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Technology Untangled: GoPro action cam for work and summer fun

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technology-bourThe summer vacation season is upon us, so today’s article will review a camera that you may find both useful and fun for your summer adventures. This camera is also useful for video documentation functions at work. It provides a superior video to the typical cell phone.

The GoPro HERO3 White Edition action camera impressed me as a versatile, capable, high-quality camera for the recording of most any activity, including water sports. If you have ever watched YouTube videos of people engaging in high-action sporting adventures such as skydiving, skateboarding and the like, you have probably seen footage from a GoPro action camera. Many of the reality TV shows on cable also make use of these exceptional cameras.

I have been aware of these cameras for quite a while, but always assumed they were more expensive. The basic White Edition camera retails for $200. There are also several more expensive versions with a few more features, but even the basic model uses the same sharp, ultra wide-angle lens as the high-end models. It records that wide view at 720p, HD quality at up to 60 frames per second, which is twice the frame rate of broadcast television. The recordings are surprisingly stable and are not prone to the jittery, shaky-camera effect that often is seen when using a regular video camera in a dynamic situation.

The camera is small, less than half the size of a deck of cards. It weighs only 2.6 ounces. For most purposes though, it is housed in the included waterproof polycarbonate case. This adds some bulk, but still allows the camera to fit easily in the palm of your hand. The case includes an interface bracket that facilitates mounting of the camera on virtually anything or anybody.

For my working purpose, that “anybody” was the actual driver of a vehicle that was previously involved in an accident. The attorney’s desire was to depict as accurately as possible what the driver could or could not see when approaching the intersection in question. I mounted the GoPro camera to the driver’s forehead with an elastic head strap mount. This is when the ultra wide-angle view of the lens showed its usefulness. The view we recorded out the windshield was from pillar to pillar, and slightly beyond, including both of the side view mirrors. The distortion at the edges of the frame was minimal.

And how did I know we had a good shot? The GoPro HERO3 is Wi-Fi capable. I was able to beam a video preview directly to my iPad in real time to make sure the camera angle was good. The GoPro Wi-Fi app is free and is available for both iPad and Android tablets and smartphones. In addition, you can also remotely turn on and off the recording from the iPad. I do, however, have one complaint about a feature missing from this app. It does not include the ability to review footage recorded to the memory card; it strictly provides a real time preview. In order to view your recordings on site, you have to connect the camera via USB to a computer or insert the camera’s memory card into a computer. Another method for after-the-fact viewing of your footage is through use of an accessory micro HDMI cable tethered directly to a high-definition TV.

If you prefer to have a more traditional LCD touch screen as part of your camera, GoPro offers that as an $80 accessory. It attaches directly to the back of the camera, increasing the overall thickness but providing full preview and playback capability.

A memory card is not included with the camera and must be purchased separately. I was glad to learn that you do not need the more expensive Class 10 high-speed microSD cards in order to capture high-definition video. You can use any standard microSD card from 4GB to 64GB. The video recording time that fits on a 16GB chip is about 3-and-a-half hours at 720p, 30 frames per second.

Several sticky-backed mounting brackets are included, one for flat surfaces and one for curved surfaces. GoPro offers a wide variety of other mounts such as suction cups, tripod mounts, chest, wrist, bike and helmet mounts, and, of course, a surfboard mount. The waterproof housing says it is rated to a depth of 197 feet.

For recreational purposes, the uses for the camera are obvious. For work situations, I could see it being quite useful for documentation of accident scenes, crime scenes or insurance claim reviews. I imagine it being used with a head mount as an auxiliary recording device during the normal course of photographing and videotaping evidence for any legal matter.

Consider a GoPro HERO3 camera for this summer’s vacation, and then put it to use at work. I will be anxious to see who sends me the first action clip from their surfboard.•

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Stephen Bour (bourtech@iquest.net) is an engineer and legal technology consultant in Indianapolis. His company, the Alliance for Litigation Support Inc., includes Bour Technical Services and Alliance Court Reporting. Areas of service include legal videography, tape analysis, document scanning to CD and courtroom presentation support. The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author.
 

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  1. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  2. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  3. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  4. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  5. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

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