Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Cool new phone app - FREE!


Well… sort of.
Last week, Matt (one of our assistant heads) told me that the School Council would like to make a phone app to publicize their work and asked if I thought it would be possible. I replied in the negative but I did mention that I had signed up to beta test the Atavist (an open source ebook editor) and that might be a way forward. Nevertheless, I had in the back of my mind a tweet from someone who had built an app and was offering a download link…
After a bit of googling I landed on the Conduit Mobile site and proceeded to build an app linking all my online output into one app - I’ll be doing the techie stuff in a separate post. At some point (when I believed I might actually upload my app to the iStore) I spotted the suggestion that I send a YouTube link for my advert and this set me off making the ad (any excuse to play). More seriously I realised that a Digital Glue advert might also be really useful when I’m freelancing next year. The one minute video you see above took about 12 hours to complete.
Using my guiding principle of refusing to pay for anything, I used my trusty suite of free and open-source apps: Movie Maker (v.6) , Photo Story 3, Paint.NET and Audacity with a little help from Sqirlz Morph (see Links page for more details) and the Windows Snipping tool.  By the time I’d finished , to my amazement,  I had created 130 files using over 350 Mb of space.  Even allowing for some mistakes that’s an awful lot for a one minute video.  To give you some idea of what was involved there’s a gallery below illustrating a few of the images.
I’d originally intended to use the online Aviary Audio Editor Mynah, but I couldn’t achieve the feel I was after - a problem due entirely to my lack of expertise.  So I went to digCCMixter, searched for minimalist music and played down the list until I found this piece, ‘pling’ by Jaspertine.  The original was over five minutes long so I edited it in Audacity, with a dope sheet showing the timings on the desk in front of me.  I also added a couple of SFX early on in piece.
Was it worth it?  Well I certainly enjoyed my mini-break in the land of creativity. But will it do the biz?  Time, and your comments, will tell…