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Adobe Voice captures some of Apple's magic in its video storytelling software

Serenity Caldwell | May 9, 2014
What's your story? That's the question the Adobe Voice app for the iPad is clamoring to help you answer. The app combines the boring task of making slideshows with a fun, iMovie Trailers-esque feel; it's one of the company's most beautiful iPad apps to date, and it's incredibly easy to use.

What's your story? That's the question the Adobe Voice app for the iPad is clamoring to help you answer. The app combines the boring task of making slideshows with a fun, iMovie Trailers-esque feel; it's one of the company's most beautiful iPad apps to date, and it's incredibly easy to use.

Voice is free on the App Store, though it does require a Creative Cloud account to publish your videos; unlike with Adobe's Lightroom for iPad, however, that account doesn't have to be a paid one — free will do just fine. You'll also need iOS 7 and an iPad 2 or later (or iPad mini or later).

When you first launch Voice, you're presented with a quick tutorial video about the app. Its basic tenet: Vocals are key. When you create anything in Voice, you start by laying down a short audio recording. You can then add royalty-free clipart, photos, or text (or all three), and blend it with some backing music.

Weirdly, for an iPad app, you do this all in portrait mode — but it doesn't feel as awkward as it could. Adobe makes excellent use of the vertical space, stacking its menu atop the video preview, along with both the vocal recording and the slide timeline. Using an iPad mini, handheld editing in portrait felt just fine; if you have a larger iPad, you'll probably want to edit with the iPad on a flat surface, rather than holding it aloft while editing.

When you create your first story, Voice asks a few questions to get the process going, including "What's Your Story About?", with a few dozen prompts below if you're having trouble. Once you've named your project, you can pick a structure — which will prepopulate your slides with some questions for you to answer — or choose to go your own way and make up your own slide order.

After that, you're in Voice's main editing panel, which displays three menus, a video preview, a section for vocal recording, and the timeline. To work on a slide, simply tap it; prompts should appear for recording, adding images or text, and more.

By design, Voice is a great deal more limited than programs like iMovie or Keynote — though you have over 30 themes to choose from, you can't tweak fonts or mix and match transitions from one theme to another. And each slide's layout is limited to just five options: A solo picture/text/icon (or, as Voice dubs it, a "thing"), two things side by side, a fullscreen photo, a thing and a caption, or a thing and a fullscreen photo. If you pick multiple objects side-by-side, you can't control when they fade in during the slide; they automatically populate at the same time. Music, too, is limited to just a handful of Adobe-licensed tunes; there's no way to upload tracks from your music library or other services.

 

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