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Pure Digital's Flip Video mino
micro camcorder gets smaller, adds touch controls
By John Virata

What does a company do when it makes a highly successful DV camcorder that fits in the palm of your hand and shoots surprisingly high quality 640x480 resolution 30 frames per second video? At less than $200? Well, it shrinks the next version, adds some cool sharing features in the intuitive software that ships with it, and adds neat touch sensitive controls for manipulating the camera's basic controls.

This is precisely what the engineers at Flip Video did with its Flip Video mino, the latest line in its highly successful Flip Video series of handheld, micro digital video camcorders. The idea with the Flip Video mino is not to offer a whole bunch of features, because it doesn't have many. The idea is to have a small camera on hand for those super spontaneous moments in life when you need to just pull the camcorder out of your purse or front pocket, push the power button and quickly record. It is really that fast to start recording. You can grab the camcorder, push the power button, hit the record button and you are recording in less than five seconds.

The Flip Video mino differentiates itself from its Ultra sibling in its smaller form factor and the touch sensitive controls on the back. In addition, the mino is not powered via two AA batteries like the Ultra. Rather, the device features an internal fixed battery, charged via the USB port on your computer. The touch controls are different from the Ultra's generation controls as well. There is no longer a raised scrolling mechanism, nor are there raised play and trash buttons. The touch controls for pause/play and trash are indented, while the volume/zoom controls are true touch sensitive, as are the forward and advanced controls for video playback. And did I mention that the controls are backlit so you can see them in the dark, which is when you'd more likely be viewing the videos on the color LCD than capturing video.


Send to YouTube, AOL Video, and MySpaceTV.

The Flip Video Software
The Flip Video Software is what really sets this camera apart from its competition. Macintosh and Windows compatible, the software is very easy to use, offers the capability to mix clips together to make a single video, and includes some cool effects that you can add to your videos to give them different looks such as old film look, music TV style, and others. From the software, you can save your videos to your computer, share them via email, and upload to video sharing sites, which is a new feature to the software. You can upload videos to YouTube without having to visit the site. You'll have to add any other information, and set permissions later, but you can get the clips up straight from the software fairly easily. You can also upload directly to MySpace and AOL Video as well.

Here is a YouTube clip captured with the Flip Video mino with music supplied by the Flip Video software.

A cool thing about the Flip Video software is the capability to play your videos in your library, grab stills from the video, as well as give the videos a real name (as opposed to VID000013), and even edit the clips. Another cool feature to the Flip Video Software is the Make Movie Mix. You can select any number of videos and then add your own movie style, click the Make Movie icon and the Flip Video software makes the movie. This is an easy way to combine your clips, outtakes, and other videos to quickly make a movie.

You can upload directly to YouTube via the Flip Video software.

You can share videos via email,  public online sharing, and private ionline greeting cards.

The Flip Video mino is an ideal video camera solution for those who want to capture spur of the moment events in everyday life. It is simplistic in its design, and offers no frills capture capability, the zoom is extremely limited, and this version offers a built in rechargeable battery, which like the iPod and similar devices, will eventually fail, leaving you with essentially a useless device, unless there is a program in place to replace the battery when it does die of over use. but then you have to think of all the precious moments that you capture with the mino. The mino offers 60 minutes of record time with its fixed flash based internal memory. The Flip Video mino is a very cool device, and the iVideo generation will probably be the ones posting their clips online for the world to see. Pure Digital has really made it easy to capture video content with this device. It is priced at $179. For more information, visit www.flipvideo.com.


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John Virata is senior editor of Digital Media Online. You can email him at jvirata@digitalmedianet.com
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 





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