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Nuvixa StagePresence Review

Aug 14, 2012 11:36 AM, Reviewer: Jan Ozer

A new computer platform seeks to simplify and enhance remote presentations.

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Figure 1. A presentation in Stage mode, showing step aside slide positioning.

Nuvixa StagePresence is a software program for quickly and easily compositing the image of a presenter over any application on your Windows computer, including PowerPoint, or over a slide show that you create in the StagePresence software. In my tests, the tool was easy to use and produced reasonable quality when I followed the quality-related recommendations on the company’s website. StagePresence’s value proposition, however, is ease of use and speed; if you’re looking for broadcast quality, you’ll be disappointed.

You can try the product for free if you don’t mind SD video with a Nuvixa watermark over your video, or pay $19/month or more for HD video without the watermark. You can host the videos on the Nuvixa site, which simplifies sharing and interactivity, or you can download your videos in MP4 format and deploy them as you’d like. Pricing also varies by the quantity of video stored on the Nuvixa site and by the number of hours that your videos are viewed.

Hardware and Software Setup

To run StagePresence, you connect a camera with a motion sensor to your computer; I tested with two cameras, a Microsoft XBox 360 Kinect and an Asus Xtion Pro Live. You can record in one of two modes. First is called the stage, where you record within the StagePresence software itself, which can load either a series of images, or a PowerPoint file. Or you can record in desktop mode, which records whatever is showing on your desktop.

When broadcasting from the stage, you can deploy step aside slide positioning, which shifts the image location depending upon where you stand in the camera view. For example, in the figure, when I stepped to the right (my left), the image that had formerly been centered and near full screen shrank and moved to my right shoulder. This is a nice polished option that worked well in my tests.

In both the stage and desktop modes, you can use simple gesture commands to navigate through your presentation. These also worked well in my tests, though if you wave both hands during presentations, you can trigger an inadvertent page turn. I cured this by keeping one hand in my pocket while I spoke. Before and during the presentation, you can control the size of the overlay using the scroll wheel on your mouse, or program controls, and position the presenter by clicking and dragging it to the desired location.

Environmental Considerations

To get the best results, Nuvixa recommends that you position yourself in front of a plain and simple background and wear clothing that has distinctly different colors from the background, which I did. I used the normal fluorescent lights in my office, augmented by a small desk lamp with a compact fluorescent bulb positioned behind the Kinect to light the bottom of my face.

Interestingly, I cost myself some time trying to game the system by shooting against a greenscreen and rigging lights to optimize exposure. After an hour or so I reverted to ambient lighting, which produced the overall best quality.

I should have invested that hour on audio quality. Specifically, for audio, you can select any input recognized by your computer. In my tests, I used the internal microphone of my HP EliteBook 8760w notebook, which is great if your nose is in the notebook, but sounds a bit hollow if you’re the recommended 3ft. from the camera. If I was producing for actual distribution, I would have hooked up a lavaliere microphone to the notebook, and selected that input in the StagePresence software.

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