By Joe Dysart
Wink of an Eye
Add video to your website with the latest do-it-yourself software. Used to be, creating Web video was a laborious process requiring deep technical knowledge, great patience, a flair for tweaking, and hours–if not days–of production time. Consequently, many personal trainers shied away from adding video to their sites, concluding that while the medium represented a powerful communications and marketing tool, the learning curve was too steep. No more. With the latest round of Web video authoring programs (under $500), anyone with a basic knowledge of the PC and a Web camera or digital camcorder can literally shoot and upload a professional-looking video to a website in about 10 minutes. As you might imagine, the implications of this new ease-of-entry are substantial. For the first time, a personal trainer with everyday computer skills can shoot and post Web video marketing messages, facility news and updates, motivational speeches, employee orientation films, worker safety tutorials, new exercise moves, proper form–and any number of other audio/video presentations that until now have simply been too cumbersome to create. Here is a sampling of the new tools, and what the technology can do for you. software truly can be used to shoot and upload a simple video to the Web in about 10 minutes–once you get the hang of it. One reason why the software is so fast is that once you’re done with a production, you can simply save it as a Windows Media or similar audio/video file, highlight that file and upload the finished version to your website. Another feature that makes the software very easy is its onscreen teleprompter. Instead of fumbling in front of a PC camera with a paper script, you can load your script into the software and simply read what you have to say from an onscreen teleprompter in real time. Moreover, the software also comes with hundreds of customizable graphics, effects, titles, music and templates you can use to give your production a slick, finished look. Yet another major perk is the software’s background replacement module. With this feature, as long as you shoot with the manufacturer-supplied green screen as a backdrop, Visual Communicator will let you drop a new, virtual background into the finished video. Some basic background graphics are included with the package. porters appearing to be reporting a news story from the moon, for example, when they’re actually standing in a studio in New York. With its virtual-background libraries, Ultra 2 enables you to achieve the same sleight-of-hand. For example, if your office furniture is looking a little dingy, you can simply use Ultra 2 to drop in the backdrop of a Fortune 500 corner office. All told, the package comes with three libraries of background sets, which include a horrendously well-appointed conference room, complete with city skyline; the set of a major network
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