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Body-Worn Camera Systems

Written by Stephenie Slahor

Digital Ally

www.digitalallyinc.com

The FirstVu HD Body Camera Video System™ records video and optional audio from the wearer’s own point of view. Made in the USA, the completely mobile system features a small, lightweight design of a main recorder measuring 2.5 inches by 4 inches and weighing 3.1 ounces. It has a camera module measuring 1.12 inches by 1.5 inches and weighing .8 ounce. The unit can automatically start recording simultaneously with the company’s In-Car Video System (which requires the VuLink™ unit). A user-replaceable, rechargeable battery lasts for the duration of a shift and longer. 

Communications can link to recordings in the VuVault management software. The unit records high-quality SD or 720p HD video at 1280x720 resolution. (An “always on/off” option allows control of whether the audio is always or never recording video, but this option must be requested at the time of purchase.) Memory is 25-54 hours, depending on the quality setting. The field of view is 130 degrees, and night recording is possible. The unit is waterproof and features an extendable breakaway cable for safety and comfort. 

Operation is by one button for ease of use. Date and time stamps and marks track the location of events during recording. A covert mode deactivates LEDS on the camera.  The internal memory may be set so that only designated computers are able to access recordings. To protect chain of custody, recorded evidence cannot be edited or deleted.   Digital Ally states that its system’s housing in one compact and lightweight enclosure means officers do not have to have additional components that add weight, complexity or cables. 

An advanced clip system lets the user lock or transfer the unit to a variety of locations such as the uniform, windshield, dashboard or interview room. Mounting options are available for motorcycles, ATVs, snowmobiles, watercraft and other modes of transportation. 

 

Martel Electronics

www.marteldirect.com

Martel Electronics offers the Vid-Shield, specifically designed for law enforcement. The wearable camera records in true 1080p HD, and also has night vision for HD video and/or 12 megapixel still photos. The Vid-Shield can clip to the uniform. The unit has a time/date stamp embedded into the video and photos, and cannot be edited. The unit is waterproof and easily cleaned. It records to easily obtained micro SD cards. The unit is 2.2 inches x 3.8 inches and weighs 2 ounces. The top of the unit has two buttons—one for video record and one for photo.  

 

Panasonic

www.panasonic.com

Panasonic’s Wearable Camera (WCAM) is available in two sizes, one with a cable length of 27 inches, and the other with a cable length of 22 inches. The shorter version is especially adaptable for unique applications such as clipping to a K9 harness. Quickly attached, either unit includes a 1.3-megapixel camera head of 1.8 inches by 2.9 inches.  The unit weighs about 5 ounces for the battery pack, 7 ounces for the camera head and long cable, and 5 ounces for the camera head and short cable. Flexible positioning of the camera is easy via the field of view of 180 degrees horizontal and 140 degrees vertical. 

The wearable camera is designed to be rugged and useable whether the officer is standing still or moving/running. If the unit is mounted on a police dog’s harness, the camera video capture angle is broad enough to include vertical images. Video image stabilization is assisted by a three-axis gyroscopic sensor to keep the image clear in spite of vibration. The camera provides 32 hours of video evidence. 

 

Pro-Vision Video Systems

www.bodycameras.com

Pro-Vision states its video systems are “reliable, simple and affordable” and their products offer both technology and ease of use. Recording in 1080p true HD video, the BODYCAM™ is able to record six times the video quality of competing brands. Night vision is built in with high-intensity infrared illuminators to give a clear view regardless of lighting or lack of light. The unit has a waterproof rating of IPX5 and has 32 GB of storage. 

A built-in-microphone and selectable date and time stamp enhance the unit. It can record up to 18 hours. Videos can be viewed on the built-in 1.5-inch LCD screen with built-in audio speaker, or any computer or TV/viewing monitor. The unit can also capture still images up to 8 megapixels. The company states the BODYCAM™ is priced over 50 percent less than competing brands, which allows for equipping more officers. 

 

Safety Vision

www.safetyvision.com

The Prima Facie® Body Camera from Safety Vision is a wearable unit designed for a field of view that is always the same as the officer’s. The unit is also adaptable to mounted or motorcycle units. It records in 1080p HD for clarity, and can also record still images and audio files. Infrared illuminators ensure clear images regardless of low-light conditions. 

Recorded files can be reviewed immediately on the integrated color LCD screen, or downloaded to an authorized computer. It has 16 GB of internal storage, and comes with a rotating clothing clip and shoulder clip. Continuous record time is about five hours, and night-vision distance is about 3 meters/10 feet with IR. The unit is 2.3 inches by 3.66 inches and weighs 0.33 pounds with its battery. 

 

VidMic / Safety Innovations

www.vidmic.com

The VidMic VX™ is a feature-complete, rugged and lightweight unit with a 1.7-inch screen, large, easy-to-use video camera featuring viewfinder, device status and more. It uses a simple, large, push-to-talk button to operate. The unit was designed with input from police officers who wanted something that would meet the needs of public safety, including tamper safeguards, chain of custody, light weight, ease of use, and the capability to be used covertly for video and/or audio recording. VidMic added over 100 product enhancements, increased resolution, up to 12 hours of battery life, and up to 20 hours of video storage. 

In essence, the unit is a speaker microphone with an embedded video camera and audio recorder that can record video or still photos in almost complete darkness. The speaker microphone is compatible with nearly all radios. The video recorder captures video at a rate of 30 frames per second at a 640x480 pixel resolution. The wide-angle lens has 92 degrees field of view, which is an industry-leading feature. The Accu-View™ low-light technology captures clear images in low light, actually mimicking human eyesight. 

The image is not enhanced with infrared or other techniques, which is important in protecting the officer from being “convicted” by his/her own camera should the officer be involved in a use-of-force incident in low light, if it is later learned that the suspect was not a threat. The device has a standard 8GB of internal storage (sufficient for about six hours of video), but storage can be upgraded to 16GB or 32GB to allow up to 20 hours of video recording. 

It is the first to offer an on-board digital video processor that compresses and stores digital audio and video recordings in real time. The unit runs on Safety Innovations’ proprietary VXOS™ embedded operating system to protect digital evidence from tampering and to maintain chain of custody. It can be customized to comply with legal, regulatory or agency requirements. 

Attached to the radio, it draws no more power than would the standard shoulder microphone. The management software tags the videos by date, officer’s name, case number/citation number, or title, and can search and retrieve by those captions or keywords. WiFi offloads the data transfer so that officers do not have to download video from the device. Video and still photo files from other sources can be imported into the program to ease managing video evidence. It can also be exported and e-mailed for use by attorneys, Internal Affairs, or city administrators. 

Embedded date and time stamps, serial number recognition, coded entries, and the supervisor’s audit trail help safeguard chain of custody. A backtracking pre-record buffer allows an officer up to 30 seconds to record time before pressing the start button. Many features on the unit can be enabled or disabled including the backtrack pre-record buffer, visible and audible recording indicators, and microphone sensitivity. The product is made in the USA. 

 

VIEVU

www.vievu.com

VIEVU’s LE2 can clip to a uniform and features a four-hour recording time, four-hour battery life, 4 GB internal memory, date and time stamping, SD video resolution of 640x480, and a field of view of 71 degrees. It measures 3 inches by 2 inches and weighs 3.5 ounces. It is compatible with Windows XP™ and Vista 7™.  

VIEVU’s LE3 is the latest in the company’s rugged, waterproof and easy-to-use cameras. The LE3 camera measures 3 inches by 2 inches and weighs 2.8 ounces. Its resolution is HD 1280x720 or wide-screen SD 848x480. Up to five hours can be recorded, and there is up to 12 hours of video storage with the 16GB internal memory. Local or GMT date and time stamps are used. The field of view is 68 degrees. The software management system is compatible with Windows XP™, and Vista 7 or 8™. 

VIEVU’s high-definition video is managed through the company’s free VERIPATROL™ software system that securely stores and catalogs video files. The system retrieves and manages video files from its camera systems and has a FIPS 140-2 compliant digital signature process that ensures the videos have not been altered. 

The VERIPATROL software system by VIEVU allows storage, retrieval and management of video files from its camera systems. A digital signature process ensures the videos have not been altered, and a locking security system prevents unauthorized access if the camera is lost or stolen. VERIPATROL™ is free to use and has no licensing costs. 

 

WatchGuard Video

www.watchguardvideo.com

The company’s CopVu™ is a pager-sized video camera that will record up to four hours.  It can clip onto a shirt, belt or jacket. Its camera, microphone, recorder, 4 GB internal memory, and indicators are all built in. VGA resolution is 640x480. It measures 3 inches by 2 inches and operates simply by flipping down the lens cover to begin recording both video and audio. When the cover is closed again, recording stops. 

Data is compatible with Windows 2000, XP and Vista 7™. A suction cup mount allows the unit to be secured to any non-porous surface. Other components include a 12v car adapter, 110v wall adapter, octo cable for downloading and charging, and a pin back clip (an alternate clip to pin the camera to the clothing). The company’s CommandVu™ software secures all downloading and data file management. 

 

Stephenie Slahor, Ph.D., J.D., writes in the fields of law enforcement and security. She can be reached at drss12@msn.com.


Published in Tactical Response, Jan/Feb 2014

Rating : 6.0


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WatchGuard VideoDigital Ally IncMartel ElectronicsPanasonicPro-Vision Video SystemsSafety Vision VIDMICVIEVU
 

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