I'm playing, err, testing a FLIP HD Camera- the ULTRA HD. And, all I can say is WOW. I've been away from making media for a little bit and so it is nice to come back to it with a little perspective on how cameras and video editing have gotten so much easier. They've become technically boring!
At the Packard Foundation, the IT department rolls out new equipment on a pilot, experimental basis. So, this is one of items and I'm getting a chance to explore. These would be an excellent tool for on-site documentation.
I made a movie about another interesting piece of technology that is on my desk called The Watt Stopper. It is an 8 circuit outlet power strip with a personal sensor. If the sensors notices that I've stepped away from desk for longer than 15 minutes, it shuts down my computer and other electronics.
I love the troubleshotting tips: "If you've been sitting still and your equipment turns off, just wave your arms to it back on again."
Now back to the FLIP camera. The most skill to teach novice users I think is shooting tips and how to moment capture or only shoot footage that requires minimal editing. The editing software is very simple and perfect for modest needs. You can combine clips, cut clips, add a title or music. It automatically uploads to Youtube or other service or emails the video.
The only minor glitch I had with the camera was when I wanted to get the videos off the camera using the USB port for the first time. It installs a program (which was blocked!). The only major glitch I'm having is that when I use the editing program and drop in videos copied to my hard drive, the thumbnails are incorrect so I drop in the wrong clip. Not sure if I did something to cause this or not.
I am also fooling around with Camtasia Studio to see what the more advanced editing features are.
Here's some resources.
- Flip Video Camera: These are easy to use, inexpensive cameras with a built-USB port. There's partner program where your can apply for a camera - it's called Flip Video Spotlight.
- Advice about using the FLIP camera: The Flip Spotlight site has a resource section with lots of tips for using the camera. For example, storytelling. There's also a YouTube Channel with some how-to videos and lots of other useful information.
Video Guides for Nonprofits
- See 3 Video Guide: This step-by-by video guide goes from the picture to the techniques of story telling and into editing and marketing. It's one of the better guides out there for nonprofits.
- Witness Training Materials: Witness focuses on the use of the video for human rights advocacy. Their how-to and training resources are top notch!
- Get Seen by Steve Garfield; Steve is a video blogging pioneer and the person who first introduced me to its power back in 2005. Steve's book is due out in December, 2009, and while it doesn't focus exclusively on nonprofits (or one camera), judging from the sneak peek at the draft - it's a must read.
- How To Make Internet TV: From the participatory culture foundation, an step-by-step guide.
- The camera comes with some editing software. I had the HD version and well, it had some glitches. Then when I heard that the WFP was using Camtasia Suite to edit, the video software I used for many years to create screencasts, I'm going to give Camtasia and FLIP HD video shots a try. Here some basic information from TechSmith.