Kizoa…means “sweep” in Swahili(?)

Name: Kizoa
Cost: Free
Type: Internet tool
Rating: 3/5

Kizoa logoAlthough I’m an novice photographer, I’m not really big on using slide shows to share my photos, even though I’m quite proud of some of them. I guess I’m not sure who my audience for a digital media slide show might be since I print/frame my photos that I like, and torture friends/family by posting them individually to Facebook (I also force students to view my photos by including them in PPT slides or as my screensaver). Nonetheless, there are many many Internet tools to create these types of slide shows. Kizoa is one option, and judging from its templates, the tool is meant for those who want to share photos from a holiday or special event via a photo video. While this option is obviously better than inviting everyone to your house to watch a slide projector version (which you have to get on Ebay because they have been discontinued), I am still thinking about how educators might use this tool effectively. Perhaps it can be used for digital storytelling assignments as long as students are warned about distracting the audience with too many effects, animations, stickers, or blocks of text.

Kizoa workspace 1

This is what the workspace looks like after selecting a template and adding your photos.

Goal: find a digital media tool to create text + graphic videos with professional looking templates and transitions

Benefits:

  • It’s really easy to select the order you want to show the photos in. You just start clicking the uploaded photos one after another, in the order they should appear in the video.
  • When in “collage edit” mode, you can add clipart, animations, and the like to each slide, along with your photos.
  • You can see the website in a variety of languages.

Drawbacks:

  • It takes a minute or so to upload your photos, depending on how many you choose from your computer and the file sizes. (But, there is a progress page so you can see how things are going as you wait.)
  • Without taking the time to personalize the video, the tool will center the photos in the template’s layout, which may not be exactly what you want.
  • The edit mode isn’t always intuitive. I had to click around to figure things out. (If you’re paying attention, unlike me, then you may catch the prompts that suggest next steps.)
  • Every time you modify a collage (slide), it takes several seconds to save before you can move ahead. You have to click “validate” for every change, which adds more seconds to the process.
  • The template transitions are not always good options. The first template I worked with overlapped photos before fully revealing the first photo for the slide (so it was obscured immediately). When editing the collage, look at the timeline under the slide, click and drag the colored line that coordinates with the photo that is coming in too soon; dragging the line to the right will delay its transition.
  • The free version has some limitations: cannot remove Kizoa logo; cannot hide sharing options; cannot set the number of loops (times the video repeats); cannot download finished project. The only one that bugs me is the sharing option, but Prezi and other free tools have the same restriction.
  • The “guide” is all in the form of YouTube videos…I prefer a text version for the simple tasks.
  • The editing features are quirky in Firefox, where the audio catches and lags when reviewing one frame/slide, or the screens flashes and freezes.
  • An embed code is provided, but when I embed it in my blog, clicking on the video will take you to the Kizoa home page, not my video. I have tried editing the code to no avail.

kizoa workspace 2

This is a view of the transition options (and you can see the tabs for other options)

Insider View: You’ll need familiarity with layout concepts used in Word/PowerPoint in the context of layering–moving photo or object to the front or back. The transitions sometimes overlap photos to the point they can’t be seen, so you either need to move them on the slide or change the layering so less complex photos appear first and then are covered by the more complex photo (for the audience to really focus on). The “Zoom” template is a good one to start with, as it doesn’t have any complicated feature to work around, and you can change the effect/transitions easily.

Final Thoughts: This is not my favorite tool thus far. I got pretty frustrated with the tool freezing up or just not responding as I thought it should when adding photos to the presentation. I feel a little too tied to the templates, especially the more complicated templates. I am likely to go back and try this tool when I have a specific project in mind as that might improve my experience with the tool.

After Final Thoughts: I had to add this note based on further research I did. When trying to come up with a catchy title for my post, I did an Internet search for Kizoa. I found several complaints posted about the pay version (i.e., membership), where customers did not feel they were getting the quality service they were paying for. Since I don’t intend to pay for a membership, I cannot confirm the quality of the paid version, but I would advise considering whether the same can be accomplished with other free tools available. Also, start with small projects to confirm stability with the tool so you don’t waste hours of your life you can’t get back.

Link: www.kizoa.com

Samples:

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