[David Spark (@dspark) is a veteran tech journalist and the founder of Spark Media Solutions, a storytelling production company that specializes in live event production. He also blogs and does a daily radio report for Green 960 and 910 KNEW in San Francisco at Spark Minute.]
If you use a Flip video camera like I do, (here’s a photo of my Mino HD with a design of my company logo on it) you probably also have quite a collection of videos that are being managed with their video management software. If you have the old Flip Video software, you should upgrade to the new FlipShare software for free. It does much better management of your videos and it’s considerably faster.
But when I installed the FlipShare program it moved all my videos! The “My Flip Video Library” is still there and all the folders I created in the Flip Video program are there as well, but all the videos are gone. All that’s left in each folder is a video that says, “The videos which were previously located in this folder have been imported into the NEW FlipShare software. To view or edit your videos, open the new software.”
Where did my videos go?
Turns out they’ve all been moved to the Videos directory in the FlipShare Data > Videos folder. The entire folder structure and the naming convention that I created have been completely erased within Windows Explorer. All the files have been renamed DIV00002, DIV0005, etc. Not to worry, my previous folder structure and file names have been saved within the FileShare program.
As I was perusing the new FlipShare program I realized that there were many file management issues, such as backup, moving videos to another computer, and preserving RAW quality videos during export. I searched online for some support information, and I couldn’t find anything so I contacted Pure Digital, manufacturers of the Flip cameras and the FlipShare software and I asked them about these issues. I present edited versions of their answers. Unfortunately, the solutions for these issues are not ideal. Let’s hope the next version of the software has some simpler solutions to these common issues.
Backing up Flip videos
Pure Digital doesn’t recommend you edit, delete, or manipulate in any way the videos in the FlipShare Data > Videos folder outside of the FlipShare program. If you do they’ll no longer be recognized by the FlipShare program. If you want to backup the videos, they recommend exporting the videos to another drive or backing them up al on a DVD using the FlipShare export feature.
The problem with this option is the FlipShare export process is very manual. I have 12 folders and I would have to backup all videos in each folder manually or take all the videos and dump them into one folder for backup. Also, if you export it compresses the file from the RAW file format. So you’re not backing up the full uncompressed original.
If you want to maintain the uncompressed originals, you’ll need to backup the FlipShare Data > Videos folder which only has the RAW files. You won’t be backing up any of the folder structure, mixes, or XML data.
Transferring your entire Flip video collection to another computer
Let’s hope your computer never ever breaks, or Pure Digital comes up with a better solution to move videos from one computer to another, because this is hands down the least elegant recommended solution for moving files I’ve ever heard.
If you want to move your Flip videos from one computer to another so that the FlipShare program recognizes all your videos, the safest way to do that is to actually load the videos back onto your Flip and connect your Flip to the new computer where it will install the new FlipShare program and then recognize the videos on the Flip. Move the files over, delete, and then go back to the old computer and do it again for more videos. I’ve got a couple hundred videos, so I can see this process killing an entire afternoon.
Disclosure: Pure Digital has given me all the Flip cameras that I own.