Tuesday, September 21, 2010

New Flip UltraHD Finally Promises An External Microphone Input, Available in Early 2011 Through New FlipPort

A new line of Flip Video cameras was announced today by Cisco, including more affordable versions of the UltraHD ($149.00-199.00) and MinoHD $179.00-229.00) pocket camcorders, with a number a new enhancements that will finally bring the long awaited ability to connect an external microphone to the wildly popular pocket video camera. This will be possible in only the new UltraHD 8GB model, through a new proprietary port called a "FlipPort" located on the bottom of the device, and will connect peripherals that are part of the new "Designed for Flip" accessory program. The microphone is designed by Blue Microphones and called Mikey for FLIP, and won't be available until early next year, and likely to debut at CES.

One the big drawbacks of the Flip has been the inability to capture good quality sound,  and many were disappointed with the release earlier in the year of the SlideHD, which didn't include an external microphone input jack. However, Blue's peripheral contains a premium condenser stereo microphone capsule with automatic sensitivity switching for recording any volume level clearly: whispers, interviews, or rock concerts. It also sports a mic-in port which will allow for easy plug-in of additional microphones or microphone level audio sources which is similar to the Beachtek camcorder adapters that allow for plugging in standard XLR cables and connectors, and mounts in between the camera and tripod. The Mikey for FLIP is self-powered and runs on AAA batteries and will list starting at $69.00.

Videos are still recorded as H.264 MP4 files in 16:9 widescreen, HD 720p (1280 x 720), now at 60 frames per seconds (fps) progressive scan. Other new Flip UltraHD features include image stabilization, longer record time and higher bit rate recording (up to 8.8 Mbps) and a number of other optional peripherals, including a include a waterproof case, a Bower wide angle lens, an iGo Portable Pico Projector and a variety of power charging options: Flip Video Ultra™ Battery PackiGo Charge AnywhereFlip Video Power Adapter. All the Flip Video products are available now at TheFlip.com, Amazon.com, and Best Buy and will be sold at Wal-Mart, Target, and Staples in the near future.

According to Jonathan Kaplan, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco Consumer Products:
"This is without question the best line of Flip Video cameras we've ever created. The new line combines Flip's signature simplicity and affordability with truly breakthrough video quality, unlimited personalization options, and an array of creative new accessories – all of which add up to more fun, and an even better video experience for our consumers."

For more details, read PC Magazine's full review here: Cisco Flip UltraHD 8GB 2 Hours (2010) Review & Rating | PCMag.com and check out the full line of Flip Video cameras and specs here.

From birthday parties, sporting events, conferences, social media mashups to corporate boardrooms, the Flip video camera spawned a new generation of UGC producers. But the important thing to keep in mind is that the Flip, the Kodak Zi8, the Sony Bloggie, the iPhone 4,  iPod Touch any of these $200.00 or less video cameras, are just that – $200.00 or less video cameras. You won't get the same quality as you would with professional video and audio equipment. But for most applications the Flip video quality is good enough.

If you're wondering how the new Flip Ultra measures up to the iPod Touch, watch this video for a side-by-side comparison: Flip UltraHD vs. iPod Touch (4th gen).