Content Development: Prss

Use:  Create compelling iPad “magazines” with easy-to-use tools

Prss is an app that allows non-technical users to create magazine-like publications that use the iPad’s native interactive capabilities.  The app, which is now in beta and is scheduled to be publicly released at the end of the summer, uses the iPad’s interface — swiping, tapping, pinching, etc. — instead of menus to create multimedia and shareable magazines.  The product also dramatically reduces file sizes for speedier streaming from the cloud.

The Netherlands-based company used the technology to create TRVL, the iPad’s most-downloaded travel publication.  Their current business model is to offer the app for free and charge a small fee per download.

Publishers who want to offer iPad users a more compelling, native experience with inexpensive and intuitive creation tools, should explore this application.

More:

Update 10/7/13: The Next Web: Prss is a powerful new way to create professional-quality iPad magazines in your browser

Gigaom: Prss is trying to design the iPad publishing app that Apple never built

Paidcontent: PRSS aims to be a low-cost iPad magazine factory in the cloud

Video: Wibbitz

Use: Increase engagement and exposure through a video summary version of news stories on mobile devices

Wibbitz is a new iOS-based mobile app that automatically creates a video summary of a text news article or blog post, incorporating images, graphics and text.   Wibbitz app users can select stories from a variety of categories and hear a computer-generated voice read a summary of the story while watching related images and animated infographics.

Wibbitz has reportedly partnered with 50,000 sources including AP, CNN, Yahoo!, Reuters, Huffington Post and NBC  to provide with to the site.   PaidContent reports that Wibbitz will provide publishers with its technology “at some point in the future so that they can incorporate Wibbitz’s service  into their own apps,” with the London Telegraph the first to do so next month.

Publishers may want to consider partnering with Wibbitz to gain exposure for their own content and contact Wibbitz about incorporating their technology to easily provide mobile users with a more engaging news experience.

More:

Update 11/12/13: GigaOM: Wibbitz wants to be the “play button” for text media

paidContent: Why the startup Wibbitz could wipe out some publishers’ video businesses

Readwrite: Siri Will Now Read You The News, Courtesy of Wibbitz

Social Media: Short Videos

Facebook is taking on Twitter/Vine with a video version of Instagram.  The app will allow users to create a 15-second video (compared to 6 seconds for Vine) and will support 13 custom filters.  Users will also be able to edit video frames and add a photo at he beginning.

Meanwhile, according to CNET, Vine may be reworking their app to add new features.  Based on videos posted by Vine’s founders, the new features may include a new design, curation capabilities, private messaging and, perhaps, the ability to build Vines from previous footage. (All based on CNET’s interpretation of the videos).

More:

Update 8/8/13: ReadWrite: Instagram Now Lets Users—and Marketers—Post Canned Video

Update: 7/16/13: MediaPost: Honda Does Personalized Vines For Summer

Update 7/11/13: AdWeek: Instagram Debuts Video Embeds, Could Alter Publishing Habits

Update 7/04/13: All Things D: In Wake of Vid-stagram, Vine’s Latest Update Could Spur Growth

Mashable: How to Create an Instagram Video in 7 Simple Steps, 6 Reasons Instagram Video Beats Vine

Forbes: Facebook’s Video On Instagram To Challenge Twitter’s Vine

CNET: Vine videos provide clues to new design, features

TechCrunch: Vine Goes On The Offensive, Teases New Features Ahead Of Instagram Video Launch

Poynter: Instagram gives news orgs tips on using its video feature

Content Development: Socl Network Tools

Use:  Easily create content to increase user engagement or advertiser value

Socl is a social network from Microsoft’s Future Social Experiences (FUSE) Labs that offers a variety of tools that media companies can use to create compelling new content to share.  Tools include:

Collage, which allows users to drag and drop a collection of images and automatically create a stylish page that can be posted on social networks.  One obvious use is to gather a collection of photos from today’s newspaper, broadcast or Web site and use the page to promote the site.   You could also use the tool to gather a variety of images from an advertiser’s inventory to help them promote daily specials.

Video Party, provides a platform to tell a story with a series of video clips.  On the site, you create a title for your “party” (for example, “Turkey Rebellion”) and the service searches for relevant videos which are displayed in queue.  You click on the videos in the order you want to create a playlist which can be shared with friends.  You can modify the search to find additional relevant videos, as well.

Other tools include Blink, a “Vine-link” application for Windows’ OS that allow users to layer photos and video to create a short, shareable clip, and Picotale, a tool to create clever memes by typing in a headline and having the service search for interesting, matching images.

More:

YouTube: Socl Create Experiences

GeekWire: Microsoft updates ‘Socl’ network with new photo and video creation tools

PCWorld: Microsoft’s Socl network steps up its game with animated GIFs, meme generator

 

 

Content Development: Vizify

Use:  Increased engagement by making users feel more connected to staff; branding tool for advertisers

Vizify is a free tool that creates slide show biographies based on your social media activity.  The easy-to-use tool assembles tweets, LinkedIn profile data, Facebook activity and Foursquare activity to automatically create a video slide show.  You can also add “Vizcards” (sort of a personal infographic), quotes, factoids and photos. The presentation can be easily edited before making live.  Mine — created in about 90 seconds — is here.

A new feature creates an actual video based on your Twitter activity, including tweets, photos and video.  Mine was too boring to show here.

Media companies could use the tool to help better connect users to personalities (reporters, broadcasters, etc.) or as part of a backgrounder for people in the news (provided they have created a Vizify video).  Because the data assembled is all from publicly available sources, perhaps Vizify someday will allow media to build videos of third-parties.   I can also envision using the tool as an added branding vehicle for advertisers.

More:

The Next Web: Vizify joins forces with Twitter, now you can create an instant ‘movie trailer’ bio in no time at all

TechCrunch: Visual Identity Platform Vizify Launches Out Of Beta, Now Lets You Share Graphics Via Social Media Cards

GeekWire: Show your quirky side: Vizify unveils new bite-sized infographics just about you

Video: ParaShoot

Use:  “Always-on” video recording for covering news events and capturing unexpected moments

ParaShoot is a small, HD camera that hangs from the user’s neck and can be set to record video automatically and share wirelessly.  The 720p camera can record video while reporters are covering an event, picking up b-roll footage or capturing an unexpected moment if the reporter’s main camera is not currently rolling.  (Storage is limited to about an hour’s worth of video, but it does include an internal SD memory slot).  ParaShoot also offers an app that can be used to control the camera, including shooting interval and sharing.

(Another alternative, of course,  is Google Glass which will also allow you to shoot video on the fly without having to whip out and set up you mobile camera.)

The company is raising money through Kickstarter (they need to raise $260,000 by July 23) and will reserve a device for $129 to early backers.

More:

Mashable: Use ParaShoot to Capture Your Life on Video

Video: Videolicious

Use:  Increase user engagement by easily creating stories with photos or video clips on your mobile device; inexpensively provide advertisers with more compelling video messaging

Videolicious is an iOS-based app that allows you to easily put together a video or photo presentation from media on your mobile device.   You select the media elements you want to include (in the order you want them to appear) and can add narration, music, logos, etc.  The service is free for personal use, $5 per month for basic business and $10 a month for premium service.

The Washington Post used Videolicious to, among other things, quickly create a video interview the creator of a robotic vehicle at CES.  Here’s another example. Coldwell Banker agents’ use the tool to easily create narrated videos of homes.

More:

Poynter: Videolicious: One way reporters can make and file decent videos from their iPhones

TechCrunch: Videolicious Relaunches Its App For Mobile Video Editing, Raises $1.4 Million From Amazon And Others

HootSuite: Video Storytelling Using Videolicious

Video: Google Slomo

Use:  Increase user engagement through enhanced video storytelling

Google recently announced the addition of a tool that will allow anyone to convert a regular video into a slow motion video on YouTube.  You can determine if the video plays at half speed, quarter speed or eighth speed and maintains the resolution of the original video.  The tool is available through YouTube’s Video Editor.

You can see how news organizations without a lot of video resources could use this tool to help users zero in on activity in a live action video such as a high-school football game (see this example of Miami Heat highlights) or crime captured on a security camera.

More:

The Next Web: Google now lets anyone turn their YouTube upload into a slow motion video

The Verge: YouTube adds automatic slow motion tool to its video editing suite

Search Engine Watch: YouTube Slow Motion Tool Helps Turn Videos Into Epic Moments

Roundup: Tools for Writers and Journalists

Following are links to several columns with recommendations for various apps and tools to help journalists and writers navigate digital content creation, curation and sharing.

Five types of content curation tools for journalists

A list of 10 curation tools which journalists can use to collect multimedia content from across the web, organized by type.

“For those of us with a tight budget, little tech know-how, and even less time, there is still hope for adding multimedia into your communications plans. In not much time at all, you can produce a powerful photo slideshow or video with some fairly simple tools.”

Top 5 Apps for Authors

“Authors these days are more than authors. We must not only write, but edit, organize, blog, friend, tweet, connect, converse, advise, reciprocate, share and share again. These five apps (and I mean “apps” beyond the mobile-only kind) help me streamline these tasks so that I can spend more time actually writing and sell more books.”

10 digital tools journalists can use to improve their reporting, storytelling

“Digital tools help produce quality content online, but it can be tough figuring out where to start. Here are 10 online tools that can help improve journalists’ reporting and storytelling, and engage readers in multimedia.”

New Digital Tools for Journalists: 10 to Learn

“I asked Knight’s Michael Maness and the Journalism and Media Innovation team what tools journalists should be learning. In time, the tool tutorials will get to all of them. Here’s Maness’ list.”

Video: Soo Meta

Use: Increase user engagement; expose users to additional content; enhance advertiser messages

Soo Meta, which has been described as Storify for online video, allows publishers to easily mix videos with still images, text, links, music, polls, RSS feeds and other video.  It was developed by Hungarian-based DragonTape and is available as a mobile app and WordPress plugin.  Soo Meta charges a nominal monthly fee for the “professional” version of the application. A sample video on the Soo Meta site (showing the creation of life-size Lego version of a Star Wars X-Fighter) showcases the technology’s capabilities.

As online video viewing continues to explode, this type of technology will allow media company content to stand out (given the volume of other content that can be integrated). It also can help generate elusive video ad revenue by providing advertisers with more engaging messaging possibilities beyond flat video ads.

More:

paidContent: Soo Meta, the Storify for online video storytelling, launches to the public

The Next Web: Soo Meta: A new way to tell multimedia stories online that’s ideal for journalists or teachers