The Flip video camera is a point-and-shoot HD camcorder, first manufactured by Pure Digital Technologies in 2006.
These days, it’s no big deal to pull out a compact video camera from your pocket and start shooting video within seconds. Of course, we’re referring to a smartphone.
In the past, there was such a convenience as well, in the form of the Flip video camera, that is.
Those were days when camcorders were portable but still a tad too bulky for the average consumer.
Of course, you can’t carry a camcorder to a party or an event without attracting notice. Also, there was the matter of changing tapes and so on.
The market was always looking for a lighter, smaller video camera that didn’t sacrifice quality.
And that came in the form of the Flip video camera.
The Flip video camera was launched in 2006 by Pure Digital. It was tagged “point and shoot video camera.”
The camera caught on with consumers because of its ease of use, compactness, and affordability.
A large consumer base for the camera even led to the proliferation of user guides.
A case in point is the Flip Video for Dummies. The 2010 edition of the book described the Flip video camera as ‘probably the easiest-to-use camcorder in the world.’ “Just point, shoot, and copy to your computer.”
The Flip camera had so much potential in the market that Cisco, bought Pure Digital for USD 590 million in 2009.
How to Use a Flip Video Camera
After shooting, you can connect the camera to your computer using the flip-out USB connector.
The camera will be detected as a drive, much like how a flash drive is detected by a computer.
Clicking on the camera drive icon will open up the folders there. And when you click on the DCIM folder, you’ll see your video files saved as MP4 (.mp4).
From there you can edit the files on any video editing program. If you don’t have a video editor, you can use the one that comes bundled with the camera. It’s called FlipShare.
Take a look at the video below to learn how it works.
Types of Flip Video Cameras
There were various Flip video camera models released.
The models were Mino HD, Ultra HD and Slide HD.
The main difference between them was recording time.
The SlideHD model allowed you to record videos for up to a whopping 240 minutes.
MinoHD offered two models. The first offered 60 minutes of recording. The other is 120 minutes.
Ultra HD and the Ultra models offered 120 minutes each.
Kodak, inspired by the success of Flip cameras, offered competition. They came out with a line of cameras called Playtouch.
It was one of the bestselling video products on Amazon. But its popularity was short-lived.
Kodak was soon to quit the video business, like Cisco.
End of the Road
In April 2011, Cisco announced that its Flip Video division will cease operation. This surprised many. The company was making about $400 million a year on Flip Video products.
It couldn’t be helped. Sales were slowing down. Profit margins were low.
Cisco, probably could not see a future for Flip video with the emergence of strong competitors.
iPhone and iPhone touch, among others, offered video cameras with Internet connections. You shoot and upload videos to platforms like YouTube easily.
Are Flip Video Cameras Available for Sale?
If you don’t want to use your smartphone as your video camera, then you may want to get a Flip video camera for its compactness and ease of use.
That is if you’re okay with lower video quality in these days of 4K video.
Used models are available for sale online.
Here are some models you may want to check out.
With the Flip MinoHD you can record about 60 minutes of HD-quality video. This is done on a 4GB storage space.
That would be at a resolution of 1280 x 720 at 30fps.
The camera itself weighs about 95 g, which is ideal if weight is a concern.
Watch the video below to get an idea of how the Flip MinoHD works.
Check out the Flip MinoHD.
Flip UltraHD Video Camera
This model comes with 8GB of storage space and allows you to store up to 120 minutes of HD video (720p).
It offers USB and HDMI connectivity.
This second-generation model offers a flip-out USB arm.
You can plug it into your computer – Windows or Mac. When you do that, the FlipShare program will be launched, allowing you to transfer and edit your videos.
Check out the Flip UltraHD Video Camera.
The Flip SlideHD video camera has a storage capacity of 16GB.
It allows you to record up to 4 hours of HD video.
If you use the Space Saver format available with the built-in FlipShare software you can store up to 12 hours of videos and photos.
The unit also comes with a 3-inch wide touchscreen. It allows you to instantly preview the videos you’ve shot.
Check out the Flip SlideHD video camera.
Flip Video Shortfalls
Here are the Flip video camera cons you should take note of.
The flip camera uses AAA batteries – 3 of them. Shooting HD video on AAA batteries isn’t an ideal scenario.
The camera sucks battery power fast.
So, if you’re going to shoot lengthy footage, be sure to have spare batteries – at least two extra sets.
Also, if you’re going to rely on audio for your video production, you get passable quality. Not a big deal if you’re going to add higher-quality audio in postproduction.
Since it’s a point-and-shoot camera with minimum controls, image stabilization is a feature that isn’t included.
You need steady hands to minimize shaky shots which may ruin viewing pleasure.
FlipShare, the software program that comes bundled with the camera is dated. So, don’t expect it to work with Windows 8, 10 and 11.
Users have, however, reported that it works with Windows 7 (Service packs 1 to 3).
So, if you intend to use the Flip video camera with FlipShare, have a computer with an older operating system ready.
Learn more about the Flip point-and-shoot video camera.