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sffoggydays
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Flip Video Camera not totally Mac compatible
      #30331 - 06/02/08 10:26 PM

This is a comment about: Home -> PDA Reviews -> Flip Video. Reviewed by Jacob Spindel, May 2008.

My MAC Updater downloaded the new QT 7.4.5 on 5 Apr 2008. I have been making movies in iMovie, and then posting them to YouTube. In the beginning I uploaded the movies as MOV files but soon discovered AVI files (larger file and longer time to upload) had more clarity when viewed on YouTube. Once the new QT 7.4.5 downloaded all my AVI files had picture, but no sound! I downloaded the Perian component as posted in QT discussions. The sound returned to the AVI files. However, when I Exported an AVI movie from iMovie the picture quality was worse than the MOV movie. There is something wrong with the new QT 7.4.5 when working with AVI, my AVI movies look terrible. These AVI files were all downloaded from my Ultra Flip Video camera with Flip?s codec 3vix. Flip is aware of this problem and acknowledged it last Friday. Flip says Apple is aware of the problem.
My MAC PowerPc G4 has performed well in the past two months when working with the Flip Video camera. So, at Flip Video?s suggestion I upgraded the operating system to OS 10.5 from OS 10.4.11. Flip Video says their camera works with OS 10.5. Once OS 10.5 was uploaded I soon discovered that iMovie 08 would not operate on my PowerPc G4, 1.86 MHz. The speed requirement for iMovie 08 is 1.9 GHz.
At this point of ?spinning my wheels for nearly a month? with this Flip Video camera, I decided to purchase a new iMac. On May 2, 2008, I walked out of the Apple Store in Walnut Creek with the new iMac 20-inch: 2.66GHz. Now the Flip video camera should work and all my video problems solved. However, this was not to be.
When I attempted to Import Flip Video AVI and MOV files into iMovie 08 the files were ?grayed out? and would not Import. None of my previous Flip Video files would Import. I tried making new Flip Video movies, they also would not Import into iMovie 08.
At another Apple Store, the tech suggested I download the previous version of iMovie HD. I did this and with hours of working through the different Export options I was able to create movies to post again on youTube. However, the picture quality of the newer iMovies has never approached the quality of my last post before QT 7.4.5 downloaded. Remember my problems started with QT 7.4.5. Well, my new iMac came with QT 7.4.1, I have not Uploaded QT 7.4.5 and won?t until Flip Video fixes this problem.
Examples of my Flip Video movies can be viewed on youTube at: sffoggydays. The last video with excellent picture quality was posted 6 Apr 2008 titled ?A Day at the San Francisco Zoo, Chapter Nine, L-Taravel Ride to BART.? This video was made in iMovie and Exported before QT 7.4.5 downloaded. All the youTube Flip Videos made after 6 Apr 2008 have poor picture quality.
It is time for Flip Video camera to stop ?passing the buck? to Apple. When manufactures of operating system such as Apple and Microsoft create newer and upgraded systems, it is the responsibility of the manufactures of applications to redo their programs for operating on the new systems. Here is where Flip Video is not accepting this responsibility to Mac users of their camera. The Flip Video application/codex/drivers need to be updated in order to fix the following problems:
- No sound on AVI files in QT 7.4.5
- No Import of AVI and MOV files in iMovie 08
- Poor picture quality for youTube in Export of iMovie HD
I like my Flip Video camera, want to continue making movies for youTube, and recommending the camera to others. The Flip Video camera people need to fix these problems for Mac users. 26 May 2008.
Here is the Flip Video email response on 27 May 2008:
Hello,
Thank you for your response.
We are not authorized to support third party applications, which is why we do not provide specific instructions regarding iMovie or any other third party application. We only support the Flip and the Flip program, while offering suggestions regarding other programs.
The Apple website also offers Perian as a workaround regarding audio on the Tiger operating system with the latest QuickTime. The latest QuickTime upgrade didn?t allow for audio playback of AVI files, which is why Perian is now offered as a work around by us and by Apple.
It seems as though you are able to playback your videos, as well as use them in outside applications. If this is not the case, and you are having issues using your Flip video or your Flip video program, feel free to contact us further.
Thank you,
Consumer Support
Pure Digital Technologies, Inc.


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Re: Flip Video Camera not totally Mac compatible [Re: sffoggydays]
      #30349 - 06/05/08 03:20 AM

Hello sffoggydays,

Sorry to hear about your difficulties. It sounds like there are two main problems you are encountering:

1) Poor quality of exported AVI files

Are you sure you have your QuickTime settings correct? In the Export dialog box, after selecting "Movie to AVI," there should be an "Options..." button available, and within the options, you can increase the quality settings (resolution, frame rate, etc.) to practically anything you want.

2) Flip movies are grayed out in iMovie

I have iMovie 08, and I am unable to confirm this. When I try to import Flip videos into iMovie 08, they are fully enabled, although there are some other compatibility concerns (as mentioned in your post and in my review).

iMovie 08 has several commands with "Import" in their names. Are you sure you are going to File->"Import Movies..."?

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sffoggydays
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Re: Flip Video Camera not totally Mac compatible [Re: Jacob_Spindel]
      #30367 - 06/05/08 09:23 PM

Jacob thanks for the reply,

I have played with the picture quality in QuickTime and iMovie HD. In addition, I have spent over a week Exporting different quality settings (Options button) and uploading to youTube, usually at least two movies a day. I would compare them to previous movies, note the poorer picture quality and then remove them from youTube. Here is what my QuickTime Pro Inspector reports:

All AVI files downloaded from Flip Camera:
Format: Generic MPEG-4, 640 x 480, Millions
Microsoft ADPCM, Mono, 44.100 kHz

iMovie 3 Export Before QT 7.4.5:
DV, 720 x 576 (768 x 576), Millions
16-bit Integer (Little Endian), Mono, 22.050 kHz

The next two Exports do not have the same high-resolution picture quality when uploaded to youTube:

iMovie 3 Export After QT 7.4.5:
DV, 720 x 576 (768 x 576), Millions
16-bit Integer (Little Endian), Mono, 22.050 kHz

iMovie 6 Export on 6 May 2008:
DV, 720 x 576 (768 x 576), Millions
16-bit Integer (Little Endian), Mono, 22.050 kHz

Here I am making the same movies from the same Flip Camera, but with poorer picture quality ever since QuickTime 7.4.5 downloaded. There is a poor picture quality problem with QT 7.4.5 interfacing with the Flip Video Camera when uploaded to youTube.

In addition, all MOV and AVI Flip Camera files downloaded are ?greyed out? (just now downloaded new Flip AVIs from my two week trip to South Carolina) and will not Import in to iMovie 08. I have tried every Import command possible. However, if I Import theses files in iMovie HD, then Export the new movie to the desktop, the new AVI movie will open in iMovie 08.

I suspect these problems have to do with Apple upgrading the software QuickTime and iMove. As noted from the QT Inspector, Flip?s AVI files are Microsoft coded. Flip Video needs to upgrade their software for downloading AVI and MOV files from the camera for Apple users.

Thanks again for post, I have tried all the suggestions you mentioned again today with some new Flip Videos.


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Re: Flip Video Camera not totally Mac compatible [Re: sffoggydays]
      #30373 - 06/06/08 04:00 PM

So you're talking about the video quality after it's uploaded to YouTube? If the original looks okay before you upload it to YouTube, that is really more of a YouTube issue than anything related to the Flip.

YouTube can be pretty frustrating, quality-wise - we actually had several issues with that during the review, until we ultimately decided to use video.google.com instead. Basically, YouTube has two "modes," a Low Quality mode (320x240) and a High Quality (480x360) mode. However, with YouTube's regular web interface, all videos are displayed at 320x240, even though some of them are being downscaled from a higher resolution video that YouTube has stored. Even when they are downscaled, though, the High Quality videos tend to look way better than the Low Quality ones.

The problem is simply that it is very difficult to tell YouTube that you want to upload a High Quality video rather than a standard one. The uploading system is supposed to automatically detect that you have submitted a higher-res video and create a High Quality video automatically if it is applicable - but unfortunately, in many cases, it just doesn't work and sticks you with a Low Quality version only, no matter what you uploaded.

YouTube's documentation about this is so vague and limited that we were unable to find a way to make YouTube store High Quality versions of the videos we uploaded, no matter what format they were in.

The "moral of the story" is that YouTube is great for sharing videos in situations where quality is not a major concern, but for now at least, if you want the best picture quality possible, you will need to use something else.



Do you happen to have QuickTime Pro on your computer? I'm thinking maybe the fact that I am able to transcode/import videos rather easily could be connected to the fact that I'm a QT Pro user. What version/build of iMovie 08 do you have?

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sffoggydays
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Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Flip Video Camera not totally Mac compatible [Re: Jacob_Spindel]
      #30420 - 06/12/08 03:14 PM

Thanks for the insight about youTube picture quality. I noticed youtube now has two modes in which to view a video, ?watch in standard quality? or ?watch in high quality.? This feature does not occcure until 1-2 hours after an upload. My new uploads do look better in the youTube ?watch in high quality.?

I am using QuickTime Pro (7.4.1 [14]) and iMove?O8 (7.1.1 [529]).

Just recheck iMovie?08, the Flip Video AVI and MOV files are stilled ?greyed out? when trying to Import. I am making all my movies in iMove HD the previous version. In additon I still have not downloaded QT 7.4.5 (loss of sound with Flip Videos), I?m waiting for the next upgrade.


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Re: Flip Video Camera not totally Mac compatible [Re: sffoggydays]
      #30469 - 06/18/08 04:44 PM

Looks like you may have figured out how to enable the HQ option, even after I couldn't... I must admit I've had a shortage of patience lately.

The current version of iMovie 08 is build 577... I don't know if you can update without updating QuickTime, but that could explain why Importing is disabled for you but not for me.

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sffoggydays
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Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Flip Video Camera not totally Mac compatible [Re: Jacob_Spindel]
      #30500 - 06/21/08 09:30 PM

The High Quality (HQ) option can be set-up so that every time you log into YouTube you only get HQ. It is under Account>Video Playback Quality>I have a fast connection. Always play higher-quality video when it's available. Hope this helps.

I think the build update in iMovie'08 involves downloading QuickTime 7.4.5. I am sticking with QT 7.4.1 until there is a new QuickTime replacing 7.4.5.


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Re: Flip Video Camera not totally Mac compatible [Re: sffoggydays]
      #30513 - 06/23/08 04:12 PM

This is actually a slightly different issue than the one I was discussing. The Video Playback Quality setting means, "I'm watching videos, and I always want to see high-quality versions if they are available."

What I'm looking for is, "I'm creating videos, and I want a high-quality version of my video to be available for people who choose to view it." This is the one that is very difficult to control.

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