Flip Camera Basics
Pocket video cameras are small, easy to use video cameras. They come in various colors, shapes and configurations made by many different manufacturers, but they all have one thing in common. They're finding homes in classrooms all over Lincoln Public Schools! From assistive technology to sports, from field trips to book reports, from 1st grade reading to 12th grade documentaries, there are as many ways to use them instructionally as there are subjects and students. There are a dozen or more companies that make cameras fitting this description but the one that seems to have made its way into most LPS classrooms is the Flip Camera.
Usage Ideas and Examples:
- (A growing list of) Interesting Ways to Use Your Pocket Video Camera in the Classroom
- Video in the classroom
- Flip Videos in the Classroom
Flip is a company that makes a line of cameras ranging from standard definition to high definition, from 30 to 120 minutes of recording time. All of them share a basic concept and design.
- The power button for the Flip is located on the right side of the device (if you are looking at the controls.) Press it once.
- Most Flip cameras have rechargable batteries sealed inside so that you never need to touch them Before using the rechargable Flip for any length of time you will want to charge the batteries. This happens automatically when you plug it into your computer!
- NOTE: the USB ports on the keyboards of computers do not have enough power to charge devices like Flip camcorders.
- If you leave the camera on for a period of time without recording anything, it should turn itself off to preseve batteries.
- It could not be easier to record video with a Flip camera. To start recording, press the big red button on the back of the device. To stop recording, press it again.
- The video you record can be VERY shaky and difficult to watch if you are not doing anything to steady your shots. Try filming with the camera on a desk or shelf. Or, borrow one of the mini-tripods (made just for the Flip cameras) that are located in the Computer Lab closet.
Getting video off of the camera
- You do not need any special cables to connect the Flip to your computer. Look for a sliding latch on the left side of the device. Sliding it down shows you why it is called a "flip" camera. A USB jack should "Flip" out from inside the device. Plug this into your computer's USB port.
- Once the camera is plugged into your computer there are 2 ways that you could get the video off of the camera:
- ONE WAY: The Flip camera is basically a really big thumb drive, and will appear that way on your computer. This is one way to get video from the vevice. Look for a folder called VT100 or something similar. It should contain your video clips. Feel free to drag these to your computer's desktop. Depending upon the type of Flip you have, you may already be able to use these files in iMovie or any other video editing software.
- ANOTHER WAY: Use the FlipShare software, as described below.
Peachpit Press has a page that does a lovely job explaining the process of installing FlipShare for Windows or Mac.
Basically, the Flip contains the software you need to trim, edit, and export the videos from the camera to your computer. You will plug the Flip camera in and launch the software installer from the device.
NOTE: The camcorder must remain connected to your computer for you to use the program with your videos. If you want to remove the videos from the computer and use software like iMovie to edit them, either follow the instructions in the section above, or use the FlipShare software to "Share" (export) them to your computer in a format that works. (.mov, .m4a)
Save clips from FlipShare to your computer
- In Your FlipShare Library, click on an album.
- In Features, click Save Videos.
- Select videos by clicking on thumbnails. Each selected video will be highlighted. To select all your videos, click Select All.
- To save videos to your computer, click Save to Computer. The Save to Computer screen will appear. You can save to an existing album or create a new album.
- To save videos for email attachment, click Save for Email. Your videos are converted into a more compact size and format (MOV), making them easier to email as well as making them more compatible with standard media players on your recipients' computers.
Sharing the Videos
Remember that there may be students in your classroom who have not consented to having their photograph taken. Respect the wishes of parents and students in these matters. Check with your front office for a list of these individuals.
DocuShare is a wonderful place to upload finished videos because you have plenty of free space and it can be accessed from anywhere on the internet. Additionally, you have the ability to either keep it's location private, or open it up to be seen by people outside of LPS, like parents.
Want to learn more?
The Flip cameras will surely spark a lot of questions that go beyond the basic use of these devices. If you are curious about editing video clips, making movies with iMovie, burning DVDs, telling great stories using video, or any other products of the video creation process, you should know that LPS subscribes to a wonderful service called Atomic Learning that can answer many of your questions.
Some of the images on this page were not created by Lincoln Public Schools.
Published: November 11, 2009
Updated: November 12, 2009