Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Product Review: (mirada)smartCAM

Fate picked me to beta test a wonderful new product, the (mirada)smartCAM. Specifically, it was Damien Fate, the maker (and ebil genius behind great things like Loco Pocos). Why me? It pays to be quick. And to beg. Not sure cuteness was a factor. But I got to play for a few days and I love it.

In the picture above you'll see a HUD in the upper right. It controls a camera that you rez from your inventory. For one function, simply cam to the view you want, press a HUD button to memorize it, and do that up to 6 more times. Then whenever you want, you can have your camera go back to each of those presets quickly and easily. The inset shows three of the views I had from where I was standing as shown in the bigger picture. I was watching my Shilo (such a sweetie), then watching what she was building, and keeping an eye on the Lucky Board in one of my shops (SLurl). The Big Pic was a fourth preset, but I arranged things so you could see there orb-camera in the view. Normally it trails behind your camera's focus point, usually behind you unless you alt-mouse a new view.

Which is part of the other function of the gadget: Follow Cam. Of sorts. You can give a special HUD to anyone else and their view will synchronize with yours with the press of a button. Imagine shopping and being able to show someone across the store what you found. Of course, scripts must be enabled and you need rez rights, but you get the idea. This made me think of all those school trips where the teacher used a laser pointer to show everyone where we should work. In SL® folks often use their "edit" beam to point, but that isn't always effective. With the synchronized views an instructor has better assurance the students are watching. This would also be great for group builds and machinima projects. For the latter, the HUD can display framing guides.

The potential uses are many and varied. One of my concerns was security. There is a function to make the camera invisible, great if multiple people are using the system for a machinima project, but that gives it the potential to be a spy device. At my suggestion Damien added hovertext on the camera so anyone seeing it would know who the operator is without needing to "inspect" it but that hides when the camera does. The preset views function gives it great utility for security officers, though, so I guess there is a balance. You are limited only by your draw distance (if your graphics are set to High, many prims and avatars won't be visible past 128m even though you can have the preset across a whole region) and your cleverness.

A very good manual is included and covers many of the details I didn't mention here. You can also read an overview on the Loco Pocos blog or simply buy one and play with it yourself. It's a hoot to use and very useful.


Peter Stindberg said...

I use a product called CamSync by "Imitation of Life" (Lalwende Leakey) for many, many months now. It enables you to synchronize your camera with somebody you give a spcial HUD to. It also has a "teacher mode" where you can synchronize the cam's of multiple people. It's a great tool, ideal for shopping trips, and costs 390L I think. Combined with the "tail" function of my PandoraHUD it is a perfect solution.

Ari Blackthorne™ said...

I also have been using the CamSync for quite some time. The pricing isn't the issue - rezzing is. It's useless (practically speaking) as most "retail" location have rezzing turned-off (yes, the once in a blue moon object-droppin g griefer causes parcel owners and manager s to punish everyone I guess.)

I took a peek at the XSL listing. Looks good.

Except... that one single flaw.
Rezzing. :(

Just my too-sense. :)

Peter Stindberg said...

In these cases you need to rez/wear it first before you enter the location. And in that case it even works in no-script environments. It's annoying, I know, but it works.