Streaming video used to be a difficult process requiring special hardware and software and a team of technicians. Of course, high quality video streaming still needs all that, but, if you are interested in “personal streaming” and can live with the trade-off off super high quality for easy-to-use and extremely short turn around, then Proclaim may be for you.
I first heard of Proclaim a few months ago when it was first released. At the time I was investigating streaming solutions and was amazed how difficult the process could be to implement and understand a streaming solution. I had used, or rather tried to use, other products that made “personal streaming” available, but, I was disappointed.
With Proclaim, however, YeOldeTechy found a great product that is easy to use and the quality is sufficient to solve nearly all of your streaming needs.
What is Proclaim?
Proclaim, as the CEO of Netbriefings explains in this YouTube video can be thought of as “YouTube on Steroids”. Really quickly, Proclaim is a “personal” video, audio and data streaming solution that allows your viewers to see your presentation via their browser over the Internet. Check out this interesting marketing video.
The steroids part comes, I suspect, from the fact that although YouTube only allows video and audio, Proclaim allows the presenter to (at a minimum):
- Upload a Powerpoint presentation to the Proclaim server
- Record video, audio, and the Powerpoint Presentation for a LIVE event, or record that presentation for later viewing (as I have done below).
- Once the recording of the presentation is complete and is stored, an email can be sent out to potential viewers with the URL of the finished presentation. The viewer, by clicking on that emailed link, brings up the presentation. Easy as 3.14.
- Provide video quality that can be much better than YouTube.
What do I need to record or view a presentation using Proclaim?
As with almost every collaboration product you will need a Windows PC. Mine is a Toshiba laptop (but I also did some testing with our Dell Dimension) running XP service pack 2, and using Norton Anti-Virus (I say that only to show that Norton is happy with Proclaim). I am connected to the Internet with an AT&T DSL line working at 384 kbps upstream.
I am also using a Logitech 4000 web cam connected into the Toshiba’s USB port. Interestingly, my ooVoo application is also using the same web cam and there is not problem using it for either recording the Proclaim presentation or using it for ooVoo. Gotta love it!
To view a Proclaim presentation all you need is a Browser that supports Flash. I believe most computers now have Flash so that is probably not going to be an issue for the vast majority of viewers.
Web Cam and Microphone Set Up
When you first log into Proclaim (as described below), click on the “Options” button and then “Device Settings”. Make sure your microphone is displayed in the menu selection, if not, go to the menu and select the correct microphone. My microphone is the Logitech 4000 web cam. An audio bar on the left shows the volume as you speak into the microphone. Very cool.
Then click on the icon of the web camera. Again you can select what camera to use. Then click on the larger camera to test the video. See the picture and my smiling face.
How Can I Upload a Presentation?
As I alluded to above, Proclaim is very easy to use. The steps for recording a Powerpoint presentation are as follows:
- Prepare your presentation.
- Go to the Proclaim web site and enter your login and password. NOTE: I have used both Internet Explorer and Firefox.
- Click on the “Archive” button
- If an alert comes up asking you to allow or deny Proclaim from accessing your web cam, click “Allow”.
- Click on “Manage Playlist” button
- Click on “Upload File"
- You will be given the change to browse your computer for the file.
- Select that file and watch the upload process.
That is pretty much it. Do it once and you will know exactly what to do the next time.
Real World Test of ProClaim
For a real test, I uploaded two presentations (one is just the Tel Bit Consulting single slide) and recorded a short presentation. No laughing…I know I’m not a professional actor, and it shows! But from this you can see the video quality as well as the quality of the slides. Very impressive. The whole recording process took about 5 minutes (not counting the 10,000 retakes needed just to get it to this level).
What are some issues?
Although Proclaim is very good, I did find a couple of little annoyances.
First of all, I could not get my Logitech 3000 web cam to work with Proclaim. I had to move to my newer Logitech 4000. I do not know why this is, and it could possibly be a local issue. However, I use the 3000 regularly for other work. Interesting.
Also, I have Office 2007 installed and I see that Proclaim does NOT recognize the new Office 2007 Powerpoint presentation as being a valid file. I had to save the presentation in Powerpoint 97-2003 format for Proclaim to see it as uploadable. When will Office 2007 be supported?
I cannot embed my Proclaim presentation in this blog like I can with a YouTube video. Maybe that can be an enhancement for future versions?
Proclaim does not appear to support customized animations. I had to make my slides without animations to get it to show properly.
Quick list of Features
Here is a quick listing of the features I took note of:
- Proclaim allows you to upload a range of file types including: WMV, PPT, MPEG, mp4, Flash (FLV)
- You can present LIVE or Record (the Live event is also recorded for later playback)
- You can manage your library and playlist
- You can move slides around to the location desired during the presentation.
- You can use the keyboard to maneuver through the presentation.
- You can record the presentation locally on your computer for higher quality video, or you can record it on-line directly on the server (this is what I did).
Future Plans and Pricing
According to the web site, Proclaim will evolve to work with Netbriefings’s eConference Enterprise streaming platform. Once there it will be able to utilize such features as: “automated invitations, attendee registration and audience tracking and reporting”. Proclaim will also evolve to allow exporting of the presentation into a video or audio podcast.
As of now, Proclaim is in free trial mode. After that is over, there is a pricing list here: http://www.netbriefings.com/proclaim/pricing.shtml.
All in all it seems to be very reasonably priced with various levels from Basic to Deluxe ranging in price from $29 per month to $195 per month for increasing capability. There is a Corporate pricing that you have to call Netbriefings to get a quote. I’ll bet that is expensive
Proclaim makes streaming easy.
Bravo to Netbriefings for developing a solid streaming application that is super easy to use.