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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Random Tip #12: TypeItIn

There are times when we have to repeat ourselves. Not because no one is listening, but rather because we’re faced with similar situations that require the same responses. As an educator, this happens often. For example:

  • The “Oxford comma” is required unless you’re a journalist or British; this is the comma that appears before the conjunction (e.g., and) in a list of items. For more information about the Oxford comma, see: https://www.grammarly.com/blog/what-is-the-oxford-comma-and-why-do-people-care-so-much-about-it/
  • Thanks for contacting me! The final project is due May 7, 11:59 p.m. EST. The requirements are noted in the classroom, under the Final Project icon in Unit 9. Please review the requirements, rubric, and sample and then email me if you have any questions about what is required. Late submissions are not accepted.
  • APA citation format requires the title of the periodical to be italicized in the full-citation. The title of the periodical should appear after the title of the article. Also noted after the periodical title is the volume number and the issue number.

I suspect educators and parents can relate to this situation where the exact same text needs to be conveyed multiple times (often, to the same individual). I can envision a Human Resources representative needing to often cite policy in email responses (e.g., “As noted in the Employee Guide, dress code does not permit open-toe shoes, including sandals, flip-flops, peep-toes, or worn out Converse shoes. It was brought to my attention that you have violated dress code, which resulted in this written warning.”) Other professionals in the fields of medicine, law, business, and IT may often need to reproduce the same text in emails/letters, reports, contracts, or websites/software.

If you have situations where you need to repeat yourself in writing (i.e., typing), then I would recommend investing in PasteItIn or TypeItIn. This software is not free, but it’s affordable. Mac has similar software, TextExpander, but I own PCs and didn’t find the PC version very user friendly. If you’re familiar with macros in Word, then it’s the same concept, but works on all forms of text-driven software (e.g., email, PPT, Internet forms, etc.).

typeitinpromoWhat does this software do? It sets on your desktop as a list of labeled buttons that you create. Clicking a button will insert text that you’ve associated with that button. You can change the coloring of the buttons so each will stand out in a glance. You can also create groups of buttons; for example, all of the grammar buttons are listed together, while all the responses to emails are in another group. The grouping prevents the button list from getting too long or confusing. Unlike macros or TextExpander, this software does not rely on “hot keys” (i.e., pressing a combination of keys to get a response, such as Ctrl+A) or a partial word that triggers a response (i.e., typing oxf would insert the Oxford Comma text). I’m not a big fan of either of these methods because I either need to remember the hot key combination or I may accidentally get the Oxford Comma text when I’m typing Oxford University.

TypeItIn sample

Here is what the tool looks like after creating a group and some buttons.

There are drawbacks (with the version I own), but the tool is simple and cheap, so the drawbacks are within reason and may have been addressed with more recent version. You cannot rearrange the buttons once they’re created, though you can copy or move them to different groups. Also, links are not active when inserted into certain situations (e.g., gradebook comments). Another issue with the tool is if you have too many groups, then it gets difficult to scroll down the list of groups in the dropdown box; I have have a scroll wheel on my mouse, which circumvents the difficulty.

I purchased TypeItIn many years ago, and it functions just fine for my needs. Although I like seeing my text typed out character by character, it’s probably a better option to go with PasteItIn (as it takes less time to insert text by pasting the whole text at once).

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.