Exclusive interview with National Renewable Energy Laboratory director on solar thermal, PV, and algae

Have Flip camcorder, will travel!

So I just got a new Flip UltraHD camcorder in preparation for my trip to Copenhagen.  Indeed, the entire Center for American Progress team will be outfitted with Flips to bring you as many video interviews as possible with the 20,000 attendees from around the world.

I brought it with me to a clean energy workshop yesterday, and who was sitting next to me but the director of the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Dan Arvizu.  Since I knew him from my DOE days when he was at Sandia National lab, and since he is a leading expert on solar energy, especially CSP, I thought it would be a great opportunity to make him the guinea pig for the launch of my video career.  Part 1 (above) is a short overview about NREL, deploying renewables at scale, and Arvizu’s philosophy.

I didn’t realize that YouTube had a 10-minute limit, so you’ll have to watch Part 2 (below), to hear Arvizu’s answer to my questions about concentrated solar power (CSP), PV, and algae biofuels:

Since I’m more of an auditory person than a visual person, and have never owned a camera before, I welcome comments and suggestions on filming and YouTube.  The only advice I can offer to would be Flippers is that — as I learned browsing around the comments on Amazon — get a tripod.  It certainly made the Arvizu interviews easier.

Stay tuned for many more videos.

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10 Responses to Exclusive interview with National Renewable Energy Laboratory director on solar thermal, PV, and algae

  1. Leif says:

    It would be nice to try to minimize the background noise if possiable. Perhaps something as simple as a piece of cardboard or perhaps there is a built in audo focus. All in all looking forward to your travels.

  2. SecularAnimist says:

    The Flip cameras have pretty amazing video quality, especially for the price. However, the audio quality is pretty lousy. I’ve seen a number of Flip videos of live music performances, and while the video is quite good, the sound is unlistenable. Same is true of Flip videos shot outdoors, which tend to get overwhelmed by even slight wind noise.

    It would be great if the Flip had an input for an external, higher-quality microphone. However, hand-held digital audio recorders that have either built-in condenser mics, or XLR connectors for condenser mics, cost hundreds of dollars. So a Flip-like camera with that capability would be a much more expensive gadget.

  3. Thomas says:

    Great video work (and yes – to do video you need a GOOD tripod!). The audio is iffy – incredible amount of background noise coming through the interview, actually overwhelms Mr. Arvizu in a few sections, making hearing him (he’s a soft speaker) difficult in a few sections.

    Don’t know enough about those cameras to give you any good ideas on what you might try to fix it (a post already seems to indicate using an outside microphone plugged into it isn’t an option with them…).

    Interesting interview though, thanks for posting it.

  4. Seth Masia says:

    Great video, bad audio. The solution to this is usually a lavalier mike, but if there’s no input on the Flip, you’re going to move to a “real” camera soon. Otherwise, just back your subject up against the nearest wall to prevent traffic moving behind — and if it’s a sound-deadening partition wall that may solve some of the background noise issues.

    [JR: I should have apologized for the audio to start with, yes. It was a noisy room and there was not much I can do about that. I’ll have to see if there is a microphone for the Flip. This is going to be my first and last camera purchase. Got too much stuff to carry otherwise.]

  5. richard pauli says:

    Nice ambush video.

    Better camera is the Zoom Q3 … which h is actually a high quality stereo recorder with a video camera added on.

    Just get a small tripod or brace and a quiet location and you will be fine

    When you frame, make sure the vertical lines are vertically framed.

    Avoid technology creep. If you cannot start your video withoutthinking about it , then it will get in the way.

    And yes. Audio is more important than video.

  6. Seth Masia says:

    Kodak unit seems to have good video AND an external mic input. Could be the killer unit for conferences.;txt

    [JR: Yes. Not Mac compatible, tho.]

  7. Andy says:

    Great video. If you could stand more in line with your video recorder then your speaker (interviewee) would be looking more towards the camera. It was distracting some that Mr. Arvizu was constantly looking off to one side when addressing you.

  8. Boudica says:

    The glory of a sunset is over quickly. Let that too be your limit.

  9. Anne says:

    You can upload to Google video and bypass the 10-minute limit. Google provides good instructions. You can cross-post to YouTube, they are linked. I’ve seen some videos on YouTube that go over an hour.

    Video is a great medium. Congrats.

  10. john says:

    thanks for the video.