Create your own videos online for fun and profit
As you probably know, YouTube is one pretty cool form of entertainment. There are videos in all categories ranging from the very amateurish to first-rate productions.
Naturally any elaborate video is a big deal to produce. However, let's say a Hollywood production is not your goal. You just want to put something funny online to amuse your friends or convey a point.
Lately, I've been playing around with a Web site called Eyejot.com, which allows anyone with a Webcam to create a video and then send it along to your friends.
Not only is it a messaging platform for personal communications, such as making a holiday video card or wowing your family with your latest poem, but you can apply it to business, too. You can create a video to promote your home business, whether you're selling business cards or surfboards.
It's easy to use, too. There's no software to install -- it's all Web driven.
You can start using Eyejot immediately with any browser, on a Mac or a PC. All it takes to get started is a Webcam, you can buy for less than $150.
Eyejot has an online "store" with a dozens of models to choose from, but before you buy, go to CNET's Webcam reviews to get a better idea.
You also may have to download some software. In my case, the site demanded I get Adobe Flash 9.
After installing your Webcam (which takes about 10 minutes) log onto www.eyejot.com site and click "Compose New Message" and you're on your way.
The main restriction for your video production is that it can only be up to 60 seconds long. When completed, you simply send your video off to the e-mail addresses of your choice. You also have the option to create an address book for your most popular correspondents.
I played around with this site for an evening, and I must say I had fun. But there were some limitations.
First is that you have to have a decent Webcam and a good microphone. I tested the site with an older Logitech Webcam 3000 and both video and audio quality were beyond crummy.
If you want to create something that is intelligible and aesthetically pleasing, you'll need something decent, such as the newer Logitech "fusion" series
Maybe I'm missing something but another thing I didn't like is that once you create and send a video file, there's no discernable way to forward the same video (unless you've sent a link to yourself) to other people.
Eyejot files don't take up bandwidth. When you send your latest rap song to grandma, she'll get a link that takes her to a Web page to view your magnum opus.
Another cool feature is that it's easy to post your video with a service called "site widget," which easily allows you to lift the HTML code and paste it on any Web page.
There is also built-in support for iTunes (and iPods), mobile devices and social networks like MySpace.
Note that my own company has a similar service called RR Video Mail, which is free to Road Runner subscribers.
is digital phone general manager at Oceanic Time Warner Cable. He can be reached at email@example.com