by Kerry Martin
The news of Cisco shutting down the Flip Camera came as a total shock to me. While I don’t know anything about Cisco’s internal budgets or profits or whether the whole business model was imploding from the inside, it just seems like they’re exiting the market a little too early.
Yes, smartphones will eventually be the method for hand-held video recording, but I think they’re missing one motivation buyers have for a device like the Flip: sharing. By “sharing,” I don’t mean instantly uploading videos to YouTube or sharing them on the Web—which is the main selling point for smartphones—I mean sharing as in lending the video camera out to someone.
Would you hand over your iPhone to the intern to go shoot a video on location somewhere? Would you consider putting your Droid in bubble wrap and shipping it across the state to capture a video interview of a client? At Curley & Pynn, we rely on the Flip camera’s portability and inexpensive price tag to support video projects that we manage for a number of clients—like our project for the Florida High Tech Corridor Council that includes mailing a camera, mini tripod and interview questions to the Corridor’s Faces of Technology to film self-interviews.
The other reason why Flip cameras work so well for business (and for perfectionist PR professionals) is that it forces you to upload to a computer and edit your video. Even with a smartphone’s ability to immediately upload to the Internet, I would always want to snip, clip, fade in, fade out and add music/photos/other video. (And even though there’s an app for iMovie, I’m not going to edit a professional video on a three-inch screen.) When you have the opportunity to make a video more engaging by including special effects through editing software, it’s a no-brainer.
So, until the smartphone becomes so ubiquitous that my dad can shoot and send and edit video, we’ll still use the Flip. I guess it’s a good thing that we already have a stockpile of six cameras (although that going-out-of-business-fire-sale might have been nice too).