Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Flippin' Great Little Camera...the Flip UltraHD

Just before the Cannes Film Festival kicked off, i got an email from Celluloid Dreams / The Auteurs (now called Mubi) about a competition they were opening up to all the film-makers with shorts in the 'Short Film Corner' part of the festival. It was called 'Cannes å la Flip'. They wanted us to send in a 300 word pitch for a 3 min film to be shot on a Flip UltraHD while in Cannes.

Anyway, a 300 word pitch later and i get an email asking me to pick up my Flip camera from their stand in the Palais. What they didn't say though, was that i get to keep it. Result!

The Flip UltraHD is chunky.. it's a bit like a mobile phone from a few years ago. But...considering it shoots 720p HD and has an 8GB memory...and a built-in flip-out USB plug...and a mini HDMI port...it's small really.  It fits in your pocket...but maybe not in tight jeans. Btw - 8GB gives you 2 hours of 720p recording.

Using it is as easy as it gets. Turn it on, press the red button and you're shooting. It boots up in 2 seconds, so it's great to grab it when things happen that you suddenly want to film. You can playback, erase and even use the digital zoom (but i try to avoid it)...it's so easy to use.

The picture quality is quite amazing. It's very detailed and holds up even in quite dimly lit situations.
My only gripe really is the lack of anti-shake. To get the best from it you really have to hold it against something like a wall or a table to keep it steady.

I'm totally Mac, so i can't tell you about the free PC software that comes on the internal memory. It just shows up as an external drive on my mac and i drag and drop the clips just like any others i use.

For me there's some big reasons all directors should get a Flip UltraHD.

1) It shoots very usable 720p HD video but it fits in your pocket.

2) You can velcro / gaffa  it to anything for incredible shots... car shots, helicopter shots...you name it.

3) It's easy to charge on the go and even lets you replace the rechargeable battery with 2 regular AAs if you need to.

4) It's so cheap for what it is... you could buy a few to use as crash cams.

You might have guessed...i highly recommend the Flip UltraHD.


  1. pretty cool!! Going to get one!. I got my first flip free too. Not HD though. I actually used it to shoot a couple of scenes in my feature.

    We screened the film on a massive screen at cineworld in glasgow as part of a test, and the flip scenes looked great!

    I told the projectionist that those scenes were from the little cam in my pocket, and he told me to "fuck off!"

    Flip HD here I come!

    Glad you enjoyed cannes mate


  2. Ta mate. Cannes was a blast. I think these Flip HD cams are amazing... a matter of time before someone shoots something big on one. Shot lots of Canon 550D footage in Cannes as well as Flip HD...so i'll try inter-cutting the footage soon. Will post it up.


  3. Just an update on this as it seems to be a very popular post. (very high stats...oddly)

    I've pretty much stopped using the re-chargeable battery that came with the Flip. It just became a pain to have to charge it so often.. so now i use Duracells and it lasts for ages.

    I've also started using the GoPro HeroHD for a lot of the situations where i used to use the Flip... it just mounts to things better and the wide angle lens is very useful.

    I still use the flip a lot though.. i wouldn't be without it. It's always in my bag and i grab a lot of footage with it.