Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Saving Loops and Samples for DJs

Feedback from our customers is very important in helping improve our software product offerings. Some of the best features in our products have been suggested by people who have used our software and have ideas on how to make it better. One of the most recent updates to our Zulu DJ Software came about as a result of feedback from DJs.

Zulu now features an enhanced, easy-to-use sample bank that lets you load up to 32 loops and samples that you can easily access while tracks are playing on the main decks. The Loops and Samples tab is located in the lower pane along with the Playlist.

Zulu D J Mixing Software Loop and Sample Bank

DJs can use the Loops and Samples bank for any kind of short recording that they want to drop in while a song is playing, or even use it in between songs for announcements. The recordings can be played once or can be set to loop mode to continue playing until paused or turned off. Each sample also features volume control and buttons for sync and pitch. The sync button allows you to sync the sample file beat to the beat of the currently loaded deck. Use the pitch button to prevent pitch changes while you sync the beat.

Whether you're DJing a wedding, adding life to a party, working as club DJ, or just having fun at home, the enhanced Loops and Samples bank in Zulu DJ Software will help you sound your best.

Friday, May 24, 2013

WavePad Now Available for Android

WavePad Android Audio Editing App The long time NCH favorite, WavePad Sound Editor, is now available for Android phones and tablets. With releases of the popular, easy-to-use audio editor already available for Windows, Mac, iPhone and iPad we are extremely excited to round things off with the Android version.

Like the other versions, the WavePad Audio Editing Android App provides the same easy audio recording and editing tools you want, simply on another platform. So no matter what your preferred operating system is, or if you are at the desk or on the road, audio enthusiasts everywhere can rely on WavePad Audio Editing Software to be there to record and edit music, interviews and other audio.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Bringing Fond Memories Back to Life

Guest post by John Albergo

My dad was an engineer and a shutterbug, which meant that our vacations were meticulously captured through the lens of his German Leica. This was both a blessing and a curse.

Up close and personal with a buffalo

First, the blessing: Our summer car trips covered the Dakotas, Wyoming, Colorado, Montana and Alberta, and Dad captured everything on film—35mm slides, to be specific. The engineer in him demanded perfection, which resulted in beautiful photos of incredible, indescribable landscapes that most people never see. Even as children, we were awestruck by the forces of nature that merged to create these scenes—Yellowstone Park, Old Faithful, Twin Falls, the Grand Tetons, Glacier Park, the Badlands, rivers, forests, plains, snow-capped mountains and, of course, wildlife.

John's brother Pat, at Badlands National Park. "Take just a few more steps back..."

Now the curse: Fast forward to 2012. I inherited more than 1,000 slides, all neatly organized into cartridges, that were taking up space in my basement. Suddenly, there was a renewed interest in slides that no one has seen in years; now everyone wanted to see them again. I had to figure out how to digitize and share them across several states. It would have taken me weeks to scan, edit and clean up all of the old slides, so I opted to have them professionally scanned. (Hint: Some photo and film digitizing services send their work overseas on container ships, which can take months, so I chose a company that does everything locally)

Rather than simply send everyone CDs with a bunch of images, I wanted to create a slide show in which they could identify what the photos were. I downloaded a trial of PhotoStage Slideshow Maker and created a show with a few scanned images; I was sold immediately. Creating and editing a slide show is simple. Once I created a slide show, altering the duration of each slide took only a few clicks, allowing me to time the music I added to the show down to the second.

That was nice for starters, but the real test was when I got nearly 500 hi-res images back from the scanning service. I found that uploading even a high volume of images into PhotoStage is fast, and it allowed me the option of transferring everything in sub-folders that indicated where groups of photos were taken, such as "Glacier Park" and "Little Bighorn." The folders show up in the menu system of DVD players, allowing viewers to select sideshows by location or subject. Once I created and saved the show, it was just a matter of copying it to a CD or DVD.

Memories Preserved for Lifetime
Whether your family's cherished memories are sitting in boxes of photos, neatly arranged photo albums or encased in slide carousels, that's all they're doing—just sitting there. And they can fade over time or, heaven forbid, be destroyed by natural disasters. Once you digitize them, PhotoStage lets you recreate and preserve those memories and enhance them with music, titles and other effects. Everyone in my family can now view these photos as a reminder not only of our beautiful country but how truly fortunate we were to have a Dad who wanted us to see it.

John Albergo is a writer with more than 15 years of experience in business communications, spanning IT services, software licensing, health and safety programs, and general business. He's also a bit of a shutterbug and even had his own darkroom while in high school.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Just for Fun: Quotes About Music

A little fun for your Friday, here are a few music quotes we've come across to help inspire you as you are creating music whether on an instrument or with music software.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Create a Panorama with Photo Stitching

Panoramic Photo Stitching Software If you don't have a panoramic camera, you can still make panoramic photos by stitching several photos together. To successfully create a panorama you will need to take two—or more—pictures that overlap. Photo stitching software will need to scan the images to find points that match up in order to fit them together. A good rule of thumb is to take the pictures so that about a fourth of width overlaps other images.

For the best results, in addition to making sure the images overlap you also want to be sure you don't move or change any camera settings like the zoom, between the pictures in the panorama series. Changing your position or other settings will make it difficult, if not impossible, to stitch the photos together.

When you have photos ready to be stitched together open PhotoPad photo editing software and select Panorama on the Tools tab. This will open the Create Panoramic Image dialog where you can Add all of your overlapping photos and arrange them in order in the top preview window. When all of the photos have been added and are in the right order, you can click Update Panorama to stitch together a preview of the panoramic image. If you add or delete any source images the panorama will be deleted. When you are happy with the results in the panorama preview simply click OK and a new project will be created for the panoramic photo.

Note making panoramic images is a resource intensive process, so it can take a long time, and uses a lot of memory. If your computer runs out of memory, try scaling down the images, or using fewer photos.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Track Your Hours and Time Spent on Projects

time recording - timesheet tracking software Eliminate the tedious process of creating time sheets after the fact by tracking your time as you go with HourGuard time tracking software and track not only your total time spent working, but the time spent on individual projects or tasks. This makes HourGuard ideal for freelancers and professionals who bill by the hour.

Simply create a list of tasks and sub-tasks. When you start working on something, select that task from the list and click the green Start Task button. Switching tasks will stop timing on the current task and start timing on the new one, or click Stop when you're done. Later you can generate reports for a period of time to see a breakdown of the time you spent on individual tasks.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Video Competition Tips & Advice

VideoPad Video Editing for Video Competitions Ready to take your videos beyond home movies? For VideoPad users who are ready to showcase their creativity and videographer skills, we've put together some advice and resources for getting your videos ready to compete.

There are a wide range of video contests out there, put on by all kinds of companies and products, in a variety of themes. The smaller contests will have smaller prizes, but they will also have less competition, so they are still worth considering. To find a contest that appeals to you here are a few sites to explore: Once you have a contest picked out the real work starts. Be sure to take your time and do your due diligence instead of jumping straight into filming.

Do Your Homework
Make sure that you read the rules and judging criteria carefully. Knowing how a winner will be chosen will help you make a video that will fit the bill.

Scripting and Story Line
Having a good story is key, so take the time to brainstorm until you have a story you are confident in. You want a moving story that fits in with the contest theme and connects with the viewer. Humor is often one way to draw people in, but it isn't always easy to pull off and certainly isn't the only option. You can tug at the heart strings or appeal to people's sense of justice, etc. The goal is always to create a story people will want to watch through to the end.

Practice and Timing
Since you will almost always have a time limit, you need to make sure you can take your story from beginning to end in the time allowed. With a limited amount of time, subplots and tangents should scrapped, and you need to grab your audience in the beginning. You want to start with a strong hook, and keep things moving through the conclusion. When reading through your script and practicing, you should not only make sure you are familiar with the dialogue, working on making it sound natural and animated, you should also be testing how long it takes to read through. Does it fit within the video time limitations? As you go through this process you should think about if there are any awkward phrases you should remove, or other edits to either cut down the length or help with the rhythm of your story and keep things moving forward.

Depending on who is sponsoring the contest you may want to try to work them into your video. Maybe use one of their products as a prop or have it in the background. If they are doing the judging this could earn you some brownie points, but don't force it if it really doesn't make sense with your story.

Dialogue and Audio
Audio quality in your video matters. It is an important part of a film as a whole, and poor audio can detract from a film and cause people to lose interest, so don't forget about the audio. Dialogue should sound natural and animated, which can be a challenge both in writing and performing, as well as in recording. You should strongly consider using an external microphone for recording high quality audio. You want the dialogue to be easy to hear and understand, and have a consistent volume between shots.

If you do use the built in microphone on your camcorder remember you can still separate the audio from the video so you clean the audio, remove background noise, normalize and make other adjustments. For a closer look at some important audio editing features you may want to use, see our list of WavePad audio editing tips and tricks.

Adding Music
Adding music to your soundtrack can help draw the audience in, but be sure to balance the volume with any dialogue. And make sure that you either get permission before using copyrighted music from the publisher, or steer clear of copy protected music altogether and use royalty-free music and original works. You may be required to provide proof of copyright/permission for the audio in your video with your submission; using copyrighted music without permission can not only get your video disqualified, it can cause legal problems, so getting and sending proof of permission for a piece of music is in your best interests.

Filming and Editing
Important things to remember are that you want to maintain sharp focus and limit the amount of zooming and camera movement. Consider using a tripod during filming. Shaking can be removed from video using video stabilization, and if you are using handheld camcorders or cell phones this will be a necessary step, but using a tripod will eliminate the need for stabilization in editing.

For a closer look at some more VideoPad editing features you may want to use, see our post on video editing tips and tricks, but remember you want to entertain the audience, not to make them nauseous. Excessive camera movement or overdoing the effects can be distracting, and like everything else you want the transitions and movement to support the story, not draw attention to itself.

Double Check Everything
Before you send in you video be sure to double check everything. Did you follow all of the guidelines? Is the movie saved in the correct format and does it meet the time requirements? After all of the work you put in it you don't want to have your video thrown out because you forgot something. If you will be submitting your video on a DVD, do not include menus unless they were asked for. The judges will will be watching hundreds of entries, so this is another case where time matters and they will want the video to start playing automatically.

Submit Your Video
When you're sure you have dotted all your i's and crossed all your t's send in your submission. If it is being judged by the community be sure to let your friends, family and colleagues know to check it out and vote for you, otherwise it will now be out of your hands. But win or lose, you should have a video you are proud of.

If you have any more advice to share please comment, and Good Luck with your videos!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Do More with Video - Blog Carnival May 6, 2013

do more with video
Here are this edition's entries to Do More with Video:

Brian Green presents Five things Every New Filmmaker Should Know posted at Film Making Stuff, saying, "A few tips I learned while producing my first feature length movie that I think every first time film-maker should know."

Hal Robertson presents Diegetic Sound posted at Videomaker, saying, "Diegetic sounds are the sounds that on-screen characters are hearing. If you want to tell a story and make viewers care, diegetic sound can really help seal the deal and help draw in the audience. Sound is, after all, at least half of a film."

Lincoln Spector presents How to grab a freeze-frame from a video posted at PCWorld.

Kyle Cassidy presents Shooting Tips for Beginners posted at Videomaker, saying, "Everyone starts somewhere, and what might be second nature to an old pro can be confusing to someone just starting out, so here are some tips for the beginner."

Duncan Wright presents Lights, Camera, Action, SEO! posted at BSA Marketing, saying, "Video as a marketing tool is now within the reach of most businesses,making video SEO a vital part of any search marketing strategy."

Dave Johnson presents Shoot now, focus later: Change the focus after you take a photo posted at TechHive, saying, "Cameras like the Lytro have changed the idea of focusing entirely, allowing you to change the focus of Lytro photos after they’re taken. Here is how you cam simulate Lytro photos with your current camera."

You might also be interested in: That concludes the first edition of Do More with Video. If you have a video story to share from home movies to video production submit your blog posts about video for the next edition.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

A WavePad Audio Editor Pre-Download Preview

Once again thanks to CNET you can take a short "video tour" of some of the wonderful features that make WavePad audio editor such a favorite for editing all kinds of audio. This is just a quick peek at the program, remember that you can also check out our list of audio editing tips and tricks to get started and watch our series of WavePad video tutorials for some more in depth instructions via video.

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