I’m a sucker for applications that not only do what I want, but do it better than what I expect. A year or so ago I bought IntelliPrompter from IntelliInnovations. It’s a teleprompter application. It works as advertised. It’s very good and highly recommended. Times change.
Yesterday, Vara Software introduced Videocue. Think of it as an iMovie teleprompter. Simple. Elegant. Easy to use. Very intuitive. AND, importantly, much, much more than a simple teleprompter.
If you’re into video production; iMove, PhotoToMovie, Final Cut Express/Pro, you’ll know what a teleprompter is. It’s that little screen that politicians (actors, commercial spokespersons, etc.) use to read speeches or ads while looking straight into the camera lens.
A teleprompter makes it look like the person is actually talking straight to the viewer (politics aside). The President and most politicians use them when giving important speeches. Your TV anchorperson uses a teleprompter to “read” the story while you watch them talk to you. Except they’re reading.
Teleprompters are expensive, costing up to $10,000 or more (broadcast quality). Even my favorite (until today), IntelliPrompter costs from $79 to $699. Personal computers would seem to make for a good teleprompter system, except for the camera part (don’t even ask what broadcast TV cameras cost).
It’s really nothing more than a word processor that rolls the words on the screen at a specific speed so the reader can, well, uh, read them. For TV news anchors, the teleprompter often shows up on a clear screen in front of the TV camera lens.
For $99 you won’t get that with Videocue. You’ll get more.
Videocue is a teleprompter application for the Mac. And more. Much more.
First, it’s smooth. The words will scroll by at a pace you control. There’s a simple preview which lets you see everything before recording. Oh, and it records your face and voice into most QuickTime video/audio formats using any Firewire camera compatible with the Mac.
Now, Videocue is a teleprompter and video recording device.
Amazingly, there’s more.
What sold me was the fact that it worked well, was Mac-like inutitive, AND loaded with unexpected features. Like character and graphics generation. As you watch CNN, Fox, ABC, or whatever, you’ll notice the graphic information just below the talking heads of the anchors. Usually it’s a graphic design with some text.
That’s all built in to Videocue. Graphics? Import photos from an iPhoto export. Audio? Import audio clips. Additional video (want to become a news reporter using your Mac?)? Import, drag and drop into the timeline. You’re ready for network TV. Almost.
Transitions? Of course. All drag and drop and select.
The only trouble I had was figuring out the timeline. On iMovie, Final Cut Express/Pro, and other video applications, the timeline is left to right and horizontal. For Videocue, the timeline (3 independent “lines”) are vertical, top to bottom. That’s the way the text flows, so it’s natural and takes only a few tries to get used to.
Wait! There’s more.
Videocue also integrates with various web log systems so you can create “talking” web logs for Blogger, MoveableType, and others (not my favorite; pMachine’s Expression Engine).
Oh, did I mention character generation? CG (on screen titles), as it’s called, is easy. Select a graphic, type in one of up to three lines of text; format the text size, alignment, color, etc. You’re done. There’s even effects to bring up (or down) the graphics and text, and you can time it according to the teleprompter text.
This is a version 1.0 application yet feels much more mature. It’s not developed by the same folks, but Videocue feels like a teleprompter version of PhotoToMovie.
There’s much more, of course. Vara Software provides a fully working download demo (except it only runs the teleprompt copy for five seconds, then stops—note to Vara Software—make it 15 seconds; five seconds isn’t enough when you have a two second roll in to get started).
Click Here to check out the Videocue features, download the demo, and become your own newscaster.