In the world of social media, video is killing the photo star. According to Adobe, video is becoming the new form of visual communication, and will account for 80 percent of Internet traffic worldwide by 2019. This isn’t surprising to anyone who uses a social network – from Instagram and Snapchat, to Facebook and Twitter. In the past year, the aforementioned networks have stepped up their services to include support for user-generated video content (let’s also not forget about YouTube).
Adobe has been focusing on the social space with its Spark “storytelling” mobile (iOS) and web-based apps that let anyone – whether you’re an “influencer,” small business, or just a casual user – create high-design, impactful graphics for social media, all for free.
“Spark users have already created more than 10 million social posts, web pages, and videos, and those stories are read, watched, and viewed by almost two million people every month,” said Aubrey Cattell, Adobe’s general manager for Spark products, in a blog post.
Recognizing that video is playing a bigger role, Adobe is adding new features to the Spark Video app to make it more in line with video features found in apps like Instagram, Flipagram, or GoPro Quik.
Despite its name, Spark Video didn’t actually support video (the app was formerly known as Adobe Voice). Instead, it allowed users to create short videos using still images and audio, making it more like a slideshow than an actual moving image. With the update, users can now incorporate video clips from their phones, tablets, or computers, along with photos, text, icons, music, and even narration.
If you’ve uploaded videos to Instagram or Snapchat, you basically know the process with Spark Video. You can easily trim a clip, picking a start and end point, or breaking it into different segments. The app also lets you easily align an audio narration to whichever part of the video you want. This is ideal for, say, a cooking demonstration, which Adobe shows in the sample video above. You can also add your own tunes or use one that’s included in the app.
You don’t need an Adobe ID account, but if you have one, you can use that to log in, or just sign up using one of the various login options. Upon launch, you are presented with the Inspiration tab, where you’ll find a quick tutorial (you really don’t need it; it’s that simple) along with videos made by other Spark users. The Inspiration videos give users ideas on how to create videos, whether it’s educational/instructional or a marketing pitch for a business. The My Videos tab is where your creations are found, and they are stored in the cloud (you can also download them to your phone or computer).
To start, simply hit the “plus” icon. You can either start from scratch, or use one of the story templates — like “promote an idea,” “personal growth,” or “teach a lesson” — to help you get going. From there, you can start building your story by creating a slide. You can add video, photos, icons, or text to the slide; edit the attached content (clip, zoom, pan, etc.); set the length of the segment; and hold the microphone button to record narration. Sliding your finger left or pressing the “plus” icon starts a new slide. You can also change the layout for each slide, font/theme, and music. Along the bottom is the clip timeline, which you can preview by pressing the “play” icon.
Once you’re done, you hit the share button, add a title and subtitle, credit info, and category. You can then share to Facebook or Twitter; send via email, text message, or URL; or copy to your phone or computer. All projects are automatically synced to the cloud, so you can start on an iPhone or iPad and finish later on a computer.
If you use a template, the app guides you on what you might want to include on each slide. For example, with “teach a lesson,” the first slide asks what it is you are trying to teach — an overview. The next slide tells you describe the concept, followed by an example, explanation, and so on. The templates are useful for when you want to create a video, but aren’t sure what kind. It also helps you keep your messaging on point.
We created this short clip using videos on our phone, and the process from start to finish took less than 10 minutes. Of course, you could spend more time polishing and perfecting a video it to your liking, but it doesn’t take that much effort to create a quick video that tells a story. Here’s our video:
In terms of quick video creation tools, it’s by far one of the easiest to use (remember, we were using our phone, but it’s even easier if you have a keyboard and mouse). Being that it’s from Adobe, it also has a level of professional polish that you won’t find in many other similar apps. The user interface is elegant, and at no point did we have to reference the tutorial on how to use a function. It’s not a heavy-duty video editor by any means, but for anyone who wants to build a quick video, it does the job. If we have to complain about something, it’s the “Made with Adobe Spark Video” watermark that’s automatically added at the end — and there doesn’t seem to be a way to remove it.
Check out these other videos, provided by Adobe: