Fun with cheap video cameras

If you’ve known/read/listened to me for any amount of time, you’ll know that video has never really been a draw for me. I’m primarily an audio guy, and in recent years have added photography to my creative pursuits.

Video though, never really captured my attention. I mean, I like a cat-getting-run-over-by-a-roomba video as much as the next guy, but i’ve never felt adventurous with video the way I can with a camera or microphone.

This summer, I was hanging out with a lifelong friend, and he was telling me about his hobby – remote controlled airplanes. He’s built/destroyed several planes, and he shares the hobby with his son, so it’s also a source of quality father/son time.

Anyhow, the conversation turns to airplane modifications, and I mention that I’d seen these tiny little video cameras online (from China of course) super cheap and with seemingly endless possibilities.. So he, I and another friend of ours each ordered these $10 cameras and set out to see what we could do with them.

If you’ve never heard of these things, they’re called “808 cameras”, and look like the remote door lock thingie for your car :


Shipping from China being what it is, we waited several weeks until we got them. Once we did get them though, I was impressed at the image/sound quality for such a cheap thingie.

As someone who’s always taken pretty good care of their toys, there’s a strange sense of freedom that comes with knowing that your financial risk is $10. It lets you do things you wouldn’t with a $1000 or even $200 camera.

So our creative challenges to each other have started, and we try to see what we can do with this thing…

Al’s shot a great video of a recent flight:

I used some tape to secure the camera to our hockey Goalie’s helmet (at a strange angle, and aimed wrong – you don’t want to watch the whole thing):

Al also took his on a roller coaster at Callaway Park:

Our friend Mike has promised to attach his to a remote-controlled helicopter, and if it warms up a touch before winter kicks in, I’m going to try to attach mine to a kite.

None of these videos will win any awards, but as we get more used to shooting with a camera that has no viewfinder, they’ll get better.

The great thing is we’re exploring different creative options, sharing amongst friends,  and having fun.

If you have (or acquire) one of these little cameras and want to join our “what the hell can we do with these” group – leave a comment, we’ll find a way to join up and share videos – ideas bring more ideas!


Chuck Lohr has a great site about the different variations of this little camera


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One Comment

  1. Paul says:

    I’d put one inside my son’s football helmet so could experience a better angle of the game. I love first person views. They seem to enhance normal everyday boring experiences.

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