Tuesday, June 29, 2004

How to make a vBlog

A number of people have asked how I built my video blog (vBlog). There are 3 main components. The first is blog software. There are a number of options, but I use Blogger for the simple reason that it is a free and hosted service. To make Blogger work you will have to learn a little HTML. Note that I don't know HTML, but I was a software programmer 15 years ago, and was able to look at a few of the templates and figure out enough in a couple of hours to hack together what I needed.

If you are willing to pay a nominal fee, you should try TypePad which has more features and is easier to use. Of course, if you are a computer expert you know that there are many more options out there.

The second component is another hosted service called vBlog Central. vBlog Central hosts all my photos and videos, automatically converts the videos into Windows, QuickTime, and Real formats, and automatically links them to my blogs. This is a really great service provided by my friend Sean Gilligan at Catalla Systems. Catalla is a small company in Santa Cruz, CA. (If you are an investor, you should contact Sean. This is a great idea backed by some solid technology he has developed.)

The third component is creating the videos themselves. This was actually the most daunting part as I was a digital video novice until a few weeks ago. It turned out to be pretty easy. Of course, I had to get a digital video camcorder. I found one that is more than adequate for my needs for around $600. You can spend a lot more and a lot less.

I also quickly discovered that my 4 year old Celeron-based PC was not up to the task of capturing and editing video from my new camcorder. So, I spent another $600 to get a digital-video ready computer. It came with everything I needed to capture and edit digital video as well as burn them to DVD, CD, etc. It only took me a weekend to figure out how to make it all work, not bad considering the results.