Thursday, October 27, 2011

Easy Chroma Key Video Overlays

Chroma Key green screen video editing in videopadOften during editing you will want to remove the background from a video. This is commonly seen with television newscasts or interviews where the video of the person is overlaid onto a different video backdrop, or a logo animation is overlaid on a background. Chroma Key is also commonly referred to as green screen. Sometimes videos will have a transparency or alpha channel that you can adjust to remove the background, but more often than not, you will have to utilize Chroma Key tools in video editing software to remove the backgrounds.

Proper lighting makes using Chroma Keys far easier. Ensure the subject(s) and background are both well-lit. Solid color backdrops work the best. You can buy professional blue or green fabric backdrops or special Chroma Key paint. Avoid having shadows or hot spots on the background or unnecessary detail in the background as it will make it harder to “pull a key” later. Natural sunlight can often make the foreground subject bleed into the background when trying to key a color, so it’s best to use artificial lighting.

NCH Software’s VideoPad Video Editor has the ability to select a Chroma Key color with its Overlay feature. Add the video as an overlay track, and select the Use Chroma Key checkbox to bring up the Chroma Key preview window.

Select the Chroma Key color by clicking on the color you want to key out in the preview image. Then, using the preview image as a reference, adjust the Background and Foreground sliders until the desired transparency is achieved. Note you can click different positions on the timeline to see how the video will look. Click OK to apply changes.

If you would like to make changes later, first select the overlay in the list on the Overlay tab, and then click the Change button next to the Use Chroma Key checkbox.

Below is an example video we made using the Videopad Chroma Key feature. Download VideoPad for yourself to try this and the other easy video editing features for yourself.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Wedding Slideshow Creation with PhotoStage

PhotoStage wedding slideshow softwareOne of the the truly wonderful things about PhotoStage slideshow software is that it can be used for so many different things. We've had stories in our blog about making stop-motion videos, digital storytelling, making a music video and more. PhotoStage is ideal for preserving memories of all kinds of events, and one of the big events that more and more users are beginning to use PhotoStage for is making a wedding slideshow to share with friends, family, guests and more.

The Daily Wedding Blog recently wrote about creating wedding slideshows with PhotoStage as a digital addition to the traditional framed photo and photo album that couple keeps. Just one of the great things about putting together a slideshow is how easy they are to share, whether you post the finished slideshow to Facebook or burn them to a DVD and send them out with your thank yous. The possibilities are endless and there is no reason to limit yourself. You may only get one wedding album, but there is no reason you can't make multiple wedding slideshows, maybe one for the bridesmaids that also includes pictures from the bachelorette party and another version for the groomsmen. If you're getting married we hope you will use PhotoStage for making wedding slideshows, and for more inspiration and tips on planning a wedding without breaking the bank visit the Daily Wedding Blog.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Award-Winning Software from NCH

The true test of a software program is how well it works for the people who install and use it. The number of people downloading and using NCH programs everyday (roughly 3 million downloads every month) suggests our focus on creating powerful, easy and intuitive software is working well for a lot of people out there. And while you have the final word on if a program is right for you, we still appreciate the feedback of reviewers recognizing the work that has gone into making our software programs both powerful and easy-to-use.

Here is a peek into our trophy case, and just a small sample of the award-winning software titles in the NCH Software collection:

WavePad Sound Editor
WavePad has long been praised by reviewers for its easy and powerful, yet lightweight interface for audio editing.
"In spite of its tiny size, WavePad packs a big audio punch."
     - CNET
"WavePad has a lot to offer to the amateur audio editor, while still providing enough tools to make it a useful program for more seasoned audio editors."
     - TopTenReviews

Switch Audio Converter
Switch is not only easy to use, it supports more audio formats than the competition, making it a clear winner.
"Switch is just as useful for professionals that need to convert many songs into multiple formats as it is for the average person who knows they want to convert an AAC file to MP3. Switch is able to handle many different audio formats and has the largest selection of output formats of any program we reviewed."
     - TopTenReviews

VideoPad Video Editor
VideoPad has quickly become a major player in video editing with upgraded features, putting even more advanced options at your disposal.
"NCH Software's VideoPad Video Editor Professional is a full-featured video-editing tool that is surprisingly easy to use... It's a rare video editor that you can just fire up and start making movies with, but that's what we did with VideoPad."
     - CNET

PhotoStage Slideshow Software
PhotoStage lets you bring your digital photos to life and make easy-to-share presentations of every memorable occasion.
"PhotoStage Slideshow Producer shows that slideshow makers don't need to be difficult to use to produce great results."
     - CNET
"PhotoStage is intuitive and savvy photo slideshow software that enables you to assemble artistic, personalized picture slideshows with total ease."
     - TopTenReviews

Zulu DJ Mixing Software
Zulu is the complete DJ software solution for both amateur and professional DJs alike.
"In an extremely competitive field of DJ software, Zulu stands just a bit taller than all of the rest. The intuitive and advanced features of this program, including a user-friendly, simple and straightforward interface, helped it rise to the top of our rankings."
     - TopTenReviews

Inventoria Inventory Management
Inventoria allows businesses of all sizes to efficiently track all their inventory processes, whether for one small retail outlet, or a chain of stores and warehouses across several locations.
"The versatility of Inventoria is an excellent reason to purchase this product. It offers numerous helpful features such as the ability to add notes and photos to each item in your inventory. In addition, you have the opportunity to allow more users to access the program, which can increase productivity and ultimately enhance your bottom line."
     - TopTenReviews

Check out the complete range of NCH Software programs for more easy-to-use and award-winning software solutions for all your software needs.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Show Personality With Your Business Cards & Win Business

Guest Post by Adam of SoloPress

Business cards are not only for the self contrived egomaniacs in the business environment, they are a much smoother and more efficient way of handing out your personal details without subjecting the target to having to disconnect from your attention whilst punching in your details on their phone.

The business card should represent who you are and give the recipient a fair understanding of what it was that made you stand out over the other people they may have picked up business cards from. If you are looking to stand out above the crowd then there are certain fundamentals that you should be meeting.

Be Creative and Original
Design a business card for yourself with CardWorks business card softwareToo many times an individual comes to us with a business card design straight out of word art or styled in Comic Sans, this may be all well and good if you are only trying to promote to parents or the elderly, but you can do a lot more even in the very limited space of a business card to make an impression about who you are and what you do. Having a polished design gives an added impression of credibility that will affect how people feel about you and your business.

So take the time to create a design, or invest in someone to carry out the task of designing you a business card, the money you will pay for a business card design will be steep, but when you consider that a good business card design can last you a lifetime, win you contacts, contracts and repeat business, the initial investment will recoup the costs in no time.

If you need a little bit of guidance or don't have the budget for a graphic designer try using CardWorks Free Business Card Software to customize a business card design to fit your business. You can achieve a very professional result with a software program to help you along the way.

Be Memorable Yourself
Often overlooked at a big networking event is aligning your business cards with the image you are portraying of yourself. One of the best ideas I have experienced in my years of business card printing is one customer who wanted his contact details in the shape of a black tie, when I questioned him as to the choice of his design, he enlightened me that he always wears a white shirt and black tie to all his networking events and business meetings. I doubted his tactic at first, but to this day I can remember his name, and would almost certainly be able to guess what he’ll be wearing if I meet him again.

You need to have a clear idea of how you wish to represent yourself before you start putting designs down. Brain storm words and attributes you would like to have people think about you, pick your favourite few and brainstorm the ideas from there and in no time at all you will have a rough idea of what you want your business card to look like.

Andy is an entrepreneur and has a lot of experience with business printers, flyer printing and leaflet printing, in design but in distribution and the strategy surrounding it. Comment below for any tactics you have found to work in flyer distribution.

Friday, October 14, 2011

HIPAA Compliant Dictation Software

HIPAA Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Privacy ComplianceWith HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, in effect, medical dictators and transcriptionists have to be wary with the use or exchange of patients' Protected Health Information (PHI) in their dictation transmissions. As a medical transcriptionist (MT), they have to maintain the privacy of every patient record being transcribed.

To protect patient confidentiality, it is recommended that your computer comes with at least the following:
  • Firewall protection with solid password protection for user accounts
  • Regular Windows or MAC updates for computer security
  • Up-to-date antivirus software
  • File encryption software (e.g., Dial Dictate, Web Dictate, or Express Dictate)
The recent stimulus plan (or American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) included a specific act — called the HITECH Act (or the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act) which has specific requirements for the electronic transmission of patients' health information. For this reason, NCH Software has created a medical user version for its dictation software applications which integrate seemlessly with Express Scribe on the transcription side to maintain patient privacy through the transcription process.
Dial Dictate: HIPAA-compliant encryption to secure medical patient data when recording as .dct files.
Express Dictate: Supports HIPAA-compliant encryption, perfect to secure patient or client data for transmission over the Internet.
Web Dictate: Recording can be HIPAA-compliant encrypted for privacy and security.
Given that medical transcriptionists receive, send, and store confidential patient data, it's vital they recognize and adhere to HIPAA rules on privacy, security, and confidentiality. If this is accomplished, patient records are secured, data efficiency is obtained, and more importantly customer confidence is increased.

HIPAA offers a set of strict guidelines for protecting patients' privacy and information. Seeing as a lot of health organizations utilize NCH Software for dictating and transcribing medical records, we have carefully considered the best way to sustain these guidelines. MTs can rest assured that NCH Software will assist them in paving the way to a HIPAA-compliant future.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Doxillion Document Converter Now For Mac and PC

Doxillion Text, Document and PDF Converting SoftwareWith the Mac release of Pixillion image converter back in July, and now the first Mac release of Doxillion document converter, all four cornerstones of our converting software suite are officially available for both Windows and Mac, making NCH the place to turn to if you can't open file, no matter the file format or the platform.

Doxillion Document Converter is a multi format document file converter that is very easy to use, quickly converting text documents within minutes of downloading. Plus take advantage of batch converting to convert large numbers of files at a time, or set up one-click conversion options for even faster access to format conversion to your most used formats.

Check out our full range of converting programs:

Monday, October 10, 2011

Growing A Quality Transcription Business With Express Scribe

Guest Post by Annalisa Holmes, Director of The Transcription People

We have been using Express Scribe transcription software in our Australian-based outsource transcription business for years and we love it. Why? I have a list, so here goes:

Cost Effective
You can't get more cost effective than free software. For as long as I can remember Express Scribe has been free. This continues to be the case with a free version still being offered alongside a new paid Pro version.

In my business I employ a mix of transcriptionists; we have some work onsite in our office but the majority are work-from-home micro-businesses. Included in that mix are a wealth of "old school" typists and "wannabe" transcriptionists. Old school typists are used to the cassette tape days of micro and mini cassette dictation and are very experienced at transcription. Wannabe typists have time on their hands, want to learn a new job skill and possibly work from home or for an employer.

Express Scribe is perfect for both these dynamics, experienced typists can very quickly switch their mindset to the digital way of doing things and with the option of a USB foot control, can make the transition very quickly from tape to digital transcription with a free download and a low-cost foot pedal. Those new to transcription can have the software installed in minutes and have the flexibility of training themselves using the configurable control keys. For a zero dollar outlay Express Scribe is a very attractive tool to those looking to start a career in transcription.

Multiple Use Scenario
Most people think of Express Scribe as just a tool for transcription typists. That is true for the majority of people, but in my business we also utilise Express Scribe for our proofreading team. My company is renowned for producing high quality, accurate transcription and the way that we do that is with a two-step quality assurance process. Step one is the traditional transcription typist who listens and transcribes. Step two is where the quality and consistency across clients is provided by our proof-reading team. The proofreaders do not transcribe, their role is to apply customer-specific formatting and act as a second set of eyes over the transcript, ensuring the highest quality.

My proofreading team use Express Scribe to play back audio whilst reading through the transcripts. Typically they prefer the control key functionality and love the variable speed playback, one of the many features in Express Scribe.

Very Easy To Set Up, Install and Use
Express Scribe can be installed and up and running in minutes. For users of all technical levels we have found Express Scribe to be a breeze to get working and get used to. People of all transcription abilities get used to Express Scribe very quickly. As we all use the same software throughout my business, we have a pool of experts within our own teams who can help each other out with any questions.

From a business point of view, all my staff are on the same page when it comes to transcription and proofreading software. We don't need to waste time supporting various vendors' software. Consistency across the team makes for a smoother transcription and proofreading workflow.

The Future
I really can't see my business moving away from Express Scribe, there is no need. It has served us well for years and will continue to do so for years to come. We are particularly excited about the new Pro version of Express Scribe which can now process the DSS Pro audio files created on the latest Olympus and Philips digital dictaphones. Before the Pro version came along we had to include an extra file conversion step from .ds2 to .dss. Now NCH has that covered.

Thank you NCH for your excellent software, which has helped my business get to where it is today.

Annalisa Holmes is the director of The Transcription People Pty Ltd, one of Australia's largest outsource transcription services. Annalisa started as a transcription typist in the early years of forming her business and now oversees a large team of transcription typists across Australia and New Zealand. The Transcription People service clients from across Australia, the USA and the UK and boasts AMP, Holden, Ernst & Young as some of her clients.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Burn and Label CD and DVDs on Windows or Mac

CD DVD Label Software for Mac or WindowsNCH Software provides a wide range of multimedia software allowing you to record, edit, convert and combine digital photos, audio and video files. And what comes after your digital remastering? You can take advantage of the Upload to YouTube feature built into many of our software programs, but another great option is to burn your projects to CD or DVD. With Express Burn Disc Burning Software you can burn audio, video and data to CDs, DVDs and even Blue-Ray discs in a variety of file formats. Simply drag, drop and burn and in minutes you have a finished disc. You could stop there, or maybe scribble something on the disc with a sharpie, but if you want to really make your burned discs stand out you can create customized CD and DVD labels and cases with Disketch Disc Label Software for that finishing touch and to help keep your discs organized.

Disketch Labeling Software was recently released for the Mac for the first time, making it easy for anyone to create personalized labels and cases by adding text, color and images.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Set A Time Limit On Computer Use

Set A Time Limit On Kids Computer UseIf your children wouldn't do anything other than play on the computer if given the chance, then the newest feature added to Verity Parental Control Software maybe exactly what you need. A new Time Limits tab has been added to Verity's Parental Controls allowing parents to set time limits on computer usage according to the day of the week or the time of day. You can also set program or website exceptions that won't count toward the allowable quota, so it will still be possible for your child to type a report in Word or practice their typing skills with KeyBlaze Typing Tutor, without eating into the allowable game time your kids crave.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Do More with Audio - Blog Carnival October 3, 2011

Here are this edition's entries to Do More with Audio:

HBAJAKE presents Should You Use Compression In Audio Recording? posted at Home Brew Audio

Martha presents Katy Perry Ties Michael Jackson's Record; Will She Break It?, saying, "Katy Perry is no one-hit wonder. This week, her latest single reached number one on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. The track is her fifth number-one single off her latest album, which ties her for the most all-time off of one record. Michael Jackson was the only other artist to ever reach that number."

Danielle MacInnis presents Podcasting for small business posted at Flying Solo

Kelley Wilson presents 10 Reasons that iTunes is So Popular posted at MacApper.

Ken presents Top Audio Editor Even More Affordable In September posted at Pro PC Audio Recording on a Budget

bristolstudios presents Recording: Home Quality vs. Studio Quality posted at bristol recording and voice studios

Marie Kazalia presents Making Music From Everyday Objects, saying, "Sound artist R. Weis created his new Excitable Audible CD over a period of more than two years using recordings of many commonplace sounds found in his home."

You might also be interested in:That concludes this edition of Do More with Audio. Be sure to Submit your audio articles for the next edition.
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