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I have to admit...I understand the Flip Video dilemma...

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Milton Hockman
I have to admit...I understand the Flip Video dilemma...
on Sep 18, 2010 at 4:16:13 am

A while ago I read a post on COW talking about how Flip cameras have ruined a videographer's business. I even participated in the discussions.

I hemmed and hawed about how he could offer better service and creativity for talking heads, interviews, etc. It will be ok, the Flip has nothing on you...I responded.

But, at that time i was simple a video editor....

Now, I'm in a new job and my boss came to me one day and said "Hey, i just bought a Flip Camcorder for $120, all the other ### are using it!, Lets do some fun stuff with it." "Our clients don't want to see high polished video productions, grass roots video makes it look authentic and real..." "give me something!"

So, me as a video editor who knew what could be done with a camera, now had the task of going out to use it.

And, to my surprise it was super simple! Hold it steady, shoot some talking heads, install the software, and click a button to simply upload to Youtube.

How easier can it be than that?

With this new Flip Camera revolution it really has transitioned our business. My boss wants a grassroots looking video to make it look like a client made it, when in reality a trained eye with years of experience made it look the way it did, without the lights and setup. And then simply upload to Youtube with a clik of the button, how simple is that!

It seems in some aspects our industry is changing. When i think about it, i just robbed some guy $400 for a day rate to videotape the thing and another $200 to edit it... all for the price of a $120 Flip camera.

Freelancer Designer Virginia - StephenHockman.com
Find out more about me, see my portfolio, and read my blog

Graphic Design Info, Web Page Tips, Video Production Guide BLOG
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Mark Raudonis
Re: I have to admit...I understand the Flip Video dilemma...
on Sep 19, 2010 at 12:25:42 am

[Milton Hockman] "When i think about it, i just robbed some guy $400 for a day rate to videotape the thing and another $200 to edit it... all for the price of a $120 Flip camera."

Not really. Many budgets would never support that rate anyway, so it's "Flip" or nothing. I'd take "Flip" over nothing.

In our case, we have a big budget reality show about to start shooting. Sure, we're loaded up with 6 Sony XDCAM PDW-800's, and the crews to support those cameras, but guess what? We're also passing out "Flips" like candy bars to incoming cast members and asking them to shoot themselves arriving. We've found that we can get footage on those kind of cameras that just wouldn't be possible with a crew. This has nothing to do with budget, professionalism, or technology, but EVERYTHING to do with "Access". By having the cast shoot themselves we get a perspective and POV that is just impossible otherwise. So, I'm a fan, but NOT for the obvious economic reasons driving many of these discussions. Would we shoot the whole show on a Flip? Of course not. Is it an interesting tool to have? You betcha.

Mark



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Greg Ball
Re: I have to admit...I understand the Flip Video dilemma...
on Sep 20, 2010 at 2:57:30 pm

[Milton Hockman] "When i think about it, i just robbed some guy $400 for a day rate to videotape the thing and another $200 to edit it... all for the price of a $120 Flip camera."

Why don't you tell your boss that you'll give him a haircut too. Then you can rob some hair stylist out of $50.00 while you cut his hair for $2.00. I'm sure the boss will just love his new look. Better yet, offer that service to his wife.

Bottom line. You get what you pay for.



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Todd Terry
Re: I have to admit...I understand the Flip Video dilemma...
on Sep 20, 2010 at 3:08:41 pm

I don't think any of us don't understand the Flip phenomenon.

I think we all understand it pretty clearly... painfully clearly.

For what seems to be a growing number of non-discriminating clients, cheap-looking crap is what they are willing to settle for, and willing to pay for. Sadly.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Mark Suszko
Re: I have to admit...I understand the Flip Video dilemma...
on Sep 20, 2010 at 3:18:49 pm

I'm skeptical that the grungy, cheap-ass look is going to stay popular; these trends come and go like fashions, and at some point, the clients will feel a need to move back towards "grownup, big-boy" productions with better production values.

There certianly is a place for flipcam type work, even mixed in with pro work. I don't think this is a case of the flip killing off all pro-level tool usage. But you WILL see more pros like yourself, using pro skills on these cheap consumer tools, to get the very best out of them. You will also see pros using pro gear but shooting in moer loose, deliberate imitation of "amateur" style. The differnce will be that their work will be subtly better; better-composed, better lit, better audio attention paid. Like using the FLip under "laboratory conditions".


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Scott Carnegie
Re: I have to admit...I understand the Flip Video dilemma...
on Sep 20, 2010 at 4:57:30 pm

It's a tool, use it appropriately. Here's a little vid I made using the Flip Mino attached to my steering wheel with a Gorilla tripod. Can't get that shot with a betacam :)







http://www.MediaCircus.TV
Media Production Services
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


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Richard Herd
Re: I have to admit...I understand the Flip Video dilemma...
on Sep 21, 2010 at 7:06:27 pm

[Mark Suszko] "cheap-ass look is going to stay popular"

Didn't they say something similar about distorted guitar? I'm not old enough to have experienced the 60s. Anyway, now that sound is very expensive and spawned a whole new style of music and expression.

But it isn't the instrument, it's the artist.


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Scott Sheriff
Re: I have to admit...I understand the Flip Video dilemma...
on Sep 20, 2010 at 9:04:53 pm

Todd
"For what seems to be a growing number of non-discriminating clients, cheap-looking crap is what they are willing to settle for, and willing to pay for. Sadly."

IMHO, clients accept "cheap looking crap", because the consumers (viewers) do. Ad revenues, ratings and cash flow is down everywhere. In the case of commercials, every dollar used by the production, is a dollar that doesn't go into the buy. The viewers don't quit watching because of lower production values, so what is the incentive to spend? Look at YouTube. Most of the viral, most watched videos aren't popular because of what camera they were shot with.
The other reason its 'our' fault is that for the quite a while, things that were once considered 'production mistakes' are now considered trendy FX, and favored 'looks'. So when you shoot poorly framed, shaky-cam, and then post in a bunch of scratches, light leaks, and lens flares, your just conditioning the audience to accept lower quality, as 'art'. So if that's the look, why spend the money on the camera? To the guy writing the checks, it may seem that the only reason to use the (insert your favorite camera here) camera, is to stroke the DP's ego.

Scott Sheriff
Director
SST Digital Media
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com


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Mike Cohen
Re: I have to admit...I understand the Flip Video dilemma...
on Sep 20, 2010 at 9:39:26 pm

I recently did a job for someone who proposed the job this way:

"I want to do a fun video for an internal event. What if we send Flip cams to our sales force and have them get some talking heads, and then you edit it together along with some interviews we do here."

I replied:

"The Flip is a decent camera for birthday parties and really informal use. If we shoot some of the interviews, the Flip stuff will look bad in comparison. If you just go with the Flip video - the image quality is pretty good but the sound may be low quality, not to mention the hand held shakiness, when projected, might make people nauseous."

He agreed with this feedback - notice I did not completely disregard the Flip because it is in fact good for some uses, and you want to give your clients some credit for their ideas.

So we wound up shooting all the interviews in HDV - only one without a tripod - and everyone is happy.

In the end, it would have been the same amount of editing however it was shot - although the Flip might have necessitated some stabilization and audio cleanup.

Actually, we recently did some editing of a surgical procedure shot with eithr a Flip, a point and shoot non-SLR still camera, or both. By the third case, the resident was getting good and had some creative shots.

There is a time and purpose for everything.

Mike Cohen


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Walter Soyka
Re: I have to admit...I understand the Flip Video dilemma...
on Sep 21, 2010 at 1:58:40 pm

We've been through this before, and not all that long ago. I suspect that many of us who are now threatened by the current disruption were the beneficiaries of the last disruption.

In 1995, Sony introduced a Flip Cam -- but they called it the VX1000. It arguably wasn't as good as Betacam, but it wasn't nearly as large, and it was cheaper.

In 1999, Apple introduced a Flip Editor -- but they called it Final Cut Pro. It arguable wasn't as good as Avid, but it didn't require a qualified system, and it was cheaper.

When you mix technology and capitalism, you get better quality from smaller, cheaper, faster packages every time.

This thread is one of a series on this forum over the past couple weeks that I think all distill to the same idea: knowing your value proposition, and being able to communicate it to clients and prospects who would truly benefit from it.

If all the value you offer comes from the tools that you own, you had better be a rental shop or you'll be out of business.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Richard Herd
Re: I have to admit...I understand the Flip Video dilemma...
on Sep 22, 2010 at 1:22:51 am

[Walter Soyka] "knowing your value proposition, and being able to communicate it to clients and prospects"

Value proposition, does it work from both ends? I'm currently struggling with this.

ME: here's the video but the audio file I received is poor.
CLIENT: here's the new audio
ME: here's the 2nd video.
CLIENT: My bad, I gave you the wrong information.
ME: I can fix that but it'll cost X I'll do it for half.
CLIENT: Complain complain complain.

Please help me here with regard to the value proposition. My price is already a bit low.


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Walter Soyka
Re: I have to admit...I understand the Flip Video dilemma...
on Sep 22, 2010 at 12:46:47 pm

[Richard Herd] "Value proposition, does it work from both ends?"

You offer your customers some unique benefits through your products and services in exchange for money. They don't necessarily offer you any unique value back -- that's what the money is for.


[Richard Herd] "ME: here's the video but the audio file I received is poor.
CLIENT: here's the new audio
ME: here's the 2nd video.
CLIENT: My bad, I gave you the wrong information.
ME: I can fix that but it'll cost X I'll do it for half.
CLIENT: Complain complain complain.

Please help me here with regard to the value proposition. My price is already a bit low."


The way I read that exchange, it seems that you are telling your client that you are both flexible and low-cost. That's not necessarily a bad business model, but it's certainly inviting for grinders, and it's easy to get flooded with projects with low price tags and high expectations. If you don't want to be known as the flexible, low-cost provider, how would you like to be known? Does that idea match up with your clients' and prospects' needs? Do your words and actions reinforce or undermine that idea?

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Chris Blair
Re: I have to admit...I understand the Flip Video dilemma...
on Sep 24, 2010 at 2:52:37 am

In the end...these are all just tools. I'm not a fan of the DSLR craze, mainly because of the numerous workflow issues involved that in my opinion add a tremendous amount of time and cost into using them...not to mention so-so audio and numerous hacks needed to use other professional tools with them.

But that doesn't mean the DSLRs don't have a use...for many they do. Same with the Flip. I've seen people use it and the video they get looks just like what your Uncle Zeb would shoot with his crappy little $300 DV camera. But I've also seen stuff shot with them that looks pretty darn good. The audio always sucks because there's no way to control levels or add a good quality mic (at least not to my knowlege). Now why anyone with access to quality gear would use the Flip INSTEAD of that gear is a HUGE mystery to me. There doesn't seem to be any value in that. But as an extra camera or as a camera that can get into places others can get....sure...it's a decent option. But just like the DSLR, there are a dozen hoops you have to jump through to insure that you can use your other professional gear with it (if necessary), not to mention other workflow issues to use the video in an editing environment. Don't forget it uses VERY high compression right off the bat and a codec meant for final delivery, not raw footage that's going to be edited and likely compressed several more times.

I think part of the "craze" you're seeing with corporate people using it is they think getting video of the client up on YouTube or Facebook trumps projecting a good image with high quality and meaningful content. I disagree. I think seeing poorly shot video with no lighting and hollow, auto-gain sound can make an otherwise impressive company look ridiculously amateurish and abashedly cheap.

Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com
Read our blog http://www.videomi.com/blog


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Mike Cohen
Re: I have to admit...I understand the Flip Video dilemma...
on Sep 24, 2010 at 1:59:28 pm

[Chris Blair] "In the end...these are all just tools"

Chris has succinctly summarized countless discussions about technology.

Be familiar with technology so you can advise your clients when they bring up the subject...it is your expertise in media that makes them your clients in the first place.

Mike Cohen


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Mark Suszko
Re: I have to admit...I understand the Flip Video dilemma...
on Sep 29, 2010 at 5:34:37 pm

Perfect example of the adage: "the artist is not his tools"...

http://sports.espn.go.com/golf/news/story?id=5625279

(Golfer wins championship with used $39 putter.)

A genius with a flip can beat a newbie with a RED.


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Mike Cohen
Re: I have to admit...I understand the Flip Video dilemma...
on Sep 29, 2010 at 6:37:44 pm

This is also why all footage of UFO sightings is of such poor quality.

Because until recently, your average person, if they walked around with a camera at all, used something small and easy to carry around in a pocket, glovebox, purse. This used to mean a 110 camera, point and shoot 35mm or APS camera with a short zoom, a Disc camera (anyone remember those?), a Polaroid (no zoom) or perhaps an SLR with a stock 28mm lens. As for video, pocket-sized video cameras have only recently become affordable, but that does not mean people will carry one around.

Nowadays, most cell phones still have poor quality cameras. As mroe people get smart phones with HD resolution, and pocket sized still cams with long zooms and high pixel count, we may finally get some decent UFO images.

However they know about our recent advances in technology, and will likely continue their landings in remote cornfields away from large populations of people operating advanced technology. They are pretty smart after all.

If Flip wants to really get on the map, they will send a free camera to every farmer in the world, or at least do a viral campaign to this effect.

Mike

PS - I am sure UFO cloaking devices interfere with HD video imaging circuitry.

That was fun!


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Mark Suszko
Re: I have to admit...I understand the Flip Video dilemma...
on Sep 29, 2010 at 7:37:22 pm

You're weird, Mike.


I like that.


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Mike Cohen
Re: I have to admit...I understand the Flip Video dilemma...
on Sep 29, 2010 at 7:46:50 pm

Mark, you are in the plains of Illinois. Ever see anything weird in the night sky?


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Mark Suszko
Re: I have to admit...I understand the Flip Video dilemma...
on Sep 30, 2010 at 1:10:22 am

A few years back, for one night during an active solar flare cycle, the Northern Lights got strong enough to be seen in central Illinois, I'd never seen them in real life before that, only films, and those don't really communicate the same. They were still pretty faint, and I had to drive Waaaayyy out into the corn fields to park away from sky glow to enjoy them. Eventually a cop on patrol passed me and stopped to check me out: I think he thought he had a real DUI case or something, until I got him to look up and see what I was hanging around, laying on the hood of my car, looking up at.

Once, I thought I'd seen a UFO as a kid, for about 60 seconds, but it turned out to be the bottom of the wing of a Cessna with an animated light display, scrolling animated light messages on a night flight. The text was inverted and heading away from me at the angle at which I caught it, and the plane itself wasn't very visible in outline in the dark, so it took a few seconds to pattern-match. Back then, there was still a spot along Irving Park Road or Mannheim Road, by O'hare field, where you could pull off the road onto a wide grassy apron, right under the approaching jets, and feel like you could touch each one's belly as they came in, lights blazing, about one every 90 seconds. That spot was also a sort of "lover's lane" then, but families also went out there to plane-watch. Unfortunately, too many people would pull out into traffic and cause car crashes, so the city put a stop to parking there long since.

In junior high, I used to make fake UFO pictures with a polaroid camera and the "leave the shutter open to trace airplane lights and your flashlight" trick. I fooled a couple of the more gullible students a little. We also hung chemical lightsticks from plastic delta wing kites at night and had lots of fun pranking some neighbors for a time.

These days the light pollution from cities or the cloud cover that invariably pops up on key nights, make observing meteor showers and comets a bit of a chore. Even during what everyone says are peak shower periods, I get to see barely one fireball an hour. I envy the folks in the Rockies and the U.P. who have clear dark skies and good "seeing".

I have seen satellites and the shuttle and space station chasing each other in orbit, but have never seen an Iridium flare. I'd like to.

But other than that cessna, no, all the things I have seen in the sky, I can pretty much identify. Even when you know where to look for it and when, watching Venus rise or set while you're driving *can* look pretty non-natural to the uninitiated.

To get back on topic, none of the things I saw would read very well on a flip camera.


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Martin Curtis
Re: I have to admit...I understand the Flip Video dilemma...
on Sep 30, 2010 at 3:58:56 am

[Chris Blair] "I think part of the "craze" you're seeing with corporate people using it is they think getting video of the client up on YouTube or Facebook trumps projecting a good image with high quality and meaningful content."

That's because they are seeing really popular Youtube videos that have been shot with Flip-type cameras. They are forgetting that with good/funny content, people will forgive the shaky video and tinny sound and that there's a million other videos just like that on YT that no-one is watching.

Content is king.

If your content isn't that compelling (because it's an advertisement) anything that distracts (shaky, tinny) from the key message will dilute that message even further.

My local AV supplier videoed me with a Flip camera for their website. I told them they're idiots because they have a studio with $10 000 Sony cameras. They wanted to be hip. And they sell Flips, too.


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