New Options for Editing, Sharing Video
LAS VEGAS -- Working with video captured with a digital video camcorder can suck up incredible amounts of time, and once you're finally done with your edits, how do you share your movies distant friends and relatives? Several new options introduced at this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas could make these tasks a little easier.
Share Video With Friends
StreamLoad's new MediaMax service offers online file storage, but because it imposes no limits on file size or quality, so it's ideal for video. Unlike peer-to-peer services like Avvenu, which let you share video stored on your own system, you must upload movies to Streamload's servers to share them. That takes more time on your end (unless you have a broadband connection with a high upload speed), but people viewing your movies will be able to see them more quickly.
You can also use the service as an online locker to back up commercial videos you've recorded, such as ones from CinemaNowand TiVo To Go. The company says it's also working on being able to upload video to other users' DVRs--so for example, you could upload your kid's video to his or her grandparent's TiVo.
MediaMax, which is set to launch on January 16, is free for up to 25GB; up to 250GB costs $10 per month
Share Video With Anyone
Another free service called Grouper gives you the option of sharing video directly from your PC or uploading it to its servers; you can choose to share it with just the people you want or with the whole wide world.
To use Grouper, you must download a small application. With it you can import video from your camcorder, create short movies ("Groovies"), and then choose either public or private sharing. You can download the movies to your iPod or Playstation Portable, or link them to your blog.
The site has a large library of movies from its users. It imposes no limit on file size or quality; streaming previews of your movies are limited to three minutes, but members can download your full movies, if they have the bandwidth.
Offload Your Editing
For people with neither time nor patience to edit their own videos, Pictureal has a service whereby you Fedex your tapes, and the company produces a polished DVD from them. The company uses computer automation for initial processing passes, followed by humans working on your tapes. For example, its software maps faces and vocal phrases and adds them to a database; a human does a final pass. The software takes three passes through your video looking for deletable pieces; again, a human does the final pass.
When Pictureal is done with your video, it posts a lower-resolution version on its site. Your job is only to name the people in your movie and choose a few styles. But the face-mapping procedure creates a database of faces and their occurrences, so you only have to enter a name once; it then ripples through the other spots in your video, if you want it to.
Pictureal says most of its jobs take five hours of footage down to one hour of finished footage. It costs $29 per hour of submitted footage, but the company has specials: $99 for three hours and one DVD; $179 for six hours and two DVDs; or $299 for 12 hours and six DVDs. The company will accept any type of video footage, including 8mm film (though that incurs an extra fee). You can allow friends and family to view your movie online, or link to it from a blog, or download it to an iPod.
For more CES coverage, head to PC World's CES Info Center.