Making great videos ... without making a video!

Angas Tiernan | Jul 15th, 2014

I first heard of Adobe Voice a little while ago. The next day, after a few hours of playing around with it, I released this ad:

Videos are hard to beat

Videos are great. As a mode of communication, they’re hard to beat. They’re engaging, memorable, accessable to anyone with a smartphone, easy to take in and easy to share.

I, personally, would much rather watch a sharp video than read an email or even look at a poster – and I’m guessing that if I’m like that, chances are you are too.

But I have almost no video producing skills. Microsoft Word is my default graphic design application. And 3 weeks from the end of semester, I didn’t want to pour a whole bunch of time into creating a Summit video ad, especially if it wasn’t going to look that great.

I wanted to create something that was going to grab students and increase the hype around Summit, and I wanted it now.

How did I do it?

Enter Adobe Voice, a free app for iPad. I used Voice to create a ‘video’ version of a slideshow incorporating my voice and music.

Voice is appealing because it’s fast, it’s really easy and it looks pretty pro. And it eliminates the downsides of creating a video, at the cost of limiting your options.

Here’s all I did:

  1. Wrote a script ~20 minutes.
  2. Created the slides using the in-app icons and photos, and my own photos and CU graphics ~1 hour.
    • The in-app content was great. There were over 1000 results for “arrow”, and a great selection of photos (e.g. the Jesus photo at the end).
    • The app has the license for all icons and photos, and creates the credits page automatically.
    • Dropbox and Facebook access makes using your own images really easy.
    • I didn’t have to leave the app once to create this video.
  3. Recorded the narration ~10 minutes.
    • You record slide by slide, rather than all in one go.
    • Tip: record slides in quick succession to limit variety in pitch and volume.
    • I used the iPad’s inbuilt microphone.
  4. Chose slide style and music ~30 minutes.
    • There are 37 musical arrangements, categorised by mood. (I chose “Building Tall” from the “Rousing” category.)
    • There are 32 different style packages, which determine background, font, font and icon colour, and slide change effects.
    • In this step you only make two choices (easy!), but you’ll probably want to play around.
  5. Uploaded and shared the video ~5 minutes.
    • Via Facebook, Twitter, email and text message.
    • You can also embed it on a website.

That’s a time budget of about 2 hours.

Limited options – keeping it simple

By limiting what you can do, Voice has made itself a fast, easy and stylish app.

But, if you don’t like limitations, you’ll find it annoying. For example, you can only make one stylistic choice: each background comes with particular font colours and slide change effects.

I would prefer something that gave me more control. But if I’m honest with myself, that would have meant sinking a lot more time into it. So I’m grateful for the simplicity and ease of use that comes through its deliberate limitations.

Limited options – limited shelf life

The limited options also mean that, stylistically, it’s hard to create a lot of diverse videos. So, unless Voice keeps bringing out new style updates, I think it’s probably got a limited shelf life.

For the time being, though, I think it’s a great way to advertise more effectively within our groups and to communicate vision more powerfully.

One student told me that he liked the Summit ad so much he watched it twice, prompting me to wonder if any student has ever read one of my emails twice!

With that in mind I plan on using Voice in my next supporter email!

If you have a go, let me know how you find it – and send me the link!