In the beginning, blogging was about words, and sometimes pictures. Now that broadband's a little easier to come by and high-quality video compression makes every byte count all the more, using video as an augmentation or even a replacement for conventional blogs is now commonplace.
Video blogging software seems to be a bit scattershot as a category. To that end, the programs I looked at had to cover three things: capture from a device like a webcam, allow basic editing of video, and be able to directly upload the results to a video hosting provider or export it in a format immediately compatible with same.
The number of tools specifically dedicated to capturing video for blogs is quite small. As a result, most of the programs that were reviewed here are better known as conventional video-editing suites, but are inexpensive enough that they can serve double duty. I was most surprised to discover how expensive Adobe's dedicated program was, for instance.
A few other programs not covered here are worth mentioning in passing. One is Adobe's Vlog It!, a program acquired by Adobe from another vendor, but which was not available for review at press time. Another is Podesk, which consists of both a server and client component -- but the client is Mac-only, and the Windows version was discontinued some time ago.
A third program, designed as a general-purpose video-editing system, Jahshaka, is worth mentioning because it's a cross-platform open source product. Unfortunately, it would not install or run on any of the systems I tried it out on; it simply crashed on startup each time.
Adobe's flagship video-editing program, Premiere, exists in a stripped-down Elements edition, like Adobe Photoshop Elements program. This version has just enough features to be useful to video bloggers, although the really powerful and professional features are in Adobe's Visual Communicator, reviewed below. Still, at $140 for the full version it's useful if you also want a reasonably full video-editing solution to go with capture-and-export functionality.
Premiere Elements' interface offers Organize, Edit, Disc Menus (for DVD creation only), and Share tabs. The Organize tab is where all the capture functions are, under "Get Media," and the Edit tab keeps things like title-generation, theme management, and transition effects all separate. Capture from a camera can be dropped directly into a timeline, and the timeline itself can also be shown in storyboard mode for a more succinct editing view.
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