About to buy a Kodak Zi8... help?!

Hello,

I am about to purchase a Kodak Zi8 to record videos for my e-learning modules. I have sent my manager all the information in the forums and associated websites about the Kodak Zi8 and it's looking to be our best option. She did have a few other questions that we would like answered before purchasing the device - can someone out there please help us out in answering the following:

- Will the camera be able to do wide and action shots (like a vignette or training example) vs. just someone's face or a conversation between two people?

- Will the tripod enable it to move/pan fluidly?

- Does any tripod work with the camera? (We have a multip purpose one currently in the office and would like to avoid purchasing an additional one, if possible)

- Can anyone speak to the compatibility between the camera and an external microphone? We currently are using the Blue Snowball microphone and would like to know (and if possible, see an example) of how these would work together. Is the sound good?

- Can anyone speak to the functionality of the video editing software that comes with the video camera?

- We're also looking to purchase the "Kit" from Kodak (includes tripod, case, remote, battery and memory card for $80). Does anyone have any advice about this?

Thanks in advance for responding to my questions and any additional advice you can provide!

3 Replies
Robert Kennedy

Hi MAribeth,

I own a Zi8 and here is my .02.  Love the camera.  To answer your questions,

1.  Don't expect a lot of zoom capability on these pocket cams.  The picture quality is fairly good for what it is but you will not be able to get real close shooting from a distance.  As far as action, the action is not necessarily crisp for movement shots, things like kids running, etc.

2.  Tripod?  Absolutely.  A standard tripod works and it DOES make your shots better.

3.  External Mic.  As far as I know, the Blue Snowball is a USB microphone and will not work with the Kodak.  The Kodak's mic input is a small 1/8 inch input I believe, similar to a headphone jack.  I purchased a cheap lavalier wireless system from Radio Shack that gives pretty decent quality.  Of course, its very sensitive and picks up rubbing against clothing, etc.  But its a lot better than room noise.

4.  The KIT .  I have not used a remote though I can see the need for it if I were recording on my own.  Memory card? Absolutely.  No less than 8GB.  They get used up quickly depending on what you are shooting.  Tripod?  Yes.  I also purchased a Quikpod from quikpod.com.  For those out and about indiidvual scenes, they work great.  Battery? ABSOLUTELY.  You can never have enough batteries :-).

I have not personally used the video editing software that comes with the camera so I can't speak to it.  But, for what you probably want to do with this camera, I'm sure that it will provide some value.  I personally just drop my videos into iMovie.

Although this camera claims 1080p, don't expect pristine video should you hook this up to your 70" LCD :-).  But for presentations, lectures, talking heads, or basic shoot, this camera is MORE than adequate.  On a budget, I definitely recommend it.

My .02

Tom Kuhlmann

I concur with Robert's advice.  I have the Kodak.  It's a simple camera that does a decent job.  But it may not be the right choice for the long haul.  What types of things will you be shooting?

Based on the questions you asked, I'd buy a more traditional digital video camera.  They give you a few more options and aren't out of the ball park when it comes to price.  The Kodak's and Flipcams of the world are intended for quick and simple recording. They work fine for the most part, but if you're wanting to record with mics and do some zooming/panning and editing, a more traditional camera might be a better choice.

I wouldn't depend on the video editing software that comes with the camera.  You can get something like Premiere Elements or another prosumer type tool for a decent price (>$200).  Again they give you more options and are easier to work with.  Nothing like saving $100 upfront and then spending $400 in time trying to get things to work right.

Videomaker is a good resource.  Jump into the forums there.  Tell them how much money you have to work with and what you need to do and you'll get some good feedback.