Wearable cameras – changing the perception of perspective


Wearable cameras have allowed amateur enthusiasts the opportunity to capture video in new and exciting ways. Action cameras such as the GoPro are an affordable alternative for amateur video makers and have become a technological global phenomenon offering a whole new concept of first person video. GoPro were the pioneers that captured the public’s imagination with a cheap, rugged, versatile and wearable camera. Other camera specialists, such as Sony and HTC, were quick to jump on the band wagon.

In recent years the popularity of wearable cameras has increased, thanks to the creative opportunities they present, as well as the versatility that has allowed them to be attached to anything from animals to musical instruments. It eliminates the need for a cameraman to follow the individual into sometimes precarious environments.

The idea of perspective video, allowing viewers to experience things from your point of view, has become highly appealing. It turns the camera from our selfie-infatuated society to a first person viewpoint of anything from skydiving to scuba diving allowing viewers to engage in a hyper-real experience from the comfort of their home. Through the use of accessories and mounts these wearable cameras can be attached to almost any body part giving a fresh perspective in video production. It appears these videos are so compelling because they create an emotional connection between the wearer and the viewer. We are effectively watching exactly what the person is seeing and feeling.

In recent years it seems the majority of exciting and visually impressive videos that have been circulating on social media have been filmed from a first person perspective on an action camera. We have seen videos from skydivers of planes colliding in the air, GoPros attached to the back of a golden eagle as it takes flight and possibly best of all, Felix Baumgartner’s 24-mile freefall.

It also adds transparency to those in professions where tensions are raised due to the exploitation of power. It is now becoming regulation for police to wear cameras for the safety of civilians and to ensure both the police and the accused are treated fairly. Two policeman were recently convicted of murder in Albuquerque when a homeless man was shot when he posed an alleged threat to the police. The men were convicted due to the evidence provided on wearable cameras. Without this perspective it is likely justice wouldn’t have been served.

On our roads it is becoming increasingly normal for motorcyclists and cyclists to wear cameras to document their daily travels. Safety experts hope that drivers will be aware their bad driving actions could be filmed and used against them in dangerous driving convictions, which will hopefully encourage safer driving.

It also changes the landscape of warfare; previously military public relations would censor and manage the media reporting on conflicts. However, due to citizen journalism the true pictures of many bloody operations have jeopardised a population’s trust in governments. The solution for militaries around the world is transparency and the broadcast of every single military operation. During the ongoing conflict between the IDF and Hamas, soldiers are now wearing action cameras and posting the videos of conflicts between the two on their YouTube pages for the world to see.

The use of first person video is also changing the landscape of marketing and advertising, allowing brands to connect with viewers on a personal level and in turn build a relationship between producer and consumer.

Some of the largest of brands in the world are realising the potential of first person video and the use of wearable cameras. They are having to adapt to this new dimension of video and some of the most innovative adverts have been filmed from this new visual perspective.

Nike’s ‘Take it to the next level’ campaign showed an amateur footballer’s journey from Sunday league football to the biggest stage; the World Cup. The entire video is shot in first person and gives regular people an insight to what it would be like to be a professional footballer. Google has also contributed with its Google Glass advert, which shows the benefits the tech can offer an average person as they go about their daily routine. An anti-obesity advert also shot using wearable cameras is proof of the emotional connection first person video can have with its viewers.

Wearable cameras are capturing amazing human feats and near death experiences and are adding a whole new perspective to events that some of us may never experience. They bring safety and transparency to many professions as well as create some of the most iconic and moving footage. So far, it’s fair to say they should be celebrated as a technology asset of 21st century… but I’m keen to see just how much further they can take us.