Let’s face it, everything today is going video and I frankly needed to get with the program. Personally, I hate to have even my picture taken so the thought of having my mug on a video causes my stomach to churn. However, putting other people’s mugs on videos has no discernible negative effects (smile). First off, you do need to decide what to buy and I know nothing about these gadgets. I narrowed it down to five models by two manufacturers but I did read up about others.
Flip Video: Choose between the Flip Ultra, Flip Ultra HD, or the Flip Nano HD. The standard Ultra is priced attractively but only has VGA resolution. The Ultra HD and the Nano HD feature 720p high definition recording and will record up to 2 hours or 1 hour, respectively. The Nano is also smaller and less expensive.
Kodak: The Zi6 is VGA and is very inexpensive now. The Zi8 is 1080p high definition and is quite a bit more expensive and then, on top of that, you still need to buy the memory card. The Zi8 also includes image stabilization.
Based on a combination of price and performance, I chose the Flip Ultra HD and got it on Amazon for $155.00 plus shipping. I just love Amazon and it pretty consistently does have the lowest prices on many of the electronics and books that I choose to buy and their service and return procedures are outstanding!!
This is going to be a very short post but here are my initial findings and impressions:
- I like the slightly larger size and weight. For me it is easier to hold and I do equate lbs. with quality.
- Once you figure them out, the controls on the camcorder are very easy to use.
- Video quality will improve substantially once I figure out how to keep my thumb off the lens (smile).
- The software is fairly easy to use but you will need to play with it a bit. Certainly it is not the most intuitive software on my computer.
- Their 800 support line is outstanding! Fast response and the correct answers. I have used it twice. Read on.
- The Flip is the only device that I have ever connected to my computer via USB that actually cares about Window’s “Safely Remove Hardware” utility. If you do not use that, the camera will not come back on and you will need to do a battery pull to reboot.
- It does have an on-board USB jack that flips out but, it would be nicer with some sort of cord attached. Having that thing “hang” off the side of my computer where the USB ports are located did not seem that wise so I ended up spending $40.00 on a USB hub and extension.
- 720p file sizes are freakin’ HUGE. The 1 minute and 14 second video on our main site right now (my first ever attempt at recording with anything) is 110 mb! It took 15-20 minutes to upload to YouTube and I ended up doing that from YouTube vs. via the Flip software. I did look at Flip’s support site and it did tell me that I could save my videos to disk in a compressed format or one with lower resolution. Come to find out that this option was removed by their engineers in their latest software release. What? However, my call to tech support revealed that if you select the video and use the “Online” function which is used to upload videos to YouTube, FaceBook, and others … you keep selecting “others” and it will then create a folder on your desktop and will then save a greatly reduced file size of your video to that folder. Sweeet!
- The rechargeable battery pack does charge via the USB in about 6 hours. You can buy a separate charger that cuts that time by something like half. In a pinch, and this is great, you can slap in a couple of standard AA batteries.
- Image stabilization would be nice but we will probably work mostly from a fixed position. I do have a camera tripod that I ass/u/me will work and also got this cute little bendy-leg version from Amazon.
Overall, I think this is going to be pretty cool. We will likely use this to record and post member and guest presentations and we will also be doing interviews of members and will post those on this main site, on our dedicated group sites, and on our member dedicated pages. Technically, I’m pretty confident that this will be easy to figure out. As for quality .. probably no Oscars in our future (smile).
Thanks for visiting!
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