It’s a Mino HD World

I just made my first Flip Camera video with a little second-generation Mino HD.

It’s about the size of an iphone and is completely idiot-friendly:  no zoom, no controls, fixed wide angle lens.  Push the big red button to record;  push it again to stop.  It works great in low-light situations and if you park it close to anyone speaking, the audio is not that bad.  Pretty good, in fact.  You pull off the exposed 16 x 9 relatively high-def footage – a total of 2 hours’ worth of 1280 x 720 pixel goodness – through a clever attached USB arm that swings out from the top of the thing. Ergonomically, as you charge or extract video it works best lying prone next to your laptop so I used a USB extension cable to feed it into a port on my HP desktop.  Charges the internal battery the same way.

The FlipShare video management/editing software is built-in and is really easy to use.  You pull the video clips into a folder on your computer and there are simple tools for cutting it up, adding supplied music tracks and titles.  List price, $230.00  Yes, two hundred thirty dollars for a functional HD camcorder with basic editing software.

Contrast that with my first video camera purchase:  Sony Betacam BVU 400a, body only, $47,000 plus tax.  The zoom lens was an extra $8,500.00.  Each battery was $500.00, needed three, plus the similarly-priced charger.  Then the editing software:   Media 100 with capture board, no computer $17,000.00.  Mac G-4 at the time was about $2,800.00.  The expense just went on and on.  Plus the little bugger offers about twice the picture resolution as that current landfill resident.

Now this thing is not going to replace “real” shoulder-mounted HD cameras like you see at White House press conferences – yet.  But, working within the obvious limitations of the little camera one can achieve video results that are better than just “OK.”  The overall idea, I believe, is to chose and use the right tool for the job.  The little Mino HD is ideal for a cheap HD backup camera, it can grab a second angle while using the main camera and when shooting a shy or fearful subject  it’s less intimidating.

My, my, how things have changed in the old video biz.  Fortunately for me, you still need to know how to tell a story and that’s where I come in.

See you next time!

Marshall Thompson

Writer.producer.director and now, MinoHD slinger.

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