I recently had the opportunity to try out and use an IPEVO VZ-X Wireless, HDMI & USB 8MP Document Camera. Document cameras are the overhead projectors of today. They enable you to show on your computer screen or through a projector a real-time image of whatever on which you focus the camera. With apps, you can then generally annotate the image, draw on it, or even add text.
Before we get into all the specs and what the VZ-x camera does, let’s talk about use cases. I mean, today most of us are using digital images of things we can show in presentations or to juries. If a document does happen to be paper, we can always scan and work from that, right?
Manipulating a real document or object in front of juries or audiences still has an impact.
Yes. However, sometimes that’s not so easy. Take a standard textbook or treatise. It’s sometimes hard to scan a single page. And there is something about opening the book on camera, going to the page and making notes on it that provides perhaps greater weight to the documents. Manipulating a real document or object in front of juries or audiences still has an impact. Also, sometimes documents may be in notebooks or other holders that makes getting a clear scan a little tricky. Sometimes you want the audience to see the nature of the overall document, not just scanned pages.
Sometimes you are not dealing with documents but with objects. You want to demonstrate how a particular object works, how to take it apart, or how to repair it in real-time. Sure, you can video this demonstration and play it back, but it’s not quite the same as doing it live.
Let’s suppose your case involves an exploding mustard bottle. Here could be a screenshot of the actual bottle that exploded that you and your expert could take apart live.
You or your expert could use the annotation feature to highlight things on the bottle, like this.
Both of the above pictures are screenshots of an image projected with the VZ-X.
When you have an expert on the stand, there is nothing like the expert doing something live in front of the jury that can add credible the. For example, let’s suppose your expert doctor wants to explain how a heart functions using a model. The doctor can take that model apart on the screen, show where abnormalities were. Very effective.
Or what if you or your expert wanted to explain how to do something. Take a ’Rubik’s Cube: how effective would it be for you or your expert to solve the puzzle live in front of the jury.
What if your adversary uses paper or a physical model and you need to cross examine an expert or counter an argument using the very paper or model your adversary offers? Powerful.
Moreover, when combined with 3-D printing of demonstrative exhibits, a lot of use cases come to mind. Pieces can be manipulated or juxtaposed in several ways to prove a point. So yes, there are many uses for this technology even today.
The IPEVO VZ-X Wireless Document Review Camera
So now let’s talk about IPEVO VZ-X Wireless document review camera in specific. First, in the interest of disclosure, the IPEVO folks were nice enough to supply me with one to tinker around. They have been marketing this product to the education and medical profession, and it occurred to them, rightfully so, that lawyers might also be interested. I am on the faculty of an industry organization’s trial presentation academy called Evolve, and we do recommend the use of a Belkin light table along with the stage pro app to do some of the same things as the IPEVO product. But in many ways, I think the IPEVO product is superior.
First, the IPEVO camera is lightweight and portable. It comes in at a little over two pounds and is about 12 inches long. As you can see from the picture, it folds up into a very convenient package to carry around.
However, it has a movable arm that lets you place the camera at the distance you want from the object. The camera itself is on a swivel assembly which enables you to move in and out. With a swiveling head and strengthened multi-jointed stand, you’re free to position VZ-X at different heights, angles and various orientations for capturing your material and it can set up in any space. The camera can also tilt up to capture things on a wall or even, according to IPEVO, work with video conferencing.
The device has an LED light built-in if additional light is needed, such as in dimly lit conference rooms or courtrooms. The device has video filters, and a rotate and zoom function. (The camera does not focus well on objects a long distance away, but I’m not sure you would ever want to use the product for this purpose, in any event).You can adjust exposure or refocus if the automated exposure and focus settings are not to your liking. Also, an action button placed on VZ-X’s base even allows you to quickly access Visualizer’s functions such as snapshot, video recording, and scanning.
The camera will project a paper or object on a screen of a computer, tablet, Apple TV, or projector. It works well with an iPad or even an iPhone. It can project wirelessly or can stream real-time images directly using an HDMI or USB connection. The device helps to cut the clutter and makes large screen projection more straightforward, helping you look better organized.
I was frankly surprised at the quality of the images displayed by the 8 MP camera. The images were crisp and clear. A range of high definition resolutions are available: up to 3264 x 2448 (USB mode), and up to 1920 x 1080 (HDMI or Wi-Fi mode)
Another piece of good news: the device and the apps were all easy to use and intuitive
Buttons on the product itself enable you to control all the functions. Alternative, the IPEVO Visualization app allows you to run the features from your computer or tablet. The IPEVO Whiteboard app enables you to annotate anything on the screen. Finally, you can take video and screenshots of anything that appears on screen for preservation. The device has a battery live of 9-12 hours although I didn’t test this. The VZ-X carries a $299 price tag which isn’t cheap but given the portability and functionality, its not that bad.
Another piece of good news: the device and the apps were all easy to use and intuitive. I can’t tell you how often I have to connect something wireless or via Bluetooth and it takes forever to get it all straight. With the VZ-X, I just downloaded the apps, turned on the camera, and connected with no issue. It just all worked.
All too often, we think things have to be done entirely digitally to be effective. The VZ-X offers an alternative to powerpoint or completely paperless persuasive tools, sometimes a welcome and useful break. I think it’s well worth it. There’s always something compelling about someone who tactically uses and touches a document, image, or object in front of an audience.