One of the most versatile and valuable tools I work with on almost a daily basis is a camera. Sure, they’re not much good for driving nails (although this one seems tough enough to do just that), but they’re invaluable when it comes to documenting the work I do around the shop and out on the jobsite.
We bought two of these cameras when we were hired to produce a promotional video for Huber Engineered Woods. They wanted to highlight their new ZipSystem panel used for both wall sheathing and roof decking. The build would take several weeks to complete and they wanted it documented from start to finish. We began looking for the right equipment to accomplish the task and discovered the Plotwatcher Pro at….Bass Pro Shops! Unlikely, but true.
The Plotwatcher Pro is used mainly by sportsmen for surveying a hunting ground and targeting the right time of day (or night) to show back up, loaded for bear (or deer, or elk, etc.). The great thing about these cameras is that they are capable of doing that and so much more! It’s a perfect way to keep an eye on your job site inventory when no one is around. There are remotely-monitored camera systems designed for just that, but they run upwards of $1000 to purchase. This will at least give you some evidence of a theft for a fraction of the price (around $220).
Here’s what I liked:
- Very easy set-up from a technical standpoint. The controls were easy to understand and the page menus were simple to navigate. I don’t think I even had to crack open the instructions.
- Compact Size: The camera measures about 8” tall x 4” wide x 2.5” deep. It’s very compact and lightweight.
- It’s waterproof. Since these type cameras are used most often outdoors, this makes sense. A rubber seal around the perimeter of the camera helps keep moisture from entering the controls and view-screen.
- Mounting straps are provided in the package for securing the camera to a tree or fencepost. Since we used them on a construction worksite, we built plywood boxes to protect the cameras from both debris and sticky fingers.
- The 1280×720 HD video (when lit properly) looks AMAZING!
- Battery life is nothing short of incredible. One of the cameras we set up still had at least 55% charge left after 2 and half months.
Not so much:
- At least initially, the menus were so thorough they got a little disorienting. Chalk it up to a caffeine low and that may have been the cause of my mental fog. There are a couple of menu items that seem redundant – the “Midday Skip” function has at least two enable/disable controls.
- The mounting strap is a little weak for my tastes. I couldn’t tighten it adequately on top of a telephone pole to prevent it from swaying in the breeze. Granted, I was using the camera in an arena it wasn’t likely designed for, but I wanted to note that the boxes we built were necessary to keep the footage rock-solid.
Those are two very minor gripes, however. Overall, the Plotwatcher Pro Camera is a dream to work with and the movies come out looking incredible! One thing to note – the movies are recorded in an .AVI format, but are labeled with the extension .TLV. To use them in any software other than the included Plotwatcher viewer, simply change the extension to .AVI and you’re in business.
For the price, you can’t beat this camera for HD time-lapse video! Take a look at a sample of what we shot in the video clip below.
To purchase the latest version of the Plotwatcher Pro from Amazon: CLICK HERE
For more information about the Plotwatcher Pro Camera: Day6 Website
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