Today I dip my toe into the Video Podcasting pool. I was lucky enough to secure one of the new Flip Video Cameras.
This camera takes great video no matter what lighting you put it in (if you have extreme back lighting it may be a little dark, but let's be realistic..). I took video at dusk and it looked much brighter than it actually was in real life.
The great thing is you can take up to 60 minutes of video. It has a rewing and fast forward on the camera for reviewing the video. You can easily delete video that you don't want to keep. It also has a built in 2X zoom. It runs on a rechargable battery that gets charged when you plug the camera into your USB port. The USB interface pops out when you flip a switch. It also has the ability to be put on a tripod. The microphone pics up audio great from the front, and while it's not as clear from the back its still easily understood if you are commenting from behind the camera while shooting video.
If I had used my old camera I would record to super 8, then have to transfer the video to my computer. So if I shot 60 minutes of video it would take (roughly) 60 minutes of time to transfer to my computer.
With the Flip camera, I plug the camera into my computer, and I can drag and drop the files into my favorite editing program. This took about 3 minutes instead of 60 with my old camera. If you don't have editing software, there are some basic video editing software that comes with the camera that allows you to pick where the video starts and stops as well as you can put background music to the video.
It also has some features that make uploading video to you tube uber easy.
So what would I change? I like that you can plug it into a video source (like a TV) to watch the video. I do wish I could plug it in and use the TV as a monitor. You can't do this. When you record, the video is only display on the display on the back of the camera. The other thing I would change is to put a retractable lens cover. The camera comes with a "nifty" puch to carry the camera, but I would rather have a lense cover. My last thing (and this is kind of outside the scope of the product) would be to have the ability to use it as a web cam. That's not really a fair criticism. It's more of a "add to the dream list."
It retails for around $139. For me, if you're looking to get into video podcasting, and you want to be mobile, you're looking to do something fast and quick, it's a no brainer. I know I will be doing all sorts of "Dave around town" types of videos. If you're are going to want to mix in music, or plug a microphone directly into it, then you will need to look for another camera, and hit a bank machine, on the way to Best Buy.
Check it the Flip Mino Video Camera at Amazon.com
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