Archive for the ‘test’ Category

Sammy puts toy dinosaurs in the water test video

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

A second test video, in which Sammy dunks three toy dinosaurs in water. They are expected to expand to 600% size over the course of several days. (“Just add water!” it says on the package — and then wait three days, they don’t use the big font size about that part.)

This one was shot with the Mino Flip HD as well (see previous post), using the tripod. Here I have problems keeping Sammy in frame, there appear to be a couple of audio sync issues, and the low light is a little more problematic. However, for a device smaller than a pack of cards, dealing with the fact that it was dusk in a room with no lights, it’s not too bad. As I learn to use the zoom and position the thing properly, I expect the quality to improve.

Mino Flip HD: Preliminary review and test video of my daughter Sophie

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

At Costco today, I bought myself an early birthday present, a Mino Flip HD, which is a video camera in a small form factor — about the size of my iPhone. (You can read this PC Mag review for more details.) Costco carries the 60-minute Mino Flip HD in black with a bonus tripod for under $200.

We do have a video camera, and it has more features than I’ll ever use, but it uses mini tapes, and it’s difficult to capture the video on computer to edit or publish here. It’s also not as ultra-portable as the Mino Flip HD. I’ve been interested in it ever since I saw David Pogue review it on The New York Times “Circuits” show a few months ago.

The package includes a soft pouch and wrist strap, plus composite cables for quick playback on your TV set (but that’d be in SD, obviously, given the cable). The product itself is well-designed in terms of UI, stripping down the feature set to only the bare essentials. It has only the most minimal controls, to make video capture simple.

I took two quick test videos, one of Sophie and one of Sammy. The first test video, of Sophie, quickly showed that I don’t have a steady hand and should really use the tripod.

For the second test video, I used the tripod, which helped the stability a lot.

The light wasn’t great for either test, and it looks like the Flip did a better job of handling low light conditions than our handheld Canon camcorder.

The Flip does capture in HD (see below for specs), and it was very simple to use the built-in USB to transfer the videos to my computer. After installing the software (automatic the first time you attach the Flip to your PC), transfer only took a few seconds.

The supplied “FlipShare” software is a little too stripped down. While it has very basic editing (titles, clip beginning and end, organize clips into a single movie, add music) and has functions for uploading to YouTube and other sites, there’s not enough control over the file conversion.

My one minute Sophie sample file was 70 megs in the native MP4 (H.264/AAC) file format, at 1280 by 720 resolution. FlipShare can convert to WMV on a PC (or apparently to MOV on a Mac). So I had it convert for me, but the version it produced for sharing via e-mail or uploading to a web site was 10 megs, in 640 by 360. It didn’t offer me an option to change that resolution or compress further. Ten megs a minute isn’t bad, but is too big a file size for uploading here to

The YouTube upload is seamless, however, and it’s painless to embed (plus I don’t have to pay for hosting — thanks, Google!). The first test is below.

See, I wasn’t kidding about the jerky video. Sophie is now 18 months old.

Overall I haven’t used the Mino Flip HD enough to give a full review but I’m cautiously optimistic.