Tag Archives: camcorder

Chris Pirillo is wrong about best pocket video cameras

So, back when I got a Flip Mino HD video camera Chris Pirillo gave me a bunch of heck and said I bought the wrong camera. He reviewed the Flip against the Kodak Zi6 and the Creative Vado HD. He said the Creative Vado HD is the best. His videos sure seem to prove that, don’t they.

But after using all three for a week I totally disagree.

First, the Creative Vado HD videos won’t play on my Mac and can’t be edited by my new iMovie 09. HUGE problem. That alone disqualifies it from being “best.” But it also has a goofy USB dongle that just doesn’t feel well designed and a protuding lens that just doesn’t feel nice in your pocket. Now, I do agree that the Vado has the best video quality of the three but in talking to many people about the three cameras it isn’t enough better to make it worth dealing with, especially since these kinds of gadgets will appeal to a Mac-centric audience.

And how about the Kodak? I like this camera, but I’m a professional who does a LOT of video. Why do I like it? It takes regular AA batteries (it comes with rechargeable ones) but sometimes I do three or four interviews in a day and it’s nice to know I can just pop in some extra batteries if I run out of juice. The other cameras can’t do that.

The Kodak also has a closeup lens that has already gotten some use in my hands and the audio on the Kodak is slightly better than the Flip. Finally, it’s bigger than the other two cameras so is a bit easier to hold steady. Which gets me to why I like the Flip the best:

The Flip is the best because it is the best designed and smallest. It is — in talking with my friends — the most likely to end up in their pocket. A camera carried is a camera that is used and a camera that is used, even if it has slightly lower quality that some other camera, is one that’s better.

The Flip Mino HD is the best of the bunch for most people and you can now ignore Chris Pirillo.

Kyte.tv goes 16:9 (video showing Opera's latest now up)

This week I’m doing a ton of HD testing. Here’s the first piece of that test and is my first FastCompanyTV video on Kyte’s new 16:9 format player (wide screen). Looks pretty nice, but wait until you see these videos on some of the other systems that support 16:9 AND high definition!

I met with a couple of geeks from Opera last week. They are the browser folks. But I bet you didn’t have a good look at what they’ve been doing lately.

Perfect chance to play with my new Flip Minio HD camcorder. You can buy this for just about $230. I don’t use any external microphones. No lenses or filters. Nothing but that little tiny camcorder. It is really wild to be able to get video out to the world. This is mind blowing. 20 years ago you would have needed a $200,000 set of cameras and a TV station to broadcast it. Now anyone can do it.

One problem I found is that with HD the file sizes are massive (these two videos were 1.1 gigs in my camera). I tried to upload it to Kyte? Failed. Facebook, too big. Viddler? Failed. Vimeo? Too big. YouTube? Too big. So, I went back and split it into two pieces. That took a little bit of time, but isn’t hard.

Anyway, here’s the two parts:

Part I, Opera browser updates (here is the same video on Facebook, so you can compare quality — the Facebook one is a LOT nicer)
Part II, Opera browser updates. (Here’s the same video on Facebook).

One thing, if you are using one of these small cameras you MUST use a monopod or tripod to get them steady enough to look good. By using a monopod with these videos they look much more professional than if I had held the camera with my hand.

So, what will I be testing out this week? Well, like my friend Chris Pirillo did recently, I’m going to be testing out several HD camcorders. The Flip Minio HD is the first one. I will also test out a Kodak Zi6 and a Creative Vado (Pirillo likes the Creative the best). I’ll let you know about those tests later.

Why all the focus on HD? Well, Facebook, Smugmug, YouTube, and Vimeo now support 720p HD video and next week I’m going to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and I can’t bring Rocky (my video producer) so I’ve got to be able to shoot all my own stuff and carry my camera equipment too. That means going with small cameras like the Flip I used last week with the geeks from Opera.

More over the next week or so as I learn more about the cameras and see if my results match Pirillos.

[kyte.tv appKey=MarbachViewerEmbedded&uri=channels/6118/321312&tbid=k_1929&premium=true&height=500&width=425]

Manufacturing is changing with us

Back in 2004 I wrote Bill Gates a letter telling him how to compete with the iPod. I said to design it in public view with everyone’s help. I was called a massive idiot back then.

It has totally shocked me that more companies haven’t taken my advice. This weekend shows that things are changing and that my advice in 2004 is now being heeded.

1. Bug Labs is working with famous design firm IDEO and is designing its UI in public eye. VC Fred Wilson reported that on his blog this weekend.

2. TechCrunch is designing a Tablet PC for less than $300. Mike Arrington gave a report on that this morning.

This is huge and is only going to get bigger. Thanks to companies like PCH in Shenzhen, China, and Twitter and friendfeed (where you can have conversations with thousands of people in live time) we’re going to see new companies spring up and design products and build brands.

Is Techcrunch a blog anymore? Or did it just become a consumer electronics brand?

Or, even better, if you read my comment over on TechCrunch maybe TechCrunch isn’t a brand at all. Maybe they’ll charge you to put YOUR brand on the Tablet PC.

After all, you can already get camcorders with your own image on them (Jeremy Toeman showed me his and it’s very cool) so why not get your own brand on everything?

The best gadget I stole in 2008

Maryam wanted a video camera. She asked her friends and they recommended the FlipCam. She thought it was safe from me. She got an ugly one (orange and white) just to make it very unlikely that I’d steal it. After all, if it isn’t an Apple product, or cool and black, it probably was safe from her geeky husband, right?

But I tried it out one day and found that it gave me a lot better quality that my Nokia cell phone with Qik.

Since that day I haven’t given it back. All the recent videos on my Kyte video channel are done with it.

So, now she wants it back. Hah, I think I’ll buy her one of the new HD ones. And me too.

One tip: you MUST use a monopod (which is what I’m doing) or a tripod with this. It is too small to hold steady otherwise.

Why do I love it? It uses AA batteries so I can either use rechargeables or, if those are dead, some of the AA’s in the freezer.

It has a little USB plug that swings out the side. It works with any computer. So, if I take video of my friends’ cute babies, I can give them that video right there. Oh, and the video works with Kyte, YouTube, Viddler, Facebook, and a bunch of other services too. No reformatting or work needed.

Hope a bunch of you find one of these under your Christmas tree.

One problem? The local BestBuy is sold out of the HD versions so you might need to buy them online.

Mike Arrington is talking about his experiences with the Flip and other small HD cameras on his Twitter account. For me, it might be ugly, but it is the best thing I’ve stolen from Maryam all year.

Close look at Vholdr, sports video camera

Vholdr is a sports video camera designed for sky diving, skateboarding, surfing, swimming, including on RC helicopters, etc. If you are into sports, you should check out this very cool camera, here’s a short video I filmed on Friday with the founder of the company, Marc Barros, who showed me how it all works. If you visit Vholdr’s site you’ll see a ton of video made by their users with these cameras.