Beagle Cam

For some time I’ve been wanting a video camera small enough and light enough to attach to Beanie or Biggles to get a true Beagle’s-eye view of the world.  Unfortunately everything seemed to be too bulky, too expensive and of very low quality – or so I thought until a running friend showed me a small key-fob sized camera he’d bought from a Hong Kong retailer via ebay. The camera, known by the instantly memorable name “808 version 11” (!!)  is small, ridiculously light, shoots in 720P HD and can be had for £40 or less. Everything you may ever want to know about the camera, including which ebay retailers to use and which to avoid, is contained in the following wonderful article:

That article was written by a remote control enthusiast, and the qualities that make the camera ideal for attaching to RC planes, boats and vehicles should make it equally suited to serve as a Beagle-cam. Obviously I had to get one, and I put it through its first trials yesterday. I still haven’t worked out how best to attach the camera to our dogglets; for now I just popped a harness on ’em, then used a velcro strap to secure the camera to the harness mid way along the back. As you’ll see in this first clip of Biggles doing a fetch, that’s not an ideal position for the camera:

Biggles Fetch from Paul Roberts on Vimeo.

It’s jerky and you can’t really see what’s going on, but I still get a warm feeling every time I watch the back of his head and his flapping ears as he gallops back to me for a treat!

Later the same day we tried the camera on Beanie and Biggles at their agility lesson with Carol Rogers. We’ve been having lessons with Carol about once a fortnight and both our dogs and us have really come on leaps and bounds (no pun intended). Anyway, first here’s a clip of Beanie doing the course with me holding the camera:

That’s pretty good quality for such a tiny camera in such poor indoor light. Straight after that, I attached the camera to Beanie and she ran the course again. Unfortunately the poor light combined with the speed and vibration of doggy movement made things very hard for the camera, and again the mounting position is less than ideal. Still, I think the result is amusing, especially the first round when the camera falls off and nearly gets swallowed! Word of warning – if you suffer from epilepsy or have just had your lunch, you’d better watch this one through your fingers:

BeanieCam from Paul Roberts on Vimeo.

Obviously I had to try the same thing with Biggles:

Biggles Agility Cam from Paul Roberts on Vimeo.

So, we’ve got to find a better way of attaching the camera to our dogs. The top of the head would be about the best position – that way we’d get to see pretty much what they’re looking at. Susan’s considering making some kind of head gear out of tights or other underwear. At one point she tried fitting a pair of pink knickers onto Biggles’ head. He didn’t mind one bit, but I had to draw the line – no way is my boy wearing pink knickers in public!