Meghan’s Song "Window" + Hacking The Flip Mino HD ::

February 19, 2009 | • Gear & Gadgets

flip_with_lens.jpg

First things first. If you want a copy of Meghan’s song, “Window”, from the Transform video. Just click this link. She wants to remind everyone that this was just a quick recording during a practice session but it currently is the ONLY recording of this song. So, it isn’t a perfect recording but you know what? This whole post is about doing it lo-fi! If that link stops working, we’ve gone beyond our bandwidth and I’ll find another place to host it. If you want to find more of her music, you can find her on iTunes under the fantastic name of Meghan Coffee.That was her name before I ran off with her to the judge! :)

More after the jump…

Since putting the Transform video online yesterday, I’ve gotten a number of comments and emails asking about putting a wide angle lens onto a Flip Mino HD camera. Like I said earlier, even if I had the $$$ to go buy a Canon 5d Mark II, I couldn’t find one to save my life. Still a big waiting list for those cameras.

Being that much of my philosophy about things is doing a lot with a little, I wanted to see what I could do with a small web camera. I looked at a number of them and decided the Flip Mino HD was the way to go.When I bought this camera to do this project, I did a google search for hacking a Flip Mino camera and came across a blog post by Russ Roca. He bought a Sunpak 37mm .5x video camera lens, glued one of the supplied step up rings to the Flip Mino, and had the ability to use the standard field of view or go wide angle. The standard field of view on the Flip sucks for many of the shots I wanted to make for the Transform video.

I can’t find a link to this specific .5x lens. I bought it at my local Best(worst)Buy. I did find the 2x lens on their web site. I got the 2x lens as well so I could have a little extra reach. There are a number of these inexpensive wide angle and telephoto lenses out for small video cameras. The nice thing about the Sunpak lenses are the series of step up rings that you simply pick one and super glue to the Flip Mino.

Are these the finest optics you’ll ever see? Ha! No. We’re talking about a $200 HD camera that is smaller than your cell phone. Overall I’m really pleased with this little camera. I’ve been taking it everywhere I go. Despite being so inexpensive, the quality of the video is quite remarkable. Remember that the version you see online has been compressed a lot and then converted to flash. I uploaded it to YouTube today and it looks like @$$. I may take it off my account there. Blip.tv is really nice.Oh, if you want to edit the .mp4 clips from a Flip Mino in Final Cut Express or Pro, do yourself a big favor and download MPEG Streamclip to convert the .mp4 files into something that Final Cut won’t have to render each time you drop a clip in the timeline. You can edit the files right out of the Flip camera but as soon as they hit the timeline, you’ll have to render unless you convert them first.

Here are the conversion settings for MPEG Streamclip that work well for converting Flip Mino clips to something Final Cut will play nicely with. I’ve been using Final Cut Express 4. I was going to cut this together in iMovie but they have recently taken the ability to change the speed of a clip in that application. The new iMovie really sucks IMHO.

mpeg_window.jpg

Cheers, Zack

PS – The car shots were done with a Sticky Pod.




Discussion

  • Jason Grover said on February 20, 2009

    Those lenses are what my buddies and I used to film are skateboard videos. We bought them off ebay for about $30 US. I got 2 of them sitting here and they got the name Kenko wide angle on them if that helps. They usually sell with a 2x telephoto on ebay under $50.

  • Nathan Rodger said on February 20, 2009

    Yo GREAT video man – Love the tute on the Flip Mino HD.

    FYI – the HD YouTube looks great – the Blip.tv one on Scott’s blog was just spinning – so I went searching… If you are going to take it down – then kill the std res on – leave the HD.

  • scott neumyer said on February 20, 2009

    Vimeo.com has a great HD option if you want to upload the video there. That’s where I upload all my Flip HD videos and they look great on the site.

    Again… AMAZING video, sir!

  • Kristof Pattyn said on February 20, 2009

    Thanks for sharing these thaughts, it is sometimes at these moments (your dad) one gets to reflect about yourself and your place in the world and which path to take. You end up with some insights that are invaluable.
    On a tech note, bonus points for that kinda quality. I would rather swing one of those on the hood than that new 5D too :-)

    Greets

  • Henry said on February 20, 2009

    Zack, if you need more bandwidth, I can place it on my server for you (~1,5TByte of Traffic left).

    Greets

  • Takki said on February 20, 2009

    Thanks so much for sharing! The video is amazing and so is Meghans song! Thanks for letting us be a part of it!

  • Henry said on February 20, 2009

    Sorry 4 spamming…
    The song is perfect as it is. It sounds real… Everything you can hear on the radio is artifical, no dynamic, no life, no emotions in the songs.
    kicks ass!

  • Trevor Morris said on February 20, 2009

    Thanks so much for posting “Window”. Such a beautiful song. Again, thanks to both of you for sharing your talents!

  • ross millar said on February 20, 2009

    Thanks for that man, I was looking for a cheap cam to get into video, and the lens hack just upped the appeal.

    Really dug the transform video. I lost my Mom last year, before she went she was on a respirator, so my heart and thoughts are with you and your family at this difficult time.

    Thanks for sharing.

    PS. Great tune too.

  • Michael Schulz said on February 20, 2009

    Thanks for posting the song. It’s great at is is (on repeat right now). Love the video, and trust me, you’re not alone in these thoughts.

    Mike

  • Rich C said on February 20, 2009

    I’ve got a feeling you’ve got a lot of new blog readers now. Count me in among them.

    Thanks for sharing your video setup. I’ve been using a StickyPod for years. While traveling the country I decided to share what life was like on the road, and the stickypod worked perfect!

    Thanks again for sharing with all of us.

  • Keith McAdams said on February 20, 2009

    Hey man just discovered your site, must say awesome!!!! I really liked your transform video. It was very inspiring, especially if you stuck in a “photographers block” like a lot of us. About your blog post, Why do you call Best Buy Worst Buy? I work for Best Buy selling cameras here in Tulsa Oklahoma, and I dont take offense or anything because frankly I hate it sometime. I was just curious on why you dont like it

  • Nicholas Critelli said on February 20, 2009

    You’ve put, beautifully, into words all the same insecurities and frustrations that I and countless other photographers out there have felt for years.
    Thank you for giving such a poetic voice to all of us who struggle with ourselves, our work and the balance between our life and our art.

    Well done.

  • Jonny said on February 20, 2009

    Still can’t find a 5Dmk2?? Try Vistek.ca in Canada. They have a few in stock… I got mine a couple weeks ago already. You are going to LOVE it.

  • SeanR said on February 20, 2009

    I ordered a 5D Mark II from B&H last week. Even though their website said it was back ordered it shipped the next day. With the all flack it’s getting in the online forums the Mark II is not as scarce as you might think.

  • Clayton said on February 20, 2009

    Hey Zack- Just bought Meghan Coffe’s “Songs to sail by”
    Thanks for the heads up on her talent- You and your wife were meant to travel on the road you’re on- never doubt that or the fact that you’re not alone- LOVED what your video had to say!

  • Rene Skrodzki said on February 20, 2009

    Thank your wife for sharing her song, I love it.

    I am also thinking of getting my own Flip Mono HD, I can just see my ugly mug on youtube now.

    Thanks for making that video, it really is amazing.

  • David Burke said on February 20, 2009

    The song is beautiful the way it is! Thank you for sharing the tune. What a gifted couple you are.

    Thanks for the mod ideas too. Very cool!

    David

  • luke Copping said on February 21, 2009

    I am in love with this song

  • jayzee said on February 23, 2009

    Great Hack !!! Next time you want to go even cheaper than this, just let me know and we will shoot another one with my Canon XL2 for free…
    … “its not what you know, its who you know…”

    Love the music composition..really does set the perfect foundation for the video…

  • Jason said on February 23, 2009

    Zack,

    iMovie ’09 will let you change the speed of a clip. You can also do green screen, picture in picture and video stabilization.

    Jason

  • Ann from Montana said on February 24, 2009

    I’m not a huge fan of video but that might change.

    Edit-Transform – beautiful, moving, inspiring beyond any words I have and much I needed to hear…not only about my photography.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, video, Meghan’s music, the Mino and details.

  • Brett Turner said on February 24, 2009

    Thanks for linking to streamclip. i have tried somany converters lately for the hd files from my 5d mk 2 and that is the first one that has worked.

  • Broch Gerling said on February 24, 2009

    Hey Zack, Please know that you and your family are in our prayers!

  • Trevor Meeks said on February 24, 2009

    Hey Zack, great info on modifying the flip! I’ll be doing this mod for sure on the flip I just got – we’re going to use it as a cockpit cam in an aviation documentary I’m filming.

    I found the lens on both amazon and adorama (amazon sells it for adorama) and you can grab it from amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001EW72M2?tag=meedigprophov-20&camp=0&creative=0&linkCode=as4&creativeASIN=B001EW72M2&adid=08S5E52DFP7A4B60JPXV&

    Enjoy!

  • Sara Parker said on February 27, 2009

    the flip looks cute on the tripod.. but the pics in the video were awesome!…

    thx for the song… I actually would have paid for it… Meghan, AWESOME!… I somehow relate it to Californication… when they show venice… a least it is the feeling I have, strange weird but home…

    Sara

  • Jordan said on March 1, 2009

    Hey, if you ARE looking for a 5d mark II, go to best buy, and ask the guy in Digital Imaging if he can do a “customer fullfilment” for it. They’ll ship it directly from the warehouse to your house, with free shipping. There are currently 5 sitting in my district’s warehouse waiting to be ordered. There’s no guarantee that they’ll have any available, but they usually do.

  • karthik said on March 2, 2009

    Hey zack,

    i hacked my mino hd with 0.5x wide angle lens…i was wondering what are you doing about lens cap!!

    great post btw…and great video :)

    cheers

  • Gebber said on March 5, 2009

    Zack,

    Thanks for the great video. Very inspirational for a beginning photographer. Also I love your wife’s song Windows.

    You are a GREAT photographer!

  • Stacy said on March 12, 2009

    Thank you for sharing your song Meghan, it was very kind of you. Beautiful music.

  • joshua said on April 4, 2009

    Found this 2x lens on ebay for 9.95 + free ship

  • Paul Alexander said on June 7, 2009

    Hi Zack.
    Thanks for the useful page, but I’m unable to locate the Apple Intermediate Codec option in Streamclip, that you show here….
    http://www.zarias.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/mpeg_window.jpg

  • Robin said on July 9, 2009

    Hi Zach,

    I liked your video very much. Honest, true, and thoughtful.

    Your image quality looks amazing.

    Can you please please share your specific encoding settings for this Flip HD video? Did you create this video in FCP? Did you export as a QT or Mpeg4? and What size — 1280 X 720 or 640 x 360? I’ve been testing my exports and have created noting that looks as crisp as your image quality.

    Thanks so much for sharing your art, and also for answering my question if you remember what settings you used.

    Cheers!!

  • Robin said on July 9, 2009

    Zack not Zach I mean. ;)

  • Linda said on July 24, 2009

    Thank you – for the video, so profound I revisit to remind me.

    A big thanks to you and your beautiful wife for the music.

    From someone who sucks a little less than yesterday, last month, last year.

  • Philippe Toupin said on January 6, 2010

    How much for making me a wind angle for flip mino hd and send it to me in canada?

    Thanks for fast answer, I have to make a project soon.

    Phil

  • Philippe Toupin said on January 6, 2010

    *wide angle

  • Jon Chiang said on March 14, 2010

    Wow, I just watched this video and it was quite inspiring. You have an amazing blog, keep up the good work!




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