I was recently asked by a Fulani friend and pastor in Mali, West Africa if I could bring him a laptop that he could use for making videos of church functions and events. While I love to help, this perplexed me a bit. First of all, I've never really mastered the art of video production myself, and if I got him a laptop, I'd also have to get some high end software to make it happen. There are not many free options that are worthwhile or easy to use.
Secondly, he stressed that whatever option we used should have a good battery life. That just killed off the idea of sending him someone's used computer. How could I get something for him that would be easy to use, inexpensive, AND have a good battery life.
When I asked him, he said that most of the video he took was with his Android smartphone. I know that I've tried in the past to create videos with only my smartphone, and that was also quite difficult. Especially since most phones have limited memory for video storage.
So, in my research, I've come up with the Gnarbox. It is a little black box with a computer and hard drive inside. You hook it up to your smartphone via WiFi and the phone becomes the screen for the mini computer, allowing you to edit and build videos, adding music and features. This was all started with the GoPro sports cameras and drones in mind, but I think it has an excellent application for this pastor to be able to make videos of the youth events at his church, and Christmas pageants, etc.
The Gnarbox runs $300 new, but I'll look on ebay to see if I can find a used one for less. The pastor has about $100 he can contribute, so if this is going to happen, we've got to economize. Want to help out? Leave me a comment!