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Zooming in

February 10th, 2008 · No Comments · How To, Xbox

One thing done fairly well in Burnout Paradise is the use of the Xbox Live Vision camera in multiplayer. Whenever one player does a “takedown” on another, snapshots are exchanged. When a race is won, the victor has a snapshot taken for the other players to see for the after-race summary.

It’s a clever gimmick, but unlike a lot of games that use the camera, there’s no way to set a preference to control the zoom. I sit about 10 feet back from the TV, so the Xbox Live Vision camera is about the same distance. That means I’m not very visible when I’m giving the finger the thumbs up to my racing buddies.

Since there’s no software zoom, I thought perhaps I could fix it with a hardware zoom. I picked up a cheap pair of binoculars (retail $9.99, on sale for $4.99) and popped out the lenses. Then sticking the rubber eyecup and the endcap with the lens together, I made this:

Flanges cut in the eye cup allow it to slide on and stay on, and turning it adjusts the focus. Amazingly, it works. Sadly, the lens isn’t strong, so it’s only about a 15% zoom, but it still helps. Sliding the whole thing forward improves the zoom, but due to the green light ring on the Xbox Live Vision camera causing reflections in the lens, this doesn’t work so well. But $5 later, I’m pretty happy with version 1.0. Now to find a stronger lens.

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