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Maddie our dog tries dogcam

9 September 2014 No Comment

WHEN I heard GoPro was releasing a harness for dogs I was curious. Could dogcam vision be as riveting as hang-gliding action, mountain biking, rock scaling or clips of catching that big wave?

So I harnessed up our favourite local dog, a West Highland White Terrier called Maddie who attends a weekly dog obedience class in inner Sydney.

She wore a regular GoPro Hero3+ black edition camera for the exercise — the same one used by extreme sports nuts.

Maddie just fits the weight range of dogs GoPro says the harness is suited to — from 7 to 54kg. For larger dogs, you can mount the camera on their back or underneath their belly.

Being on the smaller side, we had to mount it on Maddie’s back as there wasn’t enough room beneath her undercarriage, the alternative spot.

Besides, I wondered how ephemeral the view would be from a camera filming from among a dog’s legs.

There were problems. The harness often slipped and the camera sometimes ended up at Maddie’s side rather than on her back. Maybe we could have tightened it more, but we didn’t want to crush the little Westie.

I did manage to take oodles of Maddie vision — a tyre-level epic wandering past parked cars on her way to dog school, and her adventures at the park: getting up close and personal to other dogs and strutting her obedience stuff. She appeared well trained.

So how riveting is dog cam? Unfortunately, you can’t avoid the fact a dog’s daily activities are not an extreme sport, so hours of dogcam can get tedious.

Further, as dogs generally walk rather than glide, there’s lots of camera movement wobbling side-to-side, and the back of Maddie’s white head is inevitably prominent in footage.

To make dogcam more attractive, I created a home movie of Maddie’s vision interspersed with footage shot at the dog school. To me, that’s the best way to present dogcam, and it came up OK.

My conclusion is that dogcam is a gimmick, and forcing suspects to watch hours of it could be adopted as a hi-tech form of torture in penitentiaries.

But given the harness is a geeky pet accessory, GoPro is destined to sell bucketloads of them despite the aforementioned issues.

You can watch the dogcam video on our website and make up your own mind.

Price: $89 for GoPro Fetch dog harness from mid month
Rating: 7

by Chris Griffith, The Australian, September 9, 2014

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