FlipCam Tips and Tricks for Better Video

flipultraThe FlipCam from PureDigital is the tech gadget hit of the year. Many teachers are using the FlipCam for quick video snippets and are using iMovie or Movie Maker for editing. Lets visit some common smart practices, tips and tricks.

1. Hold the camera with two hands. The flip cam does not have an image stabilizer. This also applies to those consumer digital still cameras.
-Use a tripod when possible.
-Brace your camera on a table, bookcase or even door jam if no tripod is available.

2. Look at your background before you start shooting interviews or spontaneous comments..
-If the background is “too busy” or involves students, bring the subject away from them so the noise and distractions are at a minimum.
-Stay away from perpendicular flat backgrounds. Shoot at an angle for more compelling video. The ambient noise will also not reflect off an angled background.
-You may have to “prep” students if they are in the background. Ask them not to mess up or otherwise “damage” your video project or interview with silly behavior or funny staring looks.
-Never shoot against backgrounds that distract or take away from the subject
–examples: blank plain/ugly walls, anything moving behind subject including a window, bright or weird objects that pull your eye from the subject, objects in foreground(viewable) that are closer than the subject, bright windows on the sunny side of the room.
-Beware of lighting that otherwise burns out the subject or contrasts subject to a dark blob(background is lighter than foreground)… the FlipCam will generally meter on the lighter part of the picture.
-Do shoot against backgrounds that may add to the mood or compliment the subject

3. Get close. It’s ok to get up close to the subject. The FlipCam doesn’t do distant images(or sound) well. You do not want a tiny head shot for interviews.
-The audio mic on the flip cam is good, but much better if you are closer to the subject talking.
-If you are using a higher end digital camera, get an external (hot shoe) gun mic or a hand held mic for better sound and acoustics.

4. When interviewing or taking comments from a subject, hold the FlipCam near your face so the interviewee will look like they are talking to the camera. Otherwise, they’ll appear to be talking to someone “else” in the room.

5. Use the rule of thirds to place your subject in the best part of the field. Place your main subject at the intersection of four lines in your viewing field.
—– see this link: http://www.leggnet.com/2008/02/rule-of-thirds-revisited.html

6. The FlipCam zoom doesn’t work very well. (It’s not an optical zoom. Digital zooms make the image fuzzy.

7. Don’t walk or move with the FlipCam. Try not to pan with the FlipCam as the resolution does not look well when panning. Best advice: take a WIDE angle for movement, sports or moving subjects.

8. Check out the accessories for the FlipCam like the tri-pod and a usb extender for those hard to reach usb ports (like the emac).

9. Have a technician or ITRT install the .avi codecs on your computer for the camera. It uses unique codecs for the Macintosh. If you are using it at home, the software is on camera in a folder unique to your operating system. Windows computers will handle .avi clips better than macs.

and for a good retro laugh (and some GREAT basic knowledge)
and recording audio

Resource Links:

How to subscribe to RSS podcasts… a video clip tutorial

FlipCam reviews:

Support for the FlipCam

2 thoughts on “FlipCam Tips and Tricks for Better Video

  1. We just purchased sets of the Flip video cams and plan to introduce them to teachers at a Teach Academy in June. I appreciate your tips and will heed your advise as we prepare to use these in conjunction with Movie Maker.

  2. These tips are very useful. Our department, SPED, is beginning to use the these cameras and appreciate the help.

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