The Flip Ultra Camcorder
If someone asked you to name a camcorder brand, you’d more than likely say Canon, or Sony, or Panasonic. One name you probably wouldn’t consider is Pure Digital – yet its Flip Ultra camcorder is currently the best-selling model at Amazon.com. Although it could be argued that a lot of that has to do with its low price – it costs as little as $149 for the 1GB version – there’s more to this little camcorder than meets the eye.
The Flip Ultra camcorder is actually the third version of this nifty piece of equipment, and as such is now really beginning to fond its stride in the marketplace. No longer just a cheap and cheerful option for the YouTube generation, the Ultra can be used for much more than quick videos.
Instead of going down the video tape route of similar, yet more expansive camcorders, the Flip Ultra uses digital film instead, which is then stored on the camera’s internal flash memory. The good news about this is that, unlike previous versions of the camcorder, the video recording time hasn’t been increased. This means that the quality of the video is a lot clearer, due to the fact that Pure Digital aren’t trying to squeeze as much recording as possible out of the camera – definitely a good decision.
The design of the Flip Ultra camcorder means it’s an extremely easy camcorder to hold, and this is a big plus when it comes to keeping it steady for recording purposes. It’s also very light, with a weight of 5 ounces even with the two AA batteries included to power the unit.
One of the more noticeable improvements in this version over previous models is the 1.5” LCD display screen that is found at the back of the camera. Although the previous model also had this, it wasn’t made out of the “transreflective” screen that comes with the Flip Ultra. Because of this new screen, video playback quality is still impressive enough, even in the strongest sunlight.
Although you can play back any clips you’ve filmed on the Flip immediately via the LCD display, you also have the option of hooking the camera up to a television, as long as the TV has a composite video input. This can help when trying to decide what looks better on your recording, and what needs to be deleted and shot again.
Another area where this Flip Ultra camcorder improves over its earlier incarnations is in its video sharing and editing. Since this camera is being marketed toward the “shoot and share” market that is YouTube users, the ability to upload pretty much straight from the camera using the Share Video option is a definite bonus. Additionally, Pure Digital has licensed video editing software from a company called Muvee.
This allows you to select your favourite movie clips, edit them into a montage and add all sorts of scrolling and fade-in, fade-out effects, as well as your own musical soundtrack. If there’s any downside to the software, it’s that it’s currently only compatible with PC’s.
Sure, there are minor gripes with the camera – it’d be nice if you could expand the memory, or have the LCD screen be able to turn on an axis. But for the quality you receive at the price you can buy it, the Flip Ultra camcorder is currently in a league of its own.