReader. Solo 8 scans more clearly than the Solo 5 with fewer artifacts and works well with OCR programs. A key selling point about Solo 8 for schools is its multifunctional capability including scanning.
31. Can I create a time-lapse video with Solo 8?
Yes. Time-lapsed video and Slow Motion video will be included in future Flex 10 updates. Solo 8 will support these functions. Please stay tuned.
32. Does Solo 8 work with Chromebooks?
Yes the Hovercam is compatible with Google chromebooks. HoverCam Solo 8 plugs into the USB port of Chromebooks and includes a web version of its software.
Traditional document cameras have VGA or HDMI output connectors and can’t be connected to Chromebooks. Newer document cameras may have USB out which can be connected to a Chromebook, but unless the document camera incorporates the right kind of video interface and has a web-based version of its software it won’t function with Chromebooks.
The HoverCam has a solution.
Our Solo 8 document camera has USB out and is engineered to output an uncompressed YUV video signal which is Chromebook compatible. So, it’s easy to plug the HoverCam Solo 8 into the USB port of a Chromebook and to have an image appear on the Chromebook screen. Furthermore, we have released a web-based version of our HoverCam Flex software called HoverCam FlexWeb, allowing users to control a HoverCam document camera and its functions via a standard Internet web browser.
33. Does Flex 10 work with older HoverCam models?
Functions supported via a web browser using FlexWeb include taking snapshots, scanning, recording video, live zoom, panning, annotation and more. To make the Chromebook and HoverCam combination wireless, simply connect Google’s Chromecast dongle to the HDMI input of a projector or large screen display. Using Chromecast, the HoverCam’s camera image may be displayed without a cable from the Chromebook to the projector or flat screen.
We are working on it. Stay tuned.
34. Does Solo 8 work with AirStation?
Using Solo 8 with AirStation is like driving a Ferrari over a gravel road filled with pot-holes. We don’t recommend it. Our Ultra model, shipping in August, will have a wireless option. For users of Solo 8 who want the camera image to appear on their iPad, we recommend they hook up Solo 8 to their computer and use the SplashTop app with their iPad or tablet.
35. I like Solo 8, but I need HDMI or VGA. What does HoverCam offer?
Today, we offer the Neo 3, which has VGA and USB outputs. In July, we begin shipping Ultra 12, which includes HDMI, VGA and USB3.0 output. Ultra 12 also includes a 12 megapixel sensor, a preview monitor, on-board storage, and more. Its price is expected to be about 599 USD. Stay tuned for an announcement in June.
36. Why do I need 30fps video? Is it really necessary?
When video is shown at 24 frames per second, motions appear to be smooth. At 30fps, virtually all high action video scenes appear smooth and this is often called Full Motion. Whenever 30fps is achieved, there will be no visible lags in video. 30fps video speed is a highly desirable performance indicator. Your eyes will notice lags when the frame rate is less than 30fps. If you want natural video images, you should demand a document camera with high resolution and 30 fps video.
37. Can I use Solo 8 as an HD webcam?
Yes. Solo 8 is an effective SuperSpeed USB3.0 HD webcam with 4K resolution.
38. Can a HoverCam be used with an interactive whiteboard or smartboard?
Yes, a HoverCam makes a great addition to any interactive whiteboard or smartboard. Please read this article from Craig Justice, Vice President of Hovercam about using their cameras with an interactive whiteboard. Click Here!
39. How difficult is the Hovercam to set up?
The Hovercam is simple and intuitive to set up. Please check out this video showing how easy it is.
40. Can I use the hovercam with a smartboard and smart notebook software?
Yes. The hovercam works great with any brand board including Promethean, Smart Technologies, Mimio, Hitachi , Teamboard, Steelcase, etc. IN fact, please see these two videos on how to drag and drop files:
Can I use the Solo 8 with my interactive whiteboard software (Smart Notebook, Hitachi Starboard, Promethean ActivInspire, etc.)
Drag-and-drop any captured image from HoverCam’s software window into the IWB software.
Utilize HoverCam’s Slingshot feature, which will allow an image being shown by the HoverCam to be captured and inserted into the IWB software with just one click without having to leave the IWB software.
Utilize HoverCam’s Whiteboard Connector app to allow the HoverCam’s live streaming video to be displayed within the IWB software.
Use the IWB software’s transparency feature to display HoverCam’s live video image inside the IWB without installation of any additional software, app or driver.
Hovercam document cameras, doesn’t matter which model, will work with the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablet. This tablet runs Windows 8.1 so it can support the Hovercam software. The Surface and Surface 2 tablets are not compatible with the Hovercam software.
HoverCam Whiteboard Connector is a small Flash application which allows users of Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) software, such as Smart Notebook, Promethean ActivInspire, eBeam ActiveCapture, or Mimio Studio Notebook to embed and manipulate live video from a HoverCam document camera.
Yes, Hovercam has a Chrome App so you can use the Solo 8 with any Chromebook. You can find the app in the Chrome Store and it is available at no cost.