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Create video at free, easy-to-use site

by Larry Magid
Special to the Mercury News

With the explosion of services like YouTube, video is all the rage. But few of us are ambitious or outgoing enough to create and post our own on the Web.

Let’s face it, creating and editing video is hard, especially if you want it to look even remotely professional. Of course, YouTube has taught us that video doesn’t have to be professional to get attention. From a production value point of view, many of the most popular videos are downright terrible.

Also, not all of us want to create video for the masses. We might just want to share it with a single person or a small group of friends and family.

Eyejot, which debuted at the DEMO Conference earlier this month, is offering a free and easy-to-use service that lets anyone with a Webcam instantly create, send or even post their own video. It can be used for personal messages or to create a video message to post to a MySpace profile or a Web page.

You need a Webcam to use the service, but those are now cheap and easy to install. After that, all you have to do is sign up at www.eyejot.com and click “Compose New Message” to get started. My only complaint is that you have to use the mouse to click the stop button, which may cause you to divert your eyes from the camera.

You can record messages up to 60 seconds long. When you’re done, you click stop and then type in one or more e-mail addresses to send it to. You can also create an address book for frequently used addresses.

Don’t worry about flooding your friends’ mailboxes with enormous video files. All they get is a link that takes them to a Web page to view the video. You can also record a “profile video” that generates several lines of HTML code that you can paste on a Web page or the “about me” section of a MySpace profile. To see what this looks like, you can check out mine at Myspace.com/larrymagid.

When using a Webcam, pay attention to lighting and sound. An external microphone relatively near your mouth usually sounds a lot better than the Webcam’s or computer’s internal microphone.

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