The cost of entry for becoming night vision capable isn’t nearly as high as it used to be. Only a few years ago one would not be faulted for believing that the required equipment: Night Vision Goggles, and a functional IR laser and illuminator, were arbitrarily out of reach of non Military or Law-Enforcement persons. The first drastic change came about when commercial ventures began selling night vision gear directly to “civilians,” and since then the availability continues to grow. With that, come the accessories, social media videos, and content, because how can you go do “goon shit” without recording it for an audience? The Unobtainium Gear Active Night Vision Recording System, or ANVRS solves this problem, and with a little ingenuity and experimentation, introduces the opportunity to own the night via an indie-esque film as well.
Unobtainium Gear has appeared on OFFGRID before, when we covered their Dank Robber Chest Rig. As the name suggests, they’re on point with where so many are going: into the darkness, lightweight, low drag, and for fun and function as well. Beyond soft goods like carrier placards, chest rigs, and magazine pouches, they venture into unknown territory with a camera that attaches to NVGs, allowing the wearer to record what they see, while they see it. It’s like a Dash Cam for your NODs, except way cooler, especially when driving.
The Unobtainium Gear Active Night Vision Recording System remains beautiful in it’s simplicity: a ring attaches a small camera to the viewing end one’s choice of night vision, and takes a micro SD card, with a simple on-off switch. A small light flashes to notify the wearer that it has turned on or off, and that’s it.
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The Camera, Ring, Ribbon Cable, and Housing all weigh next to nothing, and can easily be taped, or better, rubber-banded to the user’s choice tube. The wearer will have to figure out how to check the light when turning it off, such as mounting the box on the bottom so they can check for a light by tipping their head up and looking for a reflection off their hand. The correct location for the camera is at the bottom of the tube, when worn, but we’re still in the frontier of filmography here, so those with post-production pixie dust can do their magic if they so choose. The PVS-14 model has a small fastener to tighten the ring, but if lost, a rubber band will do the trick.
What you see is what you get when looking through night vision, and what you see is very close to what the ANVRS picks up. It’s not exactly plug-and-play, as the user should take some time before going out on their adventure to familiarize themselves with the optimal distance to set the camera from the NVG lens in order to get the best picture. If attached at an angle, it will be distorted by any ambient light and can quickly ruin a good shot. Too close and you get a wonky picture, too far, and you’re risking getting poked in the eye if you trip.
These are small hurdles to overcome, however, compared to the glory of adventure and exploration. From recording an otherwise invisible star-shower, to playing operator in your backyard, to pushing the envelope of documented experiences, the utility of the Unobtainium Gear ANVRS is only restricted to the mind of the one who has it.
Above: A screenshot of the Milky Way through DTNVG NODs with L3 WP Tubes, assembled by
With model-specific mounts, the Unobtainium Gear Active Night Vision Recording System fits most NVG models common to the American Market, from PVS-14 monoculars, to DTNVGs, to PVS-31’s for those who get issued the cool stuff.
A Teaching Moment
Those with years of night vision experience, especially in a military environment, have heard the phrase “keep your head on a swivel” so many times, that it undoubtedly becomes lost in the sauce of pithy statement ooze. This charge to keep alert, and to remain vigilant when scanning your sector, or observing your environment is only further emphasized when one’s field of view is limited to the 40 degrees of a set of night vision goggles.
The effect of this can be quickly observed when reviewing footage taken on the Unobtainium Gear Active Night Vision Recording System, as the wearer constantly moves his or her head back and forth, “scanning” their environment. With a limited field of view, those using night vision are habitually memorizing their environment, as they scan across rubble, refuse, woodland pitfalls, and so forth. When it comes to filming, however, this constant movement can cause motion sickness for the uninitiated.
The ANVRS serves as a teaching moment, on the one hand, for film, and the other, for those using Night Vision in a professional environment. Replaying footage taken on an ANVRS can quickly identify moments of tunnel vision as well as where and when the wearer identified a threat in training, or if they properly cleared their corner in room-clearing practice.
While various attempts have been made to record what one sees through Night Vision Goggles, few are as straightforward as the ANVRS, and fewer still as low profile when worn.
Like Night Vision itself, the Unobtainium Gear ANVRS opens up a field of potential that must be explored to be experienced. A positive take on Nietzsche’s warning about staring into darkness, once a camera is obtained, no one but the owner can be blamed if they never go out and use it. From a creative outlet, to a tool of instruction, to recording what one sees for evidence, there’s a long way to go before the opportunities this NVG camera presents are exhausted.
The Unobtainium Gear Active Night Vision Recording System remains simple, which translates into simple to use, and consistent in performance. On the frontier of civilian night vision experiences, and showing merit as a tool for both teaching and entertainment, this piece of equipment requires the owner to do the heavy creative lifting, and stay out the way when in use.
Unobtainium Gear Active Night Vision Recording System
Models For: PVS-14, PVS-15, PVS-31, PVS-7B/D
Video Recording Specs: 1080p, 30fps
Audio: Built in microphone
Data Storage: Micro SD card compatible up to 32GB
Battery Life: 6 Hours (extendable with optional additional battery pack)
Weight: 32 grams (1.13oz)
MSRP: $104 (starting at)
[Editor’s Note: Cover Photography by Samantha Lauraina.]
More on Night Vision
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