Action cameras such as GoPro, Sony and Garmin are commonly used for their recreational benefits in sports and hobbies such as hiking, surfing, mountain climbing, skiing and more.
We are continuing to see a demand for first person video captured outside of traditional recreational activities in roles such as patient transport, law enforcement, security patrol, traffic management, and more recently, for use inside warehouse (distribution centre) environments.
The benefit here is that for warehouses which distribute products of high value, (rather than FMCG) the proof that a product was accurately picked is of great importance in terms of cost savings and brand reputation.
You may have come across customers complaining about their order being incomplete/damaged/lost upon delivery. Preventative measures such as passing orders through weight/material control lines can pick up and eliminate miss-picks, as well as picking orders using RF barcode scanners, rather than manual paper picking.
However, it is generally difficult to determine whether the customer is telling the truth when all preventative measures have been passed before dispatching their order. This is where body worn cameras are useful in providing proof that the order was or wasn't picked accurately. From the video evidence, you can begin to rule out intermediaries that you may have thought contributed to the customers complaint such as couriers or manual mistakes in material checking.
Action cameras have their place in the world of capturing video, but they are generally not suited in professional environments where certain features and requirements must be met.
Listed below are the key differences between traditional action cameras and body worn cameras.
The battery life is of key importance, especially when it comes down to capturing video for an entire shift. All GoPro and many other action cameras struggle to record continuously for over 3 hours, even on lowered settings. When averaging the battery life of all GoPro cameras, 1.5 - 2 hours is what you will achieve (Haines, 2018).
The issue that arises with low battery life is that you will need to continually charge action cameras and you won't be able record your entire shift unless you switch cameras.
Directly from the GoPro website, their engineers estimate an 85-90 minute recording time based on the lowest settings for the HERO7. As you increase the resolution and enable more settings, the battery life will deplete much faster.
A high rate of frames per second (FPS) is important when capturing all the action in extreme sports. Therefore, most reputable action cameras such as GoPro have a higher FPS on their new models than most body cameras. This ultimately uses more power and ram, which depletes the battery life much faster. All our body cameras, as well as others in the market, record at 30 FPS which is the ideal frame rate for its purpose.
Cold weather has also been reported to impact the battery life of GoPro cameras (GoPro, 2018), whereas all Overwatch body cameras are suitable and operate normally under -20 ~ +60 degrees celsius.
When comparing the battery life of all our current models, you will be able to achieve a minimum of 9 hours and a maximum of an astonishing 13.5 hours respective of your selected settings.
There is no need to replace batteries, recharge throughout the day or worry about the battery level running low. At the end of your shift, simply dock your body camera and it will auto charge which generally takes 2-4 hours until it is back at 100%.
FIELD OF VIEW
Many action cameras are renowned for their ultra wide field of view (FOV) which is often referred to as a 'fish-eye' state. The FOV is a feature that determines the amount of visible area captured through your lens.
Traditional cameras offer a linear/narrow FOV of approximately 90° and is similar to DSLR footage where there is no fish-eyed state. This is ideal for capturing particular things where there are no distractions such as social media/webcams.
As the FOV is widened, more of your surroundings can be captured from the same stand point. The issue here is that as you continue to widen the lens, the video begins to become distorted and bends around the edges.
All Overwatch 'EH' body cameras also support and record at a 140° medium angled FOV which means that everything 70° to the left and 70° to the right of you will be captured. We have found this to be the ideal FOV to capture incidents and occurrences with your body camera as 130-140° is a sweet spot for minimal distortion and maximum coverage.
Many action cameras on the market range from 90-170°.
H.264 vs H.265 VIDEO COMPRESSION
As mentioned on one of our previous articles, HEVC uses efficient coding methods to maintain a 50% storage reduction and does this by encoding video at the lowest possible bit rate while maintaining the same high quality level video.
In simple terms, the new compression rate of H.265 allows you to record double the amount of high quality footage before your memory is full. Our EH160, EH210 and EH220 body cameras support this, as do higher end action cameras such as the GoPro HERO6/7.
GoPro has mentioned that the HERO5 and earlier cameras only support H.264. This also brings price into the equation as the latest cameras are also more expensive.
Both action cameras and Overwatch body cameras can store footage by simply connecting the device to your PC and transferring over the footage. Similarly, they both also offer loop recording options which loops the oldest footage with the newest footage.
Some organisations require that all footage be saved for a certain number of weeks. In this case you can disable loop recording in the settings and look into professional management equipment which greatly reduces wasted time and improves efficiency when storing your footage.
Our 8-Port Professional Docking Station is commonly recommended for organisations with 4+ body cameras who need to store all footage as there are 8 slots available. The docking station allows the user to record their footage throughout the day and when they are finished, they can simply dock their body camera into one of the slots and the station will automatically transfer out all the footage to the internal HDD (storage) and wipe the body camera clean, while also charging it.
To playback footage from a certain point from a certain date, you can easily search using filters from the on-board LCD screen running Windows OS. Alternatively, you can also manage the footage from a Web Platform. When you find the footage you desire, simply download it to a USB drive.
The amount of manpower required in storing all daily footage for weeks on end, from dozens of cameras to your PC can be troublesome and an expensive process. The professional docking station can therefore combat this issue.
There are many more settings and features available which you can browse on the product page.
If you are only trialling or using a few body cameras, it may be best to download all footage manually though. It is up to you on how you wish to set up your operation. Some clients prefer to enable loop recording and only retrieve the footage when an incident has occurred.
GoPro does not have night vision capabilities when recording video, whereas all our body cameras support up to 10m of visible face detection during night mode. The infrared sensors automatically detect darkness and switch on, without having to manually turn it on like some other action cameras.
The weight of your device is important to consider as you may require shoulder or chest harnesses. Our body cameras range from 127g to 165g, whereas most GoPro models are slightly lighter.
When wearing loose clothing, the body or action cameras tend to droop down and this limits the field of view. Therefore, we recommend securing your camera by wearing a chest/shoulder harness or thicker clothing.
The price of our popular EH body cameras range from $355-470 depending on features and requirements. Similarly, prices of action cameras range depending on what you are looking for. The GoPro HERO7 ranges from $299-599 depending on the particular model.
Click here to view the comparison article of our popular EH150 compared to other models in the industry.
We also offer discounts based on your order size. Please contact us to discuss.
When placing a bulk order for a fleet, you will have the choice for optional firmware changes. For orders of above 50 units, you will also have the choice of custom emblem branding on the face of the unit.