Anything that offers a “sneak peek” now at what readers will see later in the yearbook is worth pursuing. Adding an audio component makes the experience even more worthwhile. That’s part of what led Whitney High Student Media students to experiment with Shuttersong.
Simply put, the app combines a photo with about 15 seconds of audio, ready to tweet or post instantly. The website offers simple tutorials, and students can be up and running with an account in a matter of minutes based on the student media email address and a quick connection to various social accounts.
Yearbook coverage of major events will include a wide range of photo coverage, but a social media teaser now helps students connect to the event and reminds them that reporters are capturing everything for the print product later. We’ve had success with both natural sound, like the crowd cheering, and a quick interview for a participant’s involvement behind the scenes.
A few advantages:
- It’s all from an iPhone, so students can capture something virtually anywhere, even if they don’t have a DSLR checked out as the “official” reporter for an event.
- Users can shoot in the app or select an image from the camera roll.
- The finished #shuttersong has both a Share button (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr) and an Embed option to copy and paste code.
- Within the app, the How To area has the same tutorials as the website. Students can figure it out on the fly.
- Audio is limited to 15 seconds, so students can capture one moment and offer an optimum experience without editing or over-thinking the sound aspect.
- Students mentioned experiencing a few glitches in processing. The mermaid icon travels back and forth across the screen like the app is stuck, but that could be due to weak signal. Our school is in a dead zone, and so far students have used it mostly in areas known for poor cell phone service.
- The in-app audio recording happens after capturing the image, so it involves an extra step if users want the exact sound from the exact moment of the image capture. This isn’t a big deal, but it helps for students to think ahead about the shot and the sound and how they work together.
- The app only works with iPhone4 and later.
A quick brainstorm in class will yield plenty of possible uses for this simple tool. If your staff is using Shuttersong, please consider posting a link or best practice in the comments below.