Software allows professional video editingCamcorders are...

COMPUTER Q & A

April 12, 1993|By Knight-Ridder Tribune

Software allows professional video editing

Camcorders are everywhere these days. We use them to chronicle everything from birthdays to weddings.

If you've ever used one, you know that a lot of the footage taken is wasted. Out-of-focus shots, blurred images, shaky moments and several minutes of Uncle Murray doing bird impressions are typically interspersed between the important memories you want to preserve for all time.

Wouldn't it be nice if there was some way to accurately edit out the unwanted footage while pasting together everything else? That way, you would have a smoothly flowing professional presentation.

A new product allows you to use your personal computer to edit your tapes like the pros do.

VideoDirector connects the camcorder and VCR to your computer. This is done with a Y-shaped cable. One end plugs into the camcorder, another end goes into the computer. The third end sports an infrared transmitter and receiver that remotely controls the VCR.

When attached, the computer has complete and accurate control of everything connected. Your television screen displays the video. An option to view the video directly on the computer screen is available by adding any compatible video-in-a-window card.

The VideoDirector software allows simple, intuitive editing. You start with the camcorder containing the tape you want to edit and the VCR loaded with a blank tape. VideoDirector displays a VCR-style control for the camcorder. Using a mouse, simply click on any of the buttons, to play, rewind, fast-forward, etc.

VideoDirector requires an IBM-compatible running Windows 3.1 or higher and sells for $199.

Gold Disk

(310) 320-5080

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Program acts as personal travel assistant

QUESTION: I take my trusty laptop wherever I travel. Is there a program that will familiarize me with a city via maps, perhaps some suggested sights, restaurants, etc.?

ANSWER: Try Local Expert from Strategic Mapping. Available for more than 100 cities worldwide, it acts as your personal travel assistant.

Providing detailed maps, it tells you where to go, what to do and how to get there. Whether you're looking for a late-night copy center near your hotel, an authentic Italian restaurant or the hottest nightclub in town, Local Expert will point you in the right direction.

Local Expert comes with a base collection of world and regional maps for $99. Detailed information on specific cities is available separately for $25 each. Updates are available from Strategic for $15 each.

Each "City MapSet" displays detailed maps of the most popular areas of the city. Information is compiled from sources including local correspondents and city magazine reader polls. Strategic assures that each detail is current and accurate. Available for the Apple Macintosh, a Windows version will be available shortly.

Travel Companion, a similar product for DOS users, contains information on 25 cities in America. It sells for $79.95 and can be purchased from Software Toolworks.

Strategic Mapping

(800) 442-8887 or (408) 970-9600

Software Toolworks

(415) 883-3000

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Never enough help for computer stress

Q: I have purchased many items about which you have written that relate to computer stress. I now use a wrist rest, a special back support and an anti-glare filter. What else can I get to help me through my computer day?

A: Environmental science has shown that sound can contribute to your state of mind. So it was a natural leap to make the computer generate relaxing sounds to soothe you throughout your business day.

Zounds is a little background program that plays your choice of relaxing sounds while you use your computer. It comes with a collection that includes Aviary, By the Bay, Hearth, Swamp (complete with frogs and crickets), Harps and On the Farm.

Each contains a variety of sounds, so things don't get monotonous. It's Raining, my favorite, varies the intensity of rain along with gentle thunder and an occasional thunder crash.

If you are the more productive type, you might like Zounds' Italian, which repeats commonly used Italian phrases. I don't think Zounds will teach you to speak Italian, but it sounds nice.

So, relax, activate On The Farm, and listen to those chickens. Zounds is for the Apple Macintosh and sells for $49.99.

Digital Eclipse Software

(800) 289-3374 or (510) 547-6101

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(Craig Crossman is the host of a weekly radio show, Computer America, heard nationwide. Send questions in care of Business Monday, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, Fla. 33132. Please include your phone number.)

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