Digital Video User Group Meetup: Using Pocket Camcorders, November 17

Picture of a Flip Mino HD video camera.

Image via Wikipedia

If you’re interested in video and are just getting started, you might want to check out the next Digital Video Users Group meeting on the topic of Pocket Camcorders which will take place on Wednesday, November 17 in Bethesda, MD.  The meeting is free, but they usually pass a hat for donations.

While they have their limitations, pocket camcorders are easy to use, weigh only a few ounces and typically cost less than conventional camcorders; from $70 to $200.  The units are capable of shooting in SD, HD and other modes. The video files are easily downloaded to a computer via a built-in USB or other connector and then edited by most video editors.  Some run on double-A batteries; others on rechargeable batteries.  The camcorders also play back directly through TV sets via HDMI or RCA connectors.

Tom Hoopengardner will start the session and talk about his Kodak Zi8 and demonstrate it’s advantages — and disadvantages.  It cost only $80 refurbished, but it has all kinds of bells and whistles.  With a lens mounting ring, it can even go wide-angle!  It can be used as a poor man’s scanner. Tom has some great tips and tricks such as: how do you hold steady a camera that weighs only 4 ounces?  He will also show some of his excellent video.

Merrill Hessel will bring a Flip Camera and another ZxD Kodak Model.

Meeting attendees are invited to bring their own brands and comment  about their experiences.  Bring some footage on a memory stick to share that shows your pocket camcorder’s best and worst features.

Nov. 17, 2010 (Wednesday)
Bethesda Regional Service Center Room A

Doors open at 7:00 pm for socializing and set up.  Security locks exterior doors at 7:45 p.m., so don’t be too late.
7:30 PM DVUG Business
7:35 PM “Pocket Camcorders –Tom Hoopengardner to start and anyone with a Pocket Camcorder to Participate”
8:45 Questions, General Discussion
9:00 Meeting Ends

This DVUG meeting will be held November 17. The meeting room is at the Montgomery County Bethesda Services Center 2nd floor it will be in Room A on the left ( for a map and directions, visit About one block from the Bethesda Metro.

Blogger’s Note

You can get some decent video with pocket camcorders, but don’t forget the digital feature on your digital point and shoot camera.  I can get some acceptable footage with my Canon PowerShot.

The chief drawbacks with using an inexpensive camera are usually limited range of zoom and sound quality.  All video will turn out better with sufficient lighting and an external mic.

Here’s an example of a video I shot with a regular (non-HD) Flip Camera —  no lights, no tripod, no external sound.  Used Flip Video’s video editing (very basic).  When you just hold a camera, even breathing! can cause the camera to shake.

The second video example was shot with my Canon PowerShot point and shoot. Again, no tripod, external mic, or special lighting.  Edited with iMovie.

And just for comparison of quality, here’s a video that has more production involved: tripod, lighting (well, a reflector, anyway), external microphone, and post-production visual and sound effects added in iMovie.

When I am working on a video project for work, however, I usually use a Canon camcorder.


About Mary Fletcher Jones

Mary Fletcher Jones is a mom, teacher, and blogger. She is also the creator of "Living Well With Autism," an online resource for caregivers of children, teens, and adults with autism and related special needs.

Posted on October 28, 2010, in YouTube Video Tips and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I see you have a link to an Engadget review of the readySTEADY. I own one, and it really improves the quality of the video you shoot with your pocket camcorder. As these cameras become a common social media tool, improving the quality of the video will become increasingly important.


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