Flip Ultra HD Video on Power PC Macs

The Flip Ultra HD. PowerPC Mac users beware.
The Flip Ultra HD. PowerPC Mac users beware.

For years I’ve been one of the few people that has avoided wasting money on a camcorder.

I’d regularly consider the prospect of parting with a significant amount of hard earned on such a device for a forthcoming holiday or wedding and then realise that it would only be used for that event, subsequently being confined to a dark, dusty cupboard to endure an eternity of non use alongside my Canon  SLR camera and previous generation iPods.

Then we got a dog. Watching him tear about the house with a seemingly limitless lust for life us dull humans could only dream of, it occurred to me that these moments wouldn’t remain particularly vivid in my fish-like memory banks.

To cut an already long-winded blog short, I took the plunge and bought a Flip Ultra HD. It’s portability, good reviews and the addition of two overused letters in its name were the primary attractions.

It’s a brilliant little device, too, with true point and shoot ability and a tiny form factor which makes it pleasantly un-embarrassing wherever you take it.

All went swimmingly, until I transferred those special doggy moments to my PowerPC Mac G5. What was originally beautiful, flowing motion, deteriorated into a jumpy, stuttering, choppy mess only MTV could be proud of.

As it turns out, the minimum specification required to run Flip HD videos on a Mac is an Intel processor. This is especially frustrating as my G5 is an absolute workhorse when it comes to processing complex audio and midi in Logic. Why twin 1.8ghz processors and 4GB RAM can’t handle some relatively low quality 720p video, I’ll never know.

Anyway, there’s a fix, you’ll be glad to hear, if you’re having the same problem. Get yourself MPEG Streamclip. This is a handy little utility which converts video files into pretty much any format you can think of.

Once installed, convert the MP4 files the Flip creates into Apple MOV format and, low and behold, all is well. The video is as smooth as it should be. I haven’t really played with the various settings, but Streamclip’s defaults seem to work perfectly.

A little long winded, granted, but it is the only option for those of us still clinging on to the remnants of PPC support. I’ll cover this in another blog, but the lack of new software or hardware supporting Apple’s old CPU stable mate is really starting to grate.

5 thoughts on “Flip Ultra HD Video on Power PC Macs

  1. OS 10.4.11
    PowerMac 12,1
    2.1 GHZ PowerPC G5
    CPU – 1
    Bus: 700

    Version of software: MPEG Streamclip 1.9.2
    if that is applicable – seemed to be the right one.

    Thank you so much for your reply!!!

  2. Didn’t work for me
    OS X 10.4.11
    The save as MOV was just as choppy as the original

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