By trade, I'm a cameraman. It's my job to work with broadcast and corporate clients to record important events, activities or stories that will be turned into news features, documentaries or even sales videos.
I've had a camera in my hand and to my eye for as long as I can remember, even shooting Super 8 movies when I was in Elementary School. Cameras, especially video cameras are a magical machine to me. They capture moments not likely to be repeated and allow viewers the unique opportunity to see exactly what I see for a moment in time.
For years, I toted around a rather large home camcorder for vacation videos, but with changing technology, I've slimmed it down to a camera that can fit in my shirt pocket. Thanks to my wife's thoughtfulness, I have owned a Flip video camera for the past two years. We've taken it everywhere we go - even if it's just to the backyard.
There are dozens of consumer video cameras on the market today, but let me tell you why someone who often carries a $40,000 camera on his shoulder likes this $200 camera.
First, it's small. Really small. It literally can fit in your shirt pocket, which makes shooting video easy.
Second, it doesn't use tape. The camera uses flash memory, which means no moving parts. While the memory is limited to either one or two hours of record time, that's where my number three comes in.
Third, it has a built-in USB connector so you can easily transfer the footage to your computer for archiving.
Fourth, the camera's software automatically downloads a neat little program that organizes your videos on your computer and allows you to edit them, combine them and even upload them to popular websites like YouTube.
Now there are a few limitations with such a small camera, like the limited record time. It does force you to transfer the video to a computer. The camera has limited zoom capability and a meager internal microphone, but both I find sufficient for my home movies. By the way, I seldom ever use the zoom on a broadcast camera. I simply move closer to the subject!
If you like technology, I suggest checking out any of the Flip video cameras when it comes time to buy your next vacation video camera. To see some short clips I shot with my Flip and loaded onto my TripAdvisor profile, you can watch them here
During my upcoming trip to Mackinac Island, I will once again be packing the Flip with me and shooting some video blogs that I will post here during and after the visit.