There are plenty of options if you’re in the market for a wearable camera, but you won’t find one much smaller than the Narrative Clip. Weighing in at less than one ounce, you’ll scarcely notice that you’re wearing the device at all—but you’ll have the photographs to prove it was.
The Narrative Clip began life as the Memeto Lifelogging camera, raising more than ten times its initial funding goal in a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign back in 2012. Whilst the branding might have changed, the product itself is much the same; a small, square device that can either be worn on a lanyard or clipped onto your clothing. It’s a lifelogger through and though, taking two photographs a minute in an attempt to thoroughly document every moment of your day. However, the form factor of this device makes lifelogging far more accessible than it ever has been before; it’s only recently that it has become cost-effective to make a camera like this small enough to be worn daily but advanced enough to make the photographs worth taking. Early lifelogging cameras were so cumbersome that it made the activity something of a niche interest. Both the smaller form and the fact that people seem to have more of a thirst for photographs than ever suggest that a refined product like the Narrative Clip could be something of a hit.
However, with strong competition from a range of similar devices, it perhaps wouldn’t be enough of a selling point for the Narrative Clip to simply be the smallest. Happily, this is not the case, with perhaps the greatest feather in the device’s cap being how hands-off the whole process is for the user. Yes, you have the option to double tap the device if you want to take a photo at a particular time, but that’s not really what the device is all about. When you buy a Narrative Clip, you also get a year of cloud storage for your photographs, which speaks to just how self-contained the whole experience is. Your device takes the photographs, you upload them to your cloud storage, an algorithm picks the very best shots and they’re presented to you via the accompanying app for iOS and Android devices. Of course, you’re given the option to step in at any stage and take control, but for the most part you’re very able to just let the Narrative Clip do its own thing and check in on the results whenever you feel it. It’s less like taking a camera out with you, and more like being accompanied by a camera who can show you their best work whenever you feel like it later on.
Looking back at your photographs after having worn the Narrative Clip for a fully day, the greatest surprise is how many great shots you have that you would probably never have thought to take yourself. Of course, it can be hit and miss, but since the device is taking two shots every minute, the odds are that you’re going to end up with at least a handful of photographs that you’ll want to save after any reasonable length of time wearing it. It’s only when you’re looking back on the work your Narrative Clip has done when you’ll really appreciate the device beyond the novelty factor of having it snapping photographs as you go from place to place—seeing the sort of photos it can produce will make it a necessity for any special occasion, family event or just about any other experience that you want to remember. The fact that it’s so small means that there’s very little reason to not wear it; since you don’t have to actively do anything, why not just clip it onto your lapel on the off chance it snaps a shot of something amazing?
Of course, all of this would be for nothing if the quality of the photographs themselves wasn’t up to scratch. Obviously, the size of the device alone means that you can hardly expect the same results you would get from a high-end DSLR, but the Narrative Clip is no slouch in this respect. The five megapixel camera might not be top of the line, but that’s not really the intention of the device—this is closer to the disposable cameras of years gone by than the high-resolution digital cameras of today. Similarly, the fact that the device outputs photographs in jpeg format won’t do much to endear the Narrative Clip to the serious photographer. This certainly isn’t meant to be a replacement for the camera that you have now, and shouldn’t be used in the same fashion. It’s a completely new method of taking pictures, and as such comparing its specifications directly to a more traditional camera, it’s never going to come out on top.
However, if you’re willing to embrace the new and use the Narrative Clip as it is intended—letting it take the photographs it will and saving and sharing those that really stand out to you—it’s a rather ingenious bit of kit that can yield some impressive results. The saying may go ‘you get what you put in’ but with the Narrative Clip it’s the opposite that’s true. If you can allow yourself to be completely hands-off, then you’re more likely to be pleasantly surprised by what the device comes up with—not to mention being able to be ‘in the moment’ and not worrying about your camera whilst you’re doing whatever you might be doing. You simply have to be ready to trust a device that clips on to your clothing to get the job done by itself and, for the most part, it will do so admirably—it just might not produce the same photos that you would have done had you been operating a traditional camera for yourself. If you are interested in getting on board with the Narrative Clip, you can purchase the device from the official Narrative web store. The Narrative Clip is available in white, orange and grey at a price of $279 USD, which includes a year of cloud storage for all your photographs.