Inspired by Max Rottersman’s original Plasti-Prompter (a teleprompter made from CD cases and a webcam), I wrote about do-it-yourself teleprompter hardware and free teleprompter software. Well, Max has gone and upgraded his Plasti-Prompter. It’s still low budget, but he’s vlogging with it. Go take a look.
Hat tip: Gizmodo.
Because Robert Scoble is my hero ;-), I now start my day the same way he does: watching Rocketboom. You should, too.
Rocketboom is a quirky vlog by Amanda Congdon. As Scoble says:
If I had real talent (and looks) I’d be Amanda Congdon. Just be happy I’m only doing text here.
Somewhat related… A month ago, I blogged why I disliked podcasting and why vlogging would never catch on. (That’s the joy of blogging — my stupidity is exposed and preserved for all to read.) Anyway…I questioned where a podcast would put web links.
[T]here’s no easy way to provide web links in a podcast. The transcript for this podcast has a link to Douglas Adams at douglasadams.com. That link is easy to say. What if the URL was 83 characters long and included strange characters? (You can find the tilde above the backtick character to the left of the number one key near the top left of your keyboard, unless you’re in Europe and then it’s…) No thanks.
Rocketboom simply puts the links below the video — problem solved!
More recently, I blogged why podcasting would catch on. (At least I’m teachable…) Not one to leave well enough alone, I finished by complaining about the potential cost of vlogging.
There was one disadvantage of podcasting I didn’t address before: podcasting is more expensive than blogging; at least it is if anyone’s listening. You have to pay for the bandwidth.
If paying for your bandwidth is a problem, consider it solved. Ourmedia.org now offers “free storage and free bandwidth for your videos, audio files, photos, text or software. Forever. No catches.” Assuming they can stay in business giving their service away for free, that’s an awesome offer.
I think I owe Scoble a hat tip for Ourmedia.org, too. Why are you still reading my blog? Go watch Rocketboom and read Robert Scoble!
If you’re serious about vlogging, you need a teleprompter. Without one, you can’t read text while looking directly at the camera. In other words, you look amateurish!
Not to worry. Max Rottersman shows how to make a video blogger PlastiPrompter using a laptop computer, some CD cases, a little tape, and a webcam. McGuiver would be proud.
If you’re looking for something a little sturdier (and larger), visit CreativePro.com, where Brian P. Lawler shows how to make a teleprompter using glass supported by a wooden frame.
Visit both sites to get detailed instructions with larger pictures.
Combining the Plasti-Prompter’s small size and integrated construction with Brian’s teleprompter’s sturdy wooden construction and glass could result in an improved second generation, do-it-yourself bloggi-prompter. You can search the web for “teleprompter” and investigate the commercially-available teleprompters for more ideas.
With either teleprompter hardware solution, you will need some way of displaying mirror-image text on a computer display. Max describes how to use SnagIt, available for $40. Brian outputs a mirror-image PostScript file (.ps) that he converts to portable document format (.pdf). Another option is to use software designed for teleprompters.
Geoff Park offers EZ-Reader, a $50 shareware teleprompter software package to display smooth-scrolling, mirror-image text.
Hat tip: Jeff Jarvis at BuzzMachine.
Podcasting is supposed to be the next wave of blogging. I don’t think so. At least not for me.
Speaking as a blogger, podcasting is hard.
- Reading text might seem to be a no-brainer, but you haven’t heard how many times it takes me to change my voicemail message.
- And writing for the spoken word might be easy for Douglas Adams, but it’s not for me. I’m used to having the visual formatting provide some of the meaning. Can you tell by listening that this is a bulleted list?
- If I were to have a regular podcast, I’d want podcasting equipment such as a better microphone and a studio. You can see why with this podcast. My laptop has a microphone of questionable quality. A soundproof booth could muffle the background noises. I’d want one without glass windows. My kids think I’m strange just for blogging. Imagine what they’d think if I read my blog to the computer every night.
- I’d need audio editing software that let me cut out my mistakes and insert corrections. That would be better than re-reading the article now eight times. I hate it when the phone rings in the middle of the recording…
- Also, there’s no easy way to provide web links in a podcast. The transcript for this podcast has a link to Douglas Adams at douglasadams.com. That link is easy to say. What if the URL was 83 characters long and included strange characters? (You can find the tilde above the backtick character to the left of the number one key near the top left of your keyboard, unless you’re in Europe and then it’s…) No thanks.
As a blog reader, listening to a podcast is less convenient.
- I can’t skim a podcast. Either I listen to it or I don’t. Sure, a podcaster can divide a podcast into multiple, smaller files and provide descriptions for each. Although this would let me avoid some of the junk I don’t want to hear, I still can’t skim the mp3 in my player. (Maybe I need a better mp3 player.)
- Listening to a podcast takes longer than reading its transcript. Unless there are sound effects, that’s wasted time. After all, not everyone has a long commute.
- I can’t search for words or phrases within a podcast unless the podcaster provides a transcript on the site. I’ve seen this “feature” touted as an advantage. And maybe it is for the podcaster who doesn’t want visibility or accountability. After all, if I like your podcast or hate it, I can’t easily excerpt it on my blog.
- Finally, for this list, if I find a podcast in a foreign language, it stays foreign to me. If it was text like a blog, I could use freely available translation tools to read it.
I’ve heard that video logging, or vlogging, is on its way, too. I really don’t think so.
I have a couple of questions:
- Why would you download the mp3 when I provided the transcript?
- Why do I feel like Andy Rooney?