I won a Flip Video a little while back and finally had a chance to really test it out on a recent scenic trip through Colorado. I have the Flip Video Ultra, which I’ll be reviewing, and a new Flip Ultra HD version of the pocket camcorder is on the market. Flip Video started off as a creation of Pure Digital Technologies, a company which has since been bought by Cisco Systems. Despite the fact that I don’t have the latest version, the Flip Video is still an impressive device and amazingly simple to use. Hopefully this indicates a good trend for the newer Flip Video Ultra HD and Flip Video Minos.
The Flip Video is just as simple in the components as it is to use. The package consists of the camera and a small carrying bag. The Flip Video uses 2xAA batteries for power while the HD models have a rechargeable Lithium Ion batteries built into them. The Flip Video allows you to record both picture at 640×480 resolution with digital zoom and monaural audio. The capacity of the Flip Video is measured in minutes of video that can be stored on-board the all digital device. There is no need to buy a memory card as it is all stored internally nor is there a way to expand the storage capacity. I have a 30 minute device and found it quite sufficient for taking videos on trails and then off-loading them to a laptop I had with us upon returning to base camp, but a higher capacity would definitely come in handy to take longer videos and less frequently having to connect up to the computer.
As I said earlier, the control and all interaction with the device is very easy. On the back side there are 3 buttons and a D-pad. The D-pad allows you to zoom in or out by pressing Up or Down. To start recording, you just press the big red button in the center. You can also cycle through previous videos by using the left or right arrows of the D-Pad and then play them back with the Play button or delete them with the Trash button.
While the Flip doesn’t have an expandable memory slot, it is very easy to connect to your computer. It has a flip out USB connection. You can fold it down into the Flip to make it very compact when it’s not needed. The bottom of the Flip Video is equipped with a threaded hole to attach a tripod for more steady shots.
When you connect the Flip Video into your PC, it’s an all-contained experience. Windows should be able to automatically add the plug-and-play drivers for the Flip video as well as making it accessible as a mass storage device. The videos are stored as .AVI files. You will be able to find the videos under the new drive and just copy/paste them from:
Among other updates, AOL’s video sharing service ended in May 09, so when you launch the Flip software (or use the auto-play option) you’ll be prompted to update to FlipShare. This free 88.5 MB download will install the updated software on your computer and copy the new setup file to the Flip Video so you won’t have to download the update at any other computers.
The Flipshare software allows you to preview and trim videos that are on the device or were previously uploaded from the Flip to your computer. The software also allows you to copy the videos to computer, play full screen, share by e-mail, a Flip Channel, as a greeting card, or online (through MySpace, YouTube, or any other website). When copied to your computer, you’ll find the copies of the video in a location similar to: C:Users[user name]VideosFlipShare DataVideos
Flipshare also allows you to create a movie, a snapshot, or a DVD.
Sharing your videos online is a snap. After launching the share menu, you just drag and drop any videos you want to share to the new window. With the direct integration to YouTube, you just enter your account information and it will upload the video to YouTube under your account and you can then go in and edit any of the videos settings. You can then download the file again from YouTube if you’d like to have it in .mp4 format. If you choose to upload to Other Web sites it will generate a .wmv file at a location of your choosing.
With uploading videos to YouTube this easily, you can share them with friends and family or become an Internet Superstar very easily!
The Flip Video is one cool gadget that has only been getting better in terms of quality and capability. Building upon a simple-to-use premise, it will surely make a great gift and a great travel companion. Check one out if you’d like to start taking videos easily and inexpensively.