Do You Need a Camcorder Anymore?

Project 2012: Day 325

Back in 2000, a year after moving to Australia, I bought my first digital camcorder. It was (is) a Panasonic device that records to Mini-DV tape. I needed to hack the camcorder to record my edited video back onto the device. Then there was the investment in a Canopus Real-Time editing card (about $5000), not to mention the NLE software, and thousands of hours learning the craft to make somewhat better than “home” movies. Most of my distribution was to VHS tape, as most of my audience (family and church) didn’t over a DVD player back then.

Over the years I upgraded both camera, and editing machine, up to a Canon HF-100 HD Camcorder that records to SDHC card.

But I can’t remember the last time I used it. Definitely over a year ago.

And I’m shooting (way) more video.

At the end of the day, my iPhone shoots 1080p High-Def video, that I can edit well enough for my purposes on my iPad. I always have my phone with me. I distribute direct to YouTube & Vimeo. So here’s my question:

Do You Need a Camcorder Anymore? 

Amped, Light, Art, and Passion…

Those of you who know me, know that I’m well, passionate. There’s probably 3 things that I’m passionate about.

First is my Faith

Like most thinking people I struggle with my faith, I have doubts, and I question. Suffice to say that I passionately question and test each postulation. But despite 20 years of debate and searching, I am confident in my faith, and daily humbled by creation:

Sunset at Schoennies 01

not to mention challenged to do more for the world:


I’m also passionate about People

What makes them tick. How can we influence others (educate, sell to, motivate, discipline, lead, inspire…) and how do they influence us (market, advertise, proselytise, manipulate, sell).

From the most shocking and tragic of human endeavours


To the most inspiring:


Then there’s Technology

Yep – I’m a gadget freak.

I’m especially passionate about technology that allows us to connect people in some way. Communications technology like radio, phones, faxes, mobiles, – Collaboration technologies like email, video conferencing, portals.

But also technology that allows us to tell a story. Photography, musical instruments & sound gear, and video & presentation gear. Especially video. Technology that allows us to tell our story. To connect people and help them move from the tragic to the inspirational.

Technology that allows us to move from the mundane, to change the world for the better.

Light Painting

It’s no secret that I’ve fallen in love with mobile video. I’m certainly no master, but since getting the Flip Mino HD, I fell in love with the immediacy of the format. The opportunity to have a high-definition capture device where the story is happening.

Then I got my iPhone 4. Now I had not only the means to capture the story in the moment, but to publish it, in High Definition to the web within seconds.

Since then I’ve started experimenting with new forms of the media. Documentaries, Fly-on-the-wall, and timelapse all modes I’m learning and incorporating.

But then I saw this:

This film explores playful uses for the increasingly ubiquitous ‘glowing rectangles’ that inhabit the world.

We use photographic and animation techniques that were developed to draw moving 3-dimensional typography and objects with an iPad. In dark environments, we play movies on the surface of the iPad that extrude 3-d light forms as they move through the exposure. Multiple exposures with slightly different movies make up the stop-frame animation.

We’ve collected some of the best images from the project and made a book of them you can buy:

Read more at the Dentsu London blog:
and at the BERG blog:

And I was intrigued. Driven. I have an iPad, and wanted to make magic like that too. To incorporate that into my story telling.


All this culminated at the recent WebDirections South “hack” day, Amped. Here web developers and designers came together on a Saturday, in their own time, to form teams and develop software to solve various challenges.

Clearly, I was there in purely a support (although later judging) role. But the challenge was put before people to create their media experience of Amped!

I had time. I had my iPad. I had my camera. I was surrounded by passionate geeks. And I was inspired by Dentsu.

I didn’t have their 3D animation generating software to create the shapes of the letters. However, a little ingenuity, some flipchart paper, Photoshop and Sony Vegas, and I created a video of my word slices.

The character slices required to pain the word Amped with the iPad

Then a huge amount of trial and error with the iPad motion, exposure and shutter speed settings on the camera, and longsuffering of both trigger operator and subjects, and we generated these:

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

From clay, to CGI, but to use light….

Maybe it’s just me. But then as I said. I’m passionate Smile

What about you?

Is technology the death of real communication and influence? Recently a good friend, and dare I say, mentor addressed this question on his blog.

What are you truly passionate about?