I’ve been thinking of adding the occasional live video broadcast to my blogging repertoire using a service called Ustream, the same service we used last April to live stream portions of our Prairie Star Annual Conference (you can check out recordings of those streams here). Now for as much as I like the ability to broadcast live, I’m a little disappointed by the limited ability of Ustream to do things like add titles or use a second camera or show pictures or video clips. That’s why I was so happy to find something called WebcamMax.

I downloaded a trial copy of WebcamMax a few days ago to see if it did everything I’d like it to, and boy does it. I was able to create titles, add a second camera, show slides to make a slideshow presentation, and even show a video clip during a broadcast. While it took me a little while to figure some of these features out, once I got the hang of it I was able to control the video and audio content of my broadcasts with ease.

Of course there a few features that I’m not likely to use too much, like being able to add a background to your video (something like chroma key special effects), or adding a variety of masks to your image, like glasses and hats:

Glasses and Wig

I need both the glasses AND the hair.

While effects like this can be fun, they probably have no place in a serious forum like this…kidding. (By the way, the WebcamMax watermark you see in the image above disappears when you purchase a license.)

I’m especially excited about adding some of the capabilities of WebcamMax to the online workshops we’ve been offering with Central Midwest and Heartland districts. For example, I can imagine doing a live stream featuring a workshop host, then cutting away to a prerecorded segment from a specialist on whatever the topic of the workshop might be. The options for showing other media in the PinP (picture in picture) mode include a live feed from another webcam, sharing your screen, playing a movie (from a file on your computer, a DVD, or from a URL), or showing a picture from one of your files. (I was able to put together a slideshow presentation using the last option; I just saved a PowerPoint presentation as a series of JPEGs, then showed them one by one as I would during a workshop).

Normally I wouldn’t use this blog to tout a product, but from what I can tell WebcamMax will help me offer more video content on the web, something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. There are a variety of license options available, from six months to a lifetime. If you’re using any kind of video images from a webcam on the internet, WebcamMax is worth checking out.

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