Movie Making with the Voyzee App

November 15, 2013

in App Reviews

  • SumoMe

imageIn the past, I’ve reviewed several iPhone and iPad movie making apps, including iMovie, Ptch and Vine. And later I checked out addition of video to the popular Instagram photo sharing app.

I’ve just tried out an app called “Voyzee” (available for Android devices, too) which lets you combine stills and video, along with music and voice-over narration, in a film project that you can share on the Voyzee Website, by e-mail or text message, and post to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Voyzee bills itself as “Your All-In-One Mobile Storyteller.” After watching this promotional video, read my first take on how well the app meets that billing.

 

What Voyzee Does

Here are the app’s features and functions as listed on iTunes:

• Upload photos or video from your camera roll or capture footage with Voyzee’s own Tap-TapVoyzee 1 capture function (up to 30 photos and/or videos per story).
• Add your own voice-over narration to each picture or video.
• Apply filters and animations.
• Customize captions and descriptions.
• Remove video background audio.
• Choose a soundtrack (pick from the Voyzee catalog or from your phone’s music library).
• Post your Voyzee to your timeline to share it with others using the app or following you on Voyzee.com. Like, comment and follow their Voyzees.
• Share directly to Facebook & Twitter or via SMS and email.
• Download your Voyzee to your camera roll and re-post it anywhere!
• Voyzee combines your photos, videos, any edits, narration, and music into your unique, compelling video story.
• Re-edit published and shared stories and they will automatically update wherever they have been shared!

How Well Does It Work?

Sign Up Snafu

Like many iPhone apps, Voyzee lets you sign in with your Twitter or Facebook login so you needed set up yet another account with a username and password.

Or so it seems.

Unfortunately, as the Voyzee Website FAQs state, the first time that you log in using your Twitter or Facebook account you’ll be prompted to set up a Voyzee account. Here’s why:

Signing in with Facebook or Twitter syncs your respective social account with your Voyzee account. Having an independent Voyzee account allows users to sync and share to more than one Facebook and/or Twitter account. Additionally, having an independent Voyzee account is a safeguard against the possible loss of your Voyzee content in the event that your Facebook and/or Twitter account are no longer synced to Voyzee.

“We believe that the ability to sync multiple Facebook and/or Twitter accounts and the additional safeguards provided by having a Voyzee account, would be beneficial to you. However, we desire to be responsive to our users’ feedback and will take appropriate action if the dual account system proves to be onerous.”

So the bad news is that you have yet another account and password to track. The good news is that you’ll be able to log in with your Twitter or Facebook account the second time you use the Voyzee app.

Starting Out

To create a new Voyzee “story, ” tap the plus (+) sign at the top of the screen

Voyzee iPhone Screenshot

Title and Description

Voyzee lets you add a title (up to 68 characters) which will display above your movie and description (300 character maximum) that will appear below it.

Voyzee Titles

Photo and Video Selection

The next step is to select up to 30 photos and videos by:

  • Using those in your iPhone’s Camera Roll.
  • Capturing new media (which uses the iPhone’s Camera app).
  • Tap-Tap Capturing (tap to take a photo, tap and hold to record a video).

Voyzee Music Select

You can change the order of the photos or videos after selecting them, and can choose any one of them to be the film’s “cover.”

Editing Controls

You’ll see all of the photos and videos you selected displayed in a first-to-last order.

At the bottom of the that display you’ll find these editing choices:

  • Play story (Preview your story from either that slide or the beginning.)
  • Edit story  (Add/change the film’s title and description, or recorder the slides, select the soundtrack, or delete the entire story.)
  • Add slide (Add more photos or videos.)
  • Privacy (Decide who can view or comment on the film.)

Voyzee Photo Display

The words “TAP TO EDIT” will overlay each of the photos and videos you’ll selected.

My first project included only still photos, so tapping on them brought up four editing choices at the bottom of the screen:

  • Cover (Set the photo as the “cover.)
  • Caption (Add or edit a caption for the photo or video.)
  • Narration (Record, delete and re-record, or remove, your narration, slide-by-slide.)
  • Display (Turn animation on/off, set the slide duration at fast, slow, or normal.)

Voyzee Tap

Even after your Voyzee story has been uploaded to the Voyzee Website, you can go back and edit any of  its content. And Voyzee says that those subsequent changes will be made to all copies of your film, no matter where you shared them. (One exception may be a story that you uploaded to YouTube; you may have to delete it and upload the revised version to YouTube.)

Music Soundtrack Choices

Voyzee lets you select a music soundtrack from either the Music Library on your iPhone or a list of several soundtracks provided by the app.

Voyzee Music

Cropping Problems

Most video editing programs create “Vertical Video Syndrome”—black bars along the sides of a video clip shot while holding your iPhone in a vertical or portrait orientation. The solution is to hold your phone horizontally while shooting, unless the video editing program lets you rotate the video or crop it to prevent those nasty little bars from appearing.

Video editing programs often employ the “Ken Burns Effect” (named for the well-known documentary filmmaker whose films have been broadcast on PBS stations in the U.S.) to zoom in or out, or pan across, still photos, imparting a sense of motion to them.

Applying the “Ken Burns Effect” can sometimes crop a photo shot in portrait orientation so it displays full-screen without black bars on either side, at least when the film is played on a mobile device.

The iMovie iPhone app lets you manually adjust the cropping on still photos. Voyzee doesn’t.

When I previewed my first Voyzee project, I thought the top and bottom of photos would be cut off. But as it turned out, they were displayed properly (albeit with the black bars on either side) in the final rendition of the film because the app uses the “Ken Burns Effect” to zoom in and out on the photos.

Soundtrack and Narration Issues

Ideally, a video editing app should allow you to mix or mute the following audio tracks:

  • The audio recorded at the time a video was shot
  • Narration added at the time of editing
  • Musical soundtrack

The app should either automatically “duck” (reduce the volume) of the music track so that it plays back more softly than either the audio track recorded when the video was shot or voice-over narration recorded later.

Unfortunately, Voyzee seems to play both narration and music at exactly the same volume level, which is very distracting and makes the narration difficult to hear.

Although one can edit a slide to remove narration attached to it, there doesn’t seem to be any way to remove or mute a music soundtrack as one can do with the Ptch app, or turn down the volume on a slide-by-slide basis as is possible with the iMovie app.

Processing Time

When you upload a video to YouTube, it takes a while for it to be processed and become available for public viewing.

The same seems to true with videos uploaded to the Voyzee Website. My first story project wasn’t finalized until about 30 minutes after it was uploaded.

The Voyzee Website says:

We are currently experiencing technical difficulties relating to a ridiculously high volume of user activity. We are working quickly to restore full support and normal operations. Until then some aspects of the Voyzee service may operate slower than we all have come to expect.

“We apologize for the inconvenience, and thank you for your patience.

Sharing Your Voyzee Story

 

image

Voyzee 2Once your video has been uploaded to the Voyzee Website it can be seen there by all, some, or none of its users, depending on which privacy settings you established for your account.

From the Voyzee Website, you can share your “story” via e-mail, on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, or Twitter. It can also be embedded in a Website or blog. Viewers can “Like” or posts comments to it. You can change its privacy setting as well.

From within the Voyzee app, you can then share a “story” by e-mail or text message, by posting it to Twitter or Facebook. You can also “share” the story to your iPhone’s Camera Roll and then upload it to any site, including YouTube, that accepts video uploads. “Likes” and comments can be done using the app, too.

The Final Product

I deliberately selected still photos from my 2013 trip to the Canadian Rockies for my first Voyzee story project so I could compare it to a video slideshow which I made from (more or less) the same trip photos using Apple’s iPhoto program on my Mac desktop.

Both have been posted to YouTube.

Here’s the Voyzee story:

And this is the iPhoto slideshow version:

 

Running Time

The Voyzee version is much longer (7:05 minutes vs. 1:10) since it includes narration while the iPhoto version simply has a music soundtrack. If I had created an iMovie version with narration I expect it would have run about the same length of time as the Voyzee story does.

Sharpness

Both the Voyzee story and the iPhoto slideshow were made using relatively low-resolution photos. However, the iPhoto version appears much sharper, at least in part because it can be played back at 1080p on YouTube while the Voyzee story is limited to a paltry 240p.

The quality of Voyzee stories made from video clips (rather than still photos) could be poorer than those made using the Apple programs and apps, even if the video was filmed at 1080p. However to confirm that I’d have to make a Voyzee story from HD video, post it to YouTube, and make a comparable film using one of the Apple products.

Vertical Video Syndrome

While Voyzee will apply the “Ken Burns Effect” to still photos, there is no way to crop a still, or set the zoom in and zoom out or panning points, to avoid those nasty little black bars that are part of “Vertical Video Syndrome.” So it’s best to use landscape (horizontal) oriented still photos only for your Voyzee story.

Titles and Captions

Templates in the iPhoto program for Mac computers allow you to create professional looking opening titles similar to what you might see in a Hollywood film. The iMovie program lets you add credits and even slicker titles, and even the iMovie iPhone app has a variety of templates for creating titles.

While Voyzee puts your story’s title and description above and below the playing screen (when viewed in the Voyzee app or Website), it doesn’t display the title on-screen.

Typing titles and captions on an iPhone’s small screen is a bit tedious. Doing so is much easier on an iPad, especially if you use a Bluetooth keyboard.

Trailers vs. Movies

“Trailers” are what you see in those “Coming Attractions” previews at movie theaters.

The iMovie program for Mac computers and the iMovie iPhone app let you make either a trailer or a “movie.”

Voyzee doesn’t do trailers.

Narration

The slickest feature of Voyzee is the ability to selectively record narration for each slide (or clip/photo).

iPhoto doesn’t allow you to add narration at all, although narration can be added in iMovie Mac computer after an iPhoto slideshow has been imported into it.

Clip-by-clip narration along with a music soundtrack can be added to movies made with the iMovie app.

But good narration requires practice, and I’d suggest that you write a script for each slide, animate your voice (mine in my first Voyzee story is admittedly monotonal), and re-record narration if need be.

Music

It’s easy to add a music soundtrack to your Voyzee story by making a selection from either the app’s list of songs or any in your iPhone’s Library.

Some video editing programs (and YouTube itself) won’t let you fade a music soundtrack out at the end of film, or set a slideshow or video playback to exactly match the length of the soundtrack. In those situations, the music abruptly and disconcertedly stops when the film ends.

Voyzee does fade the soundtrack out as your story ends. However, unlike programs such as iMovie for Mac computers and the iMovie iPhone app, you can’t control how that music fades out.

Unlike the iMovie program and iMovie iPhone app, Voyzee doesn’t let you adjust the volume of the music or a narration on a clip-by-clip basis.

The Envelope, Please

Voyzee has fewer features than iPhone/iPad apps such as iPhoto or iMovie, and their Apple computer-based counterparts.

Overall, I’d give the “Oscar” to the iMovie iPhone/iPad app over Voyzee. But Voyzee is very easy to use, and right now it’s free on both the Apple iTunes App Store and Google Play.

Get more travel news! Subscribe to our e-mail updates!

Back to Front Page Stories Explore This Blog

Last updated by at .

Previous post:

Next post: