Monday, November 26, 2007

Flip Video camera - a review

So I bought one of these handy, little Flip Video cameras when I was home in San Diego last summer vacation. I've been trying it out in various situations over the past 3 months and here are some things to consider if you're thinking of buying one for yourself or someone else for the holidays....

1 - It is incredibly convenient and easy to use. It's small and light and runs on two regular AA batteries. The buttons are easy to reach and it's simple one touch on and one touch off.
2 - It records in fairly easy to manipulate AVI files.
The one I have records about an hour of video (or about 1 gig) before it's full.

That's the good - now the not-so-good...
3 - The sound is ok, except for the extremes - too loud or too soft or if it's windy outside.
4 - The zoom lens is basically non-existent. This is the biggest drawback for me, and why I will be looking into getting something else for my video needs. As you can see from this kendo video - I was about 50 ft away in the first row of the stands, and everything in the distance is soft and muddy - yes, you can tell it's students playing kendo, but you can't really tell who they are, etc.
Even in my classroom video that I posted before this one - you can't read the signs on the chalkboard and I'm probably only about 20 ft away at the back of the class. So it's ok for up close interviews, but forget about anything beyond a 25ft radius.
5 - The extendable arm is a nice touch, but it won't mesh up well with my iBook, so I bought the cables and these work fine.
6 - At first, the user interface when wanting to watch or upload your Flip clips was incredibly tiresome and hard to use. Flip has recently tried to remedy the problem, but when I tried to download the new interface it wouldn't work and you only get one chance to try. So now I simply hook up the camera, and transfer the AVI files from the camera to my laptop harddrive - which works just fine for me, but may be a little more difficult if you're a complete computer novice. I was VERY frustrated when I first bought the camera with the program they FORCED me to use to see my clips, but now it is slightly better.

In conclusion, I think you get what you pay for. I got my Flip on Amazon and with shipping and the extra cables it came to about $140. Very cheap for a cool little digital video camera, but a very limited-use digital video camera. And I've had to carry around two cameras with me lately - one for pics and one for video. So. I'm going back to having just one camera that does both. It's gonna be my Xmas present to myself.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

random grab bag of pics

autumn leaves outside my apt - 1.jpg
Originally uploaded by Jason In Japan.

Hello All -

I just posted a really random assortment of pictures that have been sitting in iPhoto on my laptop for a while.

The picture above is actually a recent picture I took just outside my apartment. The colors of the leaves on all the trees on the mountains are changing and it's sometimes a breathtaking site.

I've said before that I'll never live in such a beautiful place as Taisha again in my life. While the ruralness often has its drawbacks, it also affords some spectacular scenery.

I've also included some pics that fall outside the normal batches of school-related pics I post. Included are some pics of my friends and I enjoying soba noodles at the recent Taisha Soba festival. Also, pics of my English boards at both my schools - I'll soon be putting up my annual Xmas displays.

And some pics of my friend, Yuka's, visit to Taisha back in July. She and I and her friend all had a good time despite some overcast and rainy weather.

Had a good day today with some of my local shogakusei - I've got so many pics to post - I hope to have time to get to them all soon.


Yuka's visit to Taisha - 4.jpg

Saturday, November 17, 2007

2007 Taisha Chu Thanks Concert

2007 Taisha Chu Thanks Concert - 43.jpg
Originally uploaded by Jason In Japan.

Last Saturday, after spending the day at a speech contest at a local private high school called Hokuryo, I went to the Taisha music hall for my Jr High's annual "Thanks Concert."

I've posted the rest of the pictures from that event. Before I posted the pics of graduates who I saw at the event, and now I've posted the pics of my chugakusei performing and hanging out in the lobby. I have video too from that night and I hope to be able to post some of them soon too.


Monday, November 12, 2007

Taisha High School kids

Taisha High School kids
Originally uploaded by Jason In Japan.

These pics go with the video in the post below.

I posted 8 pics of former students to my Flickr site.

I finally got Risa on video (see below). Risa is the shyest of her triplet sisters, but her and Kanaka gave me a fun interview.

I already have videos spotlighting the other kids in this pic:

For a good one with Risa's sisters Saki (far left) and Shiho (not in this pic), go Here.

I have a ton of vids of Yuki (far right), but I like this One with her friend Saki from last year.

And you can see one with Kazuki (the tall boy) by going Here.


And I'll post the rest of the pics from the Thanks Concert, featuring my current students soon.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

2007 TJH Sports Day - after lunch

2007 TJH Sports Day - after lunch - 90.jpg
Originally uploaded by Jason In Japan.

I posted the rest of the photos from Taisha Jr High's Sports Day. Click on this pic to be taken to page one of about 6 pages of photos from after lunch on Sept. 7th.

Activities include the dance routines in costume and the awarding of the prizes. My team, the Green Team - Mighty Midori - won 1st place. Class 3-1 is full of great kids, so I'm really happy they won. But all 4 homerooms did a great job on their routines and costumes and all had a fun day.

I'll try and make a movie out of these pics soon, including some of the video footage I shot with my Flip camera.