Technology Review: Flip Mino HD Video Camera
“Technology makes life easier.” We have a good friend who delivers this line in a droll tone, dripping with the irony that many of us non-technophiles encounter when trying to use a new device or piece of software. Whatever the tool, its intended purpose is to allow us to do something more easily, but ultimately it can end up feeling like more hassle than its worth.
This Dappled Grey feature blog post identifies new technology equipment that allows the sport horse professional to do necessary and or creative business marketing activities in easier ways. We’re starting with the Flip Mino HD video camera, a device that comes at a great price point and is easy to use for even the most avowed technophobe.
The Flip Mino HD
The Flip Mino HD can record an hour’s worth of high definition video, weighs only 3.3 ounces, and connects to your computer with a flip-out USB plug (no cables required!). It retails for $229.99. You can read more details about the Flip Mino HD’s specifications, but let’s take a closer look at how the sport horse professional might use it and how it performs.
Video for Sport Horse Businesses
Video is a valuable tool for the sport horse professional in many ways. Are you a trainer and need to create sales videos, upload them to YouTube, and/or burn to DVD’s? Maybe you are a breeder – what makes potential buyers swoon more than footage of this season’s new foals bounding and frolicking in the pasture? Or maybe you are a forward thinking vet, and want to put short instructional videos up on your website…how to apply a hoof wrap, for example. Can the Flip Mino HD make these things easier to do?
The Flip Mino HD is slightly smaller than an iPhone, extremely lightweight, and slides easily into most any pocket. For sport horse professionals who are often on the go in outdoor environments, the portability is a superb feature. You can quite literally pop it into your pocket in the morning, pull it out to shoot a clip, and shove it back in your pocket. According to various industry reviews, the durability is quite good for its size and weight.
Ease of Use
Capturing video is quite literally as easy as point and shoot. A small screen on the back of the camera acts as the viewfinder and the controls are very basic. From when you pull the Flip Mino HD out of the box and charged it, we would daresay that anyone who can use a computer or cell phone can be shooting video clips in 5 minutes.
Editing and Using Clips
The Flip Mino HD comes loaded with its FlipShare software. You can run the software on the camera or easily bring it onto your computer (Mac or PC). FlipShare’s system for storing and editing clips is again incredibly simple and easy to use, if somewhat basic. It allows you to create opening/closing credits and combine separate clips together for longer videos. Users who wish to apply more complicated editing can import the clips into iMovie or other video editing tools. Clips can be send to YouTube (or other web platforms) or burned to DVD directly from FlipShare.
Quality of Video
That such a small, easy to use device can create such clear, crisp high-resolution images is truly amazing. It is worth mentioning that there is another model of the Flip that is not HD and comes at a lower price point. However, if you are looking to put your videos on the web (YouTube) or burn DVD’s, these platforms will operate more smoothly in the high definition format.
According to multiple reviews, as well as our own experience, the otherwise excellent image quality does decline somewhat when the subject (a horse, for example) is moving. If you are looking for very high quality moving images, an experience hand will get better results with a more traditional camcorder model. Frankly, the quality you get with the Flip Mino HD, even with moving subjects, is on par with or superior than the quality we see most horse professionals get with a traditional camcorder.
As an example, see how the Flip Mino HD performed from our seats inside the Thomas & Mack Center at UNLV for the 2009 Grand Prix of Las Vegas:
Is it worth it then?
To a certain degree, the answer is a tradeoff between convenience and quality. In theory, extremely high quality footage is most likely preferable and in some cases essential. But if the idea of setting up the camcorder, recording (or finding someone who knows how to use the device to record for you), locating the right cables, pulling the footage off the camera…and on and on…is so overwhelming that you don’t do it at all, then the issue of quality is irrelevant, right?
In this fast paced, YouTube culture, creating short video clips, even at a lesser quality, and sharing them quickly and easily on the web is an integral part of marketing your sport horse business. You are doing great things in your business and the idea is to spread your story in highly accessible, low cost ways. The Flip Mino HD truly makes this an easy and fun thing to do!
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