I had a lot of time to think today, with a delayed flight, a missed flight and a long de-icing process.
And the more I thought about this week, the more disgusted I’ve become with the Owle Bubo. Before I spout off I’m going to say upfront that I have not talked with anyone at Owle, so I’m not sure what their development plans were for the release of the Bubo device. They could have all sorts of plans that I’m not aware of. But here’s my two cents anyway.
If Owle had any hope of addressing a journalistic crowd with the Bubo then they would have released the device with the telephoto lens. I don’t know the backgrounds of the people at Owle, so it’s conceivable that journalism wasn’t
their first concern when creating their system. The lens is more suited for tourists, you know, the ones who are trying to get everything they can—including the kitchen sink—into each shot.
I know the telephoto lens is coming, but VeriCorder was unable to get one for us to use last week at the Olympics. I was really hoping to give it a test because, frankly, both the wide angle and the macro lenses that are shipping with the Bubo now are of little use for most journalistic situations. Up on Whistler mountain yesterday, though, journalism student Erica Zucco and I were very happy to have the wide angle attachment. Scenic environments are a great use for this lens, like this shot, from inside the gondola.
About three days into our work in Vancouver I told the students to take the wide angle lens off because it was clear to me that it was hampering our shooting situations more than helping them. When shooting people you have to be careful of the distortion on the edges of the frame. Distorted people look goofy, plain and simple.
Now again in fairness to Owle, I’m not really sure if they meant for this lens to be a replacement for the iPhone lens, in essence having it be the everyday lens for the phone. In reality, it doesn’t make journalistic sense — the iPhone lens is already wide enough for journalism. What’s needed is the ability to get closer to people, not further. If this system is going to be useful for spot news situations, the telephoto is a must.
(And while I’m at it, while the screw on lens is very secure, it’s hard to get off in a hurry, another hindrance in spot news situations.)
Maybe the crew of students that are working in Vancouver this week will get to test it out. At the very least, someone should test it out before the National Association of Broadcasters/Radio Television Digital News Association convention in April, where VeriCorder will be showing off the system to professional journalists. I know that VeriCorder also plans to have their video software on the market by then, and these two components would really make this system road ready.
Our students Brian Pellot and Erica Zucco will be enlisting the help of other journalists and journalism students as they further test the Vericorder system. I’ll be waiting anxiously to see what others think of the Bubo lens and if they have the need for the telephoto lens.
MU journalists are Erica Zucco and Brian Pellot:
and on Twitter: http://twitter.com/briandpellot
and on Twitter: http://twitter.com/ericazucco