VoiceThread adds video doodling--this is awesome

Draw on videos with VoiceThread's new doodling feature.

Group conversation service VoiceThread (review) has a great new feature called Video Doodling, which as you can guess, lets users draw on top of video clips on the fly. The technology, formally called a Telestrator, is best known for its usage in football games by John Madden, who pointed out things to look for to viewers at home with the aid of an onscreen drawing tool. VoiceThread takes a similar approach, and instead of overlaying drawings on video while it's playing, only lets you draw when paused.

In a sample clip sent to us (embedded below), creator Steve Muth doodled on an old Road Runner cartoon, and noted some of the minute drawing details one might miss while watching. Because VoiceThread works with a series of media items, others were able to tack on not only their comments, but also other related videos to the thread.

Besides video files that you've got bumping around your hard drive, you can also record using your Webcam and share and annotate the clip once it's been uploaded. Additionally, VoiceThread offers a Pro service for $29 a year that lets you start an unlimited amount of VoiceThreads, and upload images, documents, and video files of any size. It's actually pretty generous, and compared with something like ConceptShare and Octopz, some people might find this fits their modest collaborative needs for working on simple design and media projects. My only qualm after giving the service a spin this afternoon is that Flash video often doesn't provide the clearest stills, something which QuickTime does a better job at. However, given Flash 9's recent support of H.264, format-savvy users will be able to upload classy-looking video clips.

About the author

Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.


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