I need help to find the perfect video equipment solution, to replace the discontinued Flip cams manufactured by Cisco until 2011.
I work for an anthropological concultancy company in Denmark, and we are still using these old pocket cameras for our daily work. We use them during fieldwork and interviews to document important situations, statement and narratives - and use the footage both as a visual note-taking for our analytical proces - and as part of the presentation of insights to our customers. We edit the movies in iMovie, occasionally Final Cut Pro. Often our videos are posted on customers webpages.
If it wasn't for the poor video and audio quality of the Flip Cam, this solution would still be perfect for us. Our main requirement besides good quality of footage is ease of use. In the typical situation it is used by one fieldworker who, while filming, is conducting an interview and interacting socially while moving around in the environment - occasionally taking pictures too. So it has to be dead easy to handle. And furthermore, this fieldworker is often with no experience in filming whatsoever. So we just need that small discrete device that fits perfectly in one hand, with a small screen to make the framing, a big red record button you cant miss - and then we need everyting else handled automatically: Focus, apperture, shutterspeed, iso, whitebalance. Besides this, we need good image stabilization, and the option of using small external mics and, at best, microports.
The problem is, that in the age of smartphones, no company has come up with a dedicated solution to lift the heritage of the Flip cam - to my knowledge at least.
So why don't we use smartphones? For one, they are too expensive considering the amont of devices we need and the kind of harsh handling they will be put through. Secondly, the touch screen and the amount of possible errors it allows for, is really not user-friendy enough. We really need that red physical rec button.
The best compromises I have come up with are:
Ipod Touch 5th gen.: Drawbacks are the touch screen, awkward fit in the palm, and relatively poor video and audio quality. And maybe a new version is coming in the fall?
Samsung HMX-W300: Drawbacks are poor video and audio quality, no input for external mic
Kodak PlayFull Dual (Zi12): Drawbacks - to be discontinued?
Zoom Q2HD: Drawsbacks are poor video quality, omnidirectional microphone
Panasonic HX-DC3: Drawbacks - the flip out screen is too obtrusive
We're also considering the vast range of regular camcorders and point and shoot cameras, but they all seem either too obtrusive or not easy enough to handle.
So please everyone out there: What is the best solution for us?
All the best from Rune