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Sony Action Cam and V1 Golf Review
04 Apr 2013
by Pete Wlodkowski of AmateurGolf.com

see also: Equipment Reviews

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- amateurgolf.com photo
Sony's entry into the “extreme sports” camera market is a small wonder called the Action Cam. And it’s great for other activities and sports besides surfing, skiing, or mountain biking. You can even use it under water, with the supplied polycarbonate housing.

It's amazing how much technology is packed into the Action Cam, which is just a few inches long, smaller than the typical laser range finder, and light-as a feather. It can film in high definition, and has a slow motion mode that is smart enough to play back in slow-mo, without having to change the playback settings. Even without golf specific software, this means you can film your golf swing with the Action Cam just by clipping it onto your golf bag (clips run about $20) and play it back on your TV or computer.

Sony, who serves as the title sponsor of the PGA Tour’s season-opener in Hawaii, is serious about golf and they have partnered up with top video software company V1 to bring a “prosumer” and teaching professional solution to the golf market. How you use it as a golf swing analyzer will depend on your familiarity with technology, and your desire to take swing analysis on a tablet or computer to a higher level.

Before I dig into the technology, I should tell you about V1 software and why you would consider using it on your own as opposed to just with your pro when taking a golf lesson. (If you’re already using V1, you can skip this part). Industry pioneer V1 has well over a million downloads of their apps which allow their solution to be used on iPhones, iPads, and Android devices. It also runs on a web browser.

Thousands of teachers around the world use this software during their lessons, and now on an increasing basis players are using the "locker" feature of the V1 Academy to communicate in between lessons. Of course, the best way to improve your golf swing is to work with a trusted local professional that uses technology to help you improve. Years ago, I would take a lesson and leave with a CD or DVD but I must admit, I hardly ever watched it. But now, my pro can shoot me an email with a video or still photo from our lesson and I can upload it into V1 to remind me what I’m working on before I practice.

If you’ve got a smart phone, you’ve almost certainly tried to film your swing at one time or other. It’s quick and easy, especially if you invest in a clip that attaches to your bag or, even better, an alignment stick. To utilize the Sony Action Cam with V1 and a tablet you'll need to follow a few steps which are available in a golf-specific guide. (If you're interested in getting a copy, drop me a quick email or use the Facebook comments below)

Once you get connected to your table, you'll want to use Action Cam's built in wifi-fi for two main purposes:

1) REMOTE CONTROL & CAMERA PLACEMENT:
By placing the tablet on the ground or a chair/table next to your hitting station and having the Action Cam located behind or to the side, you can see where you are going to be positioned in the shot and start filming when you’re ready. This happens within the V1 app.

2) SENDING VIDEO TO TABLET:
Once you have filmed a swing, you can send it to the tablet so you can take advantage of all the wonderful things that V1 provides, including side-by-side comparison with a library of Tour swings, markup tools, and upload to your locker at the V1 Academy.

SUMMARY:

You will need a bit of technical savvy to make the Action Cam wifi connection to the tablet, download and become familiar with the V1 software, and figure out the sequence of things to do to make using everything second nature. But if you’re willing to invest a little time, you’ll wind up being able to view larger videos, and access a richer feature set than a typical smart phone's camera. You'll also be investing in a versatile video camera that you can use for all sorts of other activities.

ADDITIONAL RESEARCH:

If you’re really interested in everything Action Cam can do, and footage shot with it, I recommend you search "Action Cam" in YouTube. One review in particular, from a user named "Blunty3000" takes you on an 18- minute tour that includes time lapse and underwater footage. And if you watch it until the end you can even see how nearly indestructible Action Cam is when kept in the polycarbonate case.

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