Monday, February 14, 2005

Impatica OnCue Demo

I've been playing around with the recently released version 3 of Impatica OnCue. Basically it's a software package that starts with a PowerPoint presentation and a matching audio/video track, and then compresses it all into a Java object that plays on any Java-enabled web-browser.

The beauty of Impatica OnCue, like their other software Impatica for PowerPoint, is its efficient proprietary compression algorithm. In general, it compresses resources to about 10% their size. That’s very nice!!!

In addition to the compression solution, in order to deal with users with different bandwidth, OnCue actually publishes different versions of your presentation tuned specifically for different bandwidths and network overheads. Typically you can publish to four different output streams: 256k, 128kpbs, 64 kbps and still picture (still picture with audio stream only). Users with LAN or Cable connections can use the 256 kbps stream, while users with dial-up connections can use the 65 kps or still stream. Users can select their stream at the beginning of the presentation. That’s a nice feature.

I created a short demo presentation to prove to myself that it works. I caution everyone who watches it that it is NO FRILLS! There is no editing of the audio/video (I just talked it out in one contiguous block) so I have a few “um’s” and “err’s” that you’ll have to suffer through for the sake of illustration. (*grin*)

Pros:


  1. Starting with a PowerPoint presentation. PowerPoint is the industry standard presentation software. The fact that Impatica works with this type of file as a source is very convenient!

  2. The end user does not need PowerPoint on their machine to view the presentation! A simple Java-enabled browser is all that is required.

  3. Different streams for different bandwidth and an excellent compression algorithm.

  4. Complete control of the synchronization of all PowerPoint animations and synching with the associated audio/video was simple from within OnCue.

  5. The fully editable running text transcript on the page is excellent for users with the inability to hear the audio track. (You’ll note that my transcript in this demo is not perfectly word for word. My apologies.)

  6. Reasonably priced!!! Contact the Impatica Sales people at Impatica website for pricing options but they quoted me $1,500 Canadian for a single user educational license and that includes one license of Impatica for PowerPoint (that's worth $300 Canadian in itself). The price quote is reduced 33% if two OnCue licenses are purchased simultaneously ($1,000 CDN each).


Cons:


  1. No integrated video capture software in OnCue. I had to record the video on tape and then digitally capture it using Adobe Premiere Pro (special thanks to Mike Lortie for his help with the video capture). It would be nice to have the option to record video that is directly captured by OnCue. Then you could easily re-record the audio/video for one slide at a time if you like. As it stands right now, all video production, editing and digital capture has to be done with third party software.

  2. The look and feel of the end-user interface is only customizable by Impatica Staff manually. They will make changes for you, but you cannot make them yourself.

I definitely like this tool. It can be used successfully in distance courses as a way to introduce the instructor or to deliver short lecture segments to students. The degree of post-production can vary as the instructor/producer sees fit. It also might be really interesting to video capture a guest speaker doing a live onsite presentation and then synch the video to the PowerPoint slides to create an archived presentation for later use.

To access my Demo presentation click this link. As a Username and password please use the following: EricGuest. It is case sensitive. Make sure to turn on your speakers too!

Your comments are appreciated!

1 comment:

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