Sunday, 26 April 2009

Flip Cam

My test - Walking the Dogs can be seen here

This week the team received a set of Flip Cams to use in schools so that we can record good practice that we see with regard to the Oxfordshire Learning Platform. I was amazed just how just tiny the camera is, it can be easily carried in a pocket or handbag for use anytime and anywhere! So yesterday - Saturday, I decided that I would have a play and see how it works.

Firstly it installed on the XP netbook perfectly, I took a few minutes of video and downloaded it, via the USB plug built into the side of it to the netbook, the quality looked good so my next task was to take real footage to try to produce a simple video. I am using a very short USB extension lead so that the camera can sit on my disk and still be linked to one of the computers.

Once It is switched on there is a big red button to stop and start the recording and in the surround to the red button is the zoom – the top zooms in and the bottom zooms out.

I tried next to install it to my desktop TV running Vista - not so easy! It failed! I abandoned it for a little while as the weather was lovely - too good to waste on computers :-)

I went walking the dogs, hoping to film in the bluebell woods, I did film in the woods but the bluebells are all in bud not flower :-( I need to do a re-run next weekend. Having about 30 tiny film clips I downloaded them from the camera, there is clearly a lot of room, it was telling me I had 56 minutes left so I guess it takes as much as an hour of film, which is quite amazing for such a tiny, simple camera.

I downloaded the clips to the netbook, copied the folder full of clips too my external hard drive and tried to import them not Windows Movie Maker on my desktop – but failed! Windows Movie Maker had a funny turn and DEP kicked in to prevent the import! To the MS website this time, that says to go into the Advanced Systems menu and switch off DEP for the program causing problems – a quick and easy fix? No! Quick and easy to go in and try but DEP cannot be disabled for Windows Movie Maker. Don’t you just love them?

I tried once again to install FLIP on my desktop and failed – pulled up the website, , downloaded new software and it installed easily, now I had all of the clips on the desktop would they import into WMM? No!

Just to get a finished bit of work from the Flip Cam I decided I had better try to use the packaged software – it is very simple. Ideal for very young children, but not sophisticated enough to control the sound on individual clips, so on the finished video the wind noise is far too loud on a couple of clips but if I switch that off I switch the birds off as well!

So, the Flip cam is a very simple to use video camera with very easy to use software, it is cheap and ideal for school use. The zoom facility is not bad. It is harder to use with Vista – I have not cracked that one yet and may just leave it so that I use its own software when I use the camera.

The picture quality is quite good, it has the capacity to add background music an opening title screen and a finishing credits scene, plus one at the end advertising Flip if you agree to it. All clips can be trimmed from each end and they can be dragged in the order that you want them to show into the timeline.

It is an ideal little camera for primary school use!

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