How Mini DV Life Capture Devices Enriched My Life

Author Chinavasion Marketing 24.7.2009. | 19:16


Some china digital camcorders are small and affordable enough to use as part of a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week life recording system

By Michael Wong

Imagine being able to review every discussion you ever had, re-watch treasured memories at the touch of a button, recall important information like names, dates and instructions and always have an impartial witness for life-shaking events.

This exciting, and scary, concept of having a life capture device is even closer now with video technology that is available today.

But what exactly is a life capture device or a life recorder?

There have been various ideas about how to implement such a life recording device. A couple of years ago, I read about Gordon Bell, a researcher at Microsoft who was trying to achieve such a feat and record the entire minutia of his life through video and a number of other systems.

While he has gone a little way to achieving it with My Life Bits, a Microsoft research project (learn more about it at ) and his ideas are intriguing, the logistics of such an undertaking are easier said than done.


Gordon Bell, a real life Truman Burbank

After all we can’t all have the entire staff of Redmond at our beck and call.

The average person COULD use a camcorder. Of course, if you use a camcorder then you have two potential problems: running out of memory and running out of battery power.

That’s not even taking into consideration the label you will attract for yourself and the way people will treat you if you walk around all day looking through camcorder.

This might have all changed with plummeting hard disk memory prices.

It is now possible to get 500GB of memory for roughly 100USD. That’s 10 cents per GB, or in other words, for well under a dollar a day you could archive your life.

Take for example some of the great mini DV cameras we have adorning our shelves right now:


The CVSD-J12, CVSA-J07, CVSD-629 are all examples of DV cameras small enough to carry with you everywhere with a big enough memory to capture hours of footage on end.

While all of these cameras are often pitched at the espionage types and private eyes they are more than capable of handling the stipulations required of a life capture device.


What’s cool about this particular spy camera is that you can encrypt footage so that your life can only be seen by you, and it has a clip so that it can clip nice and easily onto any item of clothing.


I wandered around the office talking to people, did some work and went to Starbucks, all with the camera on.

2 hours and 41 minutes equated to one battery charge and 331 MB of video footage. Brilliant!

The audio and video quality were not bad.

High definition it wasn’t, but then again for the price and the purpose I didn’t want high definition.

What I wanted from a life recording device was something that got down all the sound and visuals that I experience each day. And that, the CVHE-I11 did with ease.

The CVHE-I11comes with a free 2GB memory card meaning I can potentially get 15 hours of footage onto a single card.

But I still had a problem with battery life.

Then it hit me.

I could carry a total of 4 of these devices on me at all times.

At the end of the day, I would insert them into all four USB ports on my laptop. At the same time, I’d transfer all that video footage onto my HDD. My Toshiba Satellite boasts 160 GB of space. At 1 GB per day, I had almost 6 months of life recording space. When I ran out, I could transfer it onto DVD’s on just buy a 500 GB external HDD.

I’ve begun recording my life in earnest. It’s been 3 days. I bought a total of four of these devices. Total price is still less than a brand name camcorder.

Last night I watched over the videos. Skimmed over them is more like it. It’s amazing how much goes on in our lives. Stuff we totally forget. Stuff that is actually really important that gets lost when it is entrusted to our feeble minds and even feebler memories.

It’s helped me in my work and in the way I deal with people and handle meetings, especially when I go back and review what I had done through the day and what I could have done differently.

I’m glad I spent my money on these devices.

I had originally planned on buying a pimped out Sony PSP. That will have to wait until next month.

But by next month, I will have 30 days of my life archived.

To be rewound, reviewed, relived.

So if you’re interested in capturing your life, or the life of a loved one on film to be remembered forever there can be no better option than a mini DV camera like the CVHE-I11.

Author Chinavasion Marketing 24.7.2009. | 19:16
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  1. Mcbott August 5, 19:58

    What is in cigarettes
    I never had to choose a subject – my subject rather chose me.

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