During one of those three story investigations, I discovered myself huffing and puffing, grabbing my chest, blowing my nose, and desperately searching for a place to collapse and locate my little bottle of nitro. I was running the cables from home base to many positioned IR cameras – up and down three flights no less than 22 times (you may remember, I’m a counter), and I still had to check the DVR to set the camera angles. After a few moments of rest, I returned to normal, but lamenting the prospect of repeating the process when the investigation was finished. Ugh. There had to be a better way.
My DVR had been acting bananas for a couple of months; I owned a mile of cable; unpacking the car at 3:00 am took til 4:00 am… never let it be said I am not dedicated. And I knew all of it might actually, literally kill me. Seriously! That’s how bad it was; that’s how bad I felt.
But finally, after that three story job I mentioned, late the following morning, I noticed my GoPro’s come hither look from the side pocket of one of those equipment bags. A cartoon light bulb turned on over my head. If I could replace all my cameras with GoPro-style equipment, I was certain that every uncomfortable, unhealthy moment could be avoided. Plus, the results would logically improve through clearer footage, and cleaner processes. Even my stressed-out heart gave a sigh of relief at the possibilities. There would be problems, of course – extended battery life, portable lighting for full spectrum cameras, tiny tripods; a whole slew of minor stuff. I knew that if this grand experiment was going to work, all of these hurdles had to be cleanly jumped.
Bigger is not always better, and I made it a personal quest to prove just that. So what happened? Not only did my pre-investigation setup become easier, I could bring everything in and out of the location with one simple trip. Gone were the days of potential heart attacks and collapsed lungs; of several metal suitcases; of heavy stuff that required other heavy stuff to function. My knees were actually praising God out loud. The throbbing in my temples had disappeared, and there was more time available for actual investigating. Sounds like a win/win, right?
Of course, different ideas are always a work in progress, but the end results have been noticeable. Video quality is better, the lenses are wide angle and therefore more area is included in the shots. Analysis can be done on an iPad whenever I want; wherever I am. Almost every aspect of my participation in the investigation has drastically improved. I’m already spoiled because I am taking so much of it for granted. I might even go so far as to suggest that smaller is better.
I’ve since incorporated a second GoPro, 3 good quality full spectrum GoPro knockoffs, a 360fly cam, 2 Samsung 360 cams (or 180), a Trail Cam, a Seek thermal attachment, a FLIR attachment, a Bushnell night vision monocular that records, and a ridiculous amount of support stuff including portable IR lighting and various ways of mounting the small cameras practically anywhere. Is bigger better? I think not.
I’ve got a lot of micro SDs to keep track of, but I can literally walk out the door with all my evidence in my front left pocket. Please keep in mind that none of this is a criticism of the old ways. Those ways have just stopped working for me personally. So for me, bigger is definitely not better. But what’s the point in telling you all of this? Beside the notion that I’m entitled to my opinion, it occurs to me our field is actually going in this direction anyway. The kind of equipment we use in this field is getting better and better, as well as smaller and smaller. Good quality equipment is actually getting more affordable, and new capabilities are becoming more easily available. But then, to be honest, it’s unfair and wrong to suggest that this is the only way to go. However, for those of you who are beginning to feel that infernal full-body burn during and after every investigation, I think it’s worth consideration.
[Over the next few months, from time to time, I’ll focus in on a specific area of this “small” experiment.]
“There Is No Silence” by Randall Keller. On Amazon. http://t.co/lKo9kyuHOF