Storytelling With Clips

Apple released Clips [iOS – free] on the first day of our cross-country trip last year. The notice popped up on my iPhone while we were driving across the Florida panhandle. It only took a couple of minutes to download and I was soon experimenting to see how it works. At first look my thoughts were it was too simple to be of much use, but by the time we reached Texas I knew this app was a game-changer.


Clips is available for both iPhones and iPads but only the 64-bit ones. That means an iPhone 5s or later, iPad Mini 2 or later, iPad Air and Air2 or an iPad Pro.

With Clips you create a project made up of photos, video, narration and soundtracks. You can take photos and videos with Clips or import them from your library. Tap the appropriate option from the items found under the viewer and off you go. In this example, video is the chosen option so the big red HOLD TO RECORD button appears. The microphone icon on the left turns the microphone on or off while the camera icon on the right switches between the front and back camera. When the PHOTO option is selected, you will see the flash button, the shutter button and the camera icon which switches between the front and rear cameras. Choose the LIBRARY option and the viewer area displays your photos. Tap to select the ones you want to choose.

img_2191With Clips you create a project then add and arrange “clips” to build your story. Tap the down icon shown at the top left corner of the Clips screen to create a new project. As you add video and photos to your project, those elements appear at the bottom of the screen. In this example, you’ll see a video clip at the bottom. Tap it to select it and several icons appear above it giving you some editing options. In this example, the selected clip is a video clip so the editing options include cutting part of the video or trashing the entire clip. In this example the video was recorded without audio so there is an editing option greyed out. It is the mute icon. If you create a video with sound, that icon is available should you want to mute the audio.

Once you have collected multiple clips for your project, you can tap and drag individual clips to rearrange their order in your project’s timeline. If a video clip needs trimming, select the clip then tap the scissors icon to display the trim box. Tap and drag the left or right trim control to remove the section that needs trimming. When ready, tap Apply.

img_2192At any time you can save any clip to your iPhone’s Camera Roll. Select the clip you wish to save by tapping it then tap the Save button located at the top right corner of the screen. The save icon is visible in the screen shot above. Clips that are saved on your phone can be used in other projects.

In addition to clips and photos, there are all kinds of elements you can use to enhance your project. You can add music from a collection of “soundtracks” or from your own music library. You can also add “Live Titles” by dictation. Not only will Clips convert your words to on-screen text, it gives you the option to style that text too. There are also some interesting filters and effects to jazz things up a bit.

Once your project is finished, in addition to saving it to your Camera Roll, you have a number of sharing options too. You can email or text a project to others and share it on your favorite social networks. They can be forwarded to your account at YouTube and Vimeo. Best of all, if Clips recognizes your friends in any of the videos/photos included in the Clip project, they will be listed on your share sheet.

Here’s my first project “clipped” while driving the Natchez Trace from Natchez to Vicksburg. I’m not a very good dash cam operator and the windshield it a bit buggy but it did show me how useful this amazing little app can be.

And this is just the beginning! Wait to see what else you can do with this delightful little app.

Famicity – A Scrapbook for the 21st Century

Famicity is described as a private social network designed for families. It is that, but it is also a beautiful way to build a scrapbook of your family’s history – current, near past and distant past. Those of us researching our family history have collected all kinds of photos, ephemera and stories about our ancestors. Famicity offers a beautiful platform to show off all those wonderful things along with their stories.

Famicity Screen

In this view, I’ve posted individual photos from my family collection. Each photo has fields to include date, place and description. The description can be a simple caption or a story. You can also add tags to each entry. These tags can be useful to quickly display all photos and stories associated with a particular tag. You can tag a person, a place, an event or whatever keyword will help you organize the elements you post at Famicity.

Each item you include in Famicity can be assigned permissions. This makes it possible to include friends as visitors but limit their access to certain entries. It could also be used to limit the younger family members access to photos or stories that aren’t appropriate for their age. As the owner/manager of your Famicity network, you control who has access and what they have access to. The Tree element also serves as the “profile” for each member. As the site manager, you can also organize individuals into groups. Groups are useful for quickly assigning permissions or sending messages to a certain group.

Albums and video in Famicity

I love the albums component. It’s the perfect place to celebrate an event, vacation or family collection – both past and present. You can tag and comment on the album and on individual photos within the album. You can also include captions to each photo.

Don’t ignore the video element either. Capture and share those special moments like a baby’s first steps. You can share videos from platforms like YouTube or Vimeo, but that means the video is still visible to the world. When you are posting a “private” video – one you don’t want to share with the world – you can post the video file directly on Famicity. You would need the Famicity Premium account ($4.99/month) which includes 50GB of storage with 1GB for each member.

In addition to photos, videos, ephemera and stories, Famicity also includes a private messaging space where members can communicate with each other. Using the Inbox, only the people in the conversation will have access to those messages. Each person has a profile page which also serves as an address book for members. The profile information on each member includes email address, birthdate and a photo. Famicity is set up to send birthday reminders to Famicity members using the profile information. Send your birthday greetings as a private message or as a graphic birthday “card” on the Famicity timeline where members can share their greetings with everyone using the comment element for that card.

There’s a lot more Famicity goodness just waiting for you and your family to enjoy. One very nice feature is its cost – nothing! To learn more and get started on your own Famicity network, visit them at

Build A Family Heritage Cookbook With Paprika

The Paprika Recipe Manager is the perfect example of a 21st century cookbook. It is available for Windows and Mac desktops along with iOS, Android and Kindle devices. And, while it makes it easy to capture, organize and share recipes, it also does a lot more. You can plan meals, build grocery lists, scale recipes to fit your serving size and even automatically detect and set timers from a recipe’s directions. Yes, it’s a delightful tool for people who love to cook. It’s also a great way to capture your family’s legacy recipes and the stories related to them.

I fell in love with Paprika when I first installed in on my iPad. It has a built-in web browser set up with bookmarks to an impressive collection of online recipe sites. Are you a fan of the Pioneer Woman or The Food Network? You’ll find them already bookmarked. If there are other sites not found in the Paprika list – like the Apron Recipes at Publix – you can add them to your bookmarks. Using the built-in browser, you can cruise through these sites and when you find something you’d like to add to your recipes, all you do is tap Download and enter a category (main dish, dessert, brunch, etc.). Paprika does the rest.


Adding your personal recipes takes a bit more effort. Enter the ingredients and the instructions, add a category and even a photo if you wish. There is a field for entering personalized notes about the recipe. This comes in handy if you are posting a legacy recipe. Use it to describe the cook and how he/she fits into the family “tree”. Is it a recipe that is traditionally served for a specific event like Thanksgiving, Christmas or anniversaries? Include that in the notes too.

The recipe above is one of our favorite family recipes – Minorcan Clam Chowder. Instead of a photo of the dish, this recipe has a picture of the chef (my father). He had a unique way of making this dish which is well documented in the Notes section. The recipe is listed under the Soups and Stews category but it is also listed in the Legacy category. This way we can easily find our family favorites at any time.

The recipes in our Legacy collection look a bit different from the others. The photos in these recipes are usually focused on the cook or the event where it is frequently served. The notes area is used to describe why this recipe is a family favorite.

The Paprika app is available on Windows ($19.99) and Mac ($29.99) desktops along with iOS, Android and Kindle Fire mobile devices ($4.99). I have been gifting the mobile version to family members for some time so we can take advantage of Paprika’s sharing option to pass our favorite recipes around. Paprika has also become my favorite gift for bridal showers. In addition to the app, I also add the exported collection of Legacy recipes which the new bride can easily import to her app and learn a bit about the history of her new family.

Recipe sharing continues long after the wedding. Our family is constantly sharing recipes and Paprika makes it so easy. Don’t stop there. Paprika is an delightful way to document and share your family’s legacy recipes, but it is a lot more. The features for meal planning and grocery lists are also quite impressive. This $5.00 app will quickly become a tool you can’t live without. Try it an see for yourself.

This article was originally published at Moultrie Creek Gazette.

Lifecards Storytelling


It doesn’t take a lot of time and effort to turn photos into photo stories. The Lifecards app (iOS – $1.99) makes it easy to create postcards, email newsletters, story cards and much more. This is a great platform to display your family’s history in small, eye-catching bites.

In the example above there are three elements – a photo, a bit of photo art and a bit of text. The photo art was created using the Brushstroke app (iOS – free) and what was originally a rather faded photo. Brushstroke turned that faded photo into a beautiful piece of art. The photo on the left shows us all admiring the trophy catch and the text describes the story behind the photo as well as setting time and place. It doesn’t take many words to describe the event, but the text, photo and photo art stirs up fond memories of a long ago time.


Here you see that story being created with Lifecards. There are plenty of templates to help you build your cards along with tools to adjust the images within the template, add text and even “handwritten” notes. Once finished, you have a number of options for sharing your creation. It can be saved to Photos, emailed, posted to Facebook, Twitter or MeWe, printed and even sent as a postcard via The only cost to you is $2.49 to print and send it to its destination.


Here is another sample – a beautiful portrait and very short story about an ancestor. This “postcard” was emailed to siblings and cousins so they could enjoy meeting Francis as much as I did.

Lifecards isn’t restricted to just postcard size. There are templates to create email newsletters – with photos – and even a newspaper-style template when you have a family history scoop to share. With Lifecards you can easily share the stories, photos and ephemera that your research discovers as eye-catching cards or notes that will make them want to learn more.

Who knows . . . it could even generate some new genealogists in the family.