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The New Rig: JVC Picsio FM1 + Ikelite Underwater Housing, V8 LED Lights

Written by Jayvee Fernandez

My rig is complete!

During its heyday the Flip was the only compact video recorder that delivered good results. In the same way that we use “Kodak” or “Xerox” as verbs, most people refer to compact video recorders as Flip recorders. Enter the 5th generation iPod nano, and the Sony Bloggie: affordable compact video cameras for posting on YouTube and Facebook are the new in thing.

JVC’s Picsio is an underdog in local marketing. Have you even seen one on the shelves? At best, you’re going to get an hour or an hour and a half worth of recording and photos on a full charge. The FM1 accepts SD and SDHC cards, with almost negligible internal memory. It has very simple controls, allowing you to switch from 1080p HD video recording to 8MP stills (not so good autofocus for photos). On a 4GB card, you will get 800+ photos, but more importantly, 41 minutes of video. Since the controls are dumbed down, you can’t change the recording quality to 720p or to anything lower. You will have to do this on your computer. The FM1 comes with a landscape and macro auto focus switch on the side which you can transition between even while recording. This gives you Jason Magbanua-ish effects for depth of field blur when focusing on close subjects. Charging is via standard miniUSB direct to your computer. The formats supported are .MOV and JPEG.

But OK folks, this isn’t why I bought the Picsio. In truth, the compact recorder is only 1/3 of the package. It came with this:

The complete set consists of the FM1 compact video recorder bundled with an Ikelite underwater housing with a red filter attachment. I went the extra mile with this thing and upgraded the unit with an Ikelite V8 LED light and arm. Here is a video sample I took while snorkeling (haven’t had a chance to dive yet). Pardon the Cloverfield moments as I was being swept by the waves. You’ll notice that the LED light brings the flora to life, removing the blues which most underwater videos have. If you want to see something more professional, check this footage from the Cayman Islands shoot.

This is by far the most affordable underwater video recording bundle I’ve seen and no other brand carries this promo. Ikelite also makes casings for the Flip camera but it is not on sale. It appears that the Picsio FM1 is a new product from the latter part of 2009 and the bundle is really a way to promote the set and sale of JVC recorders. It’s perfect. 1080p resolution is seamless and the controls are easy to use especially with the casing. When buying this, make sure you have after sales adjust the casing’s knobs so that they make direct contact with the buttons.

Underwater, Ikelite bundle works like a charm. Perhaps the only complaint I have is that the screen is small, which is a standard configuration for these types of recorders, so I can’t really complain.

Price breakdown:

JVC FM1 with Ikelite Housing: PHP 24,000
Ikelite V8 LED Video Light: PHP 12,000
Video Arm / Brace: PHP 4,500

There is only ONE PLACE in Manila where you can buy this, apart from ordering online: Splash Underwater Imaging which is across Krispy Kreme / McDonald’s in Greenhills. Go up the stairs to the second floor and hang a left. You’ll see Splash towards the end of the corridor with apparel for water sports and underwater cameras. If you’re looking for the widest solution of underwater imaging devices, Jovic Santos will have them. Look for him there. I’ve provided contact details below:

Splash Underwater Imaging is OPEN @ Shoppesville Arcade, Greenhills Shopping Center Level B, Store # 2003. Call us at +632 7249803 or +639175259639, email to [email protected] or [email protected] www.splashuwimaging.com

About the author

Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast, EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

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