Over the past few weeks I’ve fallen in love with the Sony GC-1 Camera I picked up for $50 at a local electronics store after NECC “as is” without a box, cables, or instructions. I first wrote about this camera in my July 26th post, “Transformative power of flash-based video cameras.”
The camera shoots 5 megapixel still images and 30 fps 320×240 or 640×480 MPEG-4 video which imports right into iPhoto and iMovie. (I still haven’t made the jump to iMovie ’08, however, I used the free download of iMovie HD 6 for my most recent video project “72 Years of Free Barbeque.”) Unlike a traditional DV camera which records to tape, it is NOT necessary to import recorded videos on a 1:1 timeline, where 10 minutes of recorded video requires 10 minutes of importing time on the computer. This is a TRANSFORMATIONAL advance in terms of video editing and media file creation, in my view.
Two weeks ago I used the camera for photo and videos at the 72nd annual XIT Rodeo and Reunion in Dalhart, Texas (see my post “Storychasing the 2008 XIT Rodeo and Ranch” and Flickr photo and video sets for more info and media files.) This past weekend I shot still photos and videos to document a 3 night campout my son and I went on to Turner Falls Park in south-central Oklahoma. I haven’t edited or posted media files from that trip yet but will soon. I find that if I do NOT work with media files from a trip VERY soon afterwards, often life seems to race on and I don’t get back to working with those files and videos again. I find it’s important to be somewhat selective in what I publish and share, but also important that technology tools facilitate speedy editing and publishing. As Dean Shareski has commented here previously, there is likely a balance that needs to be reached. Certainly we live in a VERY different day when digital cameras effectively place far fewer limits on the number of images and videos which can be both captured and shared.
Remember the days of having a fixed number of exposures on a roll of film, and having to be very selective on a trip when you decided to take pictures because you could run out of film? My 10 year old son has never taken photos with an analog camera, he’s only “known digital.” The idea of having a full memory stick / memory card is something he understands, but with larger capacity cards now available even that limitation is getting foreign. The 4 GB memory card on my GC1 has been so big I haven’t come close to filling it up yet.
Unfortunately, Sony has discontinued sales of the GC1, but a variety of other cameras with similar still image and video functionality are now available. Derek Baird told me about the Kodak Xi6 Pocket Video Camera last week, which is capable of shooting HD or VGA video (up to 720p at 60 fps with 16:9 aspect ratio) AND runs on two AA batteries.
According to the specifications page the Xi6 can only shoot 3 megapixel “interpolated” still images, so that is less than the 5 MP the Sony GC1 shoots, but that is still a reasonably large still image resolution for small prints and web publication/sharing. The zoom is only 2x, which is unfortunate (the GC1 is 4x) but the fact it is battery operated is a HUGE bonus. Both Friday and Saturday nights at the XIT rodeo my GC1 ran out of power, and since the batteries are not removable/replaceable I was simply finished taking photos and videos at that point. We’ve settled on the Olympus WS-110 portable audio recorder for our statewide “Celebrate Oklahoma Voices” digital storytelling project in large part because it is powered by a AAA battery. Removable and replaceable batteries are VERY important for StoryChasers who are frequently making audio and video recordings “out in the field” away from a classroom or home AC power supply. Cross-platform compatibility is important as well, and like the Sony GC1 the Kodak Xi6 is compatible with both Windows and Macintosh computers. Like the GC1, the Xi6 captures video natively in MPEG4 format.
Is the Kodak Xi6 an “ideal” camera for Storychasers? I haven’t tested it personally, but the specs look impressive and acceptably comparable to the discontinued Sony GC1. I’d like a larger optical zoom and perhaps more megapixels for still images, but the HD recording capability in a handheld videocam is impressive as is the AA battery requirement.
What sub-$200 still image and video camera would you say is “ideal” for Storychasers?
If you’re interested in the StoryChaser’s project this year, incidentally, we’re having another online meetup this Thursday, August 21st at 8 pm US Central time. Check out the post on StoryChasers for more details and links. (We’re not meeting this evening since it’s my birthday and I’ve got a family dinner date!) I’m also pleased to report that I successfully installed and configured (at least initially) a MediaWiki installation for StoryChasers. Check that out and contribute to resources/ideas on wiki.storychasers.org. My hope is that the wiki (along with ALL the resources participants share in the StoryChasers project) will be more accessible and therefore useable/relevant if they are accessible from the Storychasers.org domain. That way, if a teacher wants to request “whitelisting” of a website to participate in StoryChasers, s/he can request that storychasers.org be whitelisted and hopefully be able to access most of the project resources.
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On this day..
- Advanced Tips for iPhone Sharing on Social Media - 2013
- Cross-Posting Audio Podcasts & Phonecasts from Cinch to iPadio - 2012
- Working Behind a Filter: Resolve Shortened URLs with Unshort.me - 2012
- ACLU Sues Missouri School District for Overblocking Internet Websites - 2011
- Magical iPhone Photo Apps - 2010
- Internet Safety and Digital Citizenship Presentations for Students, Parents and Teachers - 2010
- Railroads and virtual connections - 2008
- 30 Days with Twitter by Bob Sprankle - 2007
- Multi-client desktop videoconferencing - 2006
- Site migration and WordPress upgrade complete - 2006