Saturday, November 24, 2012

3 "Talking Photo" Apps: A Review

The iPad was built with one thing in mind; to easily create photos with audio. Everything else the iPad does is just peripheral.
The original vision for the iPad

So for this post I'll be looking at three apps that claim to do this: Fotobabble, Pixntell, and Skqueak.

1) Fotobabble

I've used Fotobabble in class for a couple of years now. We've used the online version to create talking slideshows of our work. It's a great way to show off a portfolio, and to reflect what we've done. I have some issues with it though. The first is that we embed this on our websites, and from there it can take a long time to load. Sometimes forever. The second is that it is written in Flash so those ridiculous "Adobe Flash Player Settings" pop-ups pop up all the time. This would be okay if Adobe hadn't designed the pop-ups so that they could never be closed. Often times, no matter if we click "Allow" or "Deny" nothing will happen. The box will still be there. Because Adobe decided to add the special feature that they are completely unresponsive no matter what button you choose to click. You want kids to hate computers? Introduce them to a random, unresponsive pop-up that forces them to refresh the screen and restart their work. Finally, to create a slideshow, you have to first give each slide a unique identifying tag, and then search for that tag, and then you have the option to view the slideshow with all the photos that have that tag. It reminds me of some of the hack programming I did when I was in college.
Anyway, this post isn't about that. There's no native support of Flash and so the Fotobabble app doesn't have the Flash problem. The app allows you to "tag" the photos. You can't create the slideshows from the app, but once you log into your account, you can do the tag search and create a slideshow from there.
Like with all of these apps, you can either take a photo and record audio over it, or choose a photo that's already in your photo library. Your "Fotobabbles" are saved online to a free account. I like that.
The Fotobabble app also has a photo editor in it. There are basic enhancements and filters, a crop and orientation tool, and a dumb "stickers" pack if you want to fill up your photo with terrible clipart.
My Conclusion:
The most frustrating thing about this app is that it is hard to make slideshows. If that is not a necessary tool that you need, then the Fotobabble app is nice.

2) Pixntell
Pixntell must have heard me complain about Fotobabble just now because it's super easy to create slideshows with this app. There is no cloud storage device for your creations. Instead, once a talking photo or a talking slideshow is done, the user can uploaded to a Youtube account (or Facebook, but that's not applicable to my students). Our class has a Youtube account for their work, so that is a good solution for us.
My Conclusion:
Simple and easy, Pixntell takes about 10 seconds to learn and does exactly what it is supposed to do. Creating slideshows is a snap.

Skqueak is the most powerful of the three apps reviewed here. Like Pixntell, making a slideshow of talking photos is easy with Skqueak. One of the things that makes Skqueak stand out though is that as you are recording your voice over the photo, you can also draw on it. When the talking photo is played back, your drawings appear, synched with your voice. It's very cool. The other thing that is great about Skqueak is that you can zoom into your photos as you are talking and drawing on them.
There are a lot of options to share something made is Skqueak; Facebook, Twitter, email, SMS Message, or just copy a link. If you want it on Youtube though, you'd have to first export the video to the i-Device's camera roll, and then upload the video to Youtube.
All of your "Skqueaks" (that can't be what they're called) are saved online to your Skqueak account, and like Fotobabble, once you are in that account they provide you with embed code to put your Skqueak-thingy anywhere you want.

My Conclusion:
Skqueak takes about 30 seconds to learn instead of 10 seconds. But with the extra learning curve, you get the added benefit of being able to draw and zoom in on your photos while your talking. This is the best app of the three. 

1 comment:

  1. Interesting article! I downloaded Skqueak and it is very easy to create slide presentations with text and voice/sound motion over the photos.


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