Snapchat Spectacles

Originally published June 14th 2017 on Medium (@RichardDonelan) 

Snapchat Spectacles: For me they represent another great piece of kit in my visual storytelling tool kit! For someone else they might just be considered a gimmick…

Google were probably too early with ‘Glass’ – there simply wasn’t a market then. Always there and ready to shoot, Spectacles could do for videography what the iPhone did for photography… Not to mention the amazing first person story telling potential they unlock! See my unboxing and first technical impressions here: https://youtu.be/1gzyjUMqT9U”

Battery life out of the box was solid – certainly outlasted the storage capacity. The seem to hold their power well in stand too which is another big plus. Snap say that you can store up to 200 snaps but my storage seemed to be full after around 20… This could well be user error on my part but it’s also worth noting that you can transfer the data to the phone via bluetooth so I wouldn’t worry too much about memory either way… Uploading HD video to an iPhone can only be done via wifi – I find this process a little unreliable but I gather android handle this service better.

What about the quality of the sunglasses element? I normally wear sunglasses all the time when outdoors and am very conscious of eye health so have never before worn anything other than RayBan and Oakely as I have neither had a problem with either…

I can’t see how Snapchat would take a risk on using inferior glass, however, I have no expertise when it comes to opthalmology! Snapchat do suggest that people can talk to their optician about fitting custom lenses… Yusuf Omar has done this and has been wearing them extensively for several months no so would be interesting to run this question by him! I suspect the size and shape of one’s face will have a massive bearing hear also – especially when it comes to how the lens sits in relation to one’s face. In my case it was ok but I guess I have a small enough face…

Screen Shot 2018-08-02 at 19.04.32.png

Available for €149.99 ex postage here: https://www.spectacles.com/ie/ and I also tipped Jay from Kodaline off about a vending machine in London which is where he got his from on Tuesday – he’s already producing some great content so be sure to check him out on Instagram and Snapchat! More locations here: https://www.spectacles.com/ie/snapbot/

Screen Shot 2018-08-02 at 19.04.44.png

When I think about seeing a camera for the first time that could enable a viewer to pan around the room that cost €10k euro (and this was less than 10 years ago) I find it incredible that these guys are available for €150! Would I wear them all the time? Probably not… Would I wear them when I have half an inlacing that there are stories about or I want to find stories – absabloodylutely!! I’m really looking forward to bringing the world more 1st person experiences – totally amped in fact!!

Why you should support your local camera store and it you

Consumer electronics must be a nightmare to retail - certainly not an area of business for the fainthearted. Not only are their so many ranges and options to chose between, such devices and widgets also tend to be quite sensitive to user use and sometimes even abuse. Other-times kit can fail to meet the needs of the consumer or be far too complex for the average user through no fault of the product, the brand or the retailer. Perhaps above all else, pricing must be the most challenging area to keep competitive, especially with so many online retailers in the market these days. 

Conn's Cameras in Dublin (Ireland) have played a massive role in my videography business story from day one. I've long since been an advocate of supporting local businesses. However, in recent years I've refocused this aspiration to recognise that such support is actually a two way process. In the words of Mike Conn (one half of the brother's Conn who own the business) "Look after the customer and they'll look after you"!

In my personal experience, I always buy all my videography, audio and photography kit from the brother's Conn for one simple reason: The after sales service that they provide has been, in my experience, absolutely unparalleled over the past three years. Bob Conn, especially, has always been so incredibly generous with his time when helping me to identify the most appropriate  kit to purchase for my needs at any given time.  

Technology can and will go wrong. This happens but with Conns I've never been let down by down by such technology failings and this is what really makes them stand out in a busy crowd of retailers. I remember soon after I purchased my first DSLR dedicated for video use, it failed within a few weeks of fairly light use. Mike, recognising a production issue (it was actually the first type of it's kind in Ireland), immediately offered me a loaner unit (of much higher value as nothing equivalent existed at the time) until a replacement order could be delivered. 

I really could not believe Mike's attitude and speedy action which absolutely saved me from potentially losing my first customer as I'd just recently been booked to film a project for them later that week! Today, I was back again with a small audio related technical issue, this time Bob (Mike's brother and audio wizard) was able to get me back up and running within minutes. It transpired, as I suspected, that the issue related to interference and so Bob shared some advice to set me up for best success in avoiding a repeat of the problem the next time I film in a similar environment. 

This is the kind of care and service that is possible for a bricks and mortar retailer to provide. Despite the best process in the world, if you order goods online and they fail, even through no fault of your own, you will still likely be a minimum of two weeks (minus use of the product) while the matter gets resolved. This is by no means a sales other for Conns Cameras, however, in my experience the guys look after me so well that I felt the absolute minimum I can do is to keep giving them my business while also writing this reflective post!

Have you guys got a favourite bricks and mortar retailer? What makes their service stand out for you? Let me know your experiences either in the comments or directly here!