IPMBA News

Safety Vision Prima Facie Body Camera

by Samuel Kordik
Cypress Creek (TX) EMS

Our department recently had the opportunity to test and evaluate Safety Vision’s Prima Facie body camera.  This small device, just a little bigger than a pack of cards, is designed to clip onto the uniform shirt or to be attached to shoulder lapels using a shoulder mount adapter.  It features a dual-mode daylight/IR camera that switches automatically based on available light and can record video, still images, and/or audio.  It also enables the user to review recorded files on a small LCD screen on the back of the device.  Interestingly, it is also designed to work as a speaker-mic with compatible radios, but we were unable to test this functionality.

We evaluated the device both during training simulation cases and during an IPMBA public safety cyclist class.  We found the device to be fairly simple to use to record video (just push the large button; it then beeps every few minutes to remind you that it is recording), as well as pretty straightforward to attach to clothing:  just clip it on.  However, the clip isn’t as secure as hoped for, and the device fell off the user in several different cases under normal use situations.  The shoulder mount is more secure, but not as intuitive to use.   It also gets in the way of normal radio speaker-mics or flashlights worn on the shoulder.

Compared to a GoPro and some other POV video products, the video produced by this device is fuzzy and flat.  The IR mode is useful in low-light situations, although the auto-switching functionality is very sensitive to small flashes of light or temporary shading of the camera lens.

Another problem noted with the video comes from the camera’s location on the chest:  compared to a helmet- or glasses-mounted camera, the footage is shaky and the perspective much less useful.  In fact, the user’s arms often got in the way, rendering the footage unusable.

The computer software included with the device allows for setting a password so that footage from the device can’t be downloaded without authorization.  This part works well, but the rest of the software required extensive tech support to get working, is slow, and makes it very hard to review and import the video files.

Overall, this is an interesting product with some innovative ideas, but the near-unusable computer software and low-quality video output make it much less useful than it would seem and it doesn’t compare well to other POV camera systems.

Samuel Kordik is a clinical instructor and member of the Bike Medic Response Team at Cypress Creek EMS in Spring, TX.  He has enjoyed mountain biking since his teens and is passionate about pre-hospital medicine.  He was excited to combine the two passions and become a bicycle medic two years ago.  He can be reached at skordik@ccems.com.

(c) 2015 IPMBA.  This review appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of IPMBA News

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