Producer's Journal: Survival Gadgets
By: Heather Sherman
Only Lucas could get lost inside a Toronto dog park... testing out a GPS watch. Even he'll tell you navigation skills are not his strong suit.
It's 7PM on a recent Friday night and our Daily Planet crew is shooting Lucas' Survive This! Future Tech segment.
After battling location detours (the original park where we planned to shoot was closed for renovations), windy conditions (note my air hair) and a canine convention (this is apparently where dogs of all types gather to discuss weekend plans), we're trying our best to wrap up before we lose our light.
Chris Ejbich, camping, paddling & snowsports product specialist at Mountain Equipment Co-op is showing off the survival gadgets of the future - the Petzl Nao reactive head lamp, the Suunto Ambit GPS watch and the Flir Thermal Imaging camera. Of course, Lucas wants to test them all out.
We plan for Lucas and Chris to find a waypoint using the Ambit watch. But the first time Lucas sets one, things don't go quite according to plan. First, it takes us directly to the barking dog who has been eagerly plotting to ruin our shoot all night. Next, it takes us... right back to the dog (I'm starting to think he's in on it). Finally we make it to our campsite (bench) on the other side of the park. Ah, the sweet smell of success.
The Petzl headlamp was not only tres cool, it also came in handy when our cameraman Brian Marleau needed some extra light to find his spare battery! It basically takes the guess work out of finding the right light level by shining brighter or dimming instantaneously, based on its surroundings - particularly useful for mountaineers and rock climbers. And cameramen.
But the money shot was the Flir thermal imag
ing camera, which Lucas couldn't wait to try out. Think about the same technology used in daring helicopter water or forest rescues - but in a handheld device. The Flir has three settings - black hot for daylight, white hot for night and marine red, to accentuate your night vision. But again, things don't go quite according to plan.
First, Brian tried to shoot the Flir image through his standard HD camera - no luck. The image was too small. Then we tried using a much smaller GoPro camera, but it was the same story. And then - the eureka moment. Chris had a brand new iphone 5 right out of the box. Brilliant! Worked like a charm. Sorry about the duct tape, Chris.
By the end of the shoot, we were giddy and having some fun with our story. Suddenly we had an audience. Lucas was mobbed by a pack of tiny, but very loud puppies. He's a charmer all right. Even the dogs think so.
Check out the full-segment on Survival Gadgets
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