Thursday, December 10, 2009

Transparent Video Technologies

As everyone knows, video is used pretty commonly on most web sites nowadays. In fact, most
websites aren't really considered complete without at least one or two videos, typically company profiles (if your website is for your business) and video resumes (if its a personal site).

I wanted to tell you about a relatively new Web-based video technology called "transparent video."
At its core is a Flash Player that drops out the background of any video so that the subject of the video (the person talking) has the appearance of moving about the site unencumbered. Looking at it another way its as though you were being given a "guided tour" through the site--its very direct and visceral.

The best way to shot video for this purpose is to use a green screen when you shoot.

For a really good example of this take a look at

Monday, October 26, 2009

I've recently done a couple of projects for clients involving "screen capture" software.
I thought it would be good to briefly discuss what this software is and what its benefits are.

Screen Capture software allows you to record any activities on your computer's (or laptop's) desktop and then in turn save that to a video file (Windows Media, Flash, or .AVI) which you can either stream out or burn to CD/DVD. In other words whatever you're doing on your computer, from running Quickbooks, or Office, to typing an email or browsing the Web--what you see is what gets recorded.

Screen Capture software is routinely used, in the past several years, to do software training--if you want to show someone how to use an application--again, let's just use QuickBooks for example, you can literally record every action that you take--how to open a new Quickbooks file or how to do save--how to enter receivables data,etc.

Screen Capture software is wonderful because when you're done you have a complete demo of whatever it is you want train some on. Screen Capture tools also give you the ability to record audio narration--either while your doing the demo, i.e., "live" or afterwards.

The most recent project I've doen involved taking a PowerPoint presentation and adding a narration track to it. I then saved the video as a Flash Video and put it on my client's website.

Voila! She now has a totally self-contained PowerPoint "movie" because after all a PowerPoint presentation is largey useless without the presenter to go along with it--and that's what these tools alllow you to do--package yourself along with your material.

Screen Capture software ranges in price from about $30.00--for Total Screen Recorder Gold--which I highly recommend--the video quality as well as the range of output options make it a terrific product for its price.

There is also Camtasia from Tech Smith--this product retails for about $500.00--the reason it is so much more expensive is that it also has numerous video editing capabilites--similar to NLE products like Final Cut Pro or Premiere--it actually lets you add graphics and transitions after you've recorded--you can also adjust or add to the audio track if you flubbed it during the live recording.

Anyway, more on this topic in the future but I just wanted to share what I think is a really powerful tool for those of you looking to either put some zing and life into your packaged presentations or who want to do demos from your desktop and preserve them for posterity.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009



As a video producer and video editor colleagues and students sometimes ask me for advice on how to become better editors or, put another way, how to improve their edting skills.

Before replying, I usually remind them that a video editor (or for that matter a film editor) can be likened to being a composer of music or a writer. Instead or notes or words our raw material is images--disparate shots of people, places, events, actions--essentially anything or anyone that can be filmed or videotaped.

Our job is to arrange these disparate images into a cohesive narrative (if you're doing a documentary, informational, or narrative piece) or (if you're doing a montage--thematic piece) to put these images into an order that evokes in your audince the feelings or ideas that you're trying to get across to them.

Having said this, for me one of the most important areas of video/film editing is pacing (or tempo). We all know that we are under pressure more and more--largely thanks to MTV style videos--to cut from shot to shot ever more and more quickly--in fact the average length of most shots in films is now about 2 seconds. I certainly don't always agree that we should be cutting away to another shot after so short a time--and of course many editors, producers, and filmmakers do not.

But either way, I find that the best way to nurture and develop my sense of pacing or tempo is to listen to jazz. Jazz, particularly Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Art Blakely,
Charlie Mingus, Art Tatum, and Wynton Marsalis (just a few of my favorites) helps free my mind from the kinds of logical and mechanical ways of thinking that I really believe limit our creativity as editors. Jazz relaxes my mind and helps me get out of the box, so to speak.

Anyway, just sharing some thoughts. More on this topic later!

Guest Blog from my colleague Mary Goetter of IES

Our world is changing rapidly thanks to advances in technology and communication. The internet has opened the door for individuals and businesses to gain unprecedented access to global markets. Creating a presence on the web is an essential element of operation in today’s business environment because the internet has the potential to give ANY business or individual international exposure. Whether developing a web identity for yourself or for your business organization, your internet presence will be available to markets around the globe.

The savvy business owner or entrepreneur has two basic goals: to minimize costs and to increase access to broader markets. The global arena provides opportunities to meet both of these goals, yet many businesses are struggling to realize their potential in global markets. The question is:? Do Americans have the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century global marketplace? To be competitive in the global environment requires new skills: namely knowledge of the language and culture of the target market. The internet is the answer to this challenge: use web-based learning to acquire language skills and cultural knowledge to sharpen your competitive edge.

While English is the accepted global language of commerce, native English speakers are often at a disadvantage when it comes to doing business globally. Business contacts in other countries may be speaking English, but that does not guarantee that you both understand the meaning of the spoken words, gestures or body language. Take China for example: A growing force in the global economy, China will have an increasing influence on the world economy for decades to come. Yet many American business people attempt to conduct business in China without any knowledge of Chinese language or culture. While it is true that many Chinese business operators have some ability to speak English, this English language ability does not promise mutual understanding.

If gaining an edge over your competition is your goal, what is the cost of not knowing the language and culture of your target market? Providing cultural training for busy executives with commercial ties to China is not a luxury but a necessity, and can make a difference in the bottom line for any company doing business in China. Take advantage of web-based learning systems such as to acquire the language skills and cultural knowledge that can give your business the competitive edge.

Bio and contact information:
Mary Goetter is the President of International Education Services, LLC, an educational consulting firm specializing in global education and cultural awareness programming and the creator of Fortune Cookies-TM. An innovative video series, Fortune Cookies is designed to introduce the language, customs and culture of China to western audiences in bite-size pieces. Fortune Cookies is available anytime, anywhere on the web:

For more information E-Mail: .

Monday, August 3, 2009

Defining Terms

The first thing I do when I teach a class is define terms. If you’re going to perform a task in a particular field, whether its video production/post-production or designing and planning a web presence (or any field for that matter) you need to learn the lingo--every profession has one--NOT to impress people BUT so that others in that field will be able to understand you and you them.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I will be teaching a new course in the Fall of 2009 entitled: Creating a Web Presence for Yourself or Your Business.

The goal of the course is to convey the core concepts that everyone should know in order to create a website for themselves or their business. My goal isn't to teach web page design--there are already plenty of courses being taught on that subject. My goal is to go several steps back and cover some of the key prerequisites that need to be understood before you even get to the actual web pages--mainly the all important steps to understanding, choosing and registering a DNS Name (domain name).

I also want to talk about the differences between DNS Record hosting and Web Site hosting--two related BUT at the same time very different services . If you don't understand the importance and the difference between Web and DNS hosting then you are NOT going to understand the costs involved.

The mission of my company, DON BERRY, LLC, is to help all types of organizations bring their storytelling ideas from concept to deliverable through offering creative guidance and mentoring in all aspects of planning, designing, and creating video productions and Web-based video using a hands-on, get it done approach.

Visit me at