A month ago while on vacation in Florida I discovered I had forgotten my Canon HV30. I panicked.
I searched my laptop case (a giant man purse) for a Flip cam to hold me over. Note how easy it is to say “flip cam” instead of “small video camera.” No luck. On a trip to Best Buy I look at the Flips, but I continue to be frustrated by Flip’s price rigidity. Instead of bringing any legacy model close to the $100 point (I’m the guy that would own five of them for that price), they keep adding features and pushing past the $200. At $200 it’s a rival to larger but much better $300-$500 cameras. At $100 (or even $150) it’s an impulse buy and almost disposable.
So I tried out the JVC Picsio because of a significant sale ($150 if I recall, off a $199 ARP) and the super strong endorsement from the Best Buy dude. Not Billy this time. I was in Florida.
As small as Flip, but I believe the picture quality is as good or better. You can go 720 or 1080, and in good lighting it looks like a $500 camera.
I was afraid the JVC Picsio wouldn’t play nicely with my Mac, and I’d need software to convert. Surprisingly the files were .mov files and ready to roll into iMovie.
It takes photos and they’re pretty decent. I’ve learned not to get lured by megapixel promises… consider these pretty nice for a discount video camera ($150 would get you far more in a digital still camera).
It’s very small and goes in the pocket easily. We took some cool swamp footage I can’t remember if I posted! Wait- I didn’t, did I?
I like to toggle between photo and video camera easily. It confuses the victim, however.
It got slammed on Amazon’s reviews, so I wouldn’t have purchased it had I known that. But my experience wasn’t as severe as theirs.
No USB plug: you’d be surprised how that seemingly trivial miss can be so frustrating.
The playback sound (camera’s speaker) it almost inaudible. Like the Flip, no external mics welcome. Indoors without ambience, it did well. Cars not so much.
The power button is hard to use (quite annoying to dig fingernail multiple times to turn off/on), and the navigation is more complex. It began recording in my pocket a few times.
Apparently when the battery dies, it’s a paperweight.
Some people claim the images are not as steady, but again I was happy with what I got for $150 on an impulse buy.
Would I buy it again? I suppose if I didn’t already own a bunch of Flips (the Hello Kitty one is still my fav), I might have instead sprung for the Flip Mino to give it a try. As I recall, Greg Benson (mediocrefilms) shot this Yearbook parody video with it (amazing). For another $50 or $100 I’d like to see how it compares directly to the JVC Picsio and other portable cameras.
Here’s some footage I shot with it. What do you think?
I am surprised at Flip’s ability to dominate the market and hold on high prices ala Mac. It’s a great innovation, but I keep expecting for a Canon, JVC, Sony or other manufacturer to come out with a $100 Flip killer. Not yet.
As long as Flip keeps innovating (and allowing older models to hit that $100ish level) it may continue to dominate the ultra portable market, and I noticed the bold advertising campaign has continued even post Cisco acquisition. I do wish it would use actual amateur video in its ads instead of the awkwardly over produced simulated amateur clips. Again Flip resembles Mac in its advertising: slick, cool, musical.
P.S. If you Flip peeps wants to loan me the newest (UltraHD or this brushed-steal gen 2 Mino) for a head-to-head trial against the JVC Piscio I’ll gladly take the challenge and return the camera. I’d shoot simultaneous shots of the Flip and JVC (recording in the same conditions at same time), then post them on my daily vlogs on YouTube (unclenalts). Just hit me at kevinnalts at gmail (if I don’t reply immediately, don’t hesitate shooting again).
Just when you thought pre-rolls were dead, both Hulu and YouTube are embracing them in recent weeks. Hulu has officially rolled out an “Ad Selector,” where viewers can choose among several ads from a single sponsor. And YouTube, whose parent Google once chastised online-video pre-rolls for causing 75% abandonment rates, is now quietly experimenting with mandatory (unstoppable) 15-second pre-rolls before professional and amateur content.
Some brief background: When I spoke to Coke marketing executives about YouTube last year, I had the dubious role of following Hulu CEO Jason Kilar. He teased Coke marketers with an emerging ad offering that’s now officially called the “Ad Selector.” He showed how Coke could provide Hulu viewers a variety of options, where the individual could chose to watch one of several Coke commercials before enjoying a free show. I was thrilled at the model because a) it gives marketers insights, b) it provides consumers with choice, and c) the mere selection exposes the viewer to several brands.
VivaKi’s research examined 29 different ad models over 16 months, and had participation from such brandsas Allstate, Applebee’s, Capital One and Nestle Purina PetCare. Overall, VivaKi officials said the group invested 230,000 hours of research, surveying over 25 million consumers.
Guess what? The Ad Selector delivered click-through rates that averaged 106 percent higher than pre-roll ads. Plus, online ad-recall scores were 290 percent higher than pre-rolls.
In case the good folks at Hulu decide to “reconfidentialize” that PDF, here is a brief overview: The Ad Selector is an ad unit that allows the user to control their entire ad experience during video playback. At the beginning of their content play the user will be presented with 2 or 3 category options. Once a selection has been made, the user will be presented with video advertisements in the category of their choice. For example an automotive company could offer the user a selection of SUV, Truck or Coupe advertisements. If the user selects “SUV” the remaining breaks will playback commercials from the sponsor related to just to their area of interest (SUVs).
Yey for Jason and Hulu! Jason’s talk at Coke excited me because he revealed his primary goal was to provide online-video viewers with a positive experience, and wanted to ensure that advertisements did not interfere. Here’s another happyhulu moment: last night I discovered that neither iTunes nor Hulu had yet posted that night’s episode of Fringe (which I missed while flying to Chicago). Instead, I decided to catch Tuesday’s episode of “The Office,” and instinctively went to iTunes first. It was $2.99 (yipes) and iTunes wouldn’t let me watch it on my laptop (seems I’ve exceeded the 5-device rule). So I was pleased to find it free on Hulu, and welcomed the few short interstitial ads.
Do you see a skip option on this 15-second preroll on this recent Smosh video pictured below? I don’t.
Just this week I spoke with a fellow YouTube Partner who agrees with my cautious view of these: unless they command significant revenue and are proven to not cause audience drop-off, we’d prefer to turn these off. That said, neither of us has been invited to participate in this program (our options are limited to InVideo ads or adjacent banners).
The bottom line? I’m a marketer and we need our advertising to work. I’m also a YouTube Partner and welcome models that command higher revenue for YouTube and myself. But I’m a viewer too, and I like control. Even my kids have learned to instinctively close InVideo ads (the ones that appear over the bottom 1/4 of a video), so I’m concerned about their sustainability.
My prediction is that YouTube will follow Hulu’s lead and soon give YouTube viewers a choice of ads. I would also expect that mandatory pre-rolls, if they do endure, will only work a) before highly valued video content, b) with longer formats (like 22-minute shows), and c) in very short form with 15 seconds being the maximum for 2-3 minute videos.
A few people have written me notes to the extent of, “I wish I could do videos, but my camera is so bad.” I usually tell them to relax, and just make sure the lighting and compression is good. The reality is that those two factors can make up for a lot if your camera is old… then I tell them to settle for a Flipcam, which is easy to use and fairly low cost.
Unfortunately, Flipcam (now owned by Cisco) has resisted providing a lower price-point, and has for years been stuck at the $150 plus level (HD versions are down to about $176, though… so splurge). Meanwhile, there are countless min-video-cam options for people with lower budgets wanting something fairly similar. But FlipCam hasn’t yet, to my knowledge, pursued the Mac strategy (as Apple did with the iPods)… innovate to maintain the higher end buyers, but produce a lower-end unit for the mass-market of $100 peeps.
So I bought it, and will review it on my UncleNalts channel. If it sucks, you’ll hear about it here first. If it’s okay, then I’ll probably suggest it for the price-sensitive people… or folks that want to keep an extra camera around for backup. I expect it to be harder to use, lower picture quality, and poor sound. But at $40 shipped I’m considering it almost “disposable.” Worse case scenario I take it on a dangerous ride down the river.
Again- I like the Flipcams, but that’s because I’ve never bought one. Gotten more than my share of free ones from Google and YouTube, and it does the trick. Katie (my 9 year old) used the FlipCam for all of her 15 mini-episodes of “The Charlie Show” (see www.charlieshow.com). Certainly much better quality than the video capture that comes with some $100-$200 standard photo cameras, but the magic of FlipCam is the incredible ease of use. She chose to edit these videos in iMovie because she knew I could give her the basics. But I’ve played with the FlipCam editing software, and it’s not bad. Comes free with the device, and old cameras automatically prompt you for new firmware.
Hey, Flip cam peeps (and we know you’re reading). Happy to review the new HD one here and on my YouTube channel if you want to send one along. I got a little HD envy seeing Shaycarl’s.
Now Facebook is getting into the game. Given the proliferation of Facebook, I’d guess we’ll see significant use of its video chat — perhaps more than Gmail or AIM since it’s a common platform regardless of e-mail or hosting provider.
It’s unfair to compare these, because they have different purposes. Here are three, with my recommendations:
Want a video-conference call that includes several people, and potentially observers with view/comment access only? Try Stickam.
Want to do a “show” for a large audience? Blogtv is probably best, unless you want to interact with interviewees or callers… then it gets limited.
Going one-to-one? AIM, Google Video Chat, Skype, and FaceBook seem like reasonable bets. Given that FaceBook likely has your network established, I’m betting on it surpassing the others.
I don’t recall if I’ve ever announced that you can park your own free subdomain (username) at ofnalts.com, which you can “point” at any website or URL. It makes that complex YouTube video URL (or other long URLs) short, simple, memorable and pretty.
I use it in lieu of TinyURL because I can link to my YouTube videos easily inside a Twitter post… and it’s fun to create my own name instead of using a random code on TinyURL. BTW- you can now park a vanity TinyURL name, but most of the good ones are gone. Alan (fallofautumndistro) already snatched tinyurl.com/youtube! And I parked a few YouTube celebrity names, but had them point to other people’s channel pages. Moo haa haaa. Try tinyurl.com/renetto. Or tinyurl.com/spricket24.
Insert footage from “It’s a Wonderful LIfe”: Sam Wainright to Jane Bailey: Still got the nose to the old grindstone, eh? Jane, I offered to let George in on the ground floor in plastics, and he turned me down cold!
Where was I? Oh- Here’s how ofnalts works…
You simply go to www.ofnalts.com, and click “register” (ignore the username/password prompt).
Then you put in your username (whatever you want), password twice, and e-mail address. But no worries- you won’t have to wait for a confirmation e-mail.
Next you enter your long URL and hit confirm. Now you own http://yourname.ofnalts.com.
Now your personalized [insert name].ofnalts.com is listed on the bottom of the ofnalts page, and you can use it anywhere to redirect people to the complex URL. Note you don’t use www.
Sounds more complicated than it is. Once you use it once, you’re hooked.
And a subdomain on ofnalts is a lot more charming than the overused tinyurl.
For months, YouTube Cewebrity Paul Robinette (Renetto) has been posting video blogs (vlogs) about his discontent on YouTube. He has criticized the site for how it handles the small but vocal video community, and has stirred up drama with the grace of an Olympic gymnist.
Renetto, who shaved my head years ago when I desperately wanted to be him, once topped the charts of YouTube but has fallen down the top 100 even faster than Nalts (which is rather sad given that I “jumped the shark” more than a year ago).
Vloggerheads is being listed as a “placeholder” site with larger goals. However it’s already attracting some of the YouTubers who don’t have top rankings but are staples among the inner circle of a vibrant community. My “poster child” of the online-video community (Nutcheese) is already addicted and that’s slown down her visits to Stumble! by 26%.
With just 800 videos to date and no apparent revenue model, Vloggerheads won’t soon be a threat to YouTube. But it’s an alternative virtual city where “hard core” community members are gathering, debating, communing and creating drama…
A smaller pond for those feeling lost in an increasingly commercialized YouTube?
Here’s my social commentary on vlogging. I wasn’t too sarcastic was I?
P.S. A reporter from Wired.com contacted Paul and said she heard about him from Nalts’ blog. That’s the power I have in media. Like TechCrunch I can make or break a company. Arington eat my pie hole you viralvideovillain promoter.