Monday, January 05, 2009

Flip tells me to return my Flip Mino to the store if I don't like my videos on Drive C:

The Flip Mino software was recently updated. I took the update because I was hoping the software would be a little bit faster and a little bit more stable. It seems faster when loading, but it's got it's own troubles. First off, the software won't let you save videos from the camcorder to any drive other than the C: drive on Windows.

This is a problem because the video files are big and they will quickly fill my drive. In the prior version of the software I'd manually move the files after downloading, but it meant that the Flip editing software couldn't find the files once I had done that. The workaround was to move them back for the editor and then move them to the big drive when done. The new version buries the videos deep in the directory structure, so you won't accidentally delete them (their words.) I decided to see if I could get the problem fixed. I used their online support.

I asked:
Phil: I'd like to move the FlipShare directory to a drive with more space. How do I do that?

They answered:
Flip: The Flip Video program does not have any features that allow users to change the default saving location, nor the location where the "video compatibility" software will be installed.

You may be able to manually save your video. To do this, please connect your camcorder to your computer and double-click the Flip Video icon either in “My Computer” or on the desktop. Then double-click the DCIM folder, and open the 100VIDEO folder, which is where you will find your videos. Then select the video you wish to save, copy it, and paste it to the location of your choice. Please be aware that your camcorder’s program will not be able to recognize videos saved in this manner.

The problem is in the last sentence. I want to use the software that came with the camcorder! I wrote them back:
Phil: Ok. Now, I know that there is no menu driven way to make the change. I need to know what other way exists to make the change. I need FlipShare to look at something other than my C: Drive for it's files. How do I do that?

They answered with:
Flip: There is no way to do this in the Flip program. You can manually save videos to any location you wish, and then try to save them back to your camcorder to use them in the Flip program. But, the Flip program will still save them back to your C drive.

Now, I thought it was time to let them know I had a little expertise and was willing to accept a technically challenging solution:
Phil: That doesn't work for me. The Flip will fill my C: Drive. How can I manually make the change? It probably involves changing some registry entries.

They told me to stop bothering them and return the camera from whence I got it:
Flip: We do not provide support for manipulating the Flip program, nor do we know of any way to change the default location the Flip stores videos.

If the Flip Share set-up doesn't work for your needs, it may be best to return the device and buy one more suited for your specific needs.

Our apologies for any confusion, or inconvenience.

I have to wonder if a customer service agent for Pure Digital actually has the authority to send me packing. I am shocked by the answer.

As I see it, I can live with it, work around it, try to fix it manually by guessing at registry entries, or return it to Amazon and buy the Kodak Zi6. (I was wanting to test drive one of those anyway.)

UPDATE: Later versions of the FlipShare software include an option for moving the data directory.

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At 7:48 PM, Blogger Tom Taylor said...

This just confirms my impressions of the Flip. While it's a cool little device and easy to use, I've been consistently unimpressed with the results.

My recommendation is to get a decent point-n-shoot with a good video mode, such as the Nikon Coolpix S51. That way you get a great camera as well as something that does OK video. It costs only a bit more than the Flip.

At 11:56 PM, Blogger Lhamo Osel said...

Hah! I figured out how to work around the problem of saving to another drive than C:. Create a hard link, or "junction" -- similar to a Linux symbolic link. I used the program Junction Link Magic at to create a link from C:\Documents and Settings\MyName\My Documents\My Videos\FlipShare Data\Videos to a folder H:\Videos on my giant external drive. I think the name "H:\Videos" can be anything -- it doesn't have to mirror the name located on your C drive.

Foiled the b*stards ;) I am borrowing the Flip from a friend and was disgusted that I couldn't get the videos off onto another drive. But this lack of flexibility makes me serious consider not buying one.

At 3:34 PM, Blogger rob said...

This is definitely something they need to resolve. May have to try your fix.

At 8:11 AM, Blogger tom said...

Here's another hack for moving your Flip videos to another drive if you're willing to fool around with a little SQL to modify FlipShare's database:

At 1:13 AM, Blogger HarrySnell said...

maybe I missed something here - as there is a wonderful little setting (that I have not played with) under menu - Edit -> Preferences and Library Tab which allows you to change location of Flipshare library. I believe that is what you are wanting to do.

At 5:06 PM, Blogger Phil Yanov said...

to: HarrySnell, they added the option to move the datat directory well after my post. Thanks to them for finally fixing it. Sadly, later versions of the software also removed a number of cool capabilities available in the original. Overall, I guess it was an ok tradeoff. This post no longer offers a valid complaint.


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