Two Promising Accessories for Mobile and Class Capture

We recently came across two interesting and (fairly) inexpensive accessories that may be of interest to those of you involved in or supporting classroom and mobile capture.

The first is the Swivl (http://www.swivl.com/), a mount for iPhones, iPod Touches, Go Pros and other portable cameras by way of the included standard tripod mount. We haven’t had the opportunity to test this device yet, but are excited by the possibilities it could offer for bringing class capture to rooms that lack expensive A/V infrastructure, or to support enhanced video quality for those using DukeCapture Mobile in non-classroom locations.

The Swivl

The Swivl lets you remotely operate your camera, has a built in microphone, and includes the ability to automatically track yourself (or whomever you’re recording). It rotates 360 degrees horizontally, +10 / -20 degrees vertically and runs on standard AA and AAA batteries (or optional AC adapter), and has a range of 10 meters. The Swivl costs $179.00. If any of you get a chance to take a closer look at this device or to test it, please keep us posted how things go.

Swivl Demo

A second device that can substantially increase video quality for your DukeCapture Mobile recordings is the MicroPro by Litepanels (http://www.litepanels.com/language/pages/micropro.php).  OIT ITS recently acquired one of these, and it’s performed well in our testing.

The MicroPro by Litepanels

This small form factor LED light is essentially a tiny professional diffuser light. It operates on 4 AA batteries (seem to last a good while) includes a 3-piece gel kit, a hotshoe mount, a case, and a dimmer dial that takes you all the way from zero to way too bright at the highest setting if the light is placed within a couple feet of your subject. With the dial somewhere in the middle, though, you can finally leave that murky webcam video we’ve all come to expect far behind and create much more professional looking images that will set your captures apart.

The main downsides of the MicroPro are its cost (at $275.00 it’s not exactly cheap), and the fact that it doesn’t come with a built-in mount for attaching it to your computer monitor. Certainly the creative folks among you will find some way to do this, however, and even if you can’t, you can get good results simply by setting it at an angle against something on a desk and pointing it toward your subject.  It does have a slightly cheap plastic feel to it (especially for the price), but don’t let that deter you–it’s a very powerful light for its size.  If any of you want to give this a look, please give us a shout.

See the world without leaving your desk

Earthcam.com announced a special live webcam from the Statue Of Liberty’s torch today to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Lady Liberty. A visit to their site didn’t show that (yet) but did show some amazing HD webcams that offered user control as well on many of them. We are being watched.