How to Create Outstanding Videos via a Flip Style Camera

Are you looking for a way to create nice looking video at an affordable price and with minimal hassle or tech ability? I was too and here is the solution I found…

I’m in the process of creating a few videos for various projects. Some are simple video book reviews, others are training sessions for authors via video (marketing tips, how to become a successful author, how to build a platform, etc.). Both are more head on, me talking straight to the camera, without many bells and whistles (i.e., fancy production stuff).

I needed a way to make the videos look nice, to do so inexpensively and in a way that would enable me to create them in my office or on the go with minimal setup. Cost and flexibility were primary concerns since I will be doing multiple videos like this as time goes on.

I could have gone the route of a professional video shoot but for my needs, as outlined above, it just wouldn’t be a fit for the cost or worth the hassle.

I had considered using my FLIP camera but thought the audio was a little shaky at times and I found it tough to get the lighting right, especially when filming inside.

But then I found a phenomenal solution on how to use a FLIP style camera and make it not only work but work very well.

So, here’s what I did…

1. I purchased the Kodak Zi8 flip style camera ($100 on Amazon). It’s like a traditional FLIP camera in that it records in High Definition but it also includes a mic jack so that you can plug in an external mic for better audio quality. BTW… I love the Kodak Zi8 because it also has the option to use an SD memory card, which makes recording and transferring to the computer much easier. (Tip: Buy a few 8GB SD cards and have plenty of recording space).

2. I purchased a small tripod ($9 on Amazon) that enables the flip style camera to sit on my desk or wherever I would like. (Note: You can use any tripod).

3. I purchased the Audio-Technica ATR-3350 lavaliere mic ($22 on Amazon) to use with my Kodak Zi8 camera. It’s a wired mic but the cord is plenty long and gives a good distance from the camera (if needed).

4. I purchased a small 4 point lighting kit from Cowboy Studios ($87 on Amazon). It’s a lightweight, compact kit that comes with lights, stands, diffusers and a nice bag to store and carry the kit around in. The lights that come with the kit are the right kind for indoor filming with a FLIP style camera (but you can learn more about that in the next point).

5. I purchased access to the Flip Video Secrets from Dave Kaminski. It’s by far one of the best video tutorials I have used and gives a ton of specific tips on maximizing the functionality and abilities of your flip style camera. It’s a 1-hour tutorial broken up in to multiple video segments that you can watch (or watch again). Each segment shows exactly what to do and how to do it with tips from using the camera, getting the right lighting, tricks, and more. Dave also gives some bonus resources with the training such as how to properly use green screen and how to adjust your videos color via your editing software. At $49 for access to Dave’s video tutorial, it’s a bargain and taught me a ton. It’s the resource that helped me connect the dots and pull it all together.

You can use just about any video editing software to clean up your videos and these days most computers come with some form of an editor. For me, I use Sony Vegas (less than $100) and have enjoyed it (I’m on a PC). I find it easy to understand and capable of doing everything I need, and then some.

Beyond that it’s simply uploading your video to a site such as Youtube or Vimeo and then sharing however you choose to share (a direct link, embedding on your website or blog, etc.).

I’ll post some of my videos soon but until then, I hope these resources help you improve on your ability to create better video.

Note: If you are looking for a good way to record Skype video chats (or interviews via Skype), check out Michael Hyatt’s post on How to Record a Video Interview in 8 Steps. It’s a great resource too!

Do you create video? What do you use? Comment here.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Marc

    This is exactly what I've been looking for in order to post short videos on the blogs I'm a part of. I'm going to look into this, thank you!

  • Thanks for the great tips, Dan. I've been experimenting with different video techniques for my blog. I just put together my first talking head video, and while I have a long ways to go, I learned a lot about talking to the camera instead of an audience. It's a lot different than talking with an audience… no feedback. I've got to work on lighting and pacing, but its a lot of fun to see what you can create with low cost equipment. Nancy Duarte has been an inspiration with some of her video clips for her books.