TALES FROM THE POV ZONE | B&H Photo Video Pro Audio
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By Joe Gallant

"The Zone." It's a zip code of the mind and heart. If you live in it, you recognize it in others.

Some of us are happiest when we're air-surfing on a half-mile free fall, blasting over scrub hills with 20 other zone freaks on our tail, or finger-nailing the next granite shelf with a 600-foot drop below us. Others zone out by grabbing impossible, groundbreaking footage for their indie flick, doc, and music video projects.

From whatever direction we travel into the Zone, we have a new partner to help us capture the journey.

POV.1 Digital Helmet Camera System

Capture your point of view strategically

POV cams are the new wave in ultra-portable video recording. Small, light, and rock-solid, these little gems put out high-quality professional video and make it happen where bigger cams would be impractical. POV cams let you nail every nuance of your extreme sports environments in you-are-there detail. They enhance your film, narrative, and doc work with stunning new angles and guerilla intensity. The possibilities are quite limitless.

Here are a few of the system packages we carry at B&H, which suit a variety of needs, budgets, and styles:

The waterproof, shock-resistant POV.1 Digital Helmet Camera System from V.I.O. is a rugged three-part system comprised of a mountable lens, recording unit with 2" LCD screen, and wrist-mountable remote. The 110º-angle lens can be mounted to almost any surface—your helmet, backpack, land/air/sea vehicle, wind/snow/skateboard, firearm, handlebars, or jumpsuit, for example—enabling hands-free monitoring and recording. The POV.1 CMOS sensor captures 43 minutes of pro-quality video onto the 1GB SD card (a 2GB card is optional) when shooting at 30fps 720 x 480, and 48 minutes of video when shooting at the default resolution of 640 x 480. The small, discreet wireless remote can be used within a 10' range of the recording unit for added mobility and convenience. The POV.1 is optimized for both NTSC and PAL, and includes a built-in mic and speaker.

Todd Wendel, producer for National Geographic Television, offers his enthusiastic praise for the POV.1: "Our team brought the V.I.O. wide-angle POV.1 cam to Africa's "Heart of Darkness," the Congo River, and put it through the ringer during a month[-long] shoot. We mounted the POV.1 to helmets of kayakers from team Epicocity and it performed without a hitch on runs through some of the biggest rapids in the world."

The SUV Cam ll and Pro series from Elmo received big props from athletes worldwide, upon their initial release. The versatility of these Elmo systems is now further enhanced through extended recording capability on SDHC cards, quick one-push recording, and a new lens stabilizer design that resists vibration. The attached camera records 720 x 480, features a 1/4" 440,000-pixel CCD, and can be positioned away from the recording unit via its 3-foot cable for optimal mounting. The recording unit features a high-quality 2.2" LCD monitor, and all main functions on the SUV Cam are managed with only six buttons for on-the-fly adjustability. In tricky lighting situations, an upgraded one-push fixed white-balance function compensates the color to precisely match the recording environment.

SUV Cam ll Digital Camera System SUV Cam Pro Digitial Camera and Recorder

The step-up SUV Cam Pro system allows use of longer cable lengths from the cam to the recorder- particularly, 300cm and 500cm lengths, both of which are not useable with the Cam ll system. The camera and recording unit of the Pro system are sold as separate pieces. Water sports enthusiasts and international men of mystery will no doubt appreciate the ability to accomplish their missions in murky depths, as the SUV Cam series is waterproof to 12 feet.

The brushed aluminum and baked fiberglass casing of the Twenty20 VholdR provides the camcorder with maximum protection, no matter what you put it through, or where. The removable lithium polymer battery, MicroSD card, USB 2.0 port, and indicator lights are stored safely behind the sealed, insulated LED hatch. Dual lasers on the lens element indicate both where the camera is pointed, and if it is level. The sealed lens has a CMOS sensor with focus length to infinity and pivots with the capture card, ensuring consistently accurate image capture. The Twenty20 features 50 minutes of 640 x 480-resolution recording per gigabyte, mounts with marine-grade Velcro®, and includes a built-in mic and mini-jack to plug into any recording device with an A/V connector.

These new-breed cameras provide unparalleled freedom. They're water, shock, and dust-proof, vibration-resistant, simple to use, easy to attach, built to last. They offer excellent pro-level imagery, solid, reliable tapeless capture, and easy file-sharing with friends, team members, and family. Our POV communities continue to grow, and the imagery we share is endlessly varied. POV cams can be companions in life's smaller, quieter moments as well: one of our staff recently mounted a cam to the handlebars of his trail bike, to capture his toddler's expressions as she rode in the child bike seat in front of him and experienced the world in a new way. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination, and that's something all Zone-dwellers know very well.

Please email feedback on this article, or suggestions for future topics, to videofeedback@bhphotovideo.com