Posted in Project Ideas

Storytelling With Clips

Apple released Clips [iOS – free] on the first day of our cross-country trip last year. The notice popped up on my iPhone while we were driving across the Florida panhandle. It only took a couple of minutes to download and I was soon experimenting to see how it works. At first look my thoughts were it was too simple to be of much use, but by the time we reached Texas I knew this app was a game-changer.

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Clips is available for both iPhones and iPads but only the 64-bit ones. That means an iPhone 5s or later, iPad Mini 2 or later, iPad Air and Air2 or an iPad Pro.

With Clips you create a project made up of photos, video, narration and soundtracks. You can take photos and videos with Clips or import them from your library. Tap the appropriate option from the items found under the viewer and off you go. In this example, video is the chosen option so the big red HOLD TO RECORD button appears. The microphone icon on the left turns the microphone on or off while the camera icon on the right switches between the front and back camera. When the PHOTO option is selected, you will see the flash button, the shutter button and the camera icon which switches between the front and rear cameras. Choose the LIBRARY option and the viewer area displays your photos. Tap to select the ones you want to choose.

img_2191With Clips you create a project then add and arrange “clips” to build your story. Tap the down icon shown at the top left corner of the Clips screen to create a new project. As you add video and photos to your project, those elements appear at the bottom of the screen. In this example, you’ll see a video clip at the bottom. Tap it to select it and several icons appear above it giving you some editing options. In this example, the selected clip is a video clip so the editing options include cutting part of the video or trashing the entire clip. In this example the video was recorded without audio so there is an editing option greyed out. It is the mute icon. If you create a video with sound, that icon is available should you want to mute the audio.

Once you have collected multiple clips for your project, you can tap and drag individual clips to rearrange their order in your project’s timeline. If a video clip needs trimming, select the clip then tap the scissors icon to display the trim box. Tap and drag the left or right trim control to remove the section that needs trimming. When ready, tap Apply.

img_2192At any time you can save any clip to your iPhone’s Camera Roll. Select the clip you wish to save by tapping it then tap the Save button located at the top right corner of the screen. The save icon is visible in the screen shot above. Clips that are saved on your phone can be used in other projects.

In addition to clips and photos, there are all kinds of elements you can use to enhance your project. You can add music from a collection of “soundtracks” or from your own music library. You can also add “Live Titles” by dictation. Not only will Clips convert your words to on-screen text, it gives you the option to style that text too. There are also some interesting filters and effects to jazz things up a bit.

Once your project is finished, in addition to saving it to your Camera Roll, you have a number of sharing options too. You can email or text a project to others and share it on your favorite social networks. They can be forwarded to your account at YouTube and Vimeo. Best of all, if Clips recognizes your friends in any of the videos/photos included in the Clip project, they will be listed on your share sheet.

Here’s my first project “clipped” while driving the Natchez Trace from Natchez to Vicksburg. I’m not a very good dash cam operator and the windshield it a bit buggy but it did show me how useful this amazing little app can be.

And this is just the beginning! Wait to see what else you can do with this delightful little app.

Posted in News

Join Storytellers Studio at MeWe.com

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If you are not familiar with MeWe.com, you are in for a treat. MeWe is a delightful social network offering a number of useful features for collaborating online. It may seem a bit simplistic at first, but you will soon realize there is a lot more to MeWe. One reason MeWe is so special is that it doesn’t stalk you or bombard you with commercials and other junk. Your privacy is protected there.

The image above is a screenshot of the Storytellers Studio group’s home page. In addition to the group’s timeline, you will also find an impressive group chat feature that supports both text and voice chats. This will be useful for Q&A sessions and other events. In the Files section you will find several useful how-to documents along with project ideas.

To join us, your first step is to become a MeWe.com member. MeWe.com is accessible using your web browser. The example above shows you what MeWe looks like in the browser. There are also apps available for iOS and Android devices and phones. Once your account is set up, take a look around to get a feel for the place. The easiest way to find Storytellers Studio is to use the search box at the top of the screen. Once you request to join the group, the adminstrator will authorize your access. You will also see Storytellers Studio listed in your My Groups panel. Feel free to take a look around. You can add comments and/or ask questions on any post published in the groups timeline. Stop by the Files section (found in the menu bar just below the group graphic) and check out the documents posted there. MeWe supports text, voice and even video chats. We plan to put that to good use.

The Studio blog has an important role in group management. This is where most of the news, resource options and other information will be published here and “announced” in the group timeline. Both elements work together to help you get started in your storytelling efforts. We hope to see you soon at Storytellers Studio!

Posted in Project Ideas

Famicity – A Scrapbook for the 21st Century

Famicity is described as a private social network designed for families. It is that, but it is also a beautiful way to build a scrapbook of your family’s history – current, near past and distant past. Those of us researching our family history have collected all kinds of photos, ephemera and stories about our ancestors. Famicity offers a beautiful platform to show off all those wonderful things along with their stories.

Famicity Screen

In this view, I’ve posted individual photos from my family collection. Each photo has fields to include date, place and description. The description can be a simple caption or a story. You can also add tags to each entry. These tags can be useful to quickly display all photos and stories associated with a particular tag. You can tag a person, a place, an event or whatever keyword will help you organize the elements you post at Famicity.

Each item you include in Famicity can be assigned permissions. This makes it possible to include friends as visitors but limit their access to certain entries. It could also be used to limit the younger family members access to photos or stories that aren’t appropriate for their age. As the owner/manager of your Famicity network, you control who has access and what they have access to. The Tree element also serves as the “profile” for each member. As the site manager, you can also organize individuals into groups. Groups are useful for quickly assigning permissions or sending messages to a certain group.

Albums and video in Famicity

I love the albums component. It’s the perfect place to celebrate an event, vacation or family collection – both past and present. You can tag and comment on the album and on individual photos within the album. You can also include captions to each photo.

Don’t ignore the video element either. Capture and share those special moments like a baby’s first steps. You can share videos from platforms like YouTube or Vimeo, but that means the video is still visible to the world. When you are posting a “private” video – one you don’t want to share with the world – you can post the video file directly on Famicity. You would need the Famicity Premium account ($4.99/month) which includes 50GB of storage with 1GB for each member.

In addition to photos, videos, ephemera and stories, Famicity also includes a private messaging space where members can communicate with each other. Using the Inbox, only the people in the conversation will have access to those messages. Each person has a profile page which also serves as an address book for members. The profile information on each member includes email address, birthdate and a photo. Famicity is set up to send birthday reminders to Famicity members using the profile information. Send your birthday greetings as a private message or as a graphic birthday “card” on the Famicity timeline where members can share their greetings with everyone using the comment element for that card.

There’s a lot more Famicity goodness just waiting for you and your family to enjoy. One very nice feature is its cost – nothing! To learn more and get started on your own Famicity network, visit them at https://Famicity.com.