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Thomas' Tech Tales

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Flipping for video

If technology keeps getting easier eventually anyone really will be able to use it, even my father. At least, that’s what one company is aiming for with a revolutionary new camcorder design. Seemingly based heavily on the formula of “keep it simple, stupid,” Pure Digital came out with the Flip Video as an answer to all the more complicated camcorders that have been on the market for the past decade.

Bringing the camcorder back to its point and shoot roots was not an easy task, however. Fitting the components into the first generation’s 2.25” by 4.12” case was quite a chore for the design team, but their breakthrough also ended up giving a name.

The key feature to the Flip is its USB port that flips out of the side or top of the Flip depending on which generation you have. This feature makes it ridiculously easy for one to take what they record and to put it onto their personal computer. The Flip also has its own software that installs itself every time you plug it in so that you can upload videos to any computer without having to worry about installation disks and compatibility.

The editing program is fairly limited and only allows for basic functions like trimming clips. On the newer generations, some more freedom is granted, but not much.

The trade-off is how easy and reliable it works, something I definitely could have used for my senior year English and government projects. The videos are also ready to be uploaded to YouTube if you want to share your personal experiences with the entire world and be ridiculed by their hurtful comments.

The first two generations of the Flip, The Flip Video and Ultra, are both roughly the same in size with the Ultra being slightly smaller. The major difference between the two is that the Ultra can be had in different colors and it has 2GB of storage while the Video has 1GB. The next generation of the Flip is the Mino which is smaller still in size at 1.97” by 3.94”; it can also be customized, which means that you can put any design you want on the outside of the Mino. That explains the slogan: Mino, Now Playing: You. Just coming out this month, the Mino can now be purchased as an HD camcorder at 4GB.

Note that each Flip records only one hour of video; the larger storage sizes are to compensate for the video quality.

Probably surprising a lot of bigger companies like Sony and Canon, the Flip is the highest selling camcorder right now. With the economy going down and the holiday season coming up, it’s probably going to stay that way, too. Prices are relatively inexpensive, starting with the Flip Video for $130, the Flip Ultra for $150, the Flip Mino for $180, and the Flip Mino HD for $230. I urge you to try and find a better deal for a camcorder, let alone an HD camcorder. Especially ones that are so easy to use.

For more information please visit the Flip’s website.

 

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Author info

Thomas McMahon Thomas McMahon is a student at Albertson's College of Idaho who, when he's not playing some geeky video game or designing some new, award-winning engineering project, plays basketball and tennis. His study interest is engineering.

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