Hi-tech Video. Part 2

The quality and capability that lets me do this in a $1,500 video camera might have cost ten thousand dollars or more just a few years ago. That in itself is a significant revolution.

But there is a far more subtle capability that has emerged with such technology.

The important point to understand with video camera technology is to appreciate the significance of the word digital in the phrase digital video camera. A device such as a Sony HandyCam is essentially a highly specialized computer. It just happens to be a computer that records video. When it does this, it stores a great big computer file on a small videotape inside the camera. The big computer file is a video, stored in a computer format.

This is an extremely important point: it means that when I tape a speech, I’m in effect recording my speech to a computer file. The result is that I can transfer this file to my computer, and edit it.

How do I do this? I’ve a device in my computer – it’s known as a Matrox G200-TV video card. It’s available for about $400 in most computer stores. It’s the piece of equipment that sends the signal from my computer to the monitor on my desk. Yet it has another important feature: I can plug the video camera into it, and transfer parts of the “big computer file” from my video camera into my PC.

In other words, I can transfer various video clips from my video camera to my personal computer, without any loss of quality. (I’m about to get another device, known as a Matrox RT2000, which will guarantee me zero loss in quality. But that’s another topic alotogether!)

In effect what is happening is that I can move parts of the big computer file from my camera to my PC. Once I’ve got a bunch of video clips in my PC, I can then use digital video editing software to create my own video. This capability allows me to assemble professional looking videos, complete with special effects, titles, background music: the works! To do this, I use a program called Ulead Media Studio Pro: it comes for free with the Matrox video card.

In other words, for a price of a video camera of about $1,5000, a video card that costs less than $400, and the cost of a bigger hard drive, I’ve been provided the makings of a television studio-editing suite, that just a few years ago would have cost $25,000 or more.

Once I’ve created a video on my computer, I can then transfer it from my computer back to VHS, or over to a CDROM. And so rather than sending just a video of an entire speech, I can now provide to clients a specialized ten or twenty minute video that features various speech highlights, intermixed with client testimonials, television interviews and other background information.

International call may be a high-priced especially if you need to talk for more than only a quick hi. Purchasing prepaid phone cards, you may make call to anyone, anywhere in the earth.

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