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Shoot HD video anywhere.
Only a few years ago, shooting and editing video to share with your friends could be a huge hassle. Even with all the video-editing software and ever-growing variety of DV cameras, editing that video of you being spit on by a llama at the petting zoo could still be a pain.
Fortunately for those filmed being accosted by exotic animals, video camera technology has progressed beyond tape technology, and camera prices have dropped dramatically. Wannabe Spielbergs can shoot and share the fruits of their video labor with relative ease. The Flip MinoHD is a good example of what is available today for the YouTube-loving masses.
The Flip MinoHD jumps on the widescreen HD bandwagon, because we all know that widescreen and HD are the new black. The new addition to the Flip family shoots video at 1280x720, double that of its sibling, the Flip Mino. This bump in resolution gives you a more vibrant final video with fewer artifacts. Unfortunately, the screen on the Flip MinoHD is identical to that of the Flip Mino. Because the display is the standard aspect ratio, instead of widescreen, the image on the display is teeny tiny. When you are shooting your subjects they seem smaller than they need to be. You’ll encounter the same situation when reviewing your videos on the device. Hopefully, Flip will rectify this situation in future incarnations of the MinoHD.
The controls on the back of the camera are intuitive and the buttons light up when their functions are available. Flip mysteriously removed the ability to use digital zoom before recording video, which is an odd feature not to carry over from the Flip Mino. Flip’s sharing and editing software is stored on the Flip MinoHD and is user friendly. You can share your videos via YouTube, AOL Video, MySpace, and email. Email sharing sends recipients a link to a player on Flip’s website. Videos can be exported as movies with music and titles as H.264 MPEGs or as videos ready to burned to DVD. While the software boasts editing ability, it is editing in the loosest sense of the term. You can trim the videos and connect multiple videos together, but that’s pretty much it.
The quality of the video is surprisingly good. Going from low-light to bright-light situations was a smooth transition. The MinoHD’s white balance also performed very well. Skin tones registered true to life. The camera handled quick movements without too many artifacts or the “wavies” that plague other low-end video cameras. The Flip MinoHD needs to handle quick movement well because it has no image stabilization. Videos shot while walking or after drinking any sort of caffeinated drink can resemble Cloverfield without the creepy spider monsters. If you’re looking for a stable shot, you should use the tripod mount on the bottom of the camera. In addition to the lack of image stabilization, the camera has no audio input. The internal mic is serviceable in low-background noise situations, but can be easily overpowered by traffic, wind, and the baying of animals.
Still, with all its limitations, the Flip MinoHD is a fun little video camera. It doesn’t try to cram in features that the intended audience doesn’t want or need. The biggest drawback of video cameras is that their owners don’t want to lug them around after the first month of ownership. The Flip MinoHD solves that problem with its small size and ease of use.The Flip MinoHD is a fun camera with surprisingly good-quality video—albeit a tad on the pricey side—whose videos can induce nausea if shot while walking. But, it’s perfect for the on-the-go video adventurer.