FlexCam is now available for desktop videoThe concept of...

COMPUTER Q & A

April 26, 1993

FlexCam is now available for desktop video

The concept of desktop publishing was introduced with the Macintosh. Since then, combining other words with "desktop" has created even more categories of computer productivity.

Take desktop marketing, for example. Since the introduction of CD-ROM, you can get a single disk that contains the names and addresses of everyone in the United States. A marketing person's dream, and for others, a privacy nightmare.

One interesting desktop field is desktop video. This allows you to edit full-motion video on your computer. Sophisticated programs give you total control, with features such as frame-by-frame editing and special effects.

The final result may be viewed directly on the computer screen or transferred to videotape for playback on conventional video equipment.

Desktop conferencing is another use for video. A small window, displayed along with the rest of your work, shows the person to whom you are speaking.

Both desktop video applications require a color camera. Until recently, you had to connect a bulky color video camera or camcorder with a microphone to input the color video and sound. A camera on a tripod perched on your desk does the job, but the folks at VideoLabs Inc. thought they could do better. With FlexCam, they have.

FlexCam is a marvel to look at, while it's looking at you. As with many ergonomically engineered devices, FlexCam could pass as work of art. The 1.3-inch circular color camera sits atop an 18-inch flexible rod.

The rod bends easily for precise camera positioning. It extends into a weighted, 7-by-7-inch base that contains all the electronics. Also built into the circular camera are a power indicator light and a pair of stereophonic microphones. A single cable carries the power, video and audio to and from the camera and the computer.

Rotate the lens to focus FlexCam's high-quality video output, which complies with industry standards. These standards makes FlexCam compatible with all video-input computer products, such as Microsoft Video for Windows and VideoSpigot for the Macintosh. In fact, any device that accepts standard video input, even your VCR, will work with the FlexCam. FlexCam sells for $595.

VideoLabs Inc.

(612) 897-1995

Grabbing attention with typefaces

I've read your columns about commercially available collections of typefaces. After buying several collections, I've noticed that there are many similarities. I'm looking for some fonts that will make people sit up and take notice.

This is a tough one to answer, because what might impress one person could be a yawn for another. However, two companies recently released some clever fonts for IBM compatibles and the Macintosh.

Kidtype, $59 from DS Design, contains three handwriting fonts by children ages 5 through 8 in crayon, paint and marker. You can transform your output into the scrawled penmanship of a child just learning to write.

Li'L Bits font packs, $19.95 each from Bitstream, offer lettering styled after the "Star Trek" and "Star Trek: The Next Generation" TV shows. Included are Star Trek symbols and Klingon lettering. "Looney Tunes," "Flintstones" and "Jetsons" font packs are also available.

These typefaces are certainly attention-grabbers.

DS Design

(914) 263-8394

Bitstream

(617) 497-6222

(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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