A few weeks ago, during one of our meetings with the student administrators of the school media sharing site, one of them mentioned that they had seen a fellow student using a little “thing that took video but was really small, I don’t know what it was but it was pretty cool looking.” What “it” was was a FlipVideo.
I ran across this post, read some reviews, checked the specs and ordered a FlipVideo Ultra, 30 minute version.
I’ve only had it for a week but some initial thoughts about it are:
This is a great camera for casual filming. It fits easily in a pants pocket, fires up and is ready to go in seconds. Where a full size camcorder causes people to “freeze up” (Omigod, are you filming me?) this is much less obtrusive.
The video is in .avi format. When you plug the USB connector into your computer the camera appears as another drive and one simply drags the files onto the hard drive or imports them into the editing software of choice. Super easy.
On a Mac you need to run an installer the first time you plug in the camera. On a PC the drivers install automatically, so quickly you might miss the process entirely if you aren’t watching for it.
As Ken says, the zoom is useless from more than 30 feet, I’d amend that to say that the zoom is useless from more than 15. The quality of the video just plain dies with the zoom.
I don’t use iMovie08, so I don’t know about problems with it, iMovieHD had no problem importing my clips and neither did Sony Vegas.
One problem that I seem to have with the Flip is that when I press the button to start filming with my thumb, I often press the outer navigational ring too. It took a little practice to learn to press with my thumbnail instead of the whole ball of my thumb. This is probably because I am not accustomed to the tiny buttons on most electronic gadgets such as cell phones.
I did not need a USB extender cable for it but I did find myself supporting the body of the camera when I had it connected to the computer. I can see that the USB connector will be the first thing to break on this thing.
We will be getting several of these for the students to use. They will not replace our full size camcorders but will be for, as I said, casual filming, those moments where you say to yourself “Oh, man I wish I had that on video!”. With the FlipVideo, you can.