Today we're announcing the release of the new Kadoo Air Uploader. Its drag and drop interface makes uploading your personal videos a breeze!
An app that runs from your desktop, the uploader allows you to designate privacy settings for multi-file uploads as a batch or on a file-by-file basis. And because the Kadoo Air Uploader is an app, Internet disruption no longer means starting from scratch. The uploader will pick up where it left off when your connection is restored.
A byproduct of Kadoo’s Best Feature Request Contest is the opportunity to connect with customers. After we announced the winning entry I began having conversations with the people who submitted ideas. I’m in search of enlightenment—the unbiased customer perspective. Kadoo is about to embark on a very exciting chapter in our lifecycle, and here’s where I think a lot of companies get it wrong.
People in high tech companies talk a lot about ‘eating their own dog food’ and ‘drinking their own Kool-Aid.' You should use your own product. After all, if the product is not good enough for the people who build it, why would anyone else want to use your stuff? The problem for many companies is they forget to invite the neighbors over for dinner once in while to see if what’s on the menu is as good as they think.
It turns out the contest and iPad 2 winner is a fan and wrote a product review for his blog. It feels great to hear you’ve done something well. Perhaps it’s even more important to hear what we could be doing better. So here’s my open call for feedback. Our ears are open. Just shoot me an email and we’ll set aside some time to chat.
A well-lighted video—even one shot with a home camcorder—immediately delivers a professional image. While a poorly lighted video, no matter how expensive the camcorder used to shoot it, says 'amateur.' Here are three quick tips to get that professional look in your home video studio.
Use fluorescent lights. A quick way to get smooth, even, lighting in your videos is to use two banks of full spectrum, natural color fluorescent lights. The advantages of using fluorescent lights are many. They don’t produce heat, which can be a real problem when shooting in confined spaces. They also produce natural, even, lighting that tends to surround the subject. Fluorescents don't produce harsh shadows and they won’t blind the talent. Quite affordable, fluorescents cost less than $40 per fixture including tubes and they can be left on full time.
Not just any fluorescent lights will do, however; you’ll need fluorescent fixtures with electronic ballasts (this avoids flicker and hum), and you’ll want to use 5000k full spectrum, natural color tubes. (Philips Natural Color fluorescent tubes at Home Depot sell for under $6 each.)
Placement of the light fixtures is important in order to achieve the right results. Place one bank of two tubes horizontally six feet above the floor to the right of the camera. Another bank of two tubes should be placed vertically standing on the floor off to the left of the camera. (To get the lights 6 feet above the floor use either a heavy duty light stand, or a rolling rack—even a shelving unit will do.)
Use a light reflector. An easy way to create highlights and eliminate shadows is to use a light reflector to help bounce light into areas that need it. Light reflectors come in many shapes and colors and are very affordable. You can find multi-reflectors on eBay for under $20.
Manually white balance the camera. If you fail to manually "white balance," video shot with incandescent lighting will tend to have a yellow cast, and video shot under fluorescent lighting will have a bluish cast.
To manually white balance, have someone sit in the 'talent' seat holding a white card, and then zoom the camera in on the card so that it fills the viewfinder. Then, press your camcorder’s White Balance button. The camcorder will then do the white balance calculation. Normally, the process takes just a few seconds. After the camcorder has been white balanced, any video taken will have its color temperature shifted correctly. If you turn off the camcorder, be sure to do another white balance before you start to tape.
Following the three simple tips can help you get the professional look that your video deserves—and the look that your customers expect in high quality productions.
If you had just three minutes in the hot seat, what would you tell the world about your company? That happened to Kadoo a couple of weeks ago when we were offered a spot on The UpStart Show.
For the past 10 years, Mike Binko has wanted to shed light on the innovation economy. His vision: to create a meeting place for entrepreneurs, angels, and venture capitalists online. The UpStart Show does that through studio quality production of educational programming. Startups learn what's expected when they look for funding; funders gain qualified deal flow.
The UpStart Show shot its pilot program nine months ago. Since then, a standard format has evolved and more than 75 companies have been featured. As Mike puts it, "sitting on the hot seat under the bright lights for three minutes gives viewers an opportunity to peer into the entrepreneur's soul." Believe me. It's an interesting way to make a first impression.
We learned first-hand what Mike means about pressure. Our CMO, Donna Hemmert, called that morning and told me we had this incredible opportunity—and three hours to prepare. I rushed over and we wrote a script. We're raising Series A now, so we already had a tight story as a starting point. But, we had to cut the story down to a three-minute pitch and make it flow.
Then came practice. Our CEO, Kurt Baumann, took the script and made it his own. It sounds easy, but the pressure really was on. Rehearse so that the story flows, but don't practice so much that you become a stiff talking head. (If you watch the show, you'll see the hot seat treated Kurt kindly.)
We arrived at the studio about 1:00. Mike was there to meet us, along with Bill Hornbeck, Executive Producer of Videokast.tv. They gave us a quick tour of the set, which is in a professional-grade studio, and walked us through how the show would work. A panel discussion follows the hot seat segment. Julia Spicer, Executive Director for the Mid-Atlantic Venture Association (MAVA) was the day's featured panelist.
Now's the perfect time for The UpStart Show to feature Julia Spicer. On May 12-13, MAVA is presenting Capital Connection '11, one of the nation's premier venture and private equity conferences. In fact, Kadoo has been invited to participate this year, so The UpStart Show was good practice.
Donna and I stayed in studio and watched the filming. It turned out to be another very fun day at work.
Thank you to everyone who participated in the Kadoo Best Feature Request Contest. We had so many terrific ideas that we also awarded two Roku digital players.
The terrific ideas don’t end here, though. If you're interested in speaking with us directly, we're in the process of conducting customer surveys. Your feedback tells us if we’ve hit the mark or need to go back to the drawing board. Email us to schedule a time to chat.
We appreciate the thoughtfulness of your submissions. Please continue beta testing and working with us to improve the product to make Kadoo the easiest, most fun way to share your videos in the cloud. We couldn't do it without you.
Given the quality of photos and videos you get from iPhone and Android devices, it doesn't seem reasonable to buy a single function device unless you're a professional videographer or enthusiast. Unless, of course, you want one of the few niche features that won't make it to your smartphone.
I admit to having purchased a Flip video camera before we went to Italy last summer. I take a lot of video while on vacation and didn't want to clog up my iPhone's memory—or worse run completely out of space. My Flip holds 4 hours worth of video. For me, that was a critical feature. And frankly, as much as I love my iPhone, I also love my Flip. (I am purchasing accessories while they're still available, including a wide angle lens!)
The ability to shoot under water is another feature that makes a single function device seem like a reasonable purchase. For people who love to play in the water, Toshiba released Camileo BW10… just in time for summer. If you want to swim to greater depths, or need an optical zoom, check out the Sanyo VPC-WH1. Both are available for less than $200.
Stay tuned. We'll annouce the winner of our Best Feature Request contest later this week.
By now you've probably seen the commercial of the guy getting flack at the airport. Does he have a phone—or a laptop? We've finally entered the era where a multi-function device actually means an 'all function' device. That's the ultimate phase of convergence.
The cloud is one of those things that makes the all-in-one technology possible. With cloud storage, you don't need that much memory. You only need the capability, and even that came come largely as a service.
The hardware is not quite there yet, as evidenced by the review in TechRepublic—but it's an exciting preview of things to come. I can't wait until there's a little competition for the Motorola Atrix.
I, for one, an excited about having a single device. After years of lugging a laptop, smartphone and other accoutrements around, it's about time I can carry my office in my purse—or pocket for that matter.
Thank you to everyone who has submitted feature requests. We've heard all sorts of exciting things and have decided to extend the submission deadline to April 22. In addition to being the one video sharing service that respects your privacy, our goal is to make Kadoo the easiest, most fun service to use. With your help, of course.
The best feature request (as determined by our marketing team) will win an iPad 2. Just email your ideas to enter!
The fine print:
1. You can submit as many ideas as you like.
2. If more than one person submits the same idea, the first entry will win.
3. Entrants must be 13 years of age or older.
4. Submissions are due by Friday, April 22, 11:59 p.m. PT.
5. Kadoo's Marketing team will select the winner.
6. The winner will be notified via email.
7. All decisions are final.
As a follow up to Dan's post on Monday about getting rid of "the shakes," there's a new iPhone 4 app—SteadyCam Pro. With a 2 star rating on V 1.0.1, I'd recommend trying the free version so you can try before you buy.
There's a caveat—the free version is for trial only. It limits you to 15 seconds of video and has a watermark. It's enough for you to know whether or not you like the app.
Digital video cameras get smaller each year. As a result, they have become harder to stabilize. Shooting footage simply by holding the camera in you hand often causes the "shaky camera" effect in which the images jump around in short jerks or wobbles in synchronicity with the videographer's steps.
The image in your viewfinder should have a level horizon line; the image should not jump and the camera movement should not jerk. Luckily, many digital cameras now come with a feature known as digital stabilization. Image stabilization can be used to reduce the apparent jitters or shakiness in a scene, especially when using the zoom. (When you zoom into an image, any camera movement will be magnified.)
Even when your camera is in image stabilization mode, try to move the camera smoothly and steadily. The best way to do this is by mounting your camera on a tripod. With a tripod's swivel head slightly loose, you can move your camera side to side and up and down with ease. If you can't use a tripod, try leaning your body against something solid (such as a doorway, a fence, or a post) for support. You'll be surprised at how much more stable your videos are as opposed to the ones you shoot while standing on your own.