Monday, November 15, 2010

From the Desk: Flip Video Review

Originally I had intended to do a demo video of two-brush-blending, however it became obvious to me very quickly that I had no experience with doing any video work. So, this post is going to be part review, part how-to, and very much a demo of my lack of video skills.

Results:
Before I get into any of the review or how-to parts, I'll start right off with the results: This video I took of myself doing two-brush-blending on my test model. Note that there is no intentional audio for this video.


What I Used:
The video was taken with my new Flip Video MinoHD. I picked out this model specifically for home video as I have a new son. I did not pick out this model with miniatures filming in mind. I put the Flip on the mini-tripod that I use for my normal miniature photography, and used my normal painting desk lamp for the lighting. The video is posted through Youtube.

How-To:
Once again I must point out that I am no expert. There are plenty of things that I can improve upon. My goal was simply to do an initial test to see what level of quality I got and what sort of improvements would be next. Comments are of course welcome, but know that I'm already doing research to figure out how to improve my process. That being said...

All I did was put the Flip on the tripod, line up all my equipment, and shoot the video. I think this particular one was the 4th attempt, with minimal differences between them. The real differences were in trying to make sure I framed as much as possible to convey how the two-brush-blending mechanically works but still give enough detail of the paint itself. All things considered, it wasn't that successful. Anyway, once I shot the video, I simply plug the Flip into my computer (via the pop-out USB connector built into the Flip), transferred the video, and then uploaded it to my newly created Youtube account. I did absolutely zero video editing on this video before uploading it, which means that the original HD video is actually on there. I should note that it took forever to upload a 3 minute HD video.

Review:
The Flip itself is pretty slick. The built-in USB connector is handy, and the interface is brain-dead-simple to use. However, it has no settings to speak of so you pretty much just get HD all the time, and any editing must be done on a computer. Also there's no macro mode, so the focus in this video is terrible. For taking video of painting it didn't work out so great. However for the price point it's not terrible, and with some additional experience and tweaking there's still potential. For larger projects (like terrain making) it would probably be sweet. Also note that I didn't experiment with the audio at all, so I can't speak to the quality of that, although my experience of shooting other family video has been relatively good thus far.

Well, there you have it. Serious amateur hour from me this week, but it definitely gives you some perspective on the total newbie experience of posting video in the realm of miniature painting.

1 comment:

tino said...

The Kodak Zi8 seems to be what you are looking for when it comes to miniature shooting. It has a macro function. The price is competitive with Flip cams. I researched these when my son was born. I went with the Canon Vixia HF200. It cost more, but you get the type of settings options that some higher end cams get.
Anyway, the Kodak has macro, which is nice.