ATC Chameleon actioncam gets two shots at once
By Ben Coxworth
November 12, 2012
When you’re shooting first-person video of activities such as surfing, cycling or kayaking, it always helps spice up the finished product if you include footage from more than one perspective. Usually, the only way that can be accomplished is to use multiple cameras, or to stop and reposition the one camera. Oregon Scientific, however, is taking a different approach with its new ATC Chameleon actioncam. It records two perspectives at once, which it merges into a split-screen display.
The Chameleon has two 170-degree lenses, located at opposite ends of the camera body. Each one can be rotated by hand 180 degrees, one of them panning horizontally, with the other tilting vertically. A single processor combines the two 720p-resolution points of view in a split-screen display that’s divided either vertically or horizontally, as selected by the user.
The idea is that the user could mount the Chameleon somewhere such as the deck of their kayak, with one lens facing forward to shoot the oncoming river, and the other facing backward and tilted up, to get a shot of them paddling. It could also go on a mountain biker’s helmet, getting one point-of-view shot of the trail ahead, and one rear-facing shot of the riders who are following – you get the idea.
As a stationary camera set on a tripod, it could additionally be used to get shots of cyclists, snowboarders or whatnot both coming towards it, and speeding away.
The frame rate is limited to a standard 30 fps, and it can run for up to two hours on one charge of its lithium-polymer battery. It takes MicroSD memory cards up to 32GB, and is splashproof (although a watertight housing is available).
Unfortunately it appears to have no LCD screen – and the company makes no mention of Wi-Fi connectivity – so it would seem that there’s no way of previewing or reviewing its shots. It would also be nice if users had the option of just going with one of the images full-screen, instead always being stuck with the two half-screen pictures.
It’s available now, for US$200. Examples of its split-screen footage can be seen in the video below.
The designers of a similar product, the Spectacam, are currently raising productions funds on Kickstarter. Like the Chameleon, it would be a single unit with independent adjustable-angle lenses at either end. It would incorporate Wi-Fi, however, allowing users to line up shots and control camera settings via an app on their smartphone.
It is expected to sell for $349.