Tag Archives: recording

Best Video Camera: Creative Vado HD vs Flip Mino HD vs Kodak Zi6?

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First, I got the Kodak Zi6. Then, I got the Flip Mino HD. A few hours ago, I received a recently-ordered Creative Vado HD and decided that instead of doing a full-on review of it, I’d compare it directly against the Mino HD and the Zi6 – in a short video shootout.

  • Flip Mino HD Likes: small and lightweight; has decent software that runs on both Mac OS X and Windows; decent “foreground subject focused” audio in noisy situations.
  • Flip Mino HD Dislikes: Touch controls are too sensitive; there’s a plastic protector that flips out along with the USB connector; colors are always washed out; flat video quality; white balance is impossible; tons of noise in low light; my skin tone never looks right indoors; built-in YouTube uploader decreases quality automatically; tiny LCD screen; cheap plastic wrist strap.
  • Kodak Zi6 Likes: decent saturation; decent audio; great LCD size; uses AA batteries; uses SDHC media; macro switch; great quality when not blurring.
  • Kodak Zi6 Dislikes: unpredictably blurred recordings in low light; no clear audio when noisy; no Mac software support; can be oversaturated in certain scene; heavy construction.
  • Creative Vado HD Likes: great balance of color and saturation in the average shot; tends to favor skin tones; wide angle lens; can record two hours; replaceable / rechargeable battery via USB; lightweight; sharp definition.
  • Creative Vado HD Dislikes: included skin doesn’t accommodate battery replacement / hard reset; audio is treble muted from behind (in narration); skews to light which isn’t always neutral; has a wrist strap slot but doesn’t come with a strap.

The Flip Mino HD is the worst of the bunch to my eyes and ears, and I’m looking to sell it (hardly used) at a good price. The Kodak is completely unusable in artificial light (due to uncontrollable blurring), which rules it out for where I’d need it most. I don’t think Flip is going to fix their problems with a software update, but I’m holding out hope for a Zi6 fix. Kodak has to get its act together – so does Pure Digital.

For my money right now, it’s the Creative Vado HD. The wide angle lens is absolutely essential when you’re trying to get closer to a subject – or if you want more in the scene. That’s all you need to know – and all the reason to go with a Vado HD over the others. Even if you think the Zi6 isn’t bad, the Vado’s wide angle lens trumps it. You have to be much further away from your subject to get the same shot as you can with a Vado (closer, and with MORE in the frame). Keep that in mind the next time you’re in tight quarters, or when you have to take three steps back just to get the shot you wanted.

Plus, the Vado does a much better job with skin tones and saturation (generally) compared to the other two in indoor situations. The HDMI cable may be another win for you and the Vado, but I seldom use video out in these cameras – so that’s just a value add. Hardware controls are comfortable on the Vado, and I like how its USB connector is flexible.

Now, you can watch the following videos inline – but I’d also recommend viewing them on YouTube (where you can watch the original 1280×720 as recorded and uploaded without editing). I’ve linked to the HD versions in the list above. Understand, too, that the Zi6 was at least six inches behind both the Flip Mino HD and Creative Vado HD in this test – even though it appears as though the Creative Vado HD was the furthest away. I’m telling you: that wide angle lens is AWESOME.

Flip Mino HD

Kodak Zi6

Creative Vado HD

Making the Band: A Kid's Perspective

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Alec is 13 years old. He goes by the handle iDrummer in our live community. He is a budding musician, and sent in these tips on how to get yourself or your band noticed.

  • People / Bandmates First, you’re going to need to know some people that are into your type of music. Some ways you could find people are to look around your school, work, and extra-curricular activities. Just start a friendly conversation, and let them know about your music. Usually, this takes some time to find the right people, because there are so many different people with varied tastes. You’re going to have to take your time. When you get around to the band part, mention that you’re looking to start a band, and that you wonder if they’re interested in joining. If his reply is no, ask him if he knows anyone that is musically talented. More than likely, he will know a few people if he plays an instrument. The more people you have, the more you will be taken seriously. Once you get the desired amount of people, make sure everyone is “ok” with their band members, so there are no disputes between one another. When you are all settled in with each other, come up with a name. This may be hard, but it’s important.
  • Recording / Covers Most artists start out their careers by doing cover songs (song written and recorded by other artists). You could go right into recording, but it’s good to know your band’s weaknesses and strengths in music. Start out with a couple of ,simple songs. Once you get the hang of how everyone plays then go for hard songs or start recording. Recording is a major deal. There are many ways to record. If you have some extra cash (as in like $2,000) then you can buy some “ok” recording equipment. Best chance you have to get good recording equipment is Guitar Center. Recording professionally is usually quite cheap. Before picking a recording place, do a little research on them. They may be really cheap, but they may have bad quality recording equipment. Also, they sometimes don’t supply you with instruments… which means you have to haul all your amp, guitars, drums, bass’s, cords. There are also two ways to record. There is 2-track and 4 track recording. 4 Track tends to come out with a better quality since you record one instrument at a time. 2-track is faster and is easier to do. In 2-track, you record the band first, and then the singer. 2-track is cheaper but lower quality.
  • Get your music out There are various way to get your music heard. One of the free ways is to put it on the Internet. Myspace, for example, is a great medium. You aren’t charged a dime to create an account or upload music onto your page. All of your friends can hear it, and you can gain fans. It’s best to have someone good with HTML and internet coding to help create your myspace, it makes it look more attractive and more official. Another great way to put your music online is via iTunes. It does cost you, but you can earn money off of it.
  • Shows / Venues After you get noticed, you might get offers from local bars to come play at night. Once again there are many ways to get shows. If you want to book shows, you’re going to have to impress whoever is in charge of booking talent. If you’re good enough, they might refer you to other venues. Even if you’re offered a show for no pay… it’s still a good way to earn a fan base. Another way to get bookings is to have your music sent to a record label. They might pick it up and listen to it. Send it to a bunch of record labels, instead of just one.
  • Marketing These is a very complex part… yet simple. I’ve been giving you marketing tips all along. Once you have a pretty big fan base, it’s time to decide if you want to market products. There are very simple ways online to create products for your band and sell them at shows / venues… or even on the street corner. Places where you can find free product creators is Zazzle or CafePress You can also set up an eBay store!

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Gnomedex Recordings

If you wanted to hear anything and everything that was officially recorded (in audio) from Gnomedex 6, you might want to subscribe to our show – conference interviews and sessions are already being posted there. The videos are forthcoming – more word on that soon. Until then, you should get our podcast (which I hope you’re getting, anyway). We’ll have a few dozen unique recordings come through over the next month or two. When they’ve all been published, expect a full list of links here (and on Gnomedex.com). If we dumped ’em all on you at the same time, they would overwhelm your iPod.