Imagine the ability to create your own 45-second audio/video commercial in less than 15 minutes. A new service from SiSTeR.TV, Pic2Vid.Com allows you to do just that, allowing users to create, store, send and link to, a self-made online audio-video presentation without special hardware or software. According to SiSTer.TV’s Tomer Alpert, “Every small business that doesn’t have a $10,000 budget can look to Pic2Vid for answers.”

Now, imagine if that short spot appeared beside your search engine listings and led to a sales-specific landing page. That would seriously alter the way we look at search, both as search engine users and search engine marketers. If SiSTeR.TV have it their way, such easily produced video-ad spots might appear very soon.

SiSTeR.TV has come a long way in the past six months since I last wrote about them. Already the darling of E-Bay store owners, who reported an average increase of 80% in the number of bids received and a 55% increase in closing prices of listings containing Pic2Vid ads vs. their traditional E-Bay listings. Based in Dallas Texas , SiSTeR.TV has already engaged with a number of Fortune 100 firms including a leading international retailer and 2 of the Big4 search engines.

Pic2Vid is a remarkably easy tool to use. It is available for website owners who want to add another familiar dimension to their websites. In less than 15 minutes, I created a simple “commercial” for StepForth Placement which can be viewed by clicking here.

Though my production did not consider high production values, working with the pic2vid system was as simple as dragging a series of digital pictures from one window to another and assigning special effects (such as slide transitions and Pan – Zoom), and an audio (text-to-speech or a phone recording) to those images in the pic2vid tool. Instead of pulling viewers through a site using static text and pictures, users of pic2vid delivers information to viewers using full motion video and audio which instantly increase the amount of time invested by the viewer.

Here is a short step by step of the process I followed to create the StepForth spot.

  • Select a number of images. For this, I didn’t even have to rely on StepForth’s files, I simply went to Google Images and typed the company name into the search box.
  • Go to and sign in. (Registration is very speedy)
  • A pop-up window will appear with a large target on it. Drag images from one window to the target to instantly upload them to the pic2vid server.
  • When you have uploaded your images, arrange them in order of how you want them to appear in the video and add PanZoom movement.
  • To create the audio portion of the advert, users can either record their voice by telephone or type text into the text-to-speech box, which then converts it into computerized male or female voice.

Once you have completed the first five steps, the system renders a video file that you can email, post a link to, or even cut-and-paste HTML code generated by the system into your own site. The HTML code creates an embedded media player on your site that plays back the video.

It is really that simple. One issue with the computer generated male and female voices is that they read phonetically. For instance, our Head SEO is Scott Van Achte. Scott’s name is pronounced “Van Ack” but when typed correctly into the pic2vid system, his name was read as “Van Achety”. This issue was easily remedied by respelling his name in the system as “Scott Van Ack”. Another issue is the fact the current version of pic2vid only works with Internet Explorer and is not compatible with FireFox or Apple computers. An upgraded version (version 3DF) is due to be released during the third quarter of this year.

Through the current ASP model, pricing is estimated from 3 – 7 cents per minute of video viewed, based on the volume of use (similar to a calling card account). The free beta provides up to 100 minutes per production but will be phased out as the commercial version is released sometime in the fourth quarter of 2005.

You will be hearing much more to this story in the coming months. Pic2vid has arrived and is there for small business owners to start using at minimal cost. The free beta (limited to 100 minutes) allows users to create and publish videos. Not only is it worth testing just to see how simple the future of multimedia development applications will be, producing your own commercial spot is a strangely satisfying accomplishment.

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