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Don’t Underestimate Nano Video: It Rocks the Music and Rolls the Video

nanoimageBy Sheala Durant, multimedia journalist

I bought my Flip in 2007 and thought it was a fantastic and ultra-portable way to shoot video for a novice. It was. The video was shaky and the sound was …. Well… not even Pro Tools could redeem it. But I loved the portability and crazy-simple way it allowed me to shoot basic … I repeat basic … footage.

Two-and-a-half years later, I bought my first iPod. I say “first” because some of you are on your “nth” generation models.

I figured out how to load my favorite tunes but I also found myself shooting more video than downloading music. The fifth-generation Nano is the first to include a video camera and it’s about 4 times smaller than my Flip. Can you say ultra portable?

But what about quality?

Well digital journalism guru Mindy McAdams, in a recent post on her blog and YouTube channels, tested the Nano in several settings. She documented lighting conditions and reviewed sound quality. I was impressed.

McAdams’ testing was exclusively on the Nano. Here are others that compare the Nano to the Flip and pocket video cameras.

Technically speaking …

It shoots standard-definition, 640×480 VGA video in MPEG-4 format and does not include the full range of video editing features you’d get on the iPhone 3GS.

The microphone is omni directional.

Features useful to journalists include …

  • Small video file sizes
  • Small physical size (3.6 in x 1.5 in [90.7 mm x 38.7 mm)
  • Eight hours of video storage
  • Low cost (about $150)
  • Extremely wide-angle lens

Nothing replaces an HD video camera, but in a pinch, I’d recommend this portable – not perfect – alternative.

It fits in any pocket – even in my “skinniest” jeans. Of course I dare not sit down lest I crush the thing. But that’s beside the point.

Face it. When it comes to breaking news, the fifth-generation Nano can mean the difference between having video and not.

So, if you find yourself smack in the middle of breaking news while listening to your favorite tunes on the subway, bus, or walking down the street, I’d strongly suggest you take those ear buds out and start shooting.

You can contact Sheala directly at or via Twitter at



Home of the National Association of Black Journalists's (NABJ's) Digital Journalism Task Force

2 thoughts on “Don’t Underestimate Nano Video: It Rocks the Music and Rolls the Video

  1. Lots of of bloggers not really happy with the new iPad.There was too much hoopla about it and lots of people got turned off.Quite frankly, I actually see some of the awesome potential of this gizmo. Third-party apps for playing music, games, newsprints and magazines and FFS books, all sorts of good stuff, but IMHO they just didn’t really sell it right (aside from the books). It smells rather unfinished

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