Want a video of your readings or signings? Sometimes, they’re being recorded without your even knowing about it.
That was the case the other evening when I showed up at The Booksmith in the Haight-Ashbury to flog The Grateful Dead Scrapbook. There was a camera set up, for Fora.tv.
And, sure enough, a few days after the reading, an edited version was on its site.
At least I hope it was edited. I spent the first few minutes handing out prizes, including a Dead CD, copies of the People magazine tribute issue for Jerry Garcia, which included my biography of him, and some brownie mix I’d received in the mail from the promoters of Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstock. Plus some actual brownies. This was a direct ripoff of Michelle Richmond’s launch party for her novel, No One You Know, during which she gave away far more interesting items, including pounds of coffee beans and a lunch with her at a Vietnamese restaurant.
I tried to give away a lunch with her, too, but she wouldn’t go for it.
Anyway, I was surprised to see that Fora.tv also had, on its site, a recording of a panel I’d moderated a couple years ago at a Book Expo in the South Bay, including Adrienne Barbeau. Also on the site: a bookstore appearance for my Doors book, with Ray Manzarek Himself alongside…and my onstage interview of Quincy Jones last year at the Herbst Theater for his book. Good stuff.
But we can’t always have a professional crew capturing our every professional move, which brings me to a plug for the Flip video camera. I first spied this item a few years ago at the home of Kathi Kamen Goldmark, my beloved Red Roommate. A friend was carrying this device that looked like a slim pack of cigarettes. It was the Flip, the most easy to use camcorder ever invented. Three buttons under a little monitor did it all: Record, play, delete. Then, slide a side lever and a USB plug flipped up, ready to connect to a computer. Amazing, and only about $129, if memory serves.
I got one and had tons of fun with it, using the site, OneTrueMedia, to edit and send out my videos, which ranged from snippets of musical performances to the Rolling Stone magazine reunion we had in 2007 to—yes—Michelle’s reading, which she posted onto her Red Room page. I brought it to an interview session with Big & Rich, the country stars, and they fell in love with it. It soon began popping up on TV and online.
Since Flip got hot, it’s been challenged by various competitors and has issued a string of new and improved versions. The latest is impressive, indeed. Having already gone HD with the MinoHD, Flip has just released a stylish new version, offering two hours of recording time, a bigger, higher-rez LCD screen, and an HDMI connector, for viewing videos on an HDTV monitor (even on an older TV, the picture is superior to what you get on your PC). And an amped up, pre-loaded Flipshare software program makes it easy to create movies out of your videos and send them out to friends via your own Flip Channel. Or, for book promo purposes, you can now put videos of your readings directly onto your Facebook page, as well as other sites.
(With upgrades come upticks in pricing. The latest model is $229. But others in the flippin’ family are as low as $149. And lower still at the usual online sites.)
Now you’re covered – even if you’re shooting yourself. Just remember to look at the Flip on occasion as you do your reading.
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