March 21, 2016 by Ido Lechner
“The first time I went to buy a camera [a GoPro] to strap onto my surfboard, it suddenly opened up a world of possibilities in my mind as to the shots I can produce and things I could make” opens Eric Sanchez, CEO and founder of the Revl Arc action camera, in an exclusive PSFK interview. “…but when I went back to edit the video, I realized that I had to stabilize it frame by frame—the whole process took me 27 hours just to make a three-minute videoAs an engineer and extreme sports lover, Eric’s run-in with this technical difficulty fueled his imagination, and soon after he assembled a team to create the first working prototype of what would become the Revl Arc action camera. What sets this camera apart from any other is its ability to stabilize in even the most unstable conditions. Whether you’re kite looping on a wavy day, barrel rolling thousands of feet above ground or back flipping during a bungee jump, your footage will always stay level with the horizon.
“Shooting high quality video is still really hard to get —the first thing you need is stable video,” says Sanchez. He goes on to explain that while editing is the second most important step in bringing footage to life, things like fleshing out colors, adding vignettes and so forth will only get you so far if the frames themselves are wobbly. To that effect, the Revl Arc is a complete solution for capturing steady images as it’s small, water resistant (up to 3 meters), scratch proof, has an anti-fog lens, is encased in a durable protective body, shoots at 4k, and completely replaces clumsy add-ons necessary to achieve the same effect with other cameras. It also comes with its own set of unique mounts designed for particular sports in mind so as to add to the overall experience.
The camera’s stabilization is achieved both mechanically and electronically: built-in gyroscopic, magnetic, barometric and acceleration sensors help the camera interpret the location of the horizon by measuring metrics such as gravity, altitude and rotation. From there, the camera selects an ‘abundant’ pixel radius slightly past what would normally be displayed on a screen so it can effectively compensate for introduced movement and vibrations. The entire process, which has yet to be capably achieved by any other camera maker (including the almighty GoPro), is titled ‘Hybrid Stabilization Technology.’
But the captured live data such as speed, jump height, camera leveling, rotation, airtime, total g-force pulled and even heart rate (should you choose to pair external sensors to the camera) can be used for more than just smoothing out your footage. In fact, Sanchez suggests that collecting this data is as crucial for editing as it is for capturing content.
“Most videographers become data hoarders [on account of bad captures] and their content never actually makes it to editing – it just sits there,” says Sanchez. “What we accidentally discovered is that if we record all of the sensor activity (such as audial, visual and motion-based cues) in a data track, we can identify highlights to automatically make an edited reel. Say you’re snowboarding and your acceleration is changing as you land from a jump, an algorithm we’ve built into the camera [upon this discovery] can identify what trick you just performed. After that initial identification, the camera can extract your best stunts, moments and bloopers without you having to do anything—though you will have control over the editing process of course.”
By applying Revl’s proprietary ‘Sensory AI (artificial intelligence)’— contextual algorithms applied to the sensor data to make and deliver the most informed auto-editing decisions—an intuitive iOS app interface paired to Revl Arc seamlessly generates instantly shareable reels of your most breathtaking moments. All you have to do is ensure your phone and camera are paired via Wi-Fi, add a music track, and you’re ready to go live with your best stunts. What more, the app routinely tracks users’ personal progress over time to compete with friends or compare stats.
Having crafted a camera imbued with all the right tools to remedy any headaches extreme sports enthusiasts and content creators might have, Sanchez’s long term vision is to continue to improve the video production experience by upping performance and perhaps shrinking the size of the camera even further if possible. Moreover, he hopes that the Revl app will “completely remove the need to swap SD cards” by gaining sizeable traction, and inspire people to lead a life “made for adventuring, not editing.”