Friday, August 8, 2014

Children’s iPad App, Shadow Puppet

Children’s iPad App, Shadow Puppet
by Susan Stephenson,

In Creating Digital Stories with iPad, I said I hope to review Shadow Puppet soon.

Despite the title of this post, Shadow Puppet is a video presentation and storytelling app that works well for both kids and adults. The developers have taken pains to make it a breeze to use. There’s a very brief tutorial that guides users through the steps involved to make a video.

From the developers:

1. SELECT - Choose photos or video clips from your camera roll. Or search the web for images and animated GIFs.
2. CREATE - Add music, record voice over narration, or both!
3. ANIMATE - Add animated titles, draw with emoji wands, zoom in and out
4. SHARE - Easily share your masterpiece with family & friends!

What I liked:

I love apps that we can use straight “out of the box.” With Shadow Puppet, you hit the ground running. It takes seconds to grab images and record behind them. For educators and parents, this means Shadow Puppet is a really useful tool for kids. In the latest version, 2.0, users can include video clips up to 30 seconds. I like too that there’s a feature to have both background music AND voice narration. There are text overlays and other bling, but the best feature of all is that the free version is great, and you only pay to get extra features like being able to add more items to your video or to remove the watermark.

There are several sharing options. One is to email to yourself and get a link where people can view the video, and there’s an option from there for them to download it or grab an embed code. If it has worked, you’ll see my sample below.

You can also download it to your computer, and then upload it to Youtube, the way I did in the next sample below.

Shadow Puppet has potential for digital storytelling, presentations, explaining an idea, demonstrating steps in an experiment, or sending someone a video message. It also makes a great tool for having kids practise writing and delivering dialogue, or thinking themselves further into a character. There are examples on the Shadow Puppet blog including the making of simple book trailers, and more ideas on the website.

What I did:

I knew I wanted to tell a brief digital story, so to make my Shadow Puppet video, I first of all created some images. In order to have a change of posture/expression with the same character, I decided to use Comics Head, an app I told you about in Make a Comic with Comics Head. I made four single frame images and created my story board at the same time. My “storyboard” was simply dialogue suggested by my character scribbled onto paper! Once I’d grabbed those images from my Camera Roll, I recorded my voice over each one, then added “credits” at beginning and end. The app is VERY user-friendly, prompting as you go.

Update: The developers have just let me know in a tweet that there are also storyboard printables available at the website. 

If you’re interested in ways to have kids involved in story, you might also like to read Digital Storytelling with Kids Online, Collaborative Storytelling, Sixteen Sensational Storytelling Ideas and Story Bags as Prompts for Digital Storytelling and Writing.

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