For years it's been possible to capture video on a computer, store the images, and send them as an attachment to an email message. But it's been difficult to do, it's required expensive software and hardware, and the files have been too large for most people to download. Not any longer.
Cubic VideoComm Inc.'s CVideo-Mail http://www.cvideo.com comes with a video capture board and sells for $149. It allows you to record, digitize, and compress a video clip (with audio) all in one step, and to attach the file to an email. A marketing demo, an inspirational message to your team, or your daughter's graduation can be quickly captured, sent over the Net, and dropped in a recipient's inbox. You need your own camera, although a standard camcorder will do.
CVideo-Mail makes it easy to record, preview, and send a video clip. It's bundled with Eudora Pro, but it also works with any Windows-based email package. The files are small enough to be downloaded easily — a one-minute clip is just 1 MB, whereas a standard video clip can take up as many as 90 MB. And the recipient doesn't need any special equipment to play back a file: the videoplayer software is embedded with each message. You won't mistake the image quality for TV, but it's guaranteed to grab the recipient's attention.
If you are already videoconferencing and have the necessary video capture board, camera, and software, check out SeeMail from RealMedia Inc. http://www.realmediainc.com . SeeMail software costs just $29.95, and it works seamlessly with standard email packages, enabling you to send video clips (with audio) as attachments. File sizes are comparable to those of CVideo-Mail, and the software works with popular videoconferencing packages such as CUSee-Me. Versions of SeeMail for Windows and Macintosh platforms are now available.
A version of this article appeared in the December 1997/January 1998 issue of Fast Company magazine.