Adam Westbrook // ideas on digital storytelling and publishing

Now it’s easier to get professional shots with a Minicam!

Posted in Broadcasting and Media by Adam Westbrook 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 several friends and colleagues.

With its external microphone input and double lens function it is (at the moment) better than the MinoHD Flip cam. But, as ever, there’s lots moving in the world of camera technology, and I’ve got three big improvements to share with you.

01. Get the Firmware upgrade for the Zi8

If you have a Kodak Zi8, they have a firmware upgrade which vastly improves the camera’s zooming capabilities, and audio recording quality, among other things. To find out if you need it, switch on your Zi8 and go to the settings menu; moving to the “i” sign will tell you the current version it is running. If it is anything less than version 1.06 then click here to upgrade it! You loose a little bit of recording space, but the optics are much improved.

02.  A steadicam for minicams?

Yes it’s true, if you prefer the iPhone 3GS to a Flipcam,  you’ll soon be able to buy your own rig to achieve the smooth shots Hollywood studios pay thousands for. Smaller steadicam rigs, including the Merlin, have been around for camcorders for some time, but aren’t able to carry something as small as an iPhone or Flipcam.

The Steadicam Smoothie is weighted to provide counterbalance for really small cameras. Check it out, if just for fun. No word yet on how much they’ll retail for.

(Thanks to @EdMoore for the tip)

03. Awesome vintage shots

Need a retro vintage feel to your footage? Well, it’s possible to do it in post production with most software, but someone’s gone and made a camera which does it for you. It’s called the Harinezumi Digital 2.0, (or Zumi for short) and it appears to have been designed to be less-good on purpose. It has no viewfinder, so you can’t really see what you’re filming, and it’s sensor is designed to produce faded pictures with a vignette edge. It also has a macro lens setting (like the Zi8) to create elegant depth-of-field.

I’d be dismissing it right away if the pictures didn’t look so fantastic, and if vintage/retro wasn’t a-la-mode in design circles. The latest version (Zumi 2.0) can now record sound.

3 Responses

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  1. Mirko Lorenz said, on January 10, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    To add something to 02: The links below point to two videos where a mini dolly was used in combination with a Canon 5D MK II. The first video (from Egypt and Lebanon) is simply stunning, the second points to a Scottish maker of affordable 2M slide/dollys for such cameras. Again: Stunning pictures, nice shots.

  2. Mirko Lorenz said, on January 10, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    Too fast: These are the links from the post above…

    Lebanon/Egypt
    http://www.vimeo.com/7058755

    Affordable Dolly for Digital cameras
    http://ifranznation.de/2009/12/01/mini-dolly-system-mit-groser-wirkung-glidetrack/

  3. Art Speck said, on April 21, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Thanks for the info about Firmware upgrade for the Zi8. Really useful info.


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