We’ve recently started principal photography on a new documentary called Harmony: The Story of Rock Our World. I could go on and on about how wonderful this program is and how exceptional the teacher is who started it five years ago, but I think it’s probably better if I just let you hear directly from her in this short we produced last spring about the program.
Yeah, she’s amazing, isn’t she?
This production is going to take us around the world interacting with teachers and classrooms that are lucky to have one computer and a dial up connection, let alone high tech digital tools in each students’ hands. However, in order to produce a feature-length documentary about the program, we need each classroom to videotape their Rock Our World efforts. And since we’re making a film in 1080i, it would be really nice if they were videotaping their efforts in HD. Hence, our conundrum. Well, one of our conundrums.
What small camera should we get into the hands of the Rock Our World classes around the world, that’s easy to use, that allows for VERY SIMPLE file upload to iDisks, but that still produces a picture we can use in post production? Oh yeah, and it has to be INCREDIBLY CHEAP.
You’re thinking Flip, aren’t you? We were too. The best Flip out there shoots “Video: 16:9 widescreen, HD 720p (1280 x 720) at 30 frames per second (fps) progressive scan; recorded as MP4 files,” according to their website, and that will work just fine with our production. It won’t be great, since we’re shooting 1080i and the Flip shoots 720p, but I’m willing to convert in Final Cut Pro, even though I rage at the conversion time each time I hit the render button.
But this lovely teacher who runs Rock Our World, told me about the new Kodak competition to the Flip. Have you heard about the Kodak Zi8? It shoots in 1080p and is $20/unit cheaper.
I need to get to a local Best Buy and check these two little darlings out. I also plan to steal Carol Anne’s Kodak and my sister’s Flip at an event in Nebraska the weekend of October 16th. I hope have more for you when I return.
I have been following this camera and reviews of it ever since it debuted in late spring 2009. I’m going to Europe in September and knew I needed something to live up to its grandeur. I didn’t want to be “that typical tourist with their 3 pound dSLR”. The ZS3, although not compact, is much more versatile than an SLR in terms of grabbing it and going somewhere on a whim. You also don’t have to make a scene if you just want to take a simple photo during dinner. It fits easily in a jacket pocket or sweatshirt but still packs a lot of features. The lens is AMAZING – there is no other point and shoot on the market with a 25mm wide angle to 12x optical range. The intelligent auto mode works very well, I love not having to worry about tweaking small flash or iso settings. The HD video is also very good. They claim 720p video, but it is not like watching a blockbuster dvd. However, it is still very good quality video and the sound it picks up is terrific (used it at a concert and it sounded just like I was there, no fuzz). Battery life is good, although Panasonic seems to have sold out of the replacement battery, I hope they get on that soon. Overall, I’m so glad I bought this camera, way better than other compacts on the market.