A short decade ago, wearable video cameras were more bulky than was convenient; levels of necessary light were high; picture quality was less than... Well, it sucked. Wiring everything on and hoping it stayed in place was a pain. The things you wanted to video tape yourself in the process of were often the kinds of things that would jar loose the video camera from its careful mountings. Thank goodness for evolution in technology. Enter the VIEVU PVR-PRO2 wearable video camera. About the size of the first pager I ever wore, this thing is convenient, pretty tough and VERY easy to use.
Shown with a ruler and my BLACKHAWK! Hawk Hook Rescue Tool, it's easy to see just how small this videocam is. Measuring just over 3" long by about 2" wide and about 3/4" thick (not including the clip), it's quite the handy little package. The rounded rectangular shape you see on the face of it is both the lens cover and the on/off switch. If you slide it down the lens is exposed and the camera is on. Slide it back up and the lens is covered and the camera is off. Simple and easy.
Containing a 4 gigabyte internal memory card, the PVR-PRO2 can record up to four hours of audio and video at the rate of 30 frames per second (better than standard movie quality) and at 640x480 resolution. If you're as much of a techy as I am, then that didn't mean a lot to you. What it means in simple language is this:
It captures sound and images in a fashion that is easily transferable to your computer and in a good enough quality that you won't be embarassed to show it to your friends and family.
As an example of the video capture capability I offer the screen capture shown above right.
That image had to be slightly reduced in size to fit within the design confines of the page but other than that, hasn't been altered in any way. I should also note that the date and time in the bottom right corner of the image (that you can barely see because of the reduced size to fit here) aren't usually captured using the PVR-PRO2. The test sample I have is a factory production that wasn't meant for commercial release and has slight differences in the software from what you would receive if you purchased one of these videocams.
So, what can you do with this handy little device? Well, what do you normally do and sometimes think, "Wow, I wish I coudl video tape this?" My best friend's usual response is sky dive. If that's your thing, you just need to make sure the PVR-PRO2 is secured properly (wind can really pull at things). What else can you think of? Bike Riding? If you're a police officer who does bike patrol this might be pretty cool for evidence collection when you least expect it. Mounted? The up and down might get a little old on the video, but again - think about the potential evidenciary value of captured audio and video.
What about for simple patrol work? There is a different version: The PVR-LE2 which is delivered with the requisite software (VeriPatrol) to insure integrity of date / time stamp so that all captured video is admissable in court. I consider the PVR-PRO2 more of a "fun" item and the PVR-LE2 the "work" version. So, to test the PVR-PRO2 I wore it around the floor while I walked at IACP in Denver a couple weeks ago. When I got home I wore it for a long hike at a local state park and then I handed it off to my son to wear while he rode his bike around the neighborhood.
Downloading the captured videos is quite easy. The included USB cable attaches the videocam to your computer. Once attached you simply turn the videocam on (slide open the lens cover) and your computer will see it (compatible with Windows 2000, XP, and Vista or MAC OSX). The videos are captured in *.avi format which is common and easy to convert if you need to. When you turn the videocam back off (slide the lens cover shut) its internal battery will charge through the USB cable from your computer. Battery life is estimated at four hours.
I was impressed with the size and simplicity of operation. Mounts so that you can clip or pin it onto your uniform / clothing are provided in the kit. There is also a seperate mount that suction-mounts to your windshield and has a clip in camera mount. The camera's mount swivels 360 degrees so you can easily record anything happening inside or outside the vehicle.
For more information on either of these videocams, or the other models available, check out VIEVU online.