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AV and Multimedia Related Thread, Recommend me a class-set of video cameras... in Technical; We're looking at little "cheapie" camcorders - things like Flip, Digital Blue and Kodak's Flip-equivalent. Not essential that they are ...
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    enjay's Avatar
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    Recommend me a class-set of video cameras...

    We're looking at little "cheapie" camcorders - things like Flip, Digital Blue and Kodak's Flip-equivalent. Not essential that they are compatible with Movie Maker, but whatever they do use must be easily-deployable on CC3. They will be used by children, but we're a "nice school" so they don't need be bullet-proof. Which types of camera do you guys use, how are they, and which ones have you had a struggle with?

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    We've got a bunch of Kodak Zi8s as well as some newer Kodak Playsports.

    I'd strongly recommend the Playsports - they're cheap, ultra robust (check out The Gadget Show's extreme testing here) and very easy to use.

    Oh, and they shoot underwater too.

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    Sylv3r's Avatar
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    Each department here has at least 2 flip cameras - other than the converting issue of putting them into MovieMaker the kids and staff love them.

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    Toshiba HD S20 camcorders. Roughly £70 from just about anywhere, another 8 quid for a 4GB memory card and they work wonders. Started replacing a hell of a lot of Digital Fool cams, those gawd-awful Tuffcams and other plasticy bits of junk that are supposedly easy to use. They're half the price of these tonka toys and twice as good. Kids pick them up really quickly anyway. Have deployed via CC3 and 4 without problem, used with packages like Movie Maker and 2Simple 2Animate. No conversion issues, no dodgy software, rechargeable lithium batteries, can't go far wrong!

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    enjay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sylv3r View Post
    Each department here has at least 2 flip cameras - other than the converting issue of putting them into MovieMaker the kids and staff love them.
    Is there a solution / workaround to the conversion issue so that kids can use Movie Maker, or will they have to use the Flip software?

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    enjay's Avatar
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    @synaesthesia - sounds like what I'm after, thanks! I've just bought a £45 Kodak thing for play and test purposes, so will give the Toshiba ones a try if I struggle with the Kodak.

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    enjay's Avatar
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    Price looks very good. Do you know if the files are in a friendly format, or if they would need converting before importing into Movie Maker?

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    JJonas's Avatar
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    I dont know on that. Just saw them listed on hotukdeals earlier this week and then I saw your post and thought of them.

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    I think you'll find if you install the k-lite codecs then movie maker will accept the native Flip files.

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    enjay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJonas View Post
    I dont know on that. Just saw them listed on hotukdeals earlier this week and then I saw your post and thought of them.
    Okay. They're only a "hot deal" if they are actually easy for the kids to use - if everything has to re-encoded (especially if it has to be re-encoded by me!), then they're not worth looking at. We want cameras where you can film at the start of the lesson and then immediately sit down and start editing it in Movie Maker.

    I may well buy one to try out, and could always sell it/give it away if we don't like it.

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    enjay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by laserblazer View Post
    I think you'll find if you install the k-lite codecs then movie maker will accept the native Flip files.
    Worth knowing. I thought K-Lite was questionable in terms of the origin of some of its codecs though?

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    Quote Originally Posted by enjay View Post
    Worth knowing. I thought K-Lite was questionable in terms of the origin of some of its codecs though?
    Our LEA list it as a recommended install. So you're probably right

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    these things mostly seem to shoot in h264, so codec problems will be similar I expect. The toshiba has a pop out screen which can be a bit of a liability. Synaesthesia, I haven't played with one though so no criticism intended. The Flip is dead easy to use - Mino variety has a built in Lithium battery, Ultra uses AAs. The Kodak ones are good - I like the waterproof housing on the Playsport - that's a good idea. The Kodaks can also shoot 1080P although we prefer 720P for the look and file size. They take SD cards, whereas the Flips have a fixed 1 hour or 2 hour memory. Again, easy, but less flexible. We started stocking the Kodak ZI8 too, as it also has an external mic socket. Sound is the weak point on all of these cameras. Zi8 Pocket Video Camera, Digital Video Camera, HD Video Camera - Kodak Online

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    enjay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robbocop View Post
    these things mostly seem to shoot in h264, so codec problems will be similar I expect.
    Losing me slightly there - what is h264, and what other options are there which would be more compatible?

    Thanks for the other comments, highly informative. The flip-out screen shouldn't be an issue here - kids are used to those anyway, not least because our existing camcorders have them. Batteries are definitely key though, as the performance from an AA is often insufficient; easier to replace if it does run-out mid-filming though - dilemma. 2 hour memory should be sufficient for these cameras, as they're just classroom play-things; we have a bigger camera for filming concerts, plays, etc. Certainly is a consideration point though.



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