The Flip – Worth the Hassle (Updated)

(Thanks to Richard Kassissieh’s comment to the original post, I have to update the information on how this camera works with a Mac. Thanks so much Richard! You made me do some more investigating and I found an easier way from just using software that it on the Flip!)

Based on buzz from my PLN, I thought I’d like to try The Flip Video. My oh-so-generous boss thought that a really easy video camera that the students could use would be a great idea. The investment of $150 wasn’t much so we got a box full of them for the district. Upon further research, I discovered that people love using their Flips to easily and quickly, but Mac owners proclaimed that the cameras do not play nice with iMovie! What the heck! How could anything this easy to use not work well with my beloved Mac? I was not discouraged however. I did my research and learned that with a little perseverance, the videos could import into iMovie and be integrated into a project. In addition, with a quick download, one could use the unedited videos as they open up easily with Quicktime, making embedding them into a presentation very doable for even the most un-techy user. So here is the scoop…… When you put the flip into the USB port and icon like this shows up on the desktop. Double click on this icon. The following software is stored on the Flip Video:

  • Flip Video for Mac – for viewing and editing without the use of iMovie
  • 3ivx installer that can be found in the Installers folder on the Flip (Note: This is the new part….I never looked in that folder before Richard called it to my attention.)
  • Perian – (free download and I put the installer on our cameras at school) needed to make .avi video clips viewable on a Mac, once loaded, will work automatically from system preferences, no need to launch the application (This may not be necessary either – but I’m leaving this recommendation on because I used it to make clips work on 10.4 Macs with iMovie HD. – go with the 3ivx installer first and let me know if we don’t need Perian.)

The following free software downloads were recommended by people to get the AVI videos to play nice with iMovie 08, but turn out to unnecessary, but I’ll leave the links in this post, just in case you want to learn about them anyway.

  • VisualHub – an alternative to MPEG_Streamclip, provides better quality video, but free version can only convert videos under 2 minutes
  • MPEG_Streamclip_1.9.1 is the software that is needed to convert video format .avi to .mov or .dv – needed if editing will be done in iMovie
  • All of these software applications can be loaded on the computer utilizing Flip Video but that means that there is a little less room for video clips

So now that I have conquered the Mac vs. Flip battle, here are a few ideas on what can be done with them in the classroom:

  • Demonstrate solving math problems from the board or using manipulatives
  • Describe a field trip
  • Book reviews
  • Visually interpret part of a story or a poem
  • Interviews with family or staff members for digital storytelling
  • Tour of the school for new students or parents
  • Create a commercial for a product, can be great for foreign language
  • Demonstration of safety procedures or lab experiment in Science
  • Reinact historical event or video tape a speech in Social Studies
  • Demonstration of a phenomenon or concept in Science (gravity, simple machines at a playground)
  • Demonstration of skills in Gym
  • Film students as they role play for character education
  • Video tape of lesson or student interaction for professional development strategies
  • Video podcast for every reason

Have fun with your Flip video!

6 thoughts on “The Flip – Worth the Hassle (Updated)

  1. Thanks for sharing the tutorial. I have not been in love with my Flip just because it doesn’t work as easily with iMovie. I want to test out your method! Thanks!

  2. You mean this will work with Windows Moviemaker, but not with iMovie without extra software??? LOL – at last an application that I can use on my districts PCs and not be punished for not having Macs……….Thanks for the suggestions of what to do with the Flip – that is the kind of ideas I need to get my teachers interested in video.

  3. I agree with all this and have written up a similar description here:

    My Flip Mino included different conversion tools from those that you mention. Instead, I found a 3ivx driver installer, which allows applications such as QuickTime Player, iPhoto, and iMovie to read the compressed AVI files. You can still download MPEG_StreamClip, VisualHub, or Perian from the web, but it appears that Flip’s strategy has changed to just providing the driver and their own proprietary viewer/web posting application.


  4. @Karen, Donna, and Kathy – I hope you were successful with your Flip and your Mac. If you didn’t test my method from the previous version of this post, take another look.

    @Carla – I added a few more!

    @Richard – Thanks so much for your help!! I have updated this post to make the instructions more accurate.

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