I bought a Flip video camera to check it out for potential use in outreach and more cheap, on-the-fly video recording. I like how small the thing is and it is really easy to use, but I think one of the most interesting aspects of it is the cell phone-like morphology of the thing. People act very differently when they have video cameras pointed at them, and this (so far) seems to be less true with the Flip camera. I like that it promotes more casual recording and it seems more resilient then most video cameras–perfect for on site.
One of the steep downsides is the gui that comes with it. I played with “editing” inside of it and uploading videos with it, and almost immediately became frustrated with how obtuse it was. I ended up importing the .avi files that it creates into Final Cut Pro, and editing them with my old, familiar tools. The video quality isn’t great, but it’s better than most cell phone and digital camera video. Jason, the site photographer at Catal, was playing with one of these over the summer, but I haven’t seen what he’s shot with it yet, so I can’t really compare.
I shot the above video while driving with Ruth to the Presidio, sped it up, threw a couple of transitions in and a snippet from Broadcast’s Poem of a Dead Song, just for kicks. It took about 10 minutes, including rendering time. Not too shabby.
The video quality on flickr leaves something to be desired. I’m still trying to find the magic encoding/quality/upload computation.