CHROME CASTING

When we wrote about Roku and Amazon Fire Stick for bringing in extra movie channels, games, and apps on your TV, we neglected to talk about Google’s Chromecast, which is cheaper: $35 online or $30 at Walmart. The $49 Roku stick easily won our test against the $39 Amazon Fire Stick. But we didn‘t have a “Chromecast.” So last week we went out and bought one and tested it thoroughly. The results were disappointing. Chromecast sounds great in theory: just about anything you see on your phone can theoretically be mirrored on your big TV. They call it “casting.” In our tests, however, it didn’t always work and was highly frustrating to handle. Now we’re sorry we gave two Chromecasts […]

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TIME LAPSE VIDEOS

Instagram’s Hyperlapse creates time-lapse videos. It will work with the iPhone’s front-facing camera, so you can take time-lapse videos of yourself. (Be still my selfie heart.)

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ROKU VERSUS FIRE STICK

We just bought a $39 Amazon “Fire Stick” for our second TV, to bring in hundreds of extra movie and TV channels, plus games and apps. On our main TV, we have the $49 Roku 3 stick. Here’s the difference: Roku usually gives you more choices.

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ANY-TIME GREETINGS

A colleague emailed us a hilarious Christmas greeting video from JibJab.com. It featured featuring faces from her family placed on the bodies of Santa’s elves. We couldn’t resist making JibJabs of our own. There are several styles and they are all hilarious.

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A THANK YOU VIDEO

Facebook.com/thanks creates a slideshow from photos you’ve already uploaded to Facebook, and any you add. Click “share” to share it on Facebook.

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SENDING SHORT VIDEO MESSAGES

“Qik” is a new Skype app is for sending short video messages to groups of friends. Skype was an early conduit for free video calls. Until now it was used mainly for long — 40 minutes or so — calls. Qik limits you to 42 second calls that don’t take up more than 5 megabytes of space on the recipient’s phone. It competes directly with WhatsApp and SnapChat.

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MOVIE NEWS

SlashFilm.com has movie news. We learned about plans for “Indiana Jones 5″ and “Twilight” as a series of short films for Facebook.

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GLIDE ON

“Glide” is like Skype video calling but with a twist. When you tap “record,” you’re streaming live video, whether or not there’s anyone waiting at the other end. Videos can be up to five minutes and the service is free.

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FREE PRO VIDEO EDITOR

“VSDC Free Video Editor” just came out in a new version. It’s very similar to professional video editors. It’s free, for Windows XP on up to Windows 8. Critics have admitted they are in awe of its tools but point out it is difficult to use for novices. We’re novices, so we tried it out. Some parts of the program are actually easy to use. For instance, you can easily make a slideshow with a video of someone in one corner talking about the slideshow. Just click “add object” to add a photo or video to an existing video clip, or to add music or speech. This is pretty useful; could be all you need for an instructional video, for […]

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MAKING YOUR OWN ANIMATED MOVIE

If you’ve seen the movie “Clash of the Titans” or remember the old TV series “Gumby,” you’ve seen a kind of animation called “stop motion.” In stop-motion, you make a movie frame by frame, moving the objects a tiny fraction each time. There’s new software out for Mac users who want to make their own animations.

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