I have been playing with the Flip Video MinoHD Camcorder for a few weeks now, and I have to say, it’s one of the best gadgets I’ve got in a while. It is super easy to use: Turn the power on and hit the red button to record. It has a small zoom, but it’s not going to get you very close. The picture is really good for a camera so small (it’s about the size of an iPod), it’s HD (only 720, not 1080) and is superior to other flash based cameras I’ve tried. One of the things that makes this camera so easy though, is not how easy it is to shoot video, but how easy it is to work with it. It has a built in usb port that pops out of the side and plugs directly into the computer. Once it’s plugged in you can use the built in software to upload directly to YouTube, or into what ever software you use to edit with. I use iMovie, and the video imported right in and I was working with it quickly.
I think this camera is great for shooting quick little announcement videos, capturing highlights of an event, and an afternoon of fun. It stores up to 60 minutes of video so it’s plenty for most things, but over the course of a week at camp it might not be enough. One other improvement I’d like to see is the audio quality. It’s alright, but a jack to hook up an aux mic would be great. Another feature you should be aware of is it can only charge via a computer, so if you are on the road you’ll need you laptop to keep it powered up. I will say that I’ve found the battery life to be excellent though, I have yet to run it down, and even after a few days in my backpack, it’s held it’s charge well.
You can spend a lot more on a camera, but if you are looking for something small and easy to use it’s definitely worth taking a look at. It would be super easy to hand over to a student to film a video for you and you don’t have to worry about what they may do with you $1000 camcorder.
Here’s a short little video I shot a few weeks ago on a video shoot:
If anyone else has used one, I’d love to hear what you think.