Friday, April 06, 2018

Pocket cameras, 3D

After writing about Sony's Bloggie 3D camera the other day, it occurred to me that these kinds of pocket camcorders are quickly becoming a thing of the past due to the ubiquity of smartphone cameras. That's understandable, but I hope they don't go away completely. The Bloggie that I have was listed as out-of-stock even when I first began looking into getting one three years ago.

I currently have a smartphone that I use mostly for work, and while it has a nice camera on it, I find it less convenient to use than a pocket camcorder. For one thing, the storage space fills up more quickly, and getting the video off of it can be a bit of a hassle, but overall I can certainly see why most people would be perfectly content to use the smartphone as an all-purpose still- and video-camera.

Still, I hope that the market for these pocket camcorders holds on. I remember the first one that I ever bought, back in 2009, when I was making the switch to shooting in HD. I didn't want to spend a small fortune on an HD camcorder when I wasn't quite sure what to do with the format yet, so I bought one of those cheap Aiptek cameras at Best Buy. I can't recall how much I paid for it now, but I believe it was less than $100, maybe even less than $75. The only things I didn't care for about it were the fact that it had a very close lens (which I was able to workaround by adding my own attachment for a wide-angle adapter), and the fact that it had absolutely no image stabilization whatever, which made it almost impossible to get decent handheld shots. Other than that, it was the perfect transitional camera when I began shooting in HD.

My modified Aiptek with wide angle lens attachment (2009).

I also had one of those MiniHD Flip cameras for a short time, which I had been given as a gift, but I can't say I used it very often. It was a very convenient little pocket camera from what I recall, and it came in very handy for filming a conference presentation I gave at NYU around the time I had received the camera. Unfortunately, it seems that the battery began to fail rather quickly, and I could no longer re-charge it via the USB stick. The Flip cameras were discontinued not long after I had received mine -- no doubt another casualty of the Smartphone market.

The Sony Bloggie 3D works great, though, and after looking into some new editing software, I'm drawn to the idea of starting to shoot more 3D footage. YouTube used to automatically convert the left/right images into anaglyph 3D, but did away with that feature, so I now have to figure out how I can do that with the editing software I have (although it looks like I'm going to have to upgrade that in order to be able to do so. I love the idea of having the option to record in 3D on a regular basis. I'm hoping to put together a new short film project this summer and, if I can get the technical issues sorted out, would like to make it my first short film in 3D. The little Bloggie will be getting a good workout on that project, I'm sure!

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