The VIO POV.1: The Pinnacle of Outdoor Video
Summary: Rugged, Flexible and packed with Features...
Helmet cameras and wearable video systems have almost always been a compromise between size and quality.For outdoor enthusiasts and athletes, recording action-packed shots has no room for compromise. You look for that fully-integrated digital hands-free helmet camera that records DVD-quality video. Now, the VIO POV.1 digital helmet camera gives you all the features you want from a helmet camera, plus more features to keep you covered.
Traditional Helmet Cameras
There are many other problems that make a traditional camcorder-based camera impractical:
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Moving parts. Camcorder-based video recording systems still use mechanical,
spool-wound tape to record audio and video signals. While digital video
recorders (DVRs) sort of solve the problem, most DVRs use a hard drive, which
can still be damaged by shock, wear, and tear. If you're into active sports or
outdoor activities, you'll end up damaging the camera.
Pieced-together system. Most helmet camera “systems” are pieced-together
systems, as opposed to fully-integrated systems. The problem with a
pieced-together helmet camera system is that there are just too many wires,
connectors, and jacks that complete the system. The pieced-together system is
not only cumbersome, but is also dangerous, especially for sports and activities
that demand freedom of movement.
Conversion problems. Many “digital” helmet cameras do have a charge-coupled
device (CCD) or a complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) to capture and
record the image, but the digital signal is sent to the recording unit through
an analog transmission system. Digital signals are lost when transmitted through
traditional analog wires, which leads to distortion and poor picture quality.
Poor-quality camera. The problem with many traditional helmet cameras is that
the camera itself is a reconfigured spy camera/surveillance camera unit.
Surveillance cameras are great for capturing relatively still images, but are
not very good at moving images. What you really need is a lightweight wearable
video camera that can record high-definition video, not a converted camera used
in grocery stores.
Advantages of the VIO POV.1
The VIO POV.1 is a fully-digital, fully-integrated hands-free recording system that's superior to most helmet camera models available on the market today. Here are some of the unique features and advantages that make the POV.1 a must-have for every outdoor sports enthusiast:
Fully-integrated unit. Unlike traditional helmet cameras, the VIO POV.1 only
has one cable linking the camera to recording unit. You no longer have to deal
with A/V jacks that snap or break, or having all sorts of wires plugged into the
different units of a traditional helmet camera. The VIO POV.1 gives you all the
freedom of movement needed for what you do without having to tape up or bundle
together all sorts of wires.
Full digital recording with DivX MPEG-4 conversion. The VIO POV.1 records
videos direct to digital format, which means that you don't lose picture quality
and definition during the conversion. The DivX MPEG-4 conversion also gives a
compact-sized video with minimal loss in picture definition and audio quality.
Digital storage with USB connectivity. The VIO POV.1 does away with tape
drives and hard disk drives and uses a Secure Digital (SD) card that supports up
to 8GB of solid-state storage. The SD card has no moving parts, which means that
you don't have to worry about wrecking the camera and the recording unit.
Lightweight, waterproof, and energy-efficient. One problem with helmet cameras
is that they are heavy, sensitive, and use a lot of power. The POV.1 works on
four standard AA batteries for the recording unit and the camera. The camera and
recording unit are tested waterproof up to a depth of three feet, which is great
for use in rainy day situations. The POV.1 also comes bundled with a waterproof
microphone, which makes it excellent for ambient environments like beach scenes.
Progressive video. Many traditional helmet cameras use interlaced video, which
has an inferior quality and poor refresh rate. Interlacing causes those twitchy,
shaky, and blurry effects in most videos taken with a surveillance camera or a
compact video camcorder. The VIO POV.1 uses a progressive video recording format
that supports 24P and 30P video standards, with a maximum of 720x480 video
resolution. The high-quality video makes it possible for you to easily prepare
and edit video and port the output directly to DVD.
Infinite-focus wide-angle lens. When VIO sells a compact helmet camera, it
won't give you a rehashed and refurbished compact camera with the package.
Instead, the VIO POV.1 comes with a unique and sturdy CMOS camera designed and
built for shooting hands-free videos. The camera can give many camcorders on the
market today a run for their money.
What's Inside the Package
The box that the VIO POV.1 comes in does not have any frills. You won't find plastic bags, foam, or anything to mess up your day. The unit comes in a sleek-looking carrying case that includes just about everything you need to start filming action-packed shots:
Camera and recording unit
Wireless remote and microphone
Cable to link the camera and recording unit
USB cable to link the unit to a compatible USB 2.0 port
Four standard AA batteries
1GB Secure Digital card
Audio/video output cable
Quick Start manual and POV manager program CD
Camera mounting kit
Recording Unit Features
The POV.1 DVR is a very sleek, lightweight, American-engineered device designed with military specifications; you know that you have a quality product with this device. At 6.5 inches long, 2.5 inches wide, and 1.5 inches deep, the DVR can fit into any backpack or hip pack. The DVR is rated waterproof, which means that it can withstand a depth of up to 3 feet of water. You can also use the DVR in extreme weather conditions, and even for white water kayaking and rafting.
The LCD screen of the DVR is very bright and features an adjustable color and brightness setting, which makes it excellent for all sorts of different lighting conditions. The settings menu of the DVR is also intuitive, and features many settings that you can easily adjust and tweak to your preferences, including the following:
Speaker and microphone volume
Adjustable frame rate, video resolution, and video compression
LCD sleep function and DVR sleep function
Brightness and contrast
Analog video output (NTSC or PAL format)
The DVR also comes with an LED lamp that indicates the status of the unit:
Boot-up: flashing orange that lasts for two seconds
On standby: green
Recording: flashing red
Warning: rapidly flashing orange
Another advantage to the DVR is that VIO went through great lengths to prevent water and moisture from leaking into the battery and the SD card slot. The battery compartment is protected by a gasket system that locks in place. The push-and-click locking system of the SD card slot is also protected by a screw that keeps it from sliding out and moving unnecessarily.
With these innovations, the DVR of the VIO POV.1 is definitely one of the top-of-the-line recording units available.
The camera unit of the POV.1 is not the refurbished or redesigned version of the traditional spy camera or surveillance camera. The camera is the first attempt by VIO to make a CMOS camera, and they have done a very good job at making a camera that's designed with action-packed outdoor scenes in mind.
CMOS is a very useful interface because it doesn't cause any distortions or power bands when you shift from light to dark environments. The camera unit also shifts white balance very effectively and efficiently, compared to other similar models available on the market. The specs of the imaging sensor are also very impressive:
Variable frame rates (30 fps to 15 fps)
Variable video resolutions (360x240 to 720x480)
Electronic global shutter
Color sensor: 5 lux
Monochrome sensor: sub 0.1 lux
32-bit MIPS processor
Wide-angle 90-degree horizontal/110-degree diagonal field of view
With these specs, you can imagine the kind of image quality and definition you can have with the POV.1. Like every digital video recorder, higher resolutions mean that the image takes up more space. With a 8GB SD card, you don't have to worry about not having enough space for high resolution videos.
Recording Modes and Recording Capacity
One of the unique things about the VIO POV.1 is that it has two unique recording features:
Start and Stop is the standard recording mode of the camera. You simply press
the “REC” function on the DVR like you would a traditional camcorder to start
the recording, and press the button again to stop the recording.
Loop Record makes it possible for you to keep the POV.1 running all day. The
DVR will keep on recording an endless loop of video at three-minute intervals,
depending on your settings. When you press the tag function on the DVR or the
remote control, the unit will record the segment of the video until such time
that you end the capture sequence. The Loop Record and tagging function is
especially useful for kayak routes, hikes, and even ghost hunting.
Depending on the size of the SD card you use, you can take hours worth of video with the VIO POV.1. The device supports up to 8GB of SD storage. For the highest settings (720x480, high quality, 30 fps), you can record 43 minutes of video on a 1GB card and almost 6 hours of highest quality video on the optional 8GB card. For the lowest settings (320x240, low quality, 15 fps), a 1GB SD card can record seven hours and 52 minutes of footage, while the 8GB SD card can record over 62 hours of video. SD also makes it very convenient for you to transfer and edit videos directly from the SD card to your computer.
Battery, Cable, and Connectors
Four AA batteries power the POV.1. Alkaline batteries do work for this device, but like every digital gadget the POV.1 will drain battery power. The POV.1 has a timeout function that can preserve battery life, and it can also use rechargeable AA batteries. Idle settings also help preserve battery power.
For those with access to 12 V power source such as a cigarette lighter plug in a vehicle or other auxiliary power outlet, the VIO Power hatch accessory eliminates the need of using battery power. Simply plug the power hatch in the battery compartment for unlimited battery life (as long as your vehicle power source is on).
Unlike other helmet cameras, the VIO POV.1 uses only one cable to link the camera and the recording unit together. The one-cable set-up does away with the problems of traditional helmet cameras, and allows you all the freedom of movement necessary for you to fully enjoy your active sport. The POV.1 uses an industry-standard low-voltage digital signaling (LVDS), which is also used for many peripheral connections in computer equipment like SCSI, Serial ATA (SATA), and even FireWire ports. The neat thing about the LVDS cable is that it prevents distortion and data loss. You can replace the cable if it takes a beating from the elements, but the stock cable is really durable and can withstand even the most intense outdoor activities.
1.5 meter (4.5 foot ) cable comes standard with the POV.1, while the optional 5 meter (15 foor) cable pictured below extends the mounting possiblities for the POV.1 camera.
Microphone and Wireless Remote
The built-in waterproof microphone is excellent for picking up ambient sounds. The pick-up volume of the microphone can be adjusted to the DVR, and is positioned in the middle of the LVDS cable. The microphone will generate static at maximum volume, but a low volume is usually enough to capture ambient sounds from wherever you are.
The wireless remote can interact with the DVR and the camera at as far as six feet out in the open, and three feet if the DVR is concealed in a backpack or a hip pack. One disadvantage of the wireless remote is that it does not come with an on/off button, but you can get around that problem because of the light weight of the DVR.
The POV.1 comes bundled with its own editing software, the POV.1 Manager. The program is a very convenient way to restore drivers and software that come with the DVR. You can also insert the SD card into a suitable card reader. The DVR can also be attached to a computer using the USB 2.0 connector cable. The unit records videos in MPEG-4 format, which makes it very convenient for you to use any video-editing software that you're familiar with.
Mounts and Accessories
The VIO POV.1 comes with a collection of clamps and mounts that you can fit in on different sorts of helmets and rails. Here are some of the mounts that come as standard accessories:
C-clamp to hold the camera in place with the different mounts available.
Tube rail mount to hold the camera on narrow, curved surfaces.
Wide flange mount to hold the camera on flat surfaces.
All the accessories you need to use the camera come in a convenient, sleek-looking carrying case that holds the DVR, camera, and all the accessories together. The bag is weather-resistant, and can withstand wear and tear for even the most intense and serious outdoor activities.
Warranty and Support
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