Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Business Software Integration Improves Inventory Tracking

At NCH Software we take suggestions from our customers very seriously. It helps us improve our products when people who use the software ask us to provide features and upgrades that would help them.

Inventory tracking better integrated in NCH Software business programs For our business customers, tracking inventory is an important part of their daily business processes. Inventoria inventory management software is a full featured inventory system for managing available stock, and many customers have asked us to integrate this inventory tracking with our accounting software Express Accounts, our invoicing software Express Invoice, and Copper our point-of-sale software so that they can better track inventory when selling items using these other business programs.

That integration is now available and we've received positive feedback from users who say that it has helped them in their day-to-day business operations.

Express Invoice, Express Accounts, and Copper can all be set to sync with Inventoria. This means, for example, that if you sell a product using Copper point-of-sale it will automatically update the quantity in Inventoria. Both products can be installed on different computers and as long as those computers are connected to the Internet it doesn't matter where the computers are located. That means that your warehouse could be next door, across the country or around the world and the sale will be reflected in your inventory almost instantly. The sync process works the same for Express Accounts and Express Invoice as it does for Copper.

This integration is a significant improvement to the NCH Software business suite. We've got many more improvements planned for not only our business software but for our entire product line as wells, so stay tuned and continue to let us know how we can best improve our software for you.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Why Do High Sample Rates Sound Better?

Guest post by Rupert Pfaff

Human hearing is generally defined as extending from 20Hz to 20kHz, and the Nyquist criteria states that a sampling rate of at least double the highest audio frequency must be used in order to accurately to represent the signal. An unwanted side-effect of analogue to digital conversion is 'aliasing', where musically unrelated signal noise enters the audio band, so an 'anti-aliasing' filter is used to prevent this, but because it is not possible to implement an infinitely steep filter, a slightly higher sample rate is used than is theoretically necessary. This is how the CD standard of 44.1kHz came about (a little more than double 20kHz), and DAT took this up to 48kHz to allow varispeed recording.

Set audio sample rate in WavePad audio editing software So if we can't hear above 20kHz, why record at very high sample rates such as 96kHz or even 192kHz? Some have suggested that although we don't actually hear 'supersonic' frequencies, we somehow perceive them by another means, but experiments that artificially add and remove these frequencies have shown this not to be the case. But 'golden eared' tests which have made A/B comparisons of the same equipment operating at standard and high sample rates have revealed that 96kHz & 192kHz recordings do sound subjectively better - so what's going on?

The answer lies primarily with the anti-aliasing filters - even the best designed filters produce a certain amount of 'ripple' that extends downwards from the cut-off point and gradually tails off, and this is perceived as a 'smearing' of high frequencies and the stereo image. But by moving the cutoff point way up (say to 96kHz), the ripple has all but disappeared by the time it gets down to audio frequencies, and hence, substantially improved sound quality. Importantly though, it follows that this improvement is maintained even after the sample rate has been converted down to normal rates, as no new A/D conversion is required, and therefore, no anti-aliasing filter.

Experienced Recording Studio Engineer Guidelines
In the early days of high sample rate recording, there was a preference for using multiples of the 'CD' frequency (44.1kHz), i.e. 88.2kHz or 176.4Hz - this was because sample rate conversion was a very difficult thing to do at the time, and better quality could be achieved when converting down to 44.1kHz by using an integer multiple. However this is no longer the case, and our usual preferred rate for acoustic recording is 96kHz for a variety of reasons:
  • 96kHz is the native frequency of many DVD audio releases
  • Although 192kHz does sound a little better than 96kHz, the improvement is marginal
  • Some plug-ins do not handle 192kHz audio
  • Processing power is reduced to roughly a quarter of that available at 48kHz
That said, if you are working very largely with virtual instruments that have mostly only been sampled at 44.1kHz, and/or you like to use a lot of tracks and processing, it may be more sensible to stick to 44.1kHz. Or if you're making a small classical or jazz recording, you may only need a few tracks and little processing, and want to eke out every last bit of quality you can, then go for 192kHz - let your music make the decision for you.

Rupert Pfaff has worked in the music industry for over 20 years having operated a well known music shop in London before becoming a sound engineer and technical authority for mixing and mastering. Now involved with the day to day running and managing the online bookings for RecordingStudioLondon.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Is It Checkbook or Chequebook?

"The United States and Great Britain are two countries
separated by a common language."

— Attributed to George Bernard Shaw
although there's some debate about that too

One of our customers in the United Kingdom recently pointed out that our use of the word "checkbook" in our MoneyLine personal finance software was incorrect and that it should be "chequebook" instead.
What is the correct spelling?
Here in the US the British spelling with a "q" "u" and an extra "e" looks pretty strange. But, then, I guess to folks in Great Britain the "c" and "k" in our version looks equally strange.

To top it off, our CEO is from Australia, and many of our software developers are based there too. So we have the conflicting Australian English to deal with as well. It can all get pretty confusing. Sometimes we need a translator just so we can all speak the same language. And we all speak English!

We Americans tend to think our version is the "correct" one, but what do you think? Do we have it right when we say "checkbook" in MoneyLine? Do you use "checkbook" or "chequebook?"

Monday, July 22, 2013

Are You A Typing Hero?

New typing hero game in KeyBlaze typing tutor We know that leaning to type is important. Touch typing is a skill you'll use throughout your life. And with the need to learn how tow to type at a younger age we are continuing to work on making learning to type more fun. Besides, whoever said practice had to be boring? To make learning to type more fun, we just added a new typing game to KeyBlaze typing tutorTyping Hero.

In the spirit of Guitar Hero, in Typing Hero, letters come down the screen and the player needs to type those letters as they cross the line. It starts out slow, but as the speed increases it starts to create a typing rhythm in addition to encouraging the use of the correct fingers which are color coded for you at the bottom of the screen.

Give Typing Hero and the other typing games in KeyBlaze typing tutor software a try and see if you don't enjoy improving your typing skills and speed just a little bit more. Then let us know, what’s your best score?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Trends in Voice Over & the Affect on Audio/Video Production

Guest post by David Ciccarelli, CEO & Co-Founder of Voices.com

The art of communication - the most powerful, persuasive, and distinctly human tool in any marketer’s arsenal - has evolved to the degree that you don’t have to be in the same room to get a message across, or even be in the same country for that matter.

With this advancement, making sure the audience receives, understands, believes, and acts upon your message is so important. Hiring a voice-over artist with good acting skills (listen to podcast) can ensure your video production achieves the desired response.

Trends in Voice Over Audio Production Voice actors play many different roles, each one representing a different purpose and segment of voice-over work. Commercials, entertainment, business and educational videos are just some examples of where you’ll hear voice-overs.

With the rise of social networks over the last decade, it’s become clear that we trust the recommendations of friends and family members. It’s for this reason that one role has risen above the rest among video producers looking to have their stories told in a persuasive, trustworthy manner.

Introducing the Real-Person
Projects requiring a more casual approach often benefit from relatable, genuine voice-overs. These are referred to as real-person voice-overs, often cast as “the regular guy” or “the girl next door.” The character is homegrown, sensible, and friendly with a touch of familiarity. This provides a more intimate interpretation of the message and instills trust with the audience.

You’ve probably heard the real-person in commercials, podcasts, explainer videos, and any other application where the voice actor needs to speak as though he or she is having a conversation with the listener.

By their very design, these types of reads sound natural and connect with the audience in a more direct, affable way.

Becoming More Conversational
In order to get that real-person read, the voice actor needs to sound informal and genuine. This can be more difficult than one might expect. It takes discipline and practice on the part of the voice actor to sound like they’re having a conversation rather than just reciting the message. This is where good direction comes in.

These tips will help you get the conversational read you’re looking for. Ask the voice actor to:
  • Speak Slowly. Reads come across with greater sincerity when spoken at a slightly slower pace. When people rush through their words, they can either sound like they’re hiding something or that what they have to say is more of a sales pitch. Although this is true, you may find that commercials don’t afford you the luxury of reading slower because they contain too much copy to read at a slower pace. Commercials require that the voice actor reads the copy within the time allotted for the spot. Keeping a steady metronome-like tempo gives the voice actor the freedom to massage each and every word and give it the proper attention it deserves while observing punctuation and places to breathe.
  • Speak Naturally. Reads are more conversational when they don’t sound as if the words or dialogues are contrived, meaning that it’s deliberately created instead of arising naturally. The trick to a conversational read is to have the voice actor picture themselves speaking to a friend or family member while reading their lines. With that, a more conversational flow to the read should occur.
  • Sound Authentic. Sounding authentic is an important aspect of delivering a real-person read, although doing so isn’t easy, especially when you’re recording a commercial or a piece that involves persuasion or the selling of an idea. Authenticity is important in voice acting because the listening audience needs to feel that what you’re telling them is true. To be authentic, make sure the listener will feel as though the voice matches the role.
Trying Out the Real-Person on Your Next Video
When hiring a voice actor to narrate the script of your next video, consider giving them the artistic direction described above. By doing so, your video will be more persuasive and encourage the viewer to take your desired action.

David Ciccarelli, CEO / Co-Founder of voices.com About the Authors: Stephanie Ciccarelli and David Ciccarelli are the founders of Voices.com, the largest global web hub for voice actors. Over the past nine years, Stephanie, David, and their team have grown Voices.com from the ground up to become the leader in the industry. This article was originally published in Voice Acting For Dummies and has been republished with permission from John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Down And Dirty EyeLine Security Software Review

EyeLine Video Surveillance Software Are you looking for a way to keep an eye on your home or office while you are away? Matthew Nawrocki of TechRepublic recently reviewed EyeLine Video Surveillance Software for just that and found "if you are looking for a useful tool to facilitate the creation of a quick and dirty security camera system for your office, EyeLine might be the ticket." Here is a look at what else Nawrocki had to say about EyeLine:

"NCH Software's security offering is definitely worth giving a try at least. As with their other products, they offer a free no-risk trial download so that you can give EyeLine a try and ensure that your hardware / software combination is fully supported. Because if it is, EyeLine has excellent features which can rival big name commercial video surveillance hardware kits which can cost much more."
  – TechRepublic

Read the complete EyeLine review on TechRepublic, or as Nawrocki suggests, Download EyeLine to give it a test drive with your video camera(s) and see if it is the right solution for you.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Recording A Video Audition

Record Video Audition Tape and Contest Entries From becoming a YouTube star, to entering contests held by talk shows, to sending in a video audition to become a game show contestant or star of a reality tv show, opportunities to use videos to help you find your fifteen minutes of fame are all around you. But with video recording and editing technology so prevalent, there is also a huge amount of competition. So, it is important to make a lasting impression with what limited time that you have.

To help make sure you shine in your audition roles, here is some advice for creating an audition tapes for all of our VideoPad video editor users and friends.

Eliminate Distractions
Many of the tips for entering video contests we mentioned back in May can apply to video entries to other types of competitions as well, but instead of selling a story, you are going to be selling yourself. And instead of editing a script to cut out anything not important to the central story you will instead need to cut out things could distract the judges from that star of this short film—you. Most of the advice below is centered on this idea of eliminating distractions, so if you don't take anything else away just remember that you want to keep people's attention on you.

Planning and Preparation
Creating a video of yourself certainly sounds a lot easier, you don't need to craft a story line, but that doesn't mean you should skip straight to filming. Read over the rules/requirements. What do you need to include? What are they looking for?

While you may not be writing out story you may still want to write yourself a script or dot points to practice from; like you might use if you were giving a speech. Let's face it, you may not have a big audience while the camera is rolling, but if you do your job well there could still be a large audience who watch your video later on.

Practice, Practice, Practice
Remember practice makes perfect, so practice, practice, practice. While writing out notes when you're getting ready will help you prepare, you don't want to stand in front of the camera reading from a piece of paper. Make sure you know what you want to cover in and out. Don't be afraid to film multiple takes and pay particular attention to filming and editing below to make sure you have clean video to send in.

Be Yourself
Filming multiple times may also help you get any camera shy nerves out of your system. You need to know what you want to say which is where the practice will help, but those nerves can sometimes make you stiff. Practice several times with the camera rolling to help you feel natural even with the red light on so that people will still see you and your personality, not just a robot regurgitating a script. It may be easier for some, but you want to come across as genuine.

Location, Location, Location
One thing that can hurt your chances but is easy to control is the setting. With few exceptions you want to avoid a cluttered backdrop that could distract people away from you. Try recording in front of a plain backdrop like a white wall or a solid-colored door. You can also consider filming at a nice outdoor location, but remember that focus should be largely on you so you want to avoid areas where there will be distracting sounds or commotion like traffic or people walking by. Filming outdoors could also make getting clear audio a bigger challenge depending on your device(s), so be prepared to need to do some audio editing with WavePad in addition to working with VideoPad.

Polish With a Little Video Editing
Editing your video shouldn't be an arduous task. The point of editing is just to polish off what you have already done. Cut out mistakes; make sure you are meeting any time requirements. Maybe add in a photo or two, but don't be tempted to use every effect at your disposal. Any editing you do should be to help you talk about and sell yourself. Keeping it simple is in your best interest.

For some help getting started and learning the simple editing basics, see our post on video editing tips and tricks and the VideoPad video tutorial.

Hopefully these tips will help you stay focused as you record and edit your video audition tapes. Most importantly have fun and good luck!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Royalty-Free Music Library

Royalty-Free SFX and Music Library When you purchase products like MixPad audio mixer, WavePad audio editor or VideoPad video editor from NCH Software, you get more than just high quality audio and video software. You also get hundreds of dollars worth of royalty-free music and sound effects that you can use in your productions.

Your purchase entitles you to download, at no additional cost, a wide array of music clips in genres such as blues, dance, and rock. You can also download lots of sound effects including animals, alarms, office sounds, sports and many others.

Music and sound effects libraries can cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars to purchase and use in your audio and video productions. But with products like VideoPad, WavePad and MixPad you won't spend an extra cent for all those music clips and sound effects.

The term royalty-free, if you're not familiar with it, means that you can use this copyrighted material without paying royalties or license fees for each use. The reason you don't have to pay is that NCH Software purchased this library of music and sound effects and negotiated to allow our customers free use of the library. Even if you are creating a project for which you're getting paid you can use the music and sound effects library for your production.

If you have wondered if the sound effects in the sound library can be used for your projects. The answer is that the library can be used in a wide range of productions:

You have the right to synchronize the audio content with audio and/or visual productions or applications such as:
  • film, video, DVD & TV productions
  • training, marketing and trade show presentations
  • corporate videos & educational applications
  • on hold messages & advertising
  • radio presentations & commercials
  • television presentations & commercials
  • live performances
  • speech & audio book products
  • Web pages & multimedia presentations
  • PowerPoint & Flash productions
  • interactive programs & computer games
  • AV & computer generated displays, podcasts
    (all such applications hereinafter referred to as "the Production")
You may create copies of the Production. If you sell, lease, give away or otherwise distribute copies of the Production, the rights and limitations to synchronized audio content as outlined are in effect for the life of the Production and pass automatically to the End User of the Production. All rights not expressly granted herein are reserved.

So, the next time you create an audio or video project, be sure to take advantage of the bonus royalty-free music and sound effects library included with your editing software.

Friday, July 5, 2013

New Book: Video Editing with NCH VideoPad for Dummies

video editing with videopad for dummies There is a new way to learn how easy video editing can be. Now at Best Buy you can find Video Editing with NCH VideoPad Software for Dummies. If you, or someone you know, is intimidated by the thought of sitting down and trying to edit your home movies, this book is the answer. Coming with a copy of VideoPad you can install on your Windows or Macintosh computer it will guide you through the editing process with all the tips and tricks you would expect from any for Dummies publication.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Do More with Video - Blog Carnival July 1, 2013

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

Teri Jones presents 10 Reasons to Visit a Drive-In Theater with The Kids posted at Nanny Jobs, saying, "Once the drive-in theater was a fixture on the American landscape. Young families with children and young couples with dates pulled their cars up to the screen, tuned their radios in and enjoyed the latest Hollywood hits on the big screen."

Javed Anwar presents How to be a video star posted at Times of India, saying, "The low-down on tools you can use for editing, watching, or backing up your videos."

Internet Video Gal presents Advice for Video Taping Weddings posted at Video Production Tips, saying, "How one videographer approached the art of a wedding video."

Jon presents Using Video Tutorials to Grow Your Business posted at Jontus Media, saying, "interview with a podcaster who is setting himself apart by also making outstanding video tutorials."

Using a Painted Wall for Green Screen Video Software? posted at Green Screen Blog, saying, "Some points to keep in mind if you want to use a wall painted green for chroma key video editing."

Jennifer O'Rourke presents Tips for Compiling Road Trip Videos posted at VideoMaker, saying, "Road trips for the annual family vacation might give some people thoughts of the horrors of a Griswold Family Vacation, but if you plan how you record it, you can come back with a great fun video to share."

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 video blog posts for the next edition.
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