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High Definition Video Cameras: Reviews -- Flip SlideHD Video Camera - White, 16 GB, 4 Hours
Flip Slide HD Video Camera
Flip High Definition Video Cameras
This is part 2 of a series; Click below for part one:
I recently discovered the wonders of the various Flip high definition video cameras. Monique and I have both been having a lot of fun with ours, and I'm beginning to think maybe we need more than one. (Yes, Monique, it is my professional opinion that we need at least one for each of us…)
When you look at the various Flip hd cameras available it quickly becomes overwhelming. Each model has it's differences. Each has a particular strength that makes it more useful in some circumstances than the other Flips. Ummm… Monique? Maybe we should just get one of every Flip there is…
Flip SlideHD Video
Flip Slide HD
The Flip SlideHD Video Camera
Truth is, I can't constantly buy every new version of Flip hd camera that comes out. I love the Flip Mino HD that I currently own. Still, if I had to pick just one (more) to own, I think it would be the Flip SlideHD Video Camera.
While there are some pretty cool improvements under the hood, the most visible change is the 3-inch wide-screen. The Flip SlideHD is billed as the world's first shoot and show camcorder, and it's this new, larger screen that makes the claim valid. Shoot your video, then immediately play it back on the larger widescreen.
Other primary improvements include 16GB of storage, for up to 4 hours of HD recording; the ability to store up to 12 hours of videos and photos in SpaceSaver format (you have to use the Flipshare program for this feature); and a headphone jack, so you can choose to playback using the built-in stereo speakers, or headphones.
All Modern Flips are High Def
Not counting the original unit, today's Flips are ALL high definition video cameras by default. So, except for some minor variations, video quality is the same excellent quality across the board. You get crisp clean video with beautiful colors and excellent low-light handling ability. H.264 format videos are recorded in 16:9 widesceen, HD 720p (that's a resolution of 1280 x 720), at 30fps (frames per second) progressive scan. Files are saved in a standard MP4 format that nearly any mediaplayer can handle.
Being the newest incarnation of the Flip HD camcorder, the SlideHD might have slightly better video, mainly in how it handles color saturation. But it's a very minimal difference.
Flip SlideHD - 3" wide screen
Flip SlideHD - Improved Display and Recording Time
That being said, there's really no reason to choose one Flip over another strictly because of video quality. For me, the main reasons I prefer the Flip SlideHD over the MinoHD or the UltraHD have to do with the better playback display and the larger memory/recording time. Of course, being able to record longer is always a bonus. You never know how long you'll be shooting, or when you can upload your videos to the computer. So greater storage space is a huge plus. 16GB is double the previous models, and quadruple the 4GB of the older units. By the same token, storage time has gone from 1 hour on the older units, to 2 hours of recording time on the newer MinoHD's and UltraHD's, up to a grand total of 4 hours on the Flip SlideHD. With 4 hours of high quality recording time, you don't worry so much about 'rationing' footage.
Flip SlideHD Video Cameras Reviews
Slide - Larger Screen makes Better Playback
Once the video is on the Flip, here's where the difference really becomes visible. On the Minohd and Ultrahd models, the screen is pretty small, and for playback, I rely on my desktop computer to let me watch in a larger window. With the SlideHD, the screen is large enough to make it very viewable. Watching your videos on the spot is a viable option when the screen is big enough to see. As a matter of fact, the Flip SlideHD gets its name from the ability to slide out and angle up for great table-top watching. Now, everybody can gather round and watch the video you just shot. No more waiting for a "copy of the tape". Unless, of course, they actually want their own copy!
Clip selection for playback is done through an innovative touch sensitive control bar beneath the screen. Scroll to the video you want, press the thumbnail image and it starts playing.
You can also connect an HDMI cable from your Flip SlideHD to your HDTV to watch high definition video directly from your Flip HD camera.
Flip to computer... and computer back to Flip
Portable Video Library
Using the FlipShare software, you can also compress and store up to 12 hours of videos and photos right on the SlideHD. So you can pretty much load any video from your Flip Video Library onto the Flip Slide, and watch it wherever you are.
When recording, the 3-inch viewscreen is used for the touch-sensitive contols. On my MinoHD Flip, the big red start/stop button is a physical button. On the Slide, it's part of the touch-sensitive viewscreen. So the 3-inch viewscreen pulls double duty as camera controls during shooting. While recording, your viewable space is in the same ballpark as the previous Flips. It's a clever way to keep your controls where they belong, and still have the larger screen. Once you're done recording, for playback you get the full 3-inch viewing area.
USB Flip-out Connection
As with other Flips, the SlideHD has a built in USB flip-out attachment. Plug in to to your computer's USB to upload your videos, and to recharge the Flip. The pre-loaded Flipshare software is included on the Flip, and can install itself on any computer you connect with. No discs, no downloads, no drivers, just ready-to-install straight out of the Flip. I really love this feature, because it means Flipshare is available on any computer I'm connected to. I don't have to wait 'till I get home to work on my footage.
Flipshare - Best at Sharing and Organizing
I like the Flipshare software. It's simple enough for a beginner, yet feature-rich. There's a very limited editor, in case you don't already have a compatible video editor. I used to use Pinnacle's software and hardware suite for editing, but currently I much prefer Cyberlink Powerdirector 9 (either Deluxe, or Ultra 64). But Flipshare can get the job done, so there's no need to spend extra money.
Flipshare's minimal editing ability is not why I love it so much, though. It's all the other features I like, such as easily sharing your videos to Youtube, Facebook, Myspace, or by email. Or you can use private Flip Channels, for an easy way to share with specific groups of friends and family. Being able to organize my growing collection of videos is very useful as well.
Flip Slide HD Camcorder Flip Share TV
PowerDirector 9 Editor
Image Stabilization Workarounds
As I mentioned previously, new to the SlideHD version of Flipshare is the ability to save your videos and photos back to the Flip using Space Saver format. Space Saver compresses your media for good quality viewability on the 3-inch screen, and in doing so, manages to fit up to 12 hours onto the Slide!
As far as I'm concerned, the Flip SlideHD is missing only one thing I would have liked. While I love the overall range of Flip high definition video cameras, they've only put image stabilization in some of their cameras, not all of them. As a neat high-tech 'gadgety' kind of thing, I would like to have that feature on the Slide. In reality, it's not that important. Like I've said before, I use Cyberlink Powerdirector 9 as my editing software, and it comes with a built-in software based video stabilizer. First line of defense, practice shooting steady footage. Second line of defense, if I really need that shot and it's too shaky to use, I can stabilize it in Powerdirector. So, while it's a nifty-keen feature that would be fun to have, stabilization is not a must-have for me.
How to edit Flip video with Flipshare
Tiny is still Tiny no matter how your measure it
In terms of size,
it's slightly larger all the way around than the Flip UltraHD. Not enough to really remark on, but I'm
guessing with all the added memory and screen features, they had to add a
little room inside. To me, it's still in
the same size class, and I consider all of the Flip hd cameras to be equally
convenient for carrying around and using at a moment's notice. Tiny is tiny, whether it's a slightly larger tiny, or a slightly smaller tiny.
A Wide Range of Flips
Excellent High Definition Video Cameras
So there it is. Any Flip is a good Flip, and if you're looking for excellent high definition video cameras in a tiny size, I can comfortably recommend all of the current models. But if I had my 'druthers', the Flip SlideHD video camera is my favorite one. All the neat features make it pretty cool, but for me the extra recording time, along with the larger screen, make the SlideHD hands down the clear winner.