Over the past couple of months, I’ve been heads down and out of sight–even off Twitter, gasp!–working on SocialRep and working for our customers. I’ve finally got a few moments to come up for air, and I want to write a few posts about some of the cool projects our customers are developing. You can take this as a disclaimer: I’m honored by the customers we’re working with and I’m excited about what they’re doing. I’m not wearing the hat of a reporter, but of a marketing exec, so take any comments I make about products and services in that light.
For today’s post, I want to highlight Creative Labs, one of the most prolifically innovative consumer electronic companies out there. In the early days of the desktop revolution, Creative developed the SoundBlaster, bringing high fidelity sound to what otherwise would be just computing machines with video. What’s multimedia without sound? Years later, before anyone heard of the iPod, Creative began developing MP3 players, like the Nomad and the Nomad Jukebox, which later evolved into the Zen that Creative still produces today. They have an incredibly broad product line of computer sound cards, headphones, MP3 players, pro audio equipment, video conferencing equipment, home audio devices to wirelessly join your computer and stereo, and the Vado line of pocket video cameras, the smallest HD cameras on the market. I’ve joked they should market themselves as the Willy Wonka of consumer electronics.
Creative is working incredibly hard to redefine the way they develop and market products, and I’ve had the great fortune of working them on some projects. One of the benefits, of course, is scoring some sample products, and I took home an armload of Creative products to play with. One product, which I’ve become addicted to is a high-end gaming headset with a noise canceling microphone. I can do Skype calls from the coffee roasters and no one can tell I’m not in my office. But the product I wanted to shamelessly shill today is their Vado HD, a tiny hi-def video camera that’s smaller than your wallet, but shoots an hour of high quality video. The uses for a blogger like me are obvious, promising the ability to shoot interviews and customer case studies with a device I can fit in a jacket pocket. (Now if only I could fit my production and editing partners in a pocket too…)
So I shot my first ready-for-YouTube video this weekend. Peter Byck, the CEO of Winery Exchange invited me up to his family’s ranch and winery at Paradise Ridge for his annual holiday campout. Up near the winery, they’ve partnered with local artists to provide a place to install large sculptures. There are some truly amazing pieces of art, many of which incorporate sound and interaction. One of those pieces I captured on hi-def video using the Vado HD.
I still have a lot to learn about using such a small camera correctly. Ideally, you want to capture a short piece in one take with no need to edit. When you do, you can literally just plug the camera into a USB port, use the popup video browser to find your clip, press the YouTube button and fill out your video data, and the next step is watching your uploaded video on the Web. Check out the clip in HD if you have a good connection.
As I mentioned, Creative is doing a lot of work on redefiining their marketing approach. Keep an eye out for some of their new programs and campaigns. I’ll post more about what Ican, when I can.