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Streaming Media West [13-14 November 2018]
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Streaming Media East 2018 [8-9 May 2018]
Live Streaming Summit [8-9 May 2018]
Content Delivery Summit [7 May 2018]
Streaming Forum [27 February 2018]

Streaming Spotlight: Flip Video Ultra
The Flip Video Ultra is so much more than it at first seems to be. It is so simple that for the first time in years I have been able to focus on what I am filming rather than how to improve the image. The output is simple and effective and the extra software, although simple, actually turns it into a great communications tool.
Thurs., 10 July, by Dom Robinson
Connecting the camera was simple. The device’s name gives it all away: A flick of a latch on the side pops out a spring loaded arm which has a standard USB connector on the end. This arm plugs straight into the USB port on your PC. I ended up using a USB extension cable since my laptop ended up resting on the camera and I figure that over time this will either dislocate my USB port in the laptop from its soldering, or twist the USB on the camera to the point that it will lose connectivity over time. Don’t get me wrong—not having to carry a cable all the time yet always having the ability to connect to any computer is great. It makes it truly self-contained.

The instant you connect, the software opens up with a simple user interface. I didn’t expect this. I thought it would install first, but it seems that the main application simply runs from the 2GB memory on the camera. I did find 3ivx installed in the Programs list afterwards, and this is clearly what it used for playing back the videos within the application.

The application allows you to browse, play and trim the videos. It also provides a GUI for uploading to YouTube or AOL, or to “Other” and a second section that effectively runs Muvee software which in turn takes a selection of video, and a chosen mp3 or wma and creates a ‘Mix’ of the video clips. I’ll come back to this feature in a minute. So the most interesting thing for Streaming Media readers was the process to transfer from the application to make them available to everyone on the Internet. I set up a YouTube account specifically to test this. I then went back to the application and entered my username and password.

Hours passed.

Sadly the progress bar was taking sooo long to move that I CTRL-ALT-DEL’d the application and pulled the camera out a few times.

I thought I’d try something a little more gradual. And, assuming that the “Other” option would probably just encode the video, I hit “go” on this. Quite simply, and quite quickly (about 3X real time – e.g. 1 min of video would take 3 to encode) I had a folder on my desktop called Flip Files for Uploading and in there, in a dated subfolder, I had a Windows Media Video (WMV) file.

That put a grin on my face. As some readers will know, I work a lot with Windows Media and have a large facility for hosting them myself. Within a few seconds this was FTP’d to my hosting and I was streaming. So in effect I had to plug in the camera, press one button and then FTP the files a few moments later.

Now that was “easy publishing.”

Despite this I was keen to crack the YouTube issue. I ended up uploading the WMV file I had just made to YouTube, and discovered how painfully slow it is to upload even a couple of minutes of video to their platform. In the light of this I forgave the application on the Flip camera, since it was probably working very efficiently but was completely let down by YouTube. Even so, the simple progress bar in the application did give the impression it had hung quite badly.