Flip cameras, which I first remember hearing colleagues at Cookie rave about three or so years ago. I believed them, but it never seemed like the most important gap in our technology world to fill; after all, we had a perfectly functional video camera already.
Then last year, Grandpa, having learned of our six-year-old's fascination not only with movies in general but with how they're made (he's started watching the "making of" extras on every DVD intently), decided to buy Dash his own Flip Ultra for Christmas. We complemented the generous gift with the popular kids’ Movie Maker kit, and Dash was off and running.
To be honest, in yet another sign that I'm getting old, it felt kind of weird to be giving a six-year-old a serious video camera aimed at adults. I'll even admit to worrying that taking care of real technology would be too much to ask of our somewhat klutzy child. But either my initial imprecations that he be especially careful with the camera took root for once, or I was overestimating the danger in the first place. (Yes, I know which of those the smart money is on.)
Dash was enthralled by the chance to use technology by himself, of course, but that phase faded more quickly than I'd expected. It was replaced by the drive to get working on a film of his own—which, thanks to the excellent kit, a great primer, he knew meant preparing a script. (His project is a version of Dickens's A Christmas Carol, with all the parts played by stuffed animals and monster puppets. Which at least means we have most of the dialogue written already—the kid is savvy, beginning with an adaptation, and one with the rights in public domain, to boot!)
Now, I don't want to exaggerate his dedication or focus here—Dash is still six, and we move forward with the project only in fits and starts; we shot our first scenes only last weekend. But he keeps asking to return to it weekend after weekend, which has kind of amazed me. What amazes me even more, when I stop to think about it, is that a six-year-old and his not particularly tech-savvy parents actually can shoot and edit their own Dickens adaptation in our own home. My own six-year-old self is very jealous.
The only problem, really, is that we always want to use the Flip for ourselves instead of our own video camera (which recently, and conveniently, died anyway). While this hasn’t yet led to any conflict, I'm thinking that we ought to get our own soon….
[Image courtesy of Cisco]