Over Christmas I purchased a 30 minute Flip Video camera. I can record 30 minutes of video on the camera before I must download it to my computer. So far I have used the camera at family gatherings, in my buddy Laurie Rodriguez’s kindergarten classroom and in my music classroom.
Use of the camera couldn’t be any easier. There’s one large red button you push to begin and end your recording sessions. There is a red light that glows on the front when you are recording so my kindergarten kids knew when to settle down and focus. The mic picks up reasonably well. I often find myself narrating the video as I shoot it. I found when I use my "teacher voice" to do this the sound quality is poor due to the loudness of my voice as heard in this video. It’s not horrible but it is something I need to think about.
I will have to work with the kids on speaking up though. In this video I interviewed 3 of my first grade boys about a rhythm activity we were doing and parts of their speech are too soft to be heard nicely.
I was impressed with how well the camera shows faces in my room with the lights off. Even with going back and forth between the basically white computer screen to the kids’ faces the camera still captured a decent movie.
Moving the videos from the Flip to my computer was easy on my Dell XPS M1330. No trouble at all. I plugged it in and the Flip drivers self installed. The use interface was easy to figure out and I quickly saved the videos I selected to my computer. On my computer at school (which by the way was purchased only about 2 years ago) it was a different story. Upon plugging the Flip in to the USB drive the computer slowed to a crawl and then froze up. Now let it be known that I have had other issues with this particular machine running programming but I think I would hesitate a bit before expected the Flip programming to work on an older computer.
The Flip Share programming will let you add title and credits slides to your movie and you can do some basic editing from the beginning or end of your movie. If you want to really do some serious editing then use Windows MovieMaker, the Flip files will pull quite nicely into this program. I also liked that you can choose to have the Flip Share prepare a set of videos to be posted on the internet. I know this is basically a repackaged "save as" function but I think it would be really handy for folks who are new to this kind of technology.
What I’d like to try next is to put the camera into the hands of my student to observe how easy or hard it is for them to create a video using the camera. We’ll see how it goes!
I find the video to be of decent quality. I am not bothered by it being too grainy or blurry.