That's why I've gone wild over the Flip Video Ultra. This little point and shoot video camera is about the size of an ipod, runs on 2 AA batteries, and has just 6 moving parts - buttons for on/off, record, zoom, play, delete, and a flip-out USB connection that lets you connect this camera to your computer to see what you have recorded.
The only other accessories that come with the camera are a fabric pouch, a strap and a short, easy to follow instruction book. I just ordered a tripod that screws into the bottom of the camera - discovered I needed that after my first time out recording an interview.
I've only had this for a month - in time for the Chicago "On the Ground" gathering and my recent trip to Denver. But I'm taken with the possibilities - to capture on the spot reflections and to help people connect the idea of grassroots grantmaking with the real life experience of grassroots grantmaking. This is incredibly easy to use (even for me) and so affordable - I paid less than $130 (I purchased this one from Amazon.com). Seems like it could change the way we collect the stories of grassroots grantmaking. Seems like this little camera should be in every program officer's pocket when they head out the door on a community visit!
Check out this review of the Flip by Computerworld: