There are certain things that feel like forever in these times, like waiting for Melbourne public transport, but modern technology is not one of them. It only seems like yesterday that my grandfather, when filming using his video camera – and younger readers I kid you not – was forced to brace it on his shoulder such was its weight. Recording a family function not only took an element of photographic understanding, it took an element of power lifting. He needed a Thighmaster to stay in shape to get it off the ground. A crook back went along with the editing later on.
Imagine him now with the most popular product of the moment: the pocket video.
Size is everything here. For video cameras, they are tiny. Flip Mino III HD Video represents the biggest brand, with strong competition from Kodak with their Playtouch and Playsport ZX5 models, with the JVC Picsio and Sony Bloggie rounding out the main players.
And they are very popular. Schools seem to love them as well as individual users. The upside is so clearly obvious for some – travellers, parents and school kids – who want low cost, low weight and the chance to snatch fleeting moments in a heartbeat. Footage shot on your pocket video is perfect for a funny clip on YouTube or a perhaps a nice moment to share with your family and friends on Facebook.
Of course, they are simplifications in that they have little if any zoom, basic user commands and basic sound but they shoot High Definition and, depending on the model, you can tailor various features to your needs. The Kodak Playsport ZX5, for example, is waterproof while the Sony Bloggie has a rotatable lens.
So often, it seems, small means fun. There will always be a market for high end video because there are those who take a great interest in film and its potential to create and entertain. There are those that will definitely need longer zooms.
For many of us, the potential to simply grab small sequences here and there, often at random, without the extra weight or expense, is enough to justify the basic elements of the pocket video. Perhaps like DSLR users who end up buying a compact as well, we’ll end up owning a regular video and a pocket video for different scenarios. Unlike my grandfather and Melbourne commuters, these days, we’re spoilt for choice.