Designing For Adventure: The Kodak PlaySport HD


If you like taking videos and spend more time capturing your latest outdoor adventures than your nephew’s birthday party, there’s a new video camera coming out in April and you just may want to pre-order it now so you'll get to take it out as soon as it's available.  Courtesy of Kodak, the PlaySport HD is a waterproof video camera capable of taking 1080P HD video up to 10ft underwater and includes built-in image stabilization to make sure your adrenaline shaky hands get the smoothest shot possible.  With a rugged looking design and a ton of features from an LCD Glare Shield effect to ‘smart face tracking technology’ this camera certainly appears to be made with the outdoors lover in mind.

If you haven’t figured out by now, unless you’re actually making a feature movie the bulky camcorder of old is pretty much dead.  Between iPhones and the now ubiquitous point and shoot/DSLR camera with the ability to record videos,  the YouTube generation has made it clear that if you want to capture good videos you might as well be carrying a video camera with you at all times.  For many outdoor lovers (or outdoor bloggers) the chance to capture that experience in a short clip is the difference between a good story that fades with time and an experience you can share and relive for years to come.

One brand that has taken the hand-held video camera market by storm has been Flip Video.  If you don’t own a Flip Video yet, chances are you know someone who does or you’ve seen someone using one recently.  With the popularity of iPhones and digital cameras that also record video (many in HD), it’s interesting that the Flip Video brand has become as popular as it has.  I’m sure it doesn’t surprise you that I’m a big fan of items that have multiple uses, most of the time I’d much rather carry around a camera that takes great pictures and records video or a phone that does all of that and can check my email and update my twitter feed at the same time.  But, much like the Nintendo Wii, the Flip Video succeeded by simplifying what many saw as a complicated technology – it does one thing, does it well, and makes it so easy that people young or old who previously felt excluded are now taking videos and uploading them without needing to even ask for help.  According to this New York Times article, within one year of its debut the Flip Video captured 13% of the camcorder market!

The Kodak PlaySport HD has taken a lot of cues from the Flip Video playbook by eliminating the need for a USB cable (you just plug the camera itself directly into the computer) and it includes software that allows you to take the video you just took and upload it directly to YouTube or share it with your Facebook and twitter friends with only a few easy clicks.  Priced at $149.95 on Amazon , I’d guess that the outdoors community is going to provide enough support to make this a strong competitor to the Flip Video brand and likely push them into releasing a more rugged version in the very near future.

Camera makers in general have been making good strides in making waterproof and shockproof digital camera models for a while now, yet our iPhones and Blackberries still become expensive paperweights if they get wet or get dropped too hard.  As the outdoors community continues to demand products like the Kodak PlaySport hopefully we’ll see more and more technology companies designing products that don’t make you feel like they’d be safer left at home on the next adventure.

What do you think?

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