Flip Camcorder MAC vs PC

A few weeks ago, I reviewed the Flip Camcorder and was really impressed with the easiness of being able to simple record video clips, then "flip" out the USB and connect to the PC. The build in Flip Camcorder software made it extremely easy to edit individual movie clips, cut, add music and then save to your computer or directly upload to YouTube to share online.

I had several requests to try the Flip out with a MAC.

I went to our backyard and recorded two short video clips. The first Problem was evident immediately. My MacBook is thinner than the Flip Camcorder, which makes it impossible to plug it into the USB ports that are located on the side of the MacBook. I had to place the MacBook on my lap and support the Flip Camcorder with my knees. This seemed to be a very unstable connection, since the laptop stopped recognizing the Flip several times.

I finally was able to keep a steady hand/knee and downloaded the Flip For Mac software that came with the camcorder. From the included "Read me Text" :

To use the Flip Video Program with your Macintosh computer:

  1. Connect the Flip Video Camcorder to an available USB port on your Macintosh.
  2. Double-click the "FLIPVIDEO" icon on your Desktop. A window should appear that displays the contents of your camcorder.
  3. Double-click the "Mac Users" folder.
  4. Double click the "Install Flip Video for Mac" icon. This will open a new folder called "Flip Video Program for Mac", which contains the program files.
  5. Drag the "Flip Video Program for Mac" folder to your Desktop.
  6. Double-click the folder to open it, and double-click the "Flip Video for Mac" icon to start the Flip Video Program.
  7. When the Flip Video Program is started for the first time, a window will appear requesting your acceptance of the license agreement, and the automatic installation of video compatibility software that allows your computer to play your videos. Click the "I Agree" button and wait for the installation to complete. Upon completion, follow the instructions to exit the program and restart it.
  8. You are now ready to use the Flip Video Program to play back, save, share, edit and make movies of your videos. Please note that the camcorder must remain connected to your computer for you to use the program with your videos.

The next time you want to use the program, you may simply connect your camcorder and then launch the program you have already installed by double-clicking the "Flip Video for Mac" icon. You do not need to install the program each time you want to use it.

After going through all the steps, the software installed easily. I was able to open up the program and immediately saw my two video clips in the window.

Clicked on Make a Movie, where I knew (from playing with it on the PC) I would be able to add the clips together, clip the beginning or end of the clips, add music, etc. I selected both clips, then "Begin".

Unfortunately, once I arrived on the next screen, it seemed pretty empty to me, compared to the PC version. No editing, no music, no combining the clips, merely a "Back" button. Maybe I missed something crucial, but what was very intuitive on the PC, seemed a problem on the MAC.

So I used the "Back" button, since I could do not much else and chose to save the movie to my computer. That went without a hitch. The program created a "My Flip Video Library" folder under my Documents.

Next problem was that it saved the clips as an .avi file. iMovie will not open the .avi file. When I tried to open it through my Quicktime player, it showed only a white screen. So, I went back to the "Read Me Text"

NOTE for Users Running Macintosh Computers with Intel Core Processors: In order to play back videos within the QuickTime Player on Macintosh computers with Intel Core processors, you may need to adjust the QuickTime Player:

  1. From the Finder menu, choose Go > Applications to open the Applications window. Click once on "QuickTime Player" to select it.
  2. From the Finder menu, choose File > Get Info or type Command-I to open "QuickTime Player Info".
  3. In the "General" section, select the checkbox named "Open using Rosetta".
  4. Close "QuickTime Player Info".

Now, when you double-click the QuickTime Player, it will open with Rosetta and should play back your videos successfully. If you are still having trouble playing back your videos, you may need to install a commercially available Universal video codec, such as DivX Community Codec (www.divx.com). If you install a Universal video code such as DivX, you may then need to go back to "QuickTime Player Info" as above, and deselect the checkbox named "Open using Rosetta".

I followed the instructions, but got stuck, when trying to find the "QuickTime Player Info". Maybe it s not my night tonight, but that option was simply not there. When using the Command-I function I got the Apple Quicktime Inspector. Under Preferences I found a general tab, but nowhere a checkbox with "Open using Rosetta" So I am pretty much stuck.

I guess I could go use a conversion program, such as Zamzar.com to convert the . avi to a .mov file and then edit in iMovie…. BUT it was supposed to be intuitive, easy and FAST.

Maybe it is user error on my part…

So, I plugged the Flip camcorder into my desktop PC and a couple of minutes later, the clips were downloaded from the camcorder to the Flip software, put together, music added and saved as a .wmv file to my computer.

Another few moments later, I uploaded to my Flickr account and then embedded the code into this post. The entire process did not take more than 5 minutes on the PC.