Cisco is set to launch three new Flip pocket camcorders in the UK at the end of the month - a new 8GB Flip Ultra HD and a 4GB and 8GB versions of the Flip Mino HD. All three will come with image stabilisation and updated FlipShare editing software.
There will be two versions of the Mino HD camcorder and a new version of the Flip Ultra HD. The versions of the third-generation Mino HD will provide one and two hours of recording time respectively. with the 4GB model costing £149. Cisco, which now owns the Flip brand, will also bring out a new version of its Mino HD camcorder. All three camcorders will add image stabilisation and support for 50fps (frames per second) video capture at 720p.
Gareth Jones, Cisco's UK and Ireland regional sales manager for consumer products, told us the two-hour version of the current Flip Ultra HD is the best-selling camcorder on Amazon UK. Next month this 8GB model will be superseded by a third-generation model that swaps the existing 2x AA battery for three AAA batteries. Jones insists it's a revision made in response to customer feedback. Consumers choose the Flip Ultra for the convenience of its easily replaceable batteries, he said.
Amazon is already taking pre-orders for the third-generation Ultra HD camcorders, with pricing of £159 for the 8GB model in line with the original selling price of the current model.
The new Flip Mino, meanwhile, has had a modest makeover and now sports a more ruggedised exterior. In contrast to the Ultra models, the Flip Mino HD which has a rechargeable battery that is charged via a USB connection to the PC. The new version will retail for £179 for an 8GB model.
In addition to image stabilisation, the Flip Ultra camcorders will now have a new FlipPort connector on the base next to the HDMI port and tripod mount. The FlipPort is a dedicated connector for a planned range of accessories it's commissioned. To ensure quality control, Flip has added a proprietary port for the purpose and will badge accessories for the Flip range as being 'designed for the Flip'. Products in the line-up will include external storage, a GPS sensor and a battery pack.
Flip has yet to announce its hardware partners for most of its FlipPort accessories. However, it plans to launch them over the next six months, starting with a waterproof case made by Aquapac that will go onsale in time for Christmas.
The three new Flip camcorders all come with updated FlipShare software to make sharing video footage even easier. This software comes preloaded on the Flip camcorder so there’s no need to stick to a single PC or laptop to which footage must routinely be downloaded. The FlipShare software works on both PCs and Macs and can be used on as many machines as required. This software is usually updated four times a year. The user’s main PC is used to deliver this update, after which it is stored on the Flip camcorder.
The FlipShare software imports, manages and previews clips. It then provides easy to use editing and sharing tools including one-click export to Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. From next year there will also be an option to create FlipChannels – stored address lists of groups of friends with whom you want to share your video clips. This function is already available to US Flip users and we were able to get a demonstration of how it works.
Having created a video from your assembled video clips, you can have the FlipShare software create a Magic Movie of the footage highlights, add a title and credits and a soundtrack. There are manual editing tools, but Flip says most users prefer the convenience of the Magic Movie mode as it largely automates the video-editing process, even identifying the most interesting parts of the footage you’ve captured and cutting out extended periods of inaction – perhaps when you’re waiting for the action to begin or for the birthday boy to arrive at his surprise party.
Having finished editing your footage you’ll be able to drag-and-drop the completed video to your FlipChannel list. Friends receive an email informing them a video has been shared by you and inviting them to view it online at the Flip-hosted online gallery or to download it and view it at a later date. Unlike some distribution services, there is no expiry date for viewing the footage (the creator gets a query email 300 days after uploading the footage asking them if they still want to keep it, but there’s no issue of it being automatically deleted). The FlipChannel online vault currently has no limits on the amount of footage stored. Since the FlipChannl feature is yet to launch outside the US, Flip instead offers the option for users to send an email link to their video clip for others to view.