If you're booking a property a year in advance, it may not be enough to have a paragraph in the contract about the venue's physical condition. In fact, an event or meetings manager might want to have all kinds of visual records, such as the appearance of a ballroom set up for a special event, or maybe of the quality of a marketing manager's presentation before a customer group.

A simple way to keep visual records would be to use a video camera. The solution may be simple, but implementation is another matter. Who wants to lug around another piece of equipment? On the other hand, so-called pocket-cams have great portability, but the images are so-so at best.

JVC's GR-DVL805 Digital DualCam mini-digitial video camera strikes a balance between portability and quality. In fact, the camera's effects and self-contained editing capabilities make it suitable even for documentary-quality work that can be re-purposed for Web streaming. It works either as a still camera or as a motion camera.

The camera has a couple of nifty features not found on some larger machines. One of these is a serial connection wire so you can upload images directly into a PC instead of needing an image-capture card. If purchased separately, the serial connection and accompanying software would set you back more than $100.

Another nice feature is the high-quality 3.5-inch square LCD monitor, better than most consumer cameras, that lets you see what you have captured. It's helpful especially when editing.

The DVL805 DualCam also is "firewire" compliant, meaning you can make direct high-speed digital transfers from the camera to a computer.

The only quibble with the device is that you can't change special effects on the fly. The basic package, which includes a built-in light, a battery pack, an AC transformer, a universal remote for controlling many different brands of VCRs, and a whole slew of editing software, has a list price of about $1,200.

For more information, visit www.jvcamerica.com.