(Need your help) buying CAMERA to record sets / hitting

Discussion in 'Other Equipment' started by corbind, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    I need your help with buying a digital camera.
    • Camera to record mostly sets and some hitting
    • Location on back fence/wall 10’ up (infrequently used for up-close shots on a tripod)
    • Purpose for watching at home to analyze court movement, shot selection, and some stroke mechanics
    • Duration 2 to 4 hours (need a 32 GB SD and external battery pack?)
    • Venue both indoor and outdoor courts maybe 50 times a year
    • Price $100-$300
    I’m hoping to get suggestions from those who actually own a camera and have videoed matches, strokes and slowed them down on computer for analysis. Not looking for guys who lean their iPhone against their tennis bag, hit, and record. A camera that may have worked 3 years ago likely will not be a model I’d be able (or want to) buy today.

    Even if you have just general suggestions that’s great. Better if you can suggest SPECIFIC camera models (links), what’s worked for you, price, etcetera. The more details you can provide the easier it will be for me to make my purchase decision.

    Since I’ll be using the thing outdoor about 50 times a year, my assumption is a sport camera would be a good idea. If it starts to rain, I’ll have to go get the camera down from the top of the fence. For indoor recording there are just 3 courts with 8,500 watts of fluorescent lighting shooting straight down on courts so pretty bright (unlike most club shooting at ceiling).

    • I’ll be fast-forwarding through 2-4 hours of sets on any particular day to watch points and movement. Not a lot of slo-mo here unless something is interesting
    • While just hitting sometimes I’ll slow it down to watch mechanics seeing if there’s anything odd
    • Occasionally watch slo-mo serve but not too often as that’s not a prime purpose
    • Video file will be deleted after analysis (I don’t want a hard drive full of them)
    • Camera will need to run 2-4 hours so a battery of sorts needed
    • I have an Ankler Astro3 battery pack (10,000 mAh) that powers/charges devices via USB -- can a camera be charging via usb and record at the same time?)

    Bring on your specific camera suggestions and things that you feel can help in my purchase this week. Thanks in advance. :) Here's the view I'm hoping to get. Well slightly wider to get the doubles alleys, too. This is just a hasty pic done with front-facing camera on iPod Touch 5g for an example of what I'm hoping to video...

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013
    #1
  2. maxpotapov

    maxpotapov Hall of Fame

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  3. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    Make sure you check the min focal length of the lens to see how wide an angle you can get. I use an old discontinued Sony HDR HC3 camera which has a pretty wide angle but I ended up buying an add-on wide angle lens (.7) to get the whole court and all the players recorded. It was only $28. The camera also has a remote so I can stop it between sets if I want.

    I think my next camera will have the AVCHD Progressive format which lets you record 1920 x 1080/60p video.

    There is a good post in this section on mounting your camera too. Based on its good reviews I've ordered a QM-1 from mytennistools for mounting the camera on top of the fence but as I don't have it yet I can't give a review.

    Currently for mounting I use an inexpensive ultrapod which has a velcro strap for attaching it to things like fences but I want to mount the camera up higher for a better view and to keep it farther away from balls.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2013
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  4. snoopy

    snoopy Professional

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    I have a separate question that's related to the OP's question. I haven't looked for a camera or camcorder in a few years. How is the video quality of cameras these days? Except for at the professional level, are the days of the camcorder gone because the video quality of most cameras has gotten so good?
     
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  5. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    Well I read the specs in the link and everything at Amazon also. It gets stellar reviews and seems like a wonderful camera. Unfortunately It's $400 so out of my suggested price range of $100-$300. I've added that my wish list on Amazon but gonna wait around here for more posters to kinda explain their choices and thoughts on why.

    Tonight I recorded some for fun with my iPod touch 5g. I made four short videos and it used 2.1mb per second, 125mb per min, or 7.5gb per hour. I don't even know what resolution it recorded in or fps (anyone know?). That was just for fun. I need a long-term camera or recorder which brought about my thread here.
     
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  6. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    Well I looked up your camera and it has (stock): Focal Length (Wide): 5.1 mm so I'll just have to remember 7.0 or greater. Do they normally list this spec in digital cameras or list degrees of view? I'm thinking I've seen degrees but dunno...

    Be sure to post your review on that when you can. I've looked at that camera stick many times the QM is 2-5" too tall to fit in my tennis bag. So unless that pole can be shortened I'm gonna have to make my own.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2013
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  7. maxpotapov

    maxpotapov Hall of Fame

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    $400 is not so bad if you consider it a long term investment. I'm still using Panasonic FZ7 for photo and video recording. 7 years without any problems, only now battery runs out fast ($30 to replace)
    Camera is not something that you would upgrade like a smartphone, every other year.
     
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  8. 86golf

    86golf Semi-Pro

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  9. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    Just watched the video twice and seems decent but the specs say "With 4GB of onboard memory, the Vado HD can hold up to 2 hours of HD." And that's that "new" Vado3 which has just 4GB memory so won't be able to record our typical summer tennis sessions almost double that length. But it seems like a great, inexpensive way to get recording done.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2013
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  10. 86golf

    86golf Semi-Pro

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    Decent is correct. It's not high end, has low quality mic and doesn't do well with indoor light. For tennis, it works out well. 1st gen has 8gb and a wide angle lens. None of the other pocket camcorders in this class can even get the singles sidelines in picture from the back fence. It's nice to throw in the tennis bag and use for outdoor video. I stick it on a gorilla pod and attach it to the fence normally. I wouldn't get the new version, it has less memory. I wish there were better options in this class but so far I haven't found anything with a stock lens that has a wide enough view.
     
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  11. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    Anyone else out there with camera suggestions, comments or info to share?
     
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  12. snoopy

    snoopy Professional

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    If you live near a Frys you can get the Panasonic HC-V700MK for $350. The price isn't shown if you enter that model on their website. Look at page 5 of the circular they have posted.
     
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  13. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    I'm not sure about your question regarding specs.

    Through trial and error I determined that I couldn't get the camera high enough to capture all four corners of the court and all of the action when mounted as high as I could reach when using the stock lens.

    My new .70 wide angle lens is great in that I can get the whole court and all player action with the camera again mounted as high as I can reach on the fence. The biggest problem when mounting that high is that it is hard to see the little flip out screen so I can confirm exactly what view I'm recording since it is mounted about a foot or so above my head.

    Once I start using the new QM-1 I expect the view will get even better. It does fold up to around 2 feet long so that it will fit in a tennis bag, at least according to their web site. I'll definitely post video when I get it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2013
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  14. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    Did you get the mount yet and capture some video from 10' up? I'm still ISO the camera part of the equation in this thread but have spent a few hours trying to figure out if I'll get the QM or not. It's a fantastic item and the proprietor sent me some detailed pics with scale so I could see how it would fit in my bag. Money is not my concern only the additional weight and fitting in my bag.
     
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  15. Centryx

    Centryx Semi-Pro

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    Have you considered a gopro 3?
     
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  16. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    I have read about the GoPro Hero 3 and there seems to be some reliability issues

    White $200
    Silver $300
    Black $400

    But all the reading in the world would be greatly augmented by comments from actual users of cameras in the tennis forums because they know what's working and what they wish they had bought.
     
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  17. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    My birthday is in a few days (I requested the QM-1 as a gift) so I should have a review and some sample video using my videocamera with wide angle lens attached before the end of this weekend.
     
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  18. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    I happily look forward to your review.

    I'm still not sure what camera to pick. I was in Best Buy last night for an hour looking at a few cameras and a couple video cameras. Was not pleased salesman (as always at that place) pushing things to make the comission.

    Come on guys, make some more recommendations to help my quest!
     
    #18
  19. bigant2984

    bigant2984 Rookie

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    get a kodak playport z5 with a $5 doller wide angle lens ! good to go !
     
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  20. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    I know you are waiting for some additional video footage shot using the QM-1 but you might want to consider the package they offer for $217 shipped which includes:

    QM-1 Portable Camera Mount
    Kodak Playsport ZX-3 (color is black, with the included MediaArc Software)
    Wide angle lens
    16 GB SDHC Transcend Class 10 memory card.
    Extra battery for a total of 3.5 hr recording time (orig. battery is about 2 hrs)

    http://www.mytennistools.com/the-camera-mount-2/kodak-camera-bundle/
     
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  21. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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  22. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    Wow the spider cam is fantastic. Need to sell drugs or rob a bank to afford a million-dollar camera. ;)
     
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  23. maverick90024

    maverick90024 New User

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  24. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    It says "Recording at 720p our tests show the camera can record 3.5 hours of video" which is quite good. Sadly the battery is built-in unlike it's successor. Still, it's $120 so extremely reasonable. I'll have to do more reading on the Contour and Contour 2.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2013
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  25. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    Been reading about the Sony action cam but decided against it since it's impossible to mount it and run as USB cable to power it. That is without cutting a hole through the waterproof mount.

    Frustrated looking at this point. Perhaps just a point-and-shoot digital camera?
     
    #25
  26. Slitch

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    GoPro's are great with good lighting conditions. My friend's HDHero 2 fell out of the ski lift. I skied over it and still didn't have a scratch. Sadlyu, those things are way to expensive.
    The MuviHD looks like a great option for the price. If you really are on a budget, the Tachyon's are on sale for a great price.
     
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  27. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    Not sure whether its the camera, frame rate or YouTube doing strange things during the conversion/upload, but am I the only person who think that those guys are hitting the ball faster and getting around the court faster than any ATP Pro? It's almost like watching playback at x1.5 speed?
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2013
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  28. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    I watched this video only in my iPod without my glasses so I did not notice. Now that I just watched it on a 24" monitor you are right! God look at the serve at 0:34 that is crazy. All is way faster than even pros...
     
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  29. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    I'm sure some video techie can explain it better but it looks like that video is dropping frames. The ball just seems to move through the air quicker and in 'jumped' stages.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2013
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  30. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    Thread's been up a month now....
     
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  31. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    Got the XShot 2.0 camera extender as well as a camera ball/socket to adjust the camera. Arrived today.
     
    #31
  32. jrs

    jrs Professional

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    Which camera did you end up selecting?
     
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  33. db10s

    db10s Hall of Fame

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    If you have not purchased one already...


    Honestly, if you want the entire court, you would need at most an 18mm focal length. A gopro could get the entire court... I personally use a Nikon D7100 (which at $1,200 is way out of the price range) with a wide angle lens or a Nikon AW100 which is a great point and shoot with many different recording options, but the AW100 doesn't get the whole court. I have an OLD gopro that I will use tonight and see how it works.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2013
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  34. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    I have not purchased a camera yet. Still reading suggestions here. Actually surprised there have not been more suggestions made in a month. I know this is a seldom-viewed forum so likely part of the problem.

    Been eyeing this that's a year old and has 600 reviews:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0075SUK14/ref=ox_sc_sfl_title_6?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER

    This is a new one but reviews are not stellar:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00B5HE3UU/ref=ox_sc_sfl_title_5?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2013
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  35. db10s

    db10s Hall of Fame

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    The GoPro gets the entire court and then some... And if you are putting up the tripod and it falls over the GoPro will take it in stride... The only drawback of the GoPro is sound quality... If that even matters. I can't show you video because the comparison from the Hero (non HD) to the Hero 2 or 3 is not even close. You can check youtube for general GoPro clips to see the video quality...

    BTW, I have a chest mount for the GoPro that I might screw around with in practice...
     
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  36. db10s

    db10s Hall of Fame

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    FYI, 24mm wont get the entire court. A gopro with the fisheye lens will though.
     
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  37. Slitch

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    Just get an action cam like a GoPro. These things are made for sports. Small digital camera's like that canon aren't really good for shooting fast moving videos. The Hero3 is just epic, but the hero 2 would suffice.
    GP Hero 3 black:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3PDXmYoF5U
    GP Hero2:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUEZCxBcM78

    Do you have a iphone? You can allways buy a Qmountz with a fisheye lens. Really nice solution if you're on a budget.
     
    #37
  38. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    I have and iPod Touch 5g so has a nice camera. Videoed with it a couple of times but the 1gb of free space quickly filled so videos were short.

    I'm not a great fan of the fisheye lens for tennis. It distorts/bends the baseline well really all lines. Hard for me to watch videos like that when everything is distorted from what my eyes ususally see. Yet I do like the fisheye in general pictures/video
     
    #38
  39. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    Other camera I was gonna get is rating below average. :(
     
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  40. Slitch

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    It will be hard to get the whole court on a camera without a fisheye lens. Cant you add more memory to the Ipod with the camera/sd insert?
     
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  41. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    No iPods are fixed memory. The photo in my OP was taken with an Ipod and catches most I'd the doubles court. Are you talking about from the Sid of the court or 20' behind the court where I took the photo?
     
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  42. ricki

    ricki Professional

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    Dont know what you picked but I would vote for some Sanyo Xacti or cameras able to keep 60fps@720p
     
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  43. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    After researching most $200 cameras cannot record video longer than 24-29 minutes or 4 GB whichever comes first (some sort of MP4 limitation). I was ready to click buy on three models this week but that limitation is unacceptable. I want a camera on a fence untouched for at least 2-3 hours.

    So as much as I was trying to avoid it...I'm leaning heavily toward the GoPro Hero3 Silver. The White is right on budget but the Silver has a significantly better picture and lets you choose the field of view (angle) from narrow, med, or wide in 1080/30p.

    Any of you users of the Hero 3 know how what size GB SD card to use to capture 4 hours (or more) of 1080/30p?
     
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  44. Slitch

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  45. 86golf

    86golf Semi-Pro

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    You do realize this is court 1 in a contest between two nationally ranked D1 teams? It was a windy night and perhaps that had an impact, but otherwise I can vouch for the ball speed. And really it's not uncommon for many top college players to hit harder and faster than some pros. I bet these guys hit harder than Youzhny or Simon.
     
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  46. badkitty

    badkitty Rookie

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    I have a kodak playsport 3 that I bought of the bay and modified it to support 37 mm lenses. Currently using a Zeikos 37mm wide angle lens and am happy with the results.

    With GorillaPod flexible tripod, it is pretty easy to attach the camera around head high on the back fence for a nice court side angle.
     
    #46
  47. jhutch

    jhutch Rookie

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    I have a kodak playsport zx3 with a wide angle lens and other accesories that im looking to get rid of. I have used it on many occasions and it works great for recording matches.

    Anyone interested?
     
    #47
  48. Thud and blunder

    Thud and blunder Semi-Pro

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    No, I doubt this is the case; it's just the angle of view combined with the focal length creating this impression. If you saw pros hitting with this configuration, the pace would be otherworldly.

    Most tennis on TV is shot with a telephoto lens, which compresses perspective:

    [​IMG]

    Here, the width of the singles court looks longer than the distance baseline-to-net. This makes it seem like the ball is travelling a short distance between baselines, creating the illusion of lack of pace.

    With a 'truer' rendition of the court dimensions, pace is more evident. at Roland Garros, for example, they are showing this type of perspective on the outside court broadcasts, and the pace is truly scary.
     
    #48
  49. 2ndServe

    2ndServe Professional

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    I think an ipad is $300? My friend brought a mini out and had ubersense. It was a ridiculously good app and it was free.
     
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  50. Thud and blunder

    Thud and blunder Semi-Pro

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    BTW, the telephoto effect also explains why everyone claims 'video slows things down' and also why 4.0's think they can hit harder than Wozniacki :)
     
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