A friend of mine is an educator, but she has a passion for working with kids who live their lives is state run systems meant to care for children in precarious, and even life threatening situations. Often, as with many bureaucratic entities, the affects of the system on the individuals in the system is overlooked, and because of that these kids can wind up in different, but equally precarious situations, or at the least feeling lost and insignificant, without a voice to express what is happening to them and how it affects them.
My friend has used different means to give some of these young people the voice they need. Being an educator, her resources are often stretched thin, so the mediums she chooses to help the kids express themselves are inexpensive and surprisingly inventive.
She recently had them write about themselves. The writings took many forms. Some wrote stories, others essays or poems. She compiled them into a book which was then sold and the proceeds used in programs that directly affecting the young authors.
Being able to express yourself seems to be fundamental to human existence. It's not just communicating, which we all do in some form, but self expression is most meaningful and effective when it allows us to open the more private portions of our lives to the world at large, to show who we really are, what we really do, and how we really live. It's isn't always angst-filled teenage girls expressing broken hearts, self expression can reveal joy, love, curiosity, beauty and accomplishment as well. Any emotion, thought, or experience is fair game.
Not everyone finds it easy to say what's on their minds regardless of the medium. We talk, but emotions can knot our tongues. We write, but what we experience can overwhelm the pen. Finding a means that allows for easy yet effective expression can make all the difference in the world for some. That's why I am excited about Adobe Voice, a free app designed to literally give you a voice to express yourself.
Adobe Voice [217 MB, runs on all iPads capable of running iOS 7.0 or later, Maker: Adobe Systems Inc]
Express yourself with Adobe Voice
What great about Adobe Voice is that you don't need any special skills, or a cache of movies or photos, you just need a story to tell and your voice to tell it. The app can provide the rest.
The inline tutorial makes it easy to create great videos
Record what you want in sections, then use the incredibly large cache of photos, icons, and music to provide visuals and background music. It's that simple.
Obviously there are some restrictions. You're story is told a frame at a time, so when writing your script you have to mindful of the sequence of the photos and what you want to say when a particular frame is shown.
For example, let say I want to make a video about my favorite beach here in Florida, Playalinda. I might select the series of photos that typifies the beach, maybe get a screen shot of a map that shows the beach, then arrange them in the order that makes sense to me. I'd then think about what I want to say when each photo is shown. I might write a script like this:
" Most of Florida's border is coastline and, as you might imagine, there are spectacular beaches in the state.
My favorite beach is Playalinda near Titusville on Florida's east coast.
The southern most section of the beach, approximately a 4 mile stretch, is readily accessible by the public, but the section called Back Country has no roads or buildings.
It is one of the most pristine and beautiful beaches in the world."
Add your own pix or pull from thousands offered by Adobe
Each sentence might be spoken during a frame. Then all you do is create the frames by adding the photos, maybe icons and some text, then press the record button and read your script aloud. Do that for each frame until you get to the end. Viola! You have a complete presentation.
Some other restrictions include the inability to resize icons (at least I haven't found a way to do it though you can size photos to fit the frame provided), you can't pull in your own music, and there is limited mixing and positioning of photos, icons, and text.
When you're done you can share it with the rest of the world
You can, however, incorporate your own photos, create your own icons, and there are various themes to pick from. If you can stick within these confines then you'll find that you can get pretty creative, and the resulting video will something you'd be proud to show.
The videos are save into Adobe's cloud and you get a link you can share with others via email or other social media. I guess that's the other restriction, you can't download the movie and use it, say, as part of an iMovie you might be putting together. You can, however, embed the movie in a website.
The best thing is that the app and access to all the media it provides is, at least for now, free. I've pointed my friend to Adobe Voice and I hope she can find it useful. I'm sure her kids will get a kick out of it.
If you've got a story to tell Adobe Voice may be the way to do it.
That's a wrap for this week. Be sure to take a gander at this week's free App of the Week, KAYAK, especially if you are planning a vacation. Also take a listen to Klapp Klapp, this weeks free Single of the Week from Little Dragon.