Tag Archives: Blurb Mobile

Apps to Capture Your Christmas Stories

Our first family event of this Christmas season is today and I’m ready to capture all Christmas family festivities . Here are the iPhone apps that will help make that happen.

  • Camera+ [on sale right now for 99¢] – gives me more control over my iPhone’s camera by letting me choose what to focus on and where to pull the exposure from. And it has a stabilizer to keep the shakes from messing up my pictures. It has basic editing tools and a bunch of filters. And I can send my pictures to Flickr from right in the app.
  • Blurb Mobile [free – plus upgrade is 99¢] lets you build stories from the photos, videos and audio captured on you iPhone. Quickly build a storyline of photos and video clips, then crop and scale them to suit you. Add audio and text captions and when your ready, post your production at your Blurb Mobile site and then share it via email, Facebook or Twitter.
  • Flickr [free] has just updated their iPhone app adding a camera and a number of interesting filters. The app can be used to take and edit photos, upload them to your Flickr account – complete with metadata details – and share them within Flickr and via Facebook or Twitter. Flickr also has an app for Android users.
  • Givit [free] makes it easy to capture and share your own video productions right from your iPhone. The editing tools are simple to use, allowing you to highlight the bits of video you want to use, add slow motion and fast motion effects and transitions between “scenes”. Once you’ve got your video the way you want it, upload it to your Givit site and share it with the world. There’s no limits to the length of your video productions and you get the first 5GB of video storage for free.
  • Posterous [free] is where our family maintains our private “news center” so this is where most of the captured festivities will be shared. The iPhone app makes it easy to send the photos and videos to the space where it will automatically be forwarded to all family members via email. There’s also the reader side of the app so everyone can see the fun as it happens. Posterous also has an app for Android users.
  • iPhoto [$4.99] for iOS provides great editing features and even though the sharing options are limited, I do love the Journal feature.
  • Day One [$4.99] my divine little journaling app goes with me everywhere. I’ll quickly add a photo then tap the weather and geo-locate icons to capture a moment, then later edit that entry to add the details of what was happening at the time. I also have the desktop Day One [$9.99] and a copy of the iOS app on my iPad. All stay synched via iCloud or Dropbox so I can fill in the details from just about anywhere.

Fortunately all these tools fit on my iPhone which will be within easy reach at all times and it’s a lot less conspicuous than sticking a big camera in their face. And, with the crowd of characters found in my family, I think I’m going to have a lot of digital storytelling fun this holiday season.

Digital Storytelling – On the Spot Stories

If you have an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, add the free Blurb Mobile app and you’ve got a quick and easy way to capture and share any special moment as a delightful multimedia storybook. Grab some photos and a video clip or two using your device’s camera, then pop them into the Blurb mobile app, add some captions and even audio clips recorded using the app. You can rearrange, resize and style your story in a matter of minutes then publish it (requires Internet connection) to your profile at Blurb. Your stories can also be shared on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or by email.

My stories page in my Blurb profile.

Don’t think you’re confined to just photos, videos and audio clips. In my Sketches story I took several digital sketches I’d created on my iPad, used the Photogene app to add titles to one of them, and created a simple art gallery to show them off. Just about anything you can get into your photo library can be included in a Blurb Mobile story.

Viewing a story online at Blurb

Once published, your story can be viewed online at Blurb. You have the option of making it a public or private story. People viewing your story can comment on it and share it with others.

The story catalog on my iPad.

You can also show off your stories right on your device. Here you see the catalog of stories created on my iPad. Note that your stories are not synched across devices and your online catalog. A story can be viewed on the device but not published online.

A story being viewed on the iPad

On my iPad, there are two viewing options. Tap the finger icon at the top right side of the screen to manually move through the story. Tap the tv icon to view it as a movie. While the iPhone/iTouch devices are much easier for capturing photos and videos, it’s hard to beat the iPad to view your stories.

Blurb Mobile is a great way to quickly share the fun of a live event – wedding, graduation, baby’s first words or steps – with those who can’t be there. Using the iPhone or a 3G iPad, you can upload them or email them right on the spot. It can also be used creatively to tell stories of your ancestors using scanned images and documents.

Although the app is free, a 99¢ in-app purchase extends the limits on photos, videos and audio that can be included in any story and provides additional themes. Give it a test drive and see if there’s a place for Blurb Mobile in your storytelling toolbox.

The Family Blockbuster

If your family is like mine, there’s always at least one good story-teller. Thanks to today’s smart phones, we not only have cameras but also camcorders with us at all times. Using them, you can capture the whole story  – including gestures, expressions and tone of voice. Take advantage of apps like Blurb Mobile [iOS – free] to package the stories and events up in a nice package and post them online for all to enjoy.

For those of you not familiar with Blurb Mobile, it’s a delightful iPhone app that will build a multimedia story using photos, video clips, text and audio narration then upload it to the Blurb Mobile platform where it can be viewed and shared to Facebook, Twitter and email. So, using your iPhone, you can take the photos and videos, quickly pull them into a Blurb Mobile storyline, perform some simple edits then add captions and a bit of voice-over to build a story.

At a family dinner, Uncle Jim starts telling a story about his experiences on D-Day. Quickly grab your phone and turn on the camcorder to capture his story as video. Even if you can’t capture video, use a voice recorder app like Voice Memos or DropVox to capture the audio. A photo or two wouldn’t hurt either. Do you have old photos of Uncle Jim as a young man – or even in uniform? Import them to your iPhone to include in your story.

Blurb Mobile app

Working in the app

Creating a story on Blurb Mobile is easy. Open Blurb Mobile and tap Create Story. You’ll be asked to give your story a title and description, then you’re ready to start building. Pull in your photos and video clips from the camera roll and drop them where you want them. If you change your mind, just drag a clip to a new location. You can crop, rotate and scale your clips. Now add text captions and audio clips to your images. You can even record your own narration right in the app. Choose a theme that fits the story and it’s ready to share.

The app will upload your story to your profile at the Blurb Mobile site and easily shared from there.

Blurb Mobile is a free app, but it has limited features. With a $1.99 in-app purchase, you can include longer clips and will have more background themes to choose from. Although you won’t have the advantage of higher-quality photos/videos and the ability to post your story from anywhere, Blurb Mobile also works quite well on the iPod Touch.

One quick tip – learned the hard way . . . you can easily change the title of your story, but the description is set in stone.

Lighthouse Park

Lighthouse Park – a Blurb Mobile tour