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Imagine the Possibilities with Ultra-portable Cameras

For a while now, cameras have been getting steadily cheaper as they simultaneously bring increasingly higher quality recording to the masses. From ultra-portable Flip cameras to DSLR cameras recording HD video, there are a proliferating number of options to capture beautiful video footage. As explored in a New York Times article this weekend, a new class of ultra-portable, hands-free cameras is hitting the mainstream to capture every moment, from whatever point of view —all for around $200.

These ultra-portable cameras have especially exciting implications for capturing online video footage:

  1. Cameras go anywhere. Literally. Ultra-portable cameras have often been used to shoot extreme sports like snowboarding, but the article mentions that the GoPro HD Hero captured video while fastened to the elevator rescuing the trapped Chilean minors last month! The possibilities are endless when you can strap a low-cost camera anywhere, even lodged in a homemade space balloon! There's interesting potential for point-of-view shots like automated over-the-shoulder two person shots, or even shots taken from the point of view of your favorite canine.
  2. Capture every moment, especially the unpredictably awesome ones. Devices like the Looxcie, a wearable camera that loops over the ear, record and store up to five hours of video. That's quite a long take, and is five times the storage capacity of a standard Flip UltraHD. Just think of the moments that can be captured when you leave the camera running!  No need to struggle to whip out your camera in time to catch the antics of a crazy street performer or to capture the winning goal. A common trope among viral videos is their unique ability to capture the ephemeral moment of surprise or spectacle. You can bet that we'll be seeing a lot more of those moments with cameras that make it easy to keep the camera running.
  3. Edit on the go. While you keep the footage rolling in continuous-capture mode, the Looxcie has the ability to clip the last 30-second clip with a click of a button, allowing instant edits of the especially interesting moment you just captured.  Looxcie essentially allows you to edit on the go, bookmarking that 30 second clip to share with your friends or save for streamlined workflow in editing the highlights of your footage later.
  4. High quality no longer comes with a high price tag. While the Looxcie isn't pulling in full HD at 480 X 320 pixels at 15 frames a second, there are plenty of low range options that capture HD quality video. For example, the GoPro HD Hero 960 shoots in 1280 X 960 pixels at 30 frames a second, and both the iPhone 4 and Flip video cameras capture video in HD (720p), and are similarly portable and relatively affordable.

As photographer Chase Jarvis says, The Best Camera is the One That's With You. Though his preferred medium is still photography, the mantra rings true for shooting moving images as well, and it becomes especially true when that camera can be used in continuous-capture mode! What kind of new footage do you would you shoot with an ultra-portable camera?