Recording video interviews is a lot harder than it sounds. The ability to record good quality video during a one to one, at a distance video conference call is essential in this day and age when people can’t always be physically present at your location but it’s not simple.
Recording both video streams at each end, with in synch audio and the ability to splice the two video recordings in to one has been a tough goal for almost any company out there.
Over a year ago I wrote in fact an article publicly invoking a video interview recorder as the need for such a tool kept increasing among online independent publishers, but no technology provided an easy way to record video conference calls with enough quality and without significant technical troubles.
A terrific feature for bloggers and online interviews, the technology to online video interviews while recording them is finally here for you to use.
Sightspeed Responded To The Need
Sightspeed, the videoconferencing company behind one of the best and most successful real-time collaboration tools out there, has finally listened and quietly released a new version of its conferencing software which now integrates a fully-featured video interview recorder and splicer.
This is more than just a dream come true. The Sightspeed video recorder can capture any of your online video interviews and record them in separate high-quality AVI video streams.
All this while offering the ability to convert your original recording into either FLV or MPEG video file formats, and a dedicated facility that automatically splices your separate recorded video streams into one master video that can be easily published online.
Here are the details:
If you have not heard about this technology before, what you should know is that Sightspeed ver. 6 is a cross-platform video conferencing platform that allows you to have one-on-one or multi-party video conferencing calls (up to four people) for as little as 4.95 month.
SightSpeed works across PC and Mac operating systems via a downloadable application.
It’s key standard features already include free one-on-one video conferencing, free PC-to-PC (Macs included), calls to regular landlines and mobile phones at low rates, text chat, personalized web page that your readers can use to video-call you, contact list, video blog message recording and more.
Not bad, considering that all of the above features are accessible to everyone at absolutely zero cost. Just sign-up, download the software and you are ready to go.
But here the real news is for Sightspeed super cool new feature which allows you to record video conferencing calls. All of the issues about audio recording at both sides and how to sync separate recordings have all been taken care of by Sightspeed excellent engineering and product development team.
As if they had religiously read my original call for an online video interview recorder, the SightSpeed guys did it again in being the first in bringing to the market something that is not only cool and cutting-edge but which is also highly useful and immediately applicable to a number of professional needs.
For however simple it may appear to you to have an additional recording button on top of a video conferencing dashboard, the reality is that PC Windows audio idiosyncrasies had made live video conference recording prohibitive for almost everyone until today;
The need to record in the highest possible quality both the local and the remote video, as well as the one of then being able to splice these separate recording files together again while preserving good sync between them got in the way.
Yes, there were tools and ways to get around the existing limits (Flashmeeting offered one, and Camtasia could be used for recording any video conferencing screen), but setting this up was a nightmare and, for what I have seen with my eyes, the results were always quite unimpressive.
Until…. Sightspeed came to the rescue.
SightSpeed New Recording Feature
The new SightSpeed Call Recording feature records all types of live calls – one-to-one voice and video calls, multi-party conference calls, as well as Phone Out and Phone In calls.
Usability-wise, recording a video conference call is a no-brainer. You just press the red record button and you are done. Recordings are safely and automatically stored inside a dedicated SightSpeed Recordings folder you will find inside your documents area.
All of the original recorded video conference calls are stored on your computer as AVI files to preserve the best quality possible.
The nice thing is that Sightspeed creates an AVI file for each one of the recorded audio-video streams. That’s right, after recording an online video interview with SightSpeed you will find two separate AVI files inside the SightSpeed recordings folder.
In this way Sightspeed can preserve the highest audio and video quality possible for each stream while preserving maximum flexibility for editing and working with the raw recordings.
* Choose what you want to record – remote video and voice, local video and voice, or both.
* Record also PC-to-PC voice calls (works with Macs too).
* Record and playback one-to-one or Multi-Party video calls.
* Record separate AVI files for each audio-video stream.
Keep in mind that this call recording is available only if you sign-up for a PRO Plan account, which starts at $4.95 month. Since with this plan you get unlimited video conference calls and recordings I deem the price an absolute bargain for what you get in return.
Only one question remains open: how do you splice together the separate video recording files Sightspeed has recorded for you?
Read on to find out.
The SightSpeed Call Recording Exporter
“But how do you then splice together the separate video recording files while keeping them in sync?“
In its latest release SightSpeed has now integrated a super-cool facility (not so much in terms of interface design but in terms of innovation and usefulness) which allows the following:
Automatic splicing and syncing of your original video recording files.
Encoding into FLV or MPEG video file formats.
Choice of video layout (side by side, picture in picture, etc).
Choice of what audio and video channels to include.
Audio sync fine tuning control.
Option to output only audio to WAV or MP3 formats.
Controls on aspect ratio, video size and quality.
Video Interview Example Recording
Here an example of a short test interview (we were just improvising) I recorded with SightSpeed a few hours ago with BlaxWan, the home-made build-your-own hi-tech device guru.
I assembled, spliced and synched this with the Sightspeed Call Recording Exporter. The final FLV file that was created, was simply uploaded to Blip.tv (below) “as is”.
Video Message Recorder
I also remind you that with free basic edition of SightSpeed, you have a full video message recorder that you can use to record news or marketing messages at absolutely zero cost.
The only limit is a 180-seconds maximum duration for these. If you want more, you need to go Premium at 4.95/month.
Here above is a short video clip I have just recorded to show you how simple it is to record video messages and post them inside your own blog. It literally takes the time to say what you need to say and the additional time that a copy and paste operation may require.
Here below you can in fact see the snippet of code that you are given at the end of your recording and which you need to copy and paste inside your select web page.
Sightspeed is available to use for free for basic video calling and video recording, but for live online video interview recording you will need the SightSpeed Pro Plan which costs $4.95 a month.
How to create a Video Mail in SightSpeed
Two great 1-minute clips from the Peter Zottolo, the SightSpeed guy, giving you a perfect demonstration of how easy it is to record a video message.
How to make a call in Sightspeed
SightSpeed Review Summary
If you have been looking for an online video interview recorder allowing you to videoconference with someone else at a distance while recording a high-quality publishable clip, your search is over.
For USD 4.95 a month you can get a full video-conferencing package that includes this new powerful video interview recording feature. Even without it, Sightspeed is worth every cent of its monthly fee thanks to its high-quality multi-party video conferencing facility with integrated text chat and free video blog message recording feature.
Sightspeed records separate AVI files for each stream in a conference and then provides a unique splicing and synchronizing tool that encodes your recordings into your preferred video or audio-only format for online distribution.
For anyone interested in online video interviews this is definitely the first official technology solution that is both reliable, good quality and affordable.
Originally written by Robin Good for Master New Media and entitled: “The Online Video Interview Recorder Is Here: SightSpeed 6 Review” on September 17th 2007. Some Rights Reserved.
Disclosure: Robin Good is not associated with SightSpeed in any way and does not receive commissions or other tangible returns for the writing of this or any other review article. There were also no contacts between Robin Good and SightSpeed during the writing of this review and there was no request from SightSpeed to write or even evaluate the features of its tool here reviewed.
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