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Flip Video

Posted Wednesday, September 17, 2008, at 10:06 AM

Much of the video you see on the Times-Gazette web site, such as Brian Mosely's video from Eagleville yesterday, is taken with a little handheld video camera called a Flip Ultra. When we first started talking about web video last spring, a trade publication recommended the Flip (which is about the size of a pack of cigarettes) as something handy for reporters to carry in the field. The newspaper bought one, and I, David Melson and Brian Mosely all liked it so much that each of us bought our own.

I used mine to bring back footage of my Costa Rica trip in July, the first time I've ever been able to video one of my mission trips.

The Flip is not perfect, and we're looking at getting a more advanced camera for certain special situations and projects. But given the price tag and size, it does a surprisingly good job in many situations. And it's idiot-proof to operate -- most of what you do is push the big red button on the back of the camera.

The camera contains no tapes or disks or removable memory. Instead, a little USB plug flips out of the side of the camera (hence the name) and you download the footage to your computer, where you can edit it or burn it to disk. There are also retailers that will take the camera from you and burn the video to disk.

The Flip Ultra sells for less than $150. There's a newer, flashier model called the Flip Mino. I haven't tried it but I don't like the fact that it uses an internal rechargeable battery. One of the things I like about the Ultra is that it uses common AA batteries, which I can get anywhere, even on one of my mission trips.

Kodak is also introducing a camera of roughly the same size and configuration. Kodak's version is a little bit more complicated, but it also allows you to save your video on removable SD cards.

Anyway, the company has now started a special program to make Flip cameras available at a dramatically reduced price (basically, two for the price of one) to 501(c)(3) non-profit groups so that they can document their work and make simple promotional videos.

Religious charities are specifically excluded, unless the charity part is clearly separate from the religious part and the services are offered without regard to religious faith and without prosletyzing. I'm a little disappointed at the somewhat heavy-handed approach they've taken to this. People of faith do a lot of important charity and non-profit work. I suppose they're trying to avoid a situation where they help out a group that turns out to be a weird fringe element, but couldn't that happen with a secular non-profit as well?

Anyway, if you're involved in a secular agency that might benefit from this program, here's the web site with more information:


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There's a 30-minute model and a 60-minute model, but considering the small price difference, the 60-minute model is definitely a better value. It's available at your major discount and electronics stores and online. I'd rather not mention specific stores.

-- Posted by Jicarney on Thu, Sep 18, 2008, at 4:34 PM

How long of a video can you record with it?

-- Posted by ILOVEBEDFORDCO on Thu, Sep 18, 2008, at 4:17 PM

Must have been removed, because I don't see anything on here from tazmo. Where do they sale this Flip Ultra Video at? Neat.

-- Posted by Momof3&3step&1gran on Thu, Sep 18, 2008, at 1:35 PM

Sorry th conversation got diverted (way off, but...) It does sound as if the exclusion would be illegal.

I understand that they want more non-profit documentation and checking than just hanging a sign out front, but for a religious group not to mention their religion is just a little extreme.

-- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Sep 18, 2008, at 8:22 AM

Is that kind of exclusion even legal? It sounds pretty dubious to me.

Tazmo, dude, I'm all for "Hooked on Phonics" but geez there are some rules to the language. Part of making a point here or anywhere else is the use of correct spelling, punctuation and syntax.

-- Posted by Tim Baker on Wed, Sep 17, 2008, at 8:39 PM

I have been reading tazmo since I started looking at the blogs and I am convinced that he/she does know what he/she is talking about. I imagine that some of his sentences took some time to come up with. I do not know if I agree with him/her or not though, or understand his/her motivation.

-- Posted by memyselfi on Wed, Sep 17, 2008, at 8:24 PM


Have you considered ESL classes? I could put you in touch with a few very good ones if you would like.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Wed, Sep 17, 2008, at 8:10 PM

You do realize this is a blog about a camera, right? I'm still not sure what you're talking about.

-- Posted by Nobody'sFool on Wed, Sep 17, 2008, at 8:07 PM

Presuming tazmo was serious, there truly was a language mis-communication. We can assure you tazmo, there was no racial or ethnic slur in what John wrote about.

-- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Sep 17, 2008, at 6:57 PM

I wondered if Tazmo was speaking in tongues or some other foreign language.

-- Posted by Sharon22 on Wed, Sep 17, 2008, at 5:17 PM

Maybe tazmo is from flip video? Could be a new routine for Zanies?

At least it brought a smile.

-- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Sep 17, 2008, at 4:18 PM

It feels like the Twilight Zone in here.

-- Posted by Nobody'sFool on Wed, Sep 17, 2008, at 4:08 PM


HUH? one more time please only this time in English

-- Posted by Dianatn on Wed, Sep 17, 2008, at 4:07 PM

I am still trying to figure out what Tazmo just said . . .

-- Posted by jaxspike on Wed, Sep 17, 2008, at 3:05 PM

Me too. I read and then re-read the blog and still can't figure out where that came from or what it means.

-- Posted by time2relax on Wed, Sep 17, 2008, at 3:40 PM


I thought I must be really having a blond moment, I went back and read the blog 3 times just to make sure that I didn't miss anything!

Thank you for saying it first!

-- Posted by plainandsimple on Wed, Sep 17, 2008, at 3:22 PM

I am still trying to figure out what Tazmo just said . . .

-- Posted by jaxspike on Wed, Sep 17, 2008, at 3:05 PM

That is a strange restriction John and at first blush, I would tend to say thanks but no thanks.

I looked at how a religious tax exemption varies from a secular and found that "Some organizations automatically acquire 501(c)(3) status upon filing of proper organizational documents (e.g., articles of incorporation as a church), at least until annual income exceeds a statutory threshold. Others will not receive 501(c)(3) status until they file an application and supporting documentation to the IRS and have a certification letter issued." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/501(c)#Type...

I understand wanting to make sure it is MORE than just religious but to not be able to discuss "a belief in a specific faith" at all, seems too discriminatory. As you know, churches do a vast amount of good and all they ask (sometimes) is that they can discuss their faith.

By weeding out the few who may DEMAND you listen to their preaching, they are snubbing a vast number of the churches that do great humanitarian things. I would say, "who needs them for a $75 saving"? Again, thanks but no thanks.

-- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Sep 17, 2008, at 1:36 PM

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