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Further adventures in disposable video

December 9th, 2006

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon the first disposable video camera. It’s been out for a year, but was unknown to everyone I’ve talked with about it.

Too bad because it’s a big breakthrough in video. Put down your $29.95 and walk away with a camera that has a built-in hard drive that will store up to 20 minutes of pretty good video.

But it gets even better…

The company behind this technical marvel – PureDigital – has just released an even better camera.

Same incredibly simple design, but with some important new features.

This new camera allows you to scroll through your clips and delete the ones you don’t want. (The original camera only let you view and dele the very last thing you shot.)

Also, you can easily plug this camera into your TV and it comes with a built in USB port to upload video to your computer.

Finally, it’s re-usable. Shoot 20 minutes, upload your shots, erase and shoot again.

Price: $95.00 and available at all over the place and online.

How’s the quality?

Surprisingly good. It’s not Swiss optics, but if you’ve got the right light, the picture is excellent. (A broadcasting engineer might dispute this, but it looks pretty good to me.)

What I love about it is its size and ease of use. I’m not  a fan of products that require manuals before you can use them.  This camera is dead simple. On/off. Start record/stop record. Playback. Delete. Scroll. That’s it.

Oh, and point and shoot.

Also, if you lose or break this camera, so what? Carrying around a consumer video camera (priced $495 and up) makes me paranoid. What if I lose it? What if I drop it? What if it gets stolen? Do I put it in my luggage? Is there room for it in my carry on?

With this little device, which is about the size of a pack of cards and about as heavy, I just slip it in my pocket and I’m done with it.

I’ve been saying it for a year now: Video is the new paper.

Between YouTube and this camera, the reality has finally come to pass.

If you don’t have a video camera or if the camera(s) you have freak you out and you don’t use them regularly, get this thing and start playing around with it. If there’s a filmmaker in you, this camera will bring it out.

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  1. December 9th, 2006 at 08:55 | #1

    Hey Ken,
    When Pure Digital first released the lower priced camera it was to be billed as a truly disposable camera.
    They were to be available at CVS pharmacies and they were to be single use.
    The idea was… you’d shoot up to 20 minutes of video and then drop the thing back off at CVS. They would then put your video on disc for you. The price was $40 if I recall correctly.
    In no time flat there were people posting hacks on the Internet that enabled a user to load the video out of the camera onto your machine and even better use the camera over and over.
    That is really why PureDigital went to the models they have now.
    Still a very cool idea.
    I plan on releasing a video camera option for less that will hold more. If built around SD card tech it could conceivably hold hours of decent quality video.
    Thanks for a great post as usual.
    Sam Knoll

  2. December 9th, 2006 at 08:57 | #2

    Ah, I see they are still doing the pharmacy thing but don’t say what the pricing is.
    Still VERY cool.

  3. Ken
    December 9th, 2006 at 09:49 | #3

    $29.95 for the one-use camera. $95 for the re-usable. Not bad, huh?
    Your camera sounds great. Let me know when it’s ready for market!
    What was that old political slogan: “A car in every garage, a chicken in every pot.”
    I say: “A video camera in every pocket.”
    I did a “walk through” on some land I’m thinking of buying with a building engineer last week and shot several minutes of footage documenting his comments and observations. Completely acceptable output. Beats a note book and still camera by a mile.

  4. Bob Morrow
    December 9th, 2006 at 10:06 | #4

    Hi Ken:
    Either the manufacturer was bugging our conversations, or you have crystal ball.
    The new camera has all the features you said it needed and eliminates the the ones you said were drawbacks!
    By the way, if you happen to have a crystal ball, I could use some help choosing a lottery ticket 😉

  5. December 9th, 2006 at 10:10 | #5

    You know you don’t even need a video camera to create and host your own online video now.
    You can create a video by
    1. Doing an audio track with Audacity software(free) and
    2. Putting images to the audio with Windows Moviemaker (in the accessories on Windows so also free if you already have windows).
    3. You upload the video on Google or Youtube
    4. Paste the code they give you on your website or blog and you have streaming video on your site.
    You can see two examples of video made this way at http://www.copywriting1.com/webdesignsecrets.html
    Online video is so simple now it’s astonishing.
    Kindest regards,
    Andrew Cavanagh

  6. December 9th, 2006 at 10:36 | #6

    Amazing that you talked about this this morning.
    Last night I saw that camera in Costco. It was the first I had seen or heard of it. Since the packaging had virtually zero tech data I thought the quality would suck, so I held off from picking one up.
    Went to Amazon.com once I got home and looked up the reviews. Blown away by how folks love the thing. Virtually every one of the 25 reviews is 5 stars. Even folks who lost or broke their expensive video cameras and got these as temporary cameras are raving about the quality.
    Some said it handled low light situations better than their $500 cams. Some have simply abandoned their high dollar cameras and use this instead.
    One lady said her 4 year old makes movies with it – it is that simple.
    The simplifing of technology is the next great wave and PureDigital is one of the first folks surfing it.
    Looks like I am off to Costco today.

  7. December 9th, 2006 at 12:53 | #7

    Hey Ken,
    Yet another interesting post. Thank you.
    Does anyone know if this camera is available in Australia as yet? Just curious.
    I can always do the Amazon thing but was wanting to get one now! You know, the old instant gratification thing 🙂

  8. December 9th, 2006 at 16:03 | #8

    Most digital cameras are capable of video too. For shorter clips, it’s perfectly adequate.

  9. December 9th, 2006 at 17:05 | #9

    Oh, why didn’t you post this a week ago, when my husband was shopping for my Christmas gifts?
    Very cool. A lot handier than the nice but relatively static iSight videocam built into my Macbook.
    I’d agree video has arrived in a big way.

  10. December 11th, 2006 at 17:49 | #10

    Great Camera. I got my 60 minute camera from Amazon.com. It came in today. I am BLOWN away. Really easy to use, really good quality, really portable. I give it 2 thumbs up.
    Thanks Ken, finally I’ll be able to carry a video camera with me! This will change the video part of my business.

    John Jaworski

  11. December 12th, 2006 at 00:12 | #11

    DEMO and Follow Up
    Got it at Costco. It is as good as Ken says. Motivated me to do my first uploading to youtube and google video.
    Wanna see what the camera’s output looks like? I thought so.
    Here are the links.
    Google Video
    YouTube (still is being processed as I make this post – Google makes them available much faster – in a few minutes – youtube can take a while)
    Ed Osworth
    Marketing Consultant
    Real Estate Broker
    888-626-0454 (fax)
    email: redtailhawk@gmail.com

  12. Henri Cousineau
    December 16th, 2006 at 13:55 | #12

    I saw some videos on the internet with no backgrounds…ie you see the person talking but with a white or no backround. I find this neat and would like to know how to do it.
    Here is an example
    I use Movie Maker but would use an other format if necessary.
    Can you please help me

  13. Ken McCarthy
    December 19th, 2006 at 22:44 | #13

    I took the new version of PureDigital’s video camera on a week long trip I took to New Orleans (just got back last night)
    I’ve got to say, the camera is even better than I realized.
    The new version has a zoom function. Also, on playback you can now raise and lower the audio.
    Another thing I should have read and failed to – much to my sorrow and hopefully never to yours – is that when you hold down the delete button for more than 3 seconds, it sets the system up to erasse ALL the video on the drive, not just a single scene.
    This is very handy if you actually want to clean the slate, but it’s inconvenient (to say the least) if you don’t.
    I discovered – the hard way – it’s possible to do this accidentally with the camera in your pocket, especially if you’re dancing which I was at the time.
    I took the camera out of my pocket to resume shooting after a break only to discover the entire hard drive had been wiped clean.
    I lost about 20 minutes of truly amazing footage of a jazz parade in New Orleans.
    Luckily, I had a back-up disposable which I’d given to another marcher so she coud take pictures too and everything she shot was safe and sound.
    The moral of the story:
    Turn the camera off before you put it in your pocket or you may get results you didn’t anticipate.

  14. Ken McCarthy
    December 19th, 2006 at 22:47 | #14

    To Ed:
    You made my day!
    I strongly encourage everyone who has yet to shoot and post a video to follow Ed’s example and just do one.
    With this camera, it really has become child’s play.

  15. December 23rd, 2006 at 06:43 | #15

    I’m obsessed with this little camera… Can’t you tell?
    But another warning. As cool as the purely disposable model is – and it is waaaay cool – it has an annoying drawback which I just discovered.
    You’ve got to deal with the knuckleheads at CVS or where ever to get your video off of it.
    To continue the saga of my filming of the New Orleans jazz parade – the one where I hit the “delete all” button by mistake – I dropped off disposable version at my local CVC (20 miles round trip from my country home) and when I got back to the house, the DVD they gave me was blank!
    I admit it. I had a panic attack because like I said earlier, the footage was very meaningful to me and cannot be reproduced (for less than a couple of thousand dollars and a trip thousands of miles from my home.)
    Anyway, it turns out they mastered the disc incorrectly – and knew it – but gave me the disc anyway because they hadn’t bothered to read their own screen.
    No apologies. Another 20 mile round trip in the car for me.
    In a pinch, the dispobable model is better than nothing, but if the re-useable model is available in your area, get it. It allows you to take the video off the camera yourself.
    Just make sure you turn the camera off before you put it in your pocket!

  16. Bill Wood
    December 24th, 2006 at 10:48 | #16

    Easy to use, however, a huge SECURITY concern.
    AntiVir PersonalEdition by Avira;
    Reports that View Your Videos.exe in the root directory of this device is a Trojan Horse; TR/Philis.A

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