Friday, 27 April 2007

Creating audio-visual monologues

Flipz TV is a really useful piece of free software for creating entertaining audio-visual materials.

The software enables you to record your own audio monologues and lip-sync them with a choice of animated talking heads. It then turns them into small Flash files which can be run in a web browser. These can be put on the Internet, run form your computer desktop, or the Flash files can even be delivered to mobile phones.

Here’s an example that I created using a Sonnet (130) by William Shakespeare. (You’ll need to have the sound o your computer turned up)

Click here to see an example

Use the small controls on the right to stop and replay the audio.

What I like about this software, apart from the novelty value, is Flipz creates quite small files. You could easily email the file to students with some instructions so they could listen at home or in a self access lab. Or put them on their phone or mobile device. You could make some really useful homework tasks for them. The students could even download the software onto their computers at home and create their own materials to bring to class.

Creating something like this is very easy. Just click through the five steps on the interface.

  • The first step is to choose the character you want from a possible 8 talking heads (two come with the standard download of the software and you can download another 8 by registering)
  • You then type or copy and paste in the text that you want the animated head to read.
  • You then either import your audio file or record your own
  • Then simply click a button and the software generates your audio character and synchronises the speech to the text
  • You can the either preview or finish your project. The software generates an html page with the talking head embedded in it.

You can watch this short tutorial movie to see just how easy it is.

Tutorial movie (Flash 523k)

Here are some ideas for combining this into your teaching.
  • Record short poems or stories for the students to listen to
  • Record some tongue twisters for the students to listen to and practice
  • Get students to produce and record their own news reports
  • Get students to record an imaginary daily diary for one of the characters
  • Get students to record imaginary problems for a problem page. They can then listen to each other’s problems and record some advice
  • You or your students could record a song or import a song audio file and add the words

You can download Flipz for free from: http://www.flipz.tv/
It’s about 3.15Mb so it shouldn’t take to long to download, then just unzip the file and install it. It only runs on PC (sorry MAC users)

Click here to see how Flipz would look on a phone or PDA
Flipz on phone

If you use Flipz or have any good ideas for how to exploit it, by all means post them in the comments below.

Best
Nik Peachey

8 comments:

Dennis said...

Flipz TV sounds very interesting, Nik, and seems to have many usable applications--particularly since (to use your words) " . . . apart from the novelty value, [it] creates quite small files." Somehow seeing and hearing Sonnet 130 as "presented" by a cartoon-like character made it more engaging--possibly even more so than if presented, say, in streaming video by a well-known Shakespearian actor. I think students would relate well to it.

I watched and listened to the example on a Mac. What a pity that I can't use the same Mac to play around with Flipz TV and perhaps create something on my own!

I do, however, have a PC, so I'll do some playing with Flipz TV and let you know if anything interesting results.

Best wishes==

D. Oliver
(Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A.)

lucy said...

Dear Nik,
This looks great! Is that talking head you or just one of the default faces?

I looked at the flipz page and didn't see anything about other languages. Do you know whether other languages are supported or whether this is planned?

By the way, what did you use to record the tutorial and add the speech bubbles?

Thanks for sharing your new discoveries with us.

Lucy

Nik Peachey said...

Hi Dennis and Lucy,

Thanks for writing in. The MAC thing with Flipz is a bit annoying. Like you I have one of each (by necessity) hope to be able to boot up either XP or vista on my MAC soon. That would save a lot of hassle.

Lucy, that is one of the eight possible faces along with my voice. I chose that one as it kind of sat well with the poem. In person I'm not so handsome!

As for the tutorial, I used something called BBFlashback, which isn't free , but is reasonably priced. You can get something free which will do the same thing. If you have a look at the review of Teacher Tube http://nikpeachey.blogspot.com/2007/04/teachertube.html
You'll see some references to Camstudio which you can download for free from: http://sourceforge.net/projects/camstudio/.

Hope that works for you.

Best

Nik

Nik Peachey said...

Sorry Lucy, I forgot to mention, I think Flipz is language independent.

Any language will do.

Best

Nik

Larry Ferlazzo said...

Nik,

I just discovered your blog via the Learning Technologies listserv. Your posts look very helpful, and I'll look forward to seeing more of them.

Larry Ferlazzo
ESL Teacher
Sacramento, CA

Hala Fawzi said...

Great start for the blog, Nicky! Thank you for letting me know about
Flipz.
Cheers,
Hala

Deb Pearson said...

It's sad that this app is STILL only available for windows .. but, gret ideas - thanks.
When the developers get with the program and realise just how many Mac users there are out here perhaps we will see some developments :)

Nik Peachey said...

Hi Deb

I suspect that the software is no longer being developed, but good at least that it is still available. I run a MAC and a PC these days, but am seriously considering running something like Parrallels or Boot camp so that I can do away with my PC forever!

Best

Nik