The iLeatherman* for filmmakers is very real. Case in point: let's say you can't afford the $400 GoPro HERO3 (or justify the purchase for whatever reason), but you still need a tiny HD rig that laughs in the face of danger, damage, and almost certain death -- and you do own a smartphone. Meet G-Form's waterproof/impact-resistant technology -- your freefalling iPhone will survive a 100,000+ foot drop from space with it. The thing about that of course is, that same smartphone also has an HD video-capable camera built into it... you can see where this is going. Say 'hello' to G-Form's G90 'Action Sports Camera' cellphone cases -- including variants for Android models.
While there's not a lot of material demonstrating what you can achieve with such a case, here's some videos that demonstrate G-Form's futuristic molecular concussion-insulation technology -- because science is cool (and fun, even if it's a little marketing-heavy):
Followed by the obligatory -- and kind of awe-inspiring, to be honest -- demonstration of the type of technology G-Form is implementing here (Impact Protection, Revolutionized), and moreover it's effectiveness:
And here's the unveiling video, which mostly displays the look (and snug fit) of the case, plus the kind of FOV we're talking about achieving here -- if you're a reader, you're likely already aware of your phone's video capabilities, but from the looks of things you may have to adjust the way you point to shoot:
After a year of research and feedback from extreme hard core athletes, we have created the world’s first case that truly turns any smartphone or iPod touch into a sports action camera. The G90 case integrates unique, multiple proprietary and patent pending technologies allowing smartphones and iPods to be flat mounted as extremely low profile, aerodynamic and sleek as sports action cameras, rivaling and exceeding the other well known sports cameras on the market. [Wink wink]
The G90 Action Sports Camera case will be available beginning June 2013 for a variety of devices including Samsung S4, iPhone 5, iPod touch gen. 5, and more.
More, from the press release:
G-form’s technology allows smartphones or iPods to take images at a 90° angle while mounted flat. The same technology also allows the lens of the device to simultaneously increase the field of view to capture all the action in a 140º wide angle format. The G90 case attaches to almost any surface and offers both a full waterproof enclosure and skeletal back. The case can aerodynamically adhere to a helmet, skateboard, surfboard, bike handlebar and more making it far less intrusive than any sports action camera on the market. The G90 is even capable of taking video from the underside of a skateboard where no other sports action camera can go.
Getting the entire 140º field of view will depend on your camera's native look-width, but I think the major news here aside from the ruggedness of this case is the ability to mount it flat, via the 90° angle shift going on. Not even GoPro's form factor is as unobtrusive as this -- lying flat means a mounted camera protrusion of around 25mm or less. Granted, the camera of your iPhone or Android is not as specialized as a standalone industry leader like the GoPro -- meaning things like compression artifacting, rolling shutter jello, latitude, resolution, and bit-rate (you know, the important stuff) are not primary concerns of the machine, and therefore may give you serious problems. Then again, shooters of the DSLR generation certainly aren't strangers to this phenomenon.
The fact is, action cam-type material just isn't going to be "A" camera material by definition -- and I'm seriously betting an action cam style insert under one second in length will not constitute a nightmare to match-grade up to par. This stuff is more about accenting and impact, after all. It's not about narrative finesse, or even continuity. In other words, it very well may work -- and even work well -- if not simply 'just well enough' to squeak by. There doesn't appear to be any pricing info floating about either, but you can bet the cost will be very competitive to "the other well-known sports cameras on the market," even including the price of brand new smartphone. If not, then why bother?
Any iPhone or Galaxy SIII owners out there rethinking a GoPro purchase? Do you see this accessory legitimizing your smartphone as an action camera option?
*iSwissArmyKnife didn't quite have the same ring to it.