I love poking around the app store for new and creative visual story telling applications. That’s why I spend so much time in the photo and video sections. Recently an app came up that is so cross category that I had to test it out.
It’s called Steller, and it’s free on the front page of the app store (iPhone only). Using photo, video, and text overlay, all with turning pages like a book, Steller allows you to tell a visual story in a fresh take on an old medium: the book.
I’ve gotten a chance to play with it some, and I am truly amazed and licking my lips at the possibilities.
Seeing that the app was free, and knowing the possibilities, I gave it a download. It took me just a moment to login and get started. The first screen you see has the feed (they call it the Storyline) which explains how the app works. And by scrolling down, there are instructional “Stories” on how to use the app (anything from publishing, to editing your text, and placing content in the story).
But rather than explore there, I jumped right into content creation. Clicking on the menu icon in the upper right, I was given the opportunity to start a New Story. From there, I was taken to a screen that let me pick content for a page (text, video, or photo). I thought I’d tell the story of the last Saturday night of worship for the church I work for (we’re moving to Sundays). So I chose photo. The pictures are from a few weeks back, and I had to scroll through the bottom (not the typical photo viewer) to get there. It does show the aspect ratio for a page, so that’s a plus.
From there, I was given the option to create a layout. I picked something basic and clicked done. After a little editing, I had made my first page. I only had the text and elements that were in that template to work with (so I couldn’t add another text box or graphic, like in Over or Studio). I also had limited options for editing the text (which is ok for a new app) that were easily accessed through the pencil icon. The menu buttons in the edit mode allowed me to see where I could change the layout, my photo, look at all my pages, and add a page.
I wanted to see how video worked, so I added a second page (with the + button) and chose video. I got to pick from the videos I had on my phone (with the same picker they have for photos) and then could select a layout as well. I can do the same text editing in there as with photo, and can resize the video (to get rid of the vertical crop if I so choose). From the examples they have, it seems like shorter video loops are better, but I found no way to shorten my loop in app (have to do that elsewhere). There’s a button to allow me to flip to the previous page. But there is an audio button to shut the video sound off.
I was done with my short story, so I clicked the next button and went to the publish dialogue. I had to create a new collection to save the video (a helpful thing for the organized among us and a step some I’m sure wish they could skip). I could edit the collection cover photo and title and description though, which was fun. It took a while to upload (the long video file didn’t help), but I was successful in publishing my first story.
Using Steller was a lot of fun. It definitely feels fresh and exciting. My hope is that editing options grow. I can see such potential for telling stories to many different groups about what God is doing in our churches. It’s pretty exciting. And the best part is: you don’t need an iPhone to view a final story. They gave me a share link for my story, which sends you to a browser to check it out (much like Instagram).
I hope you get a chance to check it out, and I’d love your thoughts if you’ve used it.