To Flip or Not- Flip Video Camera that is.

Recently, my family went on vacation to Mexico. While packing, my husband once again gave me the “pack light” speech. Vacations have always been a struggle for me. Since I am a “professional” videographer, I want to pack everything: the camera, wireless microphone and tripod. On this trip, I did pack light just my camcorder a Canon HV30. My husband, Bruce meanwhile packed a flip camera and his flip flops and we were off.

I was kind of leery of his Flip Camera. For those who don’t know, a HV30 camcorder is a great camera. Measuring apprx 6 ¼” x 3” x 3 ½” and many optical zoom options and manual settings. Ok honestly, I don’t use most of them, but it is impressive. When I bought it, it cost over $800. Bruce’s flip camera on the other hand, was small about 4” x 1” x 1”. On/off switch that’s about it. Cost around $150.

Arriving in Mexico we were greeted to beautiful beaches, lazy days, and shopping and eating out. There were many times I didn’t want to “drag” my camera along. After all, I didn’t want to take the chance of getting sand in it or getting it wet and well, to be honest I was kind of lazy. After all I was on vacation. Bruce, however, popped his camera into his shirt pocket wherever we went.

Needless to say, Bruce ended up with a lot more footage then I did.

When I we arrived home, I was excited to start editing our footage and compare the quality of the two cameras. My camera is a tape camera meaning I had to use a fire wire to import it. Bruce’s Flip Camera had a flip USB plug. I plugged it in, dragged the files and I was done. So I thought.

When I tried to edit the Flip footage, all I got was audio, no video. After spending hours researching on the internet, I discovered that the Flip Camera is not encoded to work on my editing computer. I discovered I needed to purchase conversion software to convert the files to a workable file. The conversion software cost me $79. Then I was finally ready to edit.

I couldn’t see much of a difference between the quality of the Flip Camera and the HV30 camera. I edited everything together smoothly and have a great vacation video.

Moral of the story? The flip camera won out for size and ease of taking it wherever you went. However, the downfall of the flip is the hassle of the file conversion. Not every computer will have the same problem. I wouldn’t hesitate on using the flip camera on our next vacation.

Linda enjoys taking home movies for herself and transferring them for her clients.  Her website can be viewed here.

About take5productions

Linda O'Connell is the owner of Take 5 Productions in Onalaska, WI. Take 5 transfers home movies,slides and pictures to DVD and digital files, creates video slideshows and produces business videos. She can be reached at or
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