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Vlogging Takes Streamed Content to the Next Level

You know what blogging is. You read a bunch of blogs. Heck, you might even be a blogger. And then out of left field comes a whole new angle: video blogging or "vlogging."

Many bloggers have been vlogging for quite awhile without necessarily using that contraction, as vlogging basically boils down to adding streamed video content to a site along with some feedback capabilities. "Everything now in business is about personal communications," explains Mark Randall, CEO of Serious Magic, which just announced its Vlog It! product. "With video you can show people instead of just telling them." It's not a well-produced copy of a TV show; it's a video blog, he stresses, and the difference is in the format—a video blog comes with a person and a perspective.

"Vlogging may have more appeal to businesses than blogging," says Gordon Smith, vice president of marketing for Speedera, which vlogged the World Economic Forum in January 2005 with help from AlwaysOn. Smith adds that the value of vlogging is in its interactive features, because "simple one-way streaming is not qualitatively much different from the television experience."

Ditching the Timeline
Although relatively new to the average person's lexicon, the term vlogging has been around for awhile. Serious Magic snapped up the Vlog.com domain three years ago, right around the time they began development of Vlog It! (Vlog It! is a somewhat simpler, "baby-brother" version of Serious Magic's Visual Communicator tool). The product, which will be on the market in April, is a response to the need for a quality video blogging tool. "You can't use typical video editing software tools" for vlogging, Randall says, because those use timelines. "That process just doesn't lend itself to at all to video blogging, because if it's going to be anything like blogging, it needs to be in real time."

The $99.95 Vlog It! tool is built around a teleprompter, so users can enter text ahead of time and read it while a camera sits atop their monitor. The product is designed to work with virtually any Webcam or camcorder and supports Windows Media Player and RealPlayer formats. Users easily can add video by synching a clip up with text so when the text hits the top of the screen the video automatically begins playing in an above-the-shoulder type box like newscasters use. The tool is "an automated way to add an insane amount of production value," says Randall, because all post-production work is handled ahead of time via a wizard.

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