Adam Westbrook // ideas on digital storytelling and publishing

Kodak Zi8: the tool to change video journalism?

Posted in Journalism by Adam Westbrook on November 20, 2009

Broadcast quality video cameras are only doing one thing: getting smaller.

But the smallest one, the Mini-HD camera, has so far been largely shunned by professional video journalists, chiefly because of their shaky footage and poor on-board audio.

Now though, there’s a new camera on the scene which threatens to change all that- and it weighs just 110 grams. It’s Kodak’s latest MiniHD cam, the Zi8, and now has an external microphone input for high quality sound recording.

I’ve put together a quick run through explaining its features…

Now I think if used creatively, it’s possible to produce a high quality film with the Zi8. If so, the potential for citizen journalism, hyper-locals and other smaller news enterprises could be profound. Michael Rosenblum has already written about the potential of giving cameras like these to large numbers of people.

And you just have to watch this film by PNW Local (previously featured on this blog) to see the potential. It was shot entirely on the Zi8’s predecessor the Zi6. Elsewhere Cisco are now promising wi-fi with their next FlipCam model, but unless its’ got better audio I think it won’t rival the Zi8 for professional use.

I’m going to keep filming and experimenting – all the results will appear right here!


12 Responses

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  1. David Berman said, on November 20, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    I have the original version of this camera and it is very very good. It makes the flip footage look like it’s from a toy. It’s not my ‘goto’ but to have in the bag with a gorilla pod also at hand is a good combo. The addition of mic inputs is great.

  2. lovebug35 said, on November 20, 2009 at 10:31 pm


  3. […] Kodak Zi8: the tool to change video journalism? « Adam Westbrook […]

  4. […] Media by adamwestbrook on January 10, 2010 After testing out Kodak’s HD minicam, the Zi8, on this very blog, I have been able to use it for professional work myself, mess around with it, and recommend it so […]

  5. […] en savoir plus sur la Zi8 Le test en vidéo d’un journaliste américain La fiche technique du constructeur […]

  6. […] Not convinced? Here’s how I kitted myself out with camera, tripod, sound gear and a full editing suite for £500 ($900). And watch how the Kodak Zi8 (£150) can get professional results. […]

  7. Bob Horn said, on February 1, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    Really enjoyed your blog on the zi8. We are on the same wave length when it comes to using the zi8 for Journalism. I just bought mind about two weeks ago. Becoming familiar with what it can do through testing to develop camera shooting techniques. I am planning to produce a Public Access TV show using only the zi8. Also, experimenting with green-screen and the zi8 since I,ve seen a few video post. Amazing! Lots of opportunity to innovate. Also, if you like checkout my Internet video tutorial website I just completed for my class last week at

    Best Regards,

    Bob Horn

  8. Jamie Schoch said, on February 12, 2010 at 6:47 am

    Hii, your site is great, I will be returning!

  9. […] used well Posted in Journalism by adamwestbrook on March 9, 2010 Last year I put together a short video recommending Kodak’s Zi8 camera as a cheap, but high quality alternative for video […]

  10. […] Flipcams, like the Kodak Zi8, are proving they can compete with the big boys in some instances…although still mimicking the old guard. […]

  11. Nick Dixon said, on March 20, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    I’m a Reporter with GMTV and carry the Zi6 in my bag at all times. Footage from this camera often appears in my reports. Enjoyed your blog. Nick

  12. bzymom said, on August 9, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    I got this camera for my sister to take to Disney World with the kids. It went EVERYWHERE with them! Water parks, flume rides, restaurants, shows…It was really convenient to have in your front pocket! The picture quality was much better than I expected. Viewed on a 42″ HD tv the picture was fantastic. Highly recommend !

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