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Pivothead Durango Whitey 1080p HD Video Recording Glasses

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.5 out of 5 stars  59 reviews
59 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pivothead for LEO's- DWI/DUI officer's best friend! 18 Jun 2013
By P. Lehmann - Published on
This is a review from a LEO for other LEO's. I'm not assigned to the streets anymore but I do still work OT on holidays and STEP DWI's.

I know bodycams in law enforcement have vocal detractors, but this is a product review. There are plenty of hotly debated threads on forums elsewhere.

The model I have used is the Recon Jet Black, which comes with clear, yellow, and smoke interchangeable lenses.

Pivotheads are, by far, the best bodycam available for LEO's if you can adapt to its important limitations (discussed later). I bought them because they were, and are as of this writing are, the only glasses capable of 1080 or 720 at 60fps. I've tried all settings, and I just leave them on 1080 now.

THE RAVE- These glasses make POV videos that make prosecutors' mouths drop open. I cant say what juror's reactions are yet because Ive yet to have a case with PH video make it beyond a quick plea. Have problems getting a jury visualize what HGN is, or what distinct and sustained looks like? Ever testified about other aspects of SFSTs that occurred but you cant see on the car video? Ever took an hour or more articulating factors that lead you to your decision in a use-of-force report or IAD investigation? Ever wasted hours of everyone's time on the stand with an attorney trying to convince a jury that you didn't or couldn't see what you did?

Dear friend, as The Raven quoth, "Nevermore."

It is hard for me to contain the superlatives of how well these glasses work. If you turn them on following a car you can narrate lane crossings (or whatever) as they happen, and the video is better than any car camera I have ever seen ( plus there is no pesky red light visible coming on in the front, visible in rear view mirrors ahead, that can cause drivers to straighten up). Viewers walk up to the car with you and experience almost everything you did except for the smells. Jurors or judges see what you saw as you approached an address on a hot call, heard the screams, saw the faces of panic, surprise, relief, or rage that caused you to make the decisions you did.

Granted, there may be legal implications in some states you need to sort out before you use these. There are absolutely policy implications. Our department authorizes these cameras, and since we use electronic report systems, the videos are uploaded directly into the report as an attachment file at the time the report is written. With this procedure I've not run into any problems with someone claiming a video was altered, but if I was ever involved in a critical incident I would upload a video to an internet cloud service ASAP so there's a file stored off-site with independent documentation about the upload and lack of any edits.

If I ever get a case that goes to trial and the video is admitted as evidence, thus becoming a public record, I may post samples here on Amazon.

Fire up the PHs, make the best decisions you can with what you have, and the 1080 HD POV video will do the rest.

THE RANT- Because PHs are not designed for primarily for LEOs, they do have some aggravating quirks that bit me more than once. First of all, you cannot put the glasses in standby mode for any length of time. They shut right back down if the camera isnt activated. Second, you have to wait 5 seconds after powering the unit to hit the record button, otherwise you will get no video. If you are off on your count by 1/100th second before you hit 'record', no video. More aggravating is that this isnt immediately apparent because the red blinking record light isnt visible when the glasses are on. These things caused me to miss more than one recording I thought was getting.

To make sure its recording you need to pull the glasses forward from your face a bit to double check the interior LEDs. I finally gave up and leave them attached with a rubber band to the visor, taking them down when needed and powering up all functions before I put them on.

When PHs record HGN they do so spectacularly. Alas, there is a technique to this to get it right.. When looking for HGN, you need to be mindful of the camera. Many first time users get gorgeous, HD video of hair and a forehead (glasses pointed high). Also, LEOs need to be mindful that bright lights will wash out the picture, so the power of LED flashlights needs to be dialed down for that.

In lower light situations, PHs are sensitive to the color of ambient light. Many people dont realize that sodium streetlights are yellow, others bluish, some florescents more green. PH videos will show these color casts in lower light. The videos are also more grainy, but Ive yet to see a lay viewer complain about that in LEO videos. They show what needs to be shown.

The glasses need to be charged regularly. I've charged them one weekend, put them away, and had low battery problems the next if they weren't recharged. If you use them daily, they need to be recharged (and downloaded) nightly, just like your phone.

Also, you cannot expand the memory beyond the 8MB hardware. If you work patrol in a large department and shag call after call on a 8, 10, or 12 hour shift, the memory wont last. You can get an optional Bluetooth adapter that dumps videos to your cellphone, but that may bring its own set of administrative problems. The Veho Muvi VCC 05 HD10 I've reviewed on Amazon would probably work better if you want to record everything.

If Pivothead is listening, a wishlist-

1 Some kind of small vibration to confirm to the wearer recording is on and give warning if its going to unexpectedly stop (ie, battery or memory full).
2 At the very least, a firmware user option that will automatically start recording when powered up.
3 Micro SD capability, using the 8MB as a cache while writing to the card if needed, or triple the internal memory.
4.Longer battery life.

Another potential drawback- court OT evaporates when good PH video is present. If you are one of the guys that gets your OT money from the courthouse with trial dates reset after reset, PHs may not be for you. If you, like me, prefer to sleep in rather than get up early on your day off, the PHs are a succulent gift from the gods.

Fair warning, though: If you aren't proficient in the correct administration of SFSTs, PHs will hand a good DWI attorney a beautiful, 1080 HD, early Christmas present for their client.

And the biggest drawback- they look dorky. Sunglasses often sport extreme designs,so in the daytime with smoke lenses they will probably blend in. Slap the yellow lenses on them at the gun range and nobody gives them a second glance. But at night, with the clear lenses, they often get the WTF look from passersby.

But none of these negatives outweigh the positives. Recently I pulled up as an unintentional first-on-scene on a potential homicide (dispatched as an accident) with the suspect and the deceased together. Detectives trying to sort out whether they were dealing with a murder or a suicide wanted a detailed statement, so I pulled out the glasses, uploaded direct to DVD, handed it to them, pecked out short, single paragraph, and went on my way.

I am a firm believer that if a LEO is doing what they are are supposed to do, good cameras are their best friend. Like it or not, bodycams are the future of law enforcement. POV bodycams are the cutting edge of this trend. Pivotheads are expensive, but they give much better results than other video glasses used by others at my department, and will more than pay for themselves in peace of mind.
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Happy 2 July 2013
By Brian B - Published on
Glasses lasted for about 6 months before they stopped working. They were never dropped or bounced around, only used while walking or standing. Seemed to be some bad internal connection as at first they continued to work but only when the glasses were closed (and could not be worn). Soon after they stopped even working under these conditions. I contacted Pivothead support twice but no response besides the auto-response saying they had placed a support ticket. Never heard from them again so i guess i wasted my money.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Could be awesome; needs a few fixes 24 Sep 2013
By Sam Harper - Published on
I would've given this more stars, but for $300 I expect something to work very well and consistently. When I got these out of the box and used them for the first few times, it worked beautifully. It comes with software so you can adjust all kinds of settings (and there are a lot of options!).

I have found these glasses to be especially useful for doing youtube tutorials where I need to show people what I'm doing with my hands. For example, I recently did a knitting tutorial. It's also great because it's hands free. I originally got these so I could record conversations with Mormon and Jehovah's Witness missionaries and possibly for recording public pranks. I haven't had the opportunity to do that yet, but I have worn them out in public a few times, and people don't seem to notice that there's a camera in there, which is good.

They suck for biking, though, for a couple of reasons. First, because if you road bike like I do, it just records the front of your tire and the road. When you're bent over like that, your head is down, and your eyes are up, but the camera doesn't follow your eyes; it only follows your head. Another reason it sucks for bike riding is that any wind at all creates a lot of noise in the microphone. I've heard that could be fixed by gluing a small piece of foam over the microphone, but I haven't tried it. Don't put glue in the microphone hole! Just put it around it.

The first problem I had with these glasses is that I thought I was recording video, but it stopped without me knowing it. The reason it stopped was because my memory was full. That was quite a shock because I had deleted all my video clips. I couldn't understand why it was still showing full. After some searching around, I discovered what the problem was. It turns out that if you try to delete your files from the glasses, it doesn't really delete them. It creates an invisible trash folder on the glasses and puts the deleted files in there. To fix that, you have to change the settings on your computer to show hidden files and folders. Then you have to delete the files from the hidden trash folder. Then, with the glasses still hooked up to the computer, you have to empty the trash folder on your computer. That's the only way to delete your files from the glasses. It's a pain in the arse, and Pivothead ought to fix that.

Another problem I'm having that's even MORE annoying because I haven't been able to find a fix for it yet is that the sound frequently cuts out. Half of my videos are fine, but randomly, other ones will have the sound cut in and out. It's as if the microphone is sound activated, because it seems to always cut out the beginning of my words or sentences, as if when I begin to speak, the microphone comes back on. This is quite annoying because I don't know the problem is happening until I transfer the videos to my computer. If I'm doing a tutorial, it's too late. I can't always go back and redo something. I don't know if other people are having this problem or not because, like I said, I haven't been able to find anything out about it. If I can't find a solution for this, I'm going to try to send them back and either get a refund or a replacement. We'll find out how good the customer service is.

One more complaint I have is that there's no detailed owner's manual, neither in hard copy, nor in PDF. They'll send you a Quick Start Guide, but there's not nearly enough information, especially about trouble shooting and all the various LED light combinations. To find out more information, you have to do google searches or searches on the Pivothead web site, or browse through their FAQ. A lot of their information (e.g. what the LED lights mean) are contained in YouTube videos. So, let's say you've got something like a solid red light and a blinking blue light, and you want to know what that means. Well, you have to sit through this really annoying video of this guy who sounds like he's spaced out on drugs drone on and on about various combinations of lights before he gets to the one you're looking for when it would be so much easier if it were written somewhere, and you could just skip ahead to the one you're looking for. It would be great if all this information was in one manual with a well-organized table of contents and an index.

Another problem, which other people have mentioned, is that the glasses only stay in stand by mode for a short amount of time. So if you want to stop recording video, then start recording again, you've got to take your glasses off first to make sure they're on. Otherwise, you don't know whether you're recording video or not. There ought to be an option in the software to choose how much time you want the glasses to stay in stand by mode. Or just disable the automatic shut off altogether. Granted, leaving it in stand by mode runs down the battery, but people ought to be able to decide whether they're willing to give up a little battery life for extra convenience elsewhere.

I hate to end on a sour note, so let me say that the video quality is really good, and I have no trouble editing video either with iMovie on my Mac or with Windows Movie Maker on my PC. It also does a fairly good job of adjusting when light conditions change, and for automatically focusing for close up recording and long distance recording. It has settings to do these things automatically or to have it set to record one way or another. Like I said earlier, there are lots of options.

It also allows you to snap still pictures even while you're in the middle of recording video. And if you want, you can have it snap three pictures in a row just by hitting the button once. That way, if you're taking an action photo, you can choose any of the three shots. And you can adjust the amount of time between shots, too. It's really great. I love these glasses except for the problems I mentioned above.
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great while they worked. 29 July 2013
By Marc Davies - Published on
I got these as soon as they came out and only used them 4 times before they stopped working. Customer service is a joke. waste of money. Steer Clear!
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Wearable Recording Solution - Much Cheaper than Google Glass 23 July 2013
By Lon J. Seidman - Published on
Verified Purchase
I purchased these after a short stint as a Google Glass Explorer. I found the ability to record video from my head to be very useful and wanted a less expensive way to do it after returning my Glass to Google. These fit the bill, and you can buy five of them for what one pair of Google Glass costs.

Video quality is good and the autofocus is responsive. Pivothead doesn't provide much feedback, so I often find myself taking them off to ensure that the recording is actually happening (there's an LED indicator inside the right temple). There is no viewfinder but with the camera situated just above the nose whatever is being looked at will be recorded.

Battery charging can also be confusing. I've found the glasses don't charge when plugged into my computer. I have to use a separate AC adapter (not included) to get mine charging.

Pivothead provides a software download to resolve another annoyance: configuration. You can try to configure them using the three blinking lights inside the right temple, but it's much easier to just download their free utility and configure things that way when the glasses are plugged in.

Overall these are a great way to record decent quality video from your head. I would like future versions to provide a little more feedback as to when they are recording, but otherwise I'm quite pleased with them.
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