Live From CES: Canon Tries to Turn You Into Michael Bay

By Amos Zeeberg (Discover Web Editor) | January 9, 2009 7:24 pm

CES sponsor logoIn the new camcorders that Canon displayed here at CES, it seems the company has focused on trying to help customers end up with better videos–improve the real-world finished product rather than improve the stats of the camcorders (though they’re doing that, too, of course).

This is probably most clearly visible in a new feature called video snapshot. When in video snapshot mode, pressing the record button starts an automatically timed four-second recording. A highlight circulates around a blue frame on the screen to show the user where they are in the recording; when the highlight moves from 12 o’clock back to 12, four seconds have elapsed and the clip stops.

That’s it. But Canon hopes this seemingly simple function will significantly improve the videos that its customers produce.

The thing is that most regular armchair filmmakers have been spoiled by seeing a ridiculous amount of fast-cutting, high-quality video but have little idea how to produce it. Generally, says Canon, they make recordings that are way too long and pretty boring; if they only focused on short highlights, they’d like the results a lot more. (If you’re wondering who’s behind our short visual attention spans, you might look in MTV’s direction.) So Canon’s nudging people to record short clips, cobble them together into a montage and appreciate their near-professional work. They include 10 different types of audio to layer over your creations–product guy Michael Zorich said only a few of them sounded a “little like elevator music,” mercifully–and, perhaps more appealing, you can import any of your own music to the camera and use that.

The camcorders also include a new function called scene divide, which lets users hack off chunks of video that got messed up by oblivious passersby, obnoxious friends, etc. Obviously, this is easy to do on any basic editing program on a computer, but the idea here is to allow users to do this editing easily on their camcorders so they don’t ever have to open–or have–such an editing app.

Video snapshot will be available on all flash-storage Canon camcorders starting in March.

MORE ABOUT: Canon, Live from CES

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