“GoPro” Killer? JVC GC-XA1EU

The GoPro has been the “Go To” camera for small lightweight rugged cameras that can go into a waterproof housing. They provide stunning aerial shots and there are many breath taking moments of sky divers and wing suit dare devils doing the most amazing things.

Here is a camera from JVC  ADIXXION (pronounced addiction) that seems on the face of it to be a serious alternative.

One of the problems is, these cameras are also used on bike handlebars, helmets of people on motorbikes, people crashing around on wet bikes and jet skis, snow boards etc. One of my camera operators made the shrewd observation that you very often see “Action Cameras” from the main camera mounted on  all manner of the activity objects but how often do they cut to the shots? I think the answer is that with exposure problems, rolling shutter issues, framing problems if the cameras have slipped you have to put in a lot of cameras and shoot a lot of footage and look through a lot of footage to get a few of those amazing shots that you just can’t get any other way. For me the problem is that the actual shots you want of high action moments are the very ones that tend to make the pictures break up to the point that you can’t use them.

Also do you have the time and resources in post to wade through all the footage? or to correct picture break up and distortion in warp stabiliser in After Effects?

If you look at the promo video on the GoPro web site the footage is beautiful. So is it that the shots have been carefully selected to show the camera off to best advantage? Many of the images are not high impact, shuddering type shots so is it that our good old friend the CMOS sensor has evolved in the newest camera to have better rolling shutter and picture stability? Probably a bit of both, I don’t use them. I have a Kodak Playsport camera and this has been ok for the shots in and around water and even occasionally as a third camera to gain extra coverage. It is cheap and versatile and does not need a housing, instead using rubber seals with pressure to keep out the water. I have used it in sea water and in industrial machines spraying coolant and so on.

One of the annoying features of these cheap cameras is that they are usually 30p and so we have strobing issues with 50hz lighting in PAL land. This is no different with the Playsport. I suppose the fact people generally use them outside reduces the problems here but we also have the issue of frame dropping when put onto a 25P timeline and the jerkyness this would give.

The GoPro isn’t just one camera of course, there is the HD Hero, the HD Hero 960 and the HD Hero 2 Professional. The performance of the Hero2 Pro  has improved on paper but I honestly don’t know if it is much better from a rolling shutter point of view.

The footage above from the JVC camera is very vibration orientated and although it does have some of the usual CMOS sensor issues it doesn’t look too bad. I like the fact that like the playsport the camera is waterproof itself, not fixed into a housing.

With all these cameras the specs are on the web sites so for frame rates and waterproof depth you can read these yourself, for me the most interesting feature of the JVC camera is the fact it is WIFI enabled! Often these cameras may be mounted remotely and you don’t know if there has been some movement of the camera position after the initial framing. With this option you can check the view on an iPad or Android device.

It’s also possible to stream images “live” to a PC via Wi-Fi or mobile hotspot, or transfer data to a PC for viewing on social networks. But excitingly the unit has the ability to stream “live” high-definition videos in real-time to USTREAM without a PC!



It won’t be long before you can switch the camera feeds yourself in HD at sports events, conferences and more dubious forms of internet based leisure activity… Now there lies addiction!

Turn up at any event, plonk out as many of the HD waterproof cameras as you need and even for watersports you have an Outside/Inside Broadcast ready to go!

Who needs a multi-million pound scanner? I suppose at £249 from Creative Video it is even Yorkshireman price.

Exciting innit?

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