Previewing Protune Footage in the Field

For years I don't take any notebook or netbook with me when travelling. Instead, my Android tablet needs to be sufficient. Especially, as it has a much better display (2560×1440) and much more processing power than my netbook. However, there's one piece missing in order to check my raw footage from the Canon HF G30 and GoPro HD Hero 3 while in the field: a suitable video player...

Stock Configuration

Now, where's the problem? The HD Hero comes with the (separate) LCD backpack. And Android also comes with an integrated stock video player ... which often gets replaced by vendor-specific video players. What else could I need?

The tiny LCD from GoPro is fine for framing my shots under water. But for checking my raw footage afterwards, it heavily sucks. It's simply not the right tool for the task. And that's not GoPro's fault.

Looking at Android: often, the stock video player made by Google, Samsung, and others for some reason don't play back video footage that has high bitrates (25 MBit/s and more) and/or comes in frame sizes beyond 1080p and 25fps. No, I'm not talking about stuttering playback. These video players don't play back such footage at all, just a black screen. Obviously, such video footage doesn't fit into the narrow view of product managers and so users must not be able to view such footage.

To the Rescue: BSPlayer

Over time, I tested and used several third-party video players for Android, with largely mixed results. At this time, I've now settled for the (small fee) BSPlayer. Don't get fooled by the really dim-witted name. This player surely is not bull shit.

For me, BSPlayer now replaces VPlayer: the latter wasn't able to play back MOV containers with H.264 footage embedded inside. I have to admit that this left me in big surprise because I can't understand that the developers of VPlayer made such a gross mistake. So many digital cameras nowadays store their video footage in MOV containers. The BSPlayer plays back such video footage without any problems.

BSPlayer for Android.

First, BSPlayer even uses hardware acceleration for video playback of footage with bitrates such as 25 MBit/s and 45 MBit/s. Hardware support is also available for formats higher than 1080p, at least for 25fps. This way, I can check my raw footage shot with my Canon HF G30 and GoPro HD Hero 3, even Protune 2.7K footage.

In addition, BSPlayer also offers pure software-based playback. In this mode, stills (snapshots) then can be extracted from video. This is great for sending my friends easily and quickly some stills from the footage shot the same day. In SW playback mode BSPlayer displays an additional toolbar icon: a camera for taking stills (see also the app screenshot above).

There's only one thing still missing: correction of contrast and color saturation when playing back Protune footage from GoPro HD Hero cameras. So far, no video player in the Android market offers such a feature...