Can I use a laptop as a monitor for a video camera?
March 4, 2011 3:35 AM   Subscribe

Is it possible for the Flip UltraHD Video Camera to be hooked up to a laptop such that the laptop can be used as a monitor while recording? If not, are there any video cameras that can be?

I'm having some problems Googling because "monitor" is a common term when people are talking computer stuff.

I want to get a video recorder for filming puppets, so I want to be able to have a monitor that I can watch to see what the camera's seeing, while I have no line of sight to the camera.

I suppose other monitoring devices are possible: portable DVD player, small TV. Let me know if you're aware of cameras that can use those, also or instead of.

I've never have a video camera of any kind and I don't know what's out there or what to look for. Within my one main requirement above, please feel free to make any recommendations you have. Thanks!
posted by Karlos the Jackal to Technology (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
From what I know of the Flip UltraHD (having used my SO's cam), no you cannot do that - Flipcams are fairly limited in their capabilities (which I guess is the idea behind them). When you're Googling for an alternative, it might be worth looking for a camera that has "webcam" capabilities, as this might let you view the camera's image on a computer at the same time as filming.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:43 AM on March 4, 2011

PSRemote works with specific Canon cameras and has a "remote viewfinder" feature that works great. I don't know if it works with movie mode though.
posted by wongcorgi at 4:16 AM on March 4, 2011

Yes, there are ways to view what you're recording on the flip using an external monitor. They sell an HDMI cable that plugs into the camera on one end and high def HDMI equipped TV or monitor on the other. I doubt that you'd be able to use your laptop as a monitor directly, though there are HDMI to USB adapters.
posted by Sir Cholmondeley at 8:02 AM on March 4, 2011

I have several cameras at work that do this, but they are pretty high end (over $1000). I also have some "disposable" cameras around $100 each, several Flip mino cams and a couple Kodak zi8's.

The smaller flip cams have a plug-in that outputs to RCA cables, and as soon as you plug the cable in, it changes the cam to playback mode only. They also have mini HDMI outputs, but I would be shocked if they output a signal while a cable is plugged in, DMCA and all. I find most HDMI outputs are crippled like that.

Some easy search terms for you are "use camera as webcam". Many camera manuals have a little section about this sort of "record while outputting an image" question, you just have to know how to look, and the webcam keyword seems to do it.
posted by sanka at 3:14 PM on March 4, 2011

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