Producing content for the web is an exciting — but often frustrating — experience. Great multimedia ideas often get stymied by budgetary constraints, firewalls or overprotective IT departments. So it was with great enthusiasm that my newspaper staff and I recently checked out two web-based programs to help us bypass some of our technical challenges, the new Myna Audio Editor from Aviary and JayCut video editing software.
Myna was recently added to Aviary’s stable of web-based tools that includes an Image, Color and Effects Editor and Screen Capture program. Myna allows users to edit and mix audio clips, including some cool effects like pitch change (it never gets old hearing your voice sound like you’ve just sucked on a helium balloon) and reverb. According to Aviary’s site, Myna is meant to be a tool for creating mixes out of short clips featuring a single instrument or vocal. That said, it is equipped to do some pretty fancy tricks, but the interface is still easy enough for a novice like me to maneuver. It also comes loaded with music clips from the Quantum Tracks library, which can be used for noncommercial work. Myna works well in place of an audio editing software like Audacity. And because of its web interface, users are encouraged to share clips and collaborate with other users.
Newspaper staffs, particularly those that are PC-based, fed up with Windows Movie Maker and not lucky enough to have Final Cut Pro at their disposal, will find JayCut a competent alternative for basic video editing. Currently in Beta, JayCut was developed by entrepreneurship students at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. At its core, JayCut provides an easy way for novice filmakers to make their own “mixes” that can easily be shared via social networking sites like Facebook. It boasts a simple interface — users can seamlessly combine multiple video and audio tracks into one mix with the option to add a variety of effects and transitions. And, as with Myna, JayCut allows users to make their videos public on their site or share them via other platforms. Speaking for a staff that is very limited in technology and multimedia experience, this program has enabled us to ramp up our video output in a way that no other available option has.
So, if you are thinking of sticking your toe into the multimedia pool, or you would like your students to have the flexibilty to be able to work on projects from home, these two options may just be the way to go.