This camcorder is a simple way for you to share videos with friends and family, make and share mini-movies, capture special moments, or film your next masterpiece for YouTube or Amazon.com.
Pros: 1. The "cool" factor is off the scale. Every time I showed it to somebody, they said "COOL!!!"
2. It uses two AA batteries that are easy to install. There's a latch at the bottom of the camera - one side has a picture of a closed lock, and the other has a picture of an open lock. It doesn't get simpler than that, does it? Push towards the open lock and slide off the panel on the front of the camera from just under the lens. After you put in the batteries, slide the panel back into place and push the latch back to the locked position. You're now ready to start filming.
3. There are very few buttons required to operate the camera. Turning it so that the side with the big red button is facing you, the on/off switch is on the right side of the camera. After powering up, the screen will light up with the Flip logo and then it will indicate that it's ready. At this stage you'll be looking at whatever's in front of you, with a time check at the bottom telling you how much video time you have left.
4. Filming is easy - just press the red button to start, and press it again to stop. The camera will save your creation, tell you how long it is and how much time you have left. You can zoom in and out by pressing the + and - signs on top of and below the red button. The microphone will pick up and record whatever's going on at the time.
5. Playback is a one button operation.
6. Deleting your mistakes is a one button operation.
7. You can scroll through your videos by using the arrow keys to the left and right of the red button.
8. Getting it on your computer is the easiest part. With the red button facing you, pull down on the latch on the left side, and - surprise!!! Out pops a USB arm which you then connect to your computer. Once you're linked up, the Flip Video software will show you the way home. (It takes a while to pop up) Choose the option to view your videos, and agree to the terms and conditions, and then the "Muvee Video Mixing Software" begins loading. This is a one time installation. From there you can easily play, name, edit and share your videos.
9. You can also capture still shots from your videos, but you can't use these when making your movies with the software provided.
10. There is an option for making a movie, where you can arrange your edited videos, choose from a selection of six movie styles and music, or even add your own music. Choose your style, click on the "Make Mix" button, and the computer does the rest. If you're happy with the results, you can save the file.
11. The camera comes with a wrist strap, a velvet drawstring case, and also the necessary cables to connect it to your television for a bigger view. There's also a place to connect a tripod.
12. There is a "Help" feature included with the software.
Cons: 1. Being a simple "point and shoot" camera, the resolution isn't fantastic, but quite good enough for action shots. Forget detail close-ups such as words and logos - zooming in and out will just get you various degrees of blurry.
2. You'll need to be careful with background noise, as the microphone will pick up the sound of your fan or your stomach growling.
3. The video editing capability is limited to the length of the video you want to save, and the order you want to save it. There are no options for titles, fade ins or outs or any bells and whistles. If you're filming yourself giving a speech, you'll pretty much have to get it right in one complete take.
4. As with all videos, if your hands shake, you'll need to get a tripod, or you may make a lot of people seasick.
5. If you have big fingers, you may have some problems with the red button. Once your finger covers the area around the button, you'll have trouble starting and stopping the video. If you can't get it to work, you may have to use just a fingernail, because if you press anywhere other than dead center of the red button it won't start or stop.
Overall, this is a very good camcorder if used for the purpose for which it is intended. It isn't going to make you the next Stanley Kubrick, but it's a good start.
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