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Last Updated: Friday, 17 December, 2004, 15:58 GMT
Webscape
Kate Russell
By Kate Russell
BBC Click Online Webscape-r

Kate Russell gives us her latest selection of the best sites on the World Wide Web.

Last Independent

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

If you have a passion for independent film, you do not necessarily have to make your way to obscure cinemas in the back part of town to indulge it.

All you need is a broadband connection and a couple of key URLs like Last Independent, sent in by Kevin Powis.

Despite the website's title, there are lots of sites like this out there, just do a search for independent films and you will see, and I agree with you Kevin, the standard of work on this website is generally really good.

To be honest I do not think much of the design. It is too magazine-like, too busy.

Although having said that, finding your way to the films is really easy. But best of all, this site is free.

There is plenty of content you can access without even having to register, and whilst there are plugs and advertisements for the sponsor's video production business, they are unobtrusive and do not stop one enjoying the films.

There is even a link on the opening page inviting you to submit your own films if you are that way inclined.

There are a couple of caveats that go along with this recommendation.

Bear in mind that these are independent films, so some might not appeal to your taste, or young children, but there is a ratings system to guide you to the right content.

Also, do not even think about trying to watch this streaming media unless you are running a pretty fast broadband connection.


Camcorder Info

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

If you fancy yourself as a bit of an independent film-maker then you are going to need some decent kit to play with, and this next site provides all the information you need to get you up and running as a low budget production.

Camcorder Info is one of the most thorough review websites I have seen in ages.

Again, the presentation is again a little magazine-like, I do not mind that so much with this kind of reference site.

The main thing here is function, and navigating your way around the articles and reviews is a breeze.

There are featured reviews laid out on the front page, and clicking a link in the left-hand panel will take you to a sensibly ordered menu system to access everything else. I found the articles well written and engaging.

The full kit reviews go into loads of detail, with screenshots of the tests and photographs to really help you understand the camera before you buy it.

A must-read if you are new to buying camcorders is the article under Buying A Camcorder, which gives some really useful tips about considering your budget and applications before making any decisions.


3D Text Maker

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

The next site I am going to show you is a gem suggested by a friend of mine, Adrian Wells.

It basically allows you to create animated text gifs online, and then save them to your hard-drive for use on websites, e-mails, and anything else you care to decorate.

For those that do not know, an animated gif is just a picture file that moves. You usually need to install special software to create them, but at 3D Text Maker you can do it without any downloads or installs, and all for free.

The layout is brilliantly simple.

Just make your selections using the tick boxes and drop-down menus, and then type the text you want animated into the box at the bottom.

There are plenty of really funky fonts to choose from, as well as other tweaks for colour, tilt and style of animation etc, that will help you make the work your own.

When you have finished creating your gif, it will be displayed at the top of the page.

To keep it, right-click and choose "save image as", or click hold if you are a Mac user.


Paper CD Case

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

I thought I would finish this week with a couple of quick URLs that came to my attention as I browsed around the web.

This first one contains an amazingly simple idea that anyone who buys CDs to burn in a spindle, will find really useful.

PaperCDcase is just that - a couple of pages that contain templates and instructions for printing out and making your own folded paper CD cases.

Not only does this make them very cheap, but it is also good sense environmentally.

All you need to do is type out the details for your CD case and click to create.

You will need Acrobat Reader installed, which is free, and then you can print out the paper in the usual way.

Now, simply fold as instructed by the diagram and voila - instant, disposable, fully biodegradable CD cases.

And finally a very quick one that I stumbled upon and it made me laugh.

I finally reached the end of the Internet. It took a few seconds to sink in, then I had to chuckle. This kind of page is great for emailing to friends to make them smile.


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Click Online is broadcast on BBC News 24: Saturday at 2030, Sunday at 0430 and 1630, and on Monday at 0030. A short version is also shown on BBC Two: Saturday at 0645 and BBC One: Sunday at 0730 . Also BBC World.



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