NEW YORK - First came words, then came photos. Now, many Web journals are incorporating moving images — and one blogging service aims to make producing and displaying such video easier.
Unlike most of its popular rivals, the TypePad service from Six Apart Ltd. costs money. But with your subscription fee, which starts at $4.95 a month, you get free tools for creating and hosting your own photo albums — and now a pair of programs for video.
The simpler of the two video programs comes from VideoEgg Inc. Go to http://typepad.videoegg.com, enter your account information and download a small plug-in for your browser.
You can then drag a video file from your hard drive or produce one with your camcorder or webcam. It's easy, and if you exceed the two-minute limit, a slider lets you choose a shorter segment. You can even send video from your mobile phone to VideoEgg's service.
And because all video is converted by VideoEgg's software to Macromedia Inc.'s Flash, you don't need to worry about what file formats your blog reader can view. Most browsers, even those on Mac computers, already have Flash.
(You need Windows 2000 or XP to produce the video, though. VideoEgg doesn't yet have a Mac version.)
Uploading the video to VideoEgg was slow at times, and larger files caused my browser to freeze. I'll give VideoEgg a little leeway because the software is still formally in a "beta" test. (TypePad itself has been slow of late as well, but Six Apart says it is moving data centers to expand capacity.)
A larger complaint is the lack of integration with TypePad. I had to go to a separate Web address and consequently lost some of the features normally available when posting only text and photos.
Plus, VideoEgg reserves the right to eventually charge for the service or display ads with video postings. If it were truly integrated, the service would already be covered by TypePad's regular subscription fees.
The other video program had even less integration. Vlog It from Serious Magic Inc. is a separate download, and TypePad users get a free version with a 90-second video limit.
Alas, the limited edition wasn't available by Monday, so I tried out a beta of the full version.
The software is impressive. It let me create a professional-looking newscast, customized with my name, title and choice of background graphics. But it was essentially a separate program. It didn't feel a part of TypePad. In fact, I posted my video instead on Google Inc.'s Blogger service.
Serious Magic says its free, limited edition will post only to TypePad; the regular version will sell for $49.95.
Both video offerings are worth looking at, but I'd wait for better integration before signing up for TypePad solely for these tools.