Jonathan: July 2009 Archives
Engineer and SciCast judge Jem Stansfield is currently weaving his particular style of metal-bending magic in BBC1’s new science series, Bang Goes The Theory. You can see him on Mondays, at 7:30pm, on BBC1, and catch up with the first programme on iPlayer.
Here he is adding some detail to the magnificent supersonic-shock vortex cannon he made in that first show:
Two snippets of interest to SciCasters:
Flip’s new UltraHD is finally available in the UK. This is a high-definition (720p) camcorder, and reviews suggest it’s almost as good in low light as the earlier Flips, making it a clear leader in the field. I believe it also has a slightly wider-angle lens than its sister the MinoHD, which should make it more useful for our sort of films. Available from Amazon and elsewhere. Starting price is around £120.
Kodak have announced a new addition to their range of Flip-like cameras, but this one may well be the holy grail. The Zi8 records full HD (1080p), has image stabilisation (the anti-shake feature many early HD stick cameras lacked), and — wait for it — a microphone input jack! If this works properly, and if the camera can cope with dimly-lit classrooms, we’ll have a new camera winner. It should be available in the UK from September, for around £150. More detail at Camcorderinfo.
I was about to buy a Flip Ultra HD, but the Kodak looks worth waiting for — a microphone input is a huge boon. Plug in one of these and your sound problems should be more-or-less solved.
Looking for editing software for your Windows PC? It’s worth keeping an eye on Amazon’s weekly deals, as they’ve recently featured a few of the different packages. This week, for example, they have half-price offers on Corel VideoStudio X2 Pro Ultimate (that really is what it’s called, I’m not making this up!), and Sony Vegas Movie Studio 9 Pro Pack.
We hear lots of conflicting reports on essentially all software packages — what works for some people seems to crash constantly for others. So our advice is to download trial versions of the various packages, and see which works with your combination of computer and camera, before you buy.