Friday, September 24, 2010

Presentation Recording: A Terrific and Cost-Saving Technology

I want to share with you some recent experiences I've had with Presentation Recording. This is not a new technology—its been around for quite a few years but has only started to come into its own in the past few years. I am constantly recommending it to my clients and I use it all of the time.

With Presentation Recording software installed on your computer you can record, as a video ANYTHING that you do on your computer's desktop. Think of it as putting a video camera in front of your computer screen and recording whatever you do—only the quality is vastly better—and you can ADD audio narration—either in real-time or later on.

Why use it?

Two reasons for Presentation Recording:

1. Training: If you want to train someone in how to use a particular software application—MSExcel, let's say—while the traditional route would be to do one-on-one or group classroom training—OR if this wasn't possible then to create an instructional manual—Presentation Recording let's you SHOW the person--saving everything that you do on the desktop as a video—they see everything you do—creating spreadsheets, doing formulas, saving files, etc.--all as video—and the beauty is that it feels LIVE—as though the instructor is right there with you because you add your own narration—even the cursor shows up (but you can "hide" the cursor if you think its too distracting—which is what I usually do.

So, given the above, its easy to understand why Presentation Recording (PR) has revolutionized software training—once you have the video with narration you can make it available on CD/DVD or on the Web for your audience—and the cost benefit is tremendous—think of how many hours you save by not having to do standup instruction or one-on-one tutorials.

2. Adding new life to PowerPoint Slide Shows: How many times have you wanted to package (or "can") your PowerPoint presentations? With PR you can. Any PowerPoint show can be recorded and you can record the narration as you go—in other words you just do your presentation and then its saved forever—if you don't like it the first time around you can just start again—you can even "pause" the recording if you want to take a break (or feel a sneeze coming on!). So that your clients always see you give your best presentation. And this goes for not just PowerPoint but any multimedia presentation—again anything that you do on your desktop.

And the quality of the finished video that the PR gives you--you can save as .AVI, Windows Media (.WMV), or Flash formats--is almost indistinguishable from the real desktop—in fact, sometimes, when I'm demonstrating the PR software to my class and playing back one of the finished videos,I loose track of the fact that we're watching a recording of the desktop and NOT my ACTUAL desktop—until, of course I see the cursor moving by itself or hear my own voice.

Anyway, PR software is a powerful and hugely cost-saving tool. Specifically, I recommend Total Screen Recorder Gold—the quality is the best I've seen out there for the price—its $29.95 and they offer a fully functional 30 day trial. Their website is:
www.totalscreenrecorder.com

But MAKE SURE YOU DOWNLOAD GET THE GOLD VERSION

Happy recording!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

FINDING TALENT

For those who are doing narrative films/videos or even corporate pieces that need on-camera talent—it is easier (and cheaper) than you might think to find acting talent.

Several years ago, when I was getting ready to start shooting a short film and needed talent for a number of roles, a friend who had been a producer-director for a number of years remarked that
"actors are a dime a dozen." Now I'm certainly not denigrating the professional of acting—actors work incredibly hard—and acting roles are incredibly tough to get—so you have to be patient and resilient to have a any kind of acting career.

Yet, I have found, over the years, that what my friend said is quite true—actors are plentiful. More to the point, they will often work for FREE. Yes, you heard me. Often, I've found, actors (especially young ones just starting out) will simply work for the credit—so you name them in your piece and give them a copy of the DVD to use on their resumes and demo reels—and they're quite happy.

A really good website for posting your casting calls and finding actors is
MANDY.COM

Remember when you write up casting notices be sure to be as specific as possible in terms of physical descriptions.

Any way, good luck with casting your next project!