In part because of a multimedia reporting class I’m taking this fall as part of my master’s program, I’ve been exploring various multimedia publishing platforms. Videolicious moved up on my list after I saw that Poynter this week will host a webinar on using it for journalism. In a class I teach at the University of New Mexico, I mentioned the app to my students, who said they had just learned about it at the Associated Collegiate Press conference in New Orleans. They were willing to be my guinea pigs for the snapshots I took around the student newsroom today.

Overall, it was super simple to use. In less than five minutes, using an iPad, I had a basic, one minute piece published and on Twitter. I chose ten photos from my iPhoto app, and recorded audio over them as I swiped through. You also can record video if you’d like.

While it was simple to produce, the piece is not superb. The photos are nothing more than snapshots and the audio is just audio, but it’s not terrible. With more time, and by paying for more than the scaled down free version, I think the app has some potential for storytelling, especially because of the ability to quickly post on social media.

But I don’t want to sound like an ad here either. I’m not a fan of the automatic Ken Burns effect. And as I scrolled, the mic seemed to sometimes pick up the sound of my fingers moving on the iPad. But overall, it’s a decent choice, especially for students who might be looking for a simple way to publish multimedia components with a story.

In the end, I’d rather teach students how to use more professional video recording and editing equipment, but I know that’s not realistic for many of them. Videolicious helps fill a gap for students who want to learn multimedia, but who don’t have time/access to/patience for more pro tools.

UPDATE, Nov. 15
I had my students try out the app during a class last week. In a really short amount of time, both groups who tried it produced a short video. Nothing too stellar, but decent given the classroom setting I confined them to, and the fact that it was the first time they had seen the app. (Because the app is iOS only, I ended up lending them my iPad and my iPhone, so keep that in mind if you want to try this in your class.)

Here’s a link to the better of the two videos. I gave them no instructions beyond a demonstration and then let them follow the guided information on the app. You can see potential for creating short pieces with the free version.

Bonus instructor tip: remember that you lent your equipment to students so you aren’t wondering how all those really bad pictures of you ended up on your iPhone.