How to Use a Flip Camera

Training Agenda
The Flip Camera: Tips and Practices
Flip Website:

Sample Embedded Wiki Video (Share video through “Other” online sites and save on desktop. Open wiki, and click “Edit” and “File.” Click “Upload File” and “To Embed File.” Find file and double click!)

Flip Camera Tips

I. Operating the Flip Camera

Powering the Camera
The basic Flip camera operates on two AA batteries, which can be accessed by sliding the latch on the bottom of the camera to the unlock position, then sliding the front piece of the camera down and off. Be sure to have extra AA batteries on hand in case the need arises.
More advanced Flip cameras, including the high-definition Flip MinoHD and UltraHD, recharge automatically while the camera is docked in the USB port of your computer. A wall charger also can be used, which will fully charge the batteries in a shorter time.

Basic Pointers
1) Turn it on and off using the gray switch on the side.
2) Record by pressing the red button once.
3) Stop by pressing the red button twice.
4) Review video by pressing the arrow icon to the left of the red button.
5) Delete video by pressing the trash can symbol to the right of the red button. * On the HD Flip
cams, you have to say “Yes” to delete a video. The play/pause button is the “Yes” button.
6) Zoom in by pressing the plus sign above the red button.
7) Zoom out by pressing the minus sign below the red button.
8) Go forward or backward through video clips by pressing the arrows on either side of the red
9) Download video by flipping out the USB connector on the side of the camera and plugging it into
the USB port on your computer.

The original Flip camera and MinoHD use a 1.5-inch screen and have 60 minutes of recording time. The UltraHD has a 2-inch screen and two hours of recording time.

Tips for Shooting
1) In most cases – unless you’re recording a meeting or event -- limit length to 1:30 minutes or briefer. That makes for easier downloading and tighter bites. As you’re shooting, look for a moment that seems like a natural stopping point. Cutting the clip off at the right time helps in the editing process.
2) Avoid unnecessary and fast pan shots. Instead, stay with an image and let the action move through the scene you are taping. When panning a scene, hold the camera steady and move it very slowly. Keep the subject in focus. In all cases, keep the camera steady as much as possible and avoid jerky movements. Bracing your elbow with your non-shooting hand, or keeping your “shooting elbow” close to your body, can help steady the camera. A tripod, sold separately, can also keep the camera stationary.
3) Avoid using the zoom feature unless necessary. The digital zoom will result in loss of image resolution. Though magnified, the image has less quality than what you would get from a camera with an optical telephoto zoom. Instead of zooming, stay at the wide part of the lens and move your whole body closer to the subject. This will also make the image more stable.
4) In an interview setting, be as close to the person as possible for the camera microphone to sound good. This means you do not use the zoom on the camera but you hold the camera and stand close to the interviewee for the recording.
5) Adjust for ambient noise. Make sure the sound around you is not distracting. In particular, try to stay away from or minimize your exposure to street noise or lots of talking. If you cannot get
away from intrusive background sound, then make sure to include the source of noise in the shot behind your interviewee. That way, the image explains where the extra noise is coming from. This makes the distraction more acceptable to the viewer.
6) Avoid high-contrast scenes as much as possible. Dark shadows will go black in the transfer, and shadows across someone’s face will not transfer well. Try to put your interview subject in even light so their face is in an even light level throughout. Also avoid backgrounds behind the subject that are too bright or too dark, since this will increase the image contrast and make the image hard to see on the Web. If you are inside a building, try to avoid bright walls behind a dark-skinned person when doing interviews or b-roll. The contrast could be too extreme. Also avoid the fluorescent flicker of lights on the wall behind someone, particularly overseas, where the electrical power is a different voltage and produces a light flicker with cameras set for United States electrical current settings.

What to Shoot

Remember, less is more if you plan your shots and the interview ahead of time. You can do your interview first and then take what you heard and decide what cutaway shots (b-roll) to get. Always try to cover a scene with a wider cover shot for location identification, and then go in to get close-ups, which give the viewer an intimate feel for the setting and the action. An effective use of the camera is to record a standup of someone relating an anecdote or explaining something that is happening in the background.

Before you begin shooting, coach the person to think for a moment about what they are going to say –and who the audience is. Tell her or him to stay within a specific time limit -- 1 minute is good. That limit will help them focus their thoughts and keep their comments to the point.

Direct your camera in such a way that your subject doesn’t fill the frame, and the viewer can get a
sense of place from the background.

II. Editing and Working with Flip Content

Making a Movie

With Flip software:
Each video clip loaded into the Flip software can be edited. On the right side of the video clip is an image of scissors. If you click on the scissors, you can trim the front or the back of the video clip. You can even lift out footage from the middle of the video if necessary. Once you have a series of videos edited, choose the “Movie” option on the bottom of the screen. The Movie program will allow you to choose short clips to stream together. It will add transitions, titles, credits and audio. It will also ask you the format in which to publish your movie. See tips for sending video for publishing information.

Working with an audio voice track

With Flip software:
Flip software will only load audio recordings in an mp3 form. If you have access to an mp3 recorder, you
can voice your track, load it onto your computer and go into the Flip software. While you are preparing
your video clips under the “Movie” option, one of the questions will ask you to add an audio track. You
will browse your computer and add the correct file. You then have the options of adjusting the audio
volume for the video as you move through the movie process. If you do not have an mp3 recorder, see
options for Movie Maker.

With Windows Movie Maker:
Using Flip camera to record audio: This option requires that you record your audio track using the Flipcamera. Just hit “Record” and speak into the microphone, then load the video to the computer. Open Movie Maker and select the “Media Import” option. You will select your voice file (which is still in video form). Movie Maker provides an audio timeline under the video timeline. Drop your file onto the audio timeline. Only the audio will be available. If you right click over the audio, the Movie Maker gives you options for fading the audio up or out and volume options.

Using web cam to record audio: If you have a web cam attached to your computer, you can record a video through the Logitech software. First, record the video and save it. Open Movie Maker and select “Media Import.” Select the file that resides under the quick cam folder. Select your file and load. Then drop the video clip onto the audio timeline in Movie Maker. Only the audio will be available. If you right click over the audio, the Movie Maker gives you options to fade the audio up or out and volume options.

III. Sharing Flip Video

Posting to Facebook or Flip Online
The Flip software has a series of options at the bottom of the program, located just under the video clips. Under the “Share” category, you can e-mail footage or prepare the video for online use, which makes a smaller file size for posting.

If you choose to e-mail the footage: The video is actually posted on and a link is sent to your recipients for viewing the video online.

If you choose to post online yourself: Various options enable you to prepare the file for Facebook, YouTube or “other sites.” The “other sites” option actually prompts the program to prepare a Web-size file and places it in a folder on your desktop for you to post manually online.

Posting Through Wikispaces
Share video through “Other” online sites and save on desktop. Open wiki, and click “Edit” and “File.” Click “Upload File” and “To Embed File.” Find file and double click!

Embedding Video Online
When embedding video on a Web site, convert it to flash or post it to a video-sharing site and then
capture the embed code and paste it to the site. This makes load times much faster and minimizes file
size on the Web site’s hosting server. It also gives two avenues for video when embedding from a videosharing site like YouTube, making it a more viral media opportunity.

Much of these instructions came from United Methodist Communications (Written by Ginny Underwood, Tim Tanton and Harry Leake, with thanks to Cheryl Hemmerle) June 2009