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R.I.P. the Flip

by Bart Weiss 13 Apr 2011 2:46 PM

Guest Blogger Bart Weiss bids adieu to the once-great Flip camera, which Cisco announced this week that it will discontinue.


Guest blogger Bart Weiss is the Artistic Director of Videofest.

Well, Cisco has decided to kill what once was the most popular video camera in the world – the Flip.  Just a few years ago, this simple, easy-to-use camcorder was a modern day version of Kodak’s Brownie camera and the Polaroid. It was the hip thing to have hanging on your arm. It was great for traveling and really easy to both use and post to YouTube.  It really transformed home video. In the old days, you had to think about where is the camera , where is that battery charger, where is that manual that tells you what to do with that button? And it took you away from focusing on where is that kid who is doing that cute thing? With the Flip, it was on YouTube before you thought about it.

But along came the iPhone with a video camera, then the iPhone 4 that shot in HD (yes, I know there are other mobile phones with HD cameras). And the question became: Who needs to carry that extra piece of electronics.  With the phone, you don’t even have to connect to the computer to get it online.

But don’t shed a tear for Cisco or Pure digital technology (who sold it to Cisco). You can only be the new thing for so long (you still wearing those Crocs?) The only constant is change in new tech.

The other thing to think about is: How do we deal with photos and videos. At one time, they where precious.  Now, they might be, but more often they are an expression of our own sense of self and place. People take pictures of what they are eating to place on Facebook or Twitter. It’s as if to say, “I shoot and I share, therefore I am.”

When we look at these photos and video years from now (if they survive) what will they tell us?

Anyway this would be a great time to read The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction by Walter Benjamin. Enjoy.