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David Berlind
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TechWeb And InformationWeek Launch ReviewCams: Video Reviews Of Web Services & Software

If you haven't seen it yet, I encourage you to check out our first ever ReviewCam. Using video, the goal of our ReviewCams is to put you up close and personal with an editor's-eye-view of Web services or software.

If you haven't seen it yet, I encourage you to check out our first ever ReviewCam. Using video, the goal of our ReviewCams is to put you up close and personal with an editor's-eye-view of Web services or software.A ReviewCams is best described as the combination of a screencast and the on-demand playback of a pre-recorded Webcast that includes a conversation with the solution provider. One difference: we're not using Webcasting technology like WebEx because it can't deliver special effects like zooms and visual mouse-clicks of the sort that you'll see in our ReviewCams.

Doing something like ReviewCams (where both I and the interviewee stay at our desks) isn't new to me. I've been working on this problem for quite some time and you can see version 1.0 over on ZDNet where I first started experimenting with one approach. At the time, I called them "ReviewCasts." Version 1.0 involved two physical video cameras (one on me and one on a computer to which a demo was being remotely delivered via WebEx or something like it).

But it was awkward and time-consuming to produce those ReviewCasts. Capturing video of the activity that was taking place on the screen in a way that could be played-back and easily understood by readers was tricky. Given the difficulties and the fact that it was a two-man job, it wasn't very scalable, either.

ReviewCams, on the other hand, are a bit more scalable. As with ReviewCasts, we don't have to travel to the vendor's offices (nor do the vendors have to travel to our offices) which ultimately saves everybody a lot of time -- 95% of the work that went into this first ReviewCam was done by me. One of TechWebTV's producers Matt Conner added some InformationWeek branding to it and exported it to our Brightcove Player (as well as to YouTube).

This first one is a bit rough around the edges. For example, where I pull the interviewee's picture into the ReviewCam, we'll look to do a better job there -- going to more of a dual-pane format. Also, the background behind me is a dull, white wall. So, the background has to be dressed-up a bit. But overall, we feel as though we achieved everything we set out to accomplish in this first ReviewCam. However, the real judge of what we've done here is you. Please let us know what you think. Feel free to share your thoughts below in the comments area or with me at

David Berlind is an editor-at-large with InformationWeek. David likes to write about emerging tech, new and social media, mobile tech, and things that go wrong. He can be reached at and you can also find him on Twitter and other social networks (see the list below). David doesn't own any tech stocks. But, if he did, he'd probably buy some and Amazon, given his belief in the principles of cloud computing and his hope that the stock market can't get much worse. Also, if you're an out-of-work IT professional or someone involved in the business of compliance, he wants to hear from you.

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