Point of View Cameras

It was a decade ago when my station first received a Point of View camera (POV).  It was a wired bulky camera, that was attached to a recording device that every time it was bumped the recording would go to static.  Our first time using it was on a roller coaster and we had to edit the trip three times, but it was our most viewed video on our website for two months.

I’ve attached POV cameras to almost everything.  Cars, boats, bi-planes, dogs, cats, humans, robots…and a couple of these cameras have ended up at the bottom of Long Island Sound.  Quite simply, these cameras have changed the way I have shot video and it’s all for the better.  It gives the viewer a unique look , and changes the look of the story.  It is a great challenge for the photographer, and when used correctly it is a blast to edit.

I’ve attached three stories to this post.  Brownstone Quarry has become a great summer day trip destination in Connecticut for several years.  My reporter Sarah Cody and I, spent a hot summer day at the adventure park along with a crew from the NBC affiliate.  We both started out our day doing the same thing, using our ENG camera to gather sound and get shots along the shore, but after 45 minutes Sarah and I donned our life jackets and into the water we went with our waterproof Contour.  (I prefer the Contour to the Go Pro, but I know I am in the minority.)  When I ran into the NBC photographer a few weeks later, he was upset with me because “I showed him up.”  His news director saw both pieces and was upset why his crew didn’t “follow our lead.”

The second story on Gorgeneering is similar to Brownstone but more complex.  We shot the interviews with the ENG camera, but everything else was shot with 3 POV cameras.  (Actually 2 and a half because one died when the waterproof casing cracked when I jumped off a 30 foot cliff.)  Again, fun story to shoot and not possible if it wasn’t for the expendable cameras.

The final story, SWAT, is a story we have done numerous times.  Prior to the POV camera, we would run behind the cops, (these are live rounds so you could never get in front) and never fully capture the essence of the event.  With the POV we were able to get positive action shots, and capture the energy and tension as the SWAT teams, burst through doors, smashed windows, and carried mannequins across the field.

With the cost of POV cameras ranging between $100-$400 they have become an inexpensive and valuable tool to a videographer. It is a tool that can help cut down on the time that it takes to shoot a story and, if used correctly,  greatly enhance it.


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