Wideo….going for a W (in video) [UPDATED]

Name: Wideo [UPDATED: This is the new link]
Cost: Free for 45 second videos [UPDATED: no free version available]
Type: Internet tool
Rating: 4/5

Wideo logoAs mentioned often on this blog, there are many more options than PowerPoint when presenting text and graphics (and audio) in a video format. To be honest, if I am pressed for time, I still go old-school with PowerPoint and Camtasia to create videos based on slides saved as graphics and transitioned together. This is especially useful for longer videos since most other tools require subscriptions for videos over a minute or so. Wideo provides templates so that I don’t have to put thought into the overall design or animation/transitions when creating videos. I am forced to keep my stunning and enthralling messages to 45 seconds (for the free version), which is probably appreciated by my students.

UPDATE: Ugh! Wideo is no longer available free. Which is disappointing, but even more so that the videos I created are now gone unless I pay for the subscription option. So, my review hasn’t changed except that it is no longer is as accessible for those of us who rely on free versions of software. Considering there are other options that are partially free on the internet, I’d suggest playing around with a free option than investing in Wideo unless you have a budget you need to spend. I’ve edited some of the review content to reflect the change.

Wideo pricing options

Since the free version is no longer available, I thought I’d provide the list of prices and features.

Wideo pricing options for education

For those of you who can prove you’re in education (teacher or student), there are cheaper options. Again, I’m not a big enough fan of this tool to even pay the cheaper prices.

Goal: Create videos with some text (not much) and visual interest that look (almost) professionally designed.

Wideo workspace view 1

This is what the workspace looks like when using a template.

Benefits:

  • Blog and newsletter provide tutorials and insights.
  • Templates are provided to get you started. They seem to be within the 45 second (free) time frame.
  • Templates have guides built in (e.g., Insert Image Here)
  • Provides photo editing tools, including special effects, frames, lighting, resizing, touch-ups, stickers, and meme.
  • Guidelines appear when moving textboxes so that you can line things up.
  • Upload your own voice over files or choose from three background music options.

Drawbacks:

  • Limited to 45 second videos, which might actually be a benefit if you’re like me and tend to cram too much information into one presentation.
  • Wideo.co watermark appears throughout video
  • Editing can be a bit tricky. You have to slide the marker on the time line to see all the items in a template slide. So, if five items are animated on the slide, you may only see the first three when editing, but you can reveal the next two by adjusting the timeline.
  • Without watching any tutorial videos, I can’t readily figure out how to animate graphics I add to the video. They appear in place (rather than flying in like the template’s text).
  • Cannot download the completed project in the free version. This means the video is shared on the web (can be reused and seen by the public).
  • Cannot change the color of objects from the icon library (e.g., a light bulb icon only appears in black outline).

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Not-So-Free: JibJab

As I dig through the Internet for digital media tools and the like, I often come across tools that seem free, but are not. Sometimes I don’t figure out that they aren’t free until I’ve already downloaded software or tried to save my final product. All of the reviews on my blog will indicate how “free” the tools are, but there are tools that are deceptively not free, which I find frustrating. So, here is a head’s up about a not-free tool.

JibJab logoThis website is hysterical! The premise is to use headshot photos of yourself or others you want to include in the video and insert the photos into an ecard (video) where the characters will dance and perform other silly acts. For a classroom setting, I can imagine this being a good icebreaker to show students you have a sense of humor. On a personal level, these ecards are likely to garner many “likes” on Facebook, especially if you don’t have the permission of friends/family to use their photos in the ecard.

JibJab Roller Disco sample

Yep, this is me as a Roller Disco (Fabulously Dressed) woman. As you can see, getting a photo without any of my hair would be a better option for this tool. (In the original, I was outside, so the lighting is way off for this scene.)

I wasn’t too sure I wanted my students to see this silly side of me, but I thought that I’d create something to post on Facebook (which students don’t generally have access to). I uploaded a headshot of myself after choosing a template to work with. You have to maneuver your headshot to make sure the eyes line up with the guideline (which gives the software a sense of where to place your face on the character when it’s moving around). It seems ideal to choose a photo where you’re looking at the camera straight on. (I also have long hair, so much of it was cut off to fit in the oval template.) You also have to indicate where your mouth is so that the chin can move up and down if there is a singing component to the video. I didn’t add other photos other than my own, so the characters performing around my character were generic.
I was really excited to see my face taking part in a holiday cartoon scene (which was a sled race). My character got to the top of the hill, got on her sled, started to race her opponent, and then stopped. Well, she kept going, but I couldn’t see the rest of the video unless I paid for it…$4.99 to download. Or, $18/year for ad free membership, though you still pay $1.99 to download your creation. I guess this isn’t too bad, but nonetheless, it isn’t free or worth my time if I don’t intend to pay.┬áNote that when you create an account, you’ll get emails from JibJab to entice you to subscribe to the pay version or finish what you started.
JibJab Sled Race sample

This is me ready for my sled race.

JibJab is all over Pinterest as the holiday approaches, so if you’re willing to invest money to have a funny ecard with your mug on it, then check it out. Otherwise, don’t fall prey to this not-so-free tool.