Wednesday, September 02, 2009

testing a new ultra-light camcorder

For all that I love the Flip MinoHD Camcorder and what it's done to make online video inexpensive, fast and fun for communicators, I'm always looking for new social-media tools for my pocket arsenal. The soon-to-be-available (Sept. 15) Kodak Zi8, another HD ultralight camcorder, seems to offer some competition in the form of:
  • widescreen capabilities for video or still shots with a 16:9 aspect ratio,
  • a jack for an external microphone, which allows audio recording in stereo--a real advantage,
  • capacity to record up to 10 hours of video if you use a SD/SDHC card slot that can hold up to 32 GB (which, unfortunately, is not included in the price).
My Zi8's on pre-order (an option on Amazon.com but not the Kodak site) and to test it, I've asked a small group of communicators from universities around the U.S., many of them among my clients, to participate in a round-robin of trials with this new camcorder. I'll be shipping it to them and posting their video and their comments here on the blog for all to see and share. We'll start the trials this month and continue through October, posting as we go. I've selected communications operations that used both Flip cameras as well as larger, more traditional camcorders, and am hoping they'll give us examples of sound and image quality in a variety of settings and conditions.

This gives me a good chance to remind readers that I don't review products that are given to me for free by the manufacturer--I pay retail for them and test them just as you might, and don't receive a fee for doing so. Links to Amazon-available products do return a small fee to me if you purchase them through this blog, and I use/read/test whatever you see listed here. In the case of my Zi8 reviewers, none of their comments should imply an endorsement, nor are they receiving a fee or any compensation except the use of the camera for what may seem all too brief a time.

While we're all waiting for the Zi8 launch date, you can find out more about this new option with the specifications list, the available accessories (that remote control's intriguing), and product reviews. and the user guide and support information.

I'm looking forward to getting these samples and reviews. What questions do you want answered about the Zi8 (on its own, or in comparison to the Flip or a more traditional camcorder) that would help your communications operation? Leave them in the comments and we'll do our best to cover them!

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