April 28, 2017

Poynter’s Ren LaForme and I have spent several weeks exploring cheap or free tools journalists can use. First, we spent some time on video tools, then a few weeks on tools that can keep journalists more secure on the internet.

Now, we’re going to try breaking from the “series” approach and just pick tools that seem useful and relevant.

So, what are we going to talk about this week?

So, a couple of weeks ago we wrapped up talking about video when we were still doing things as a series, and then literally the next week, this really cool app came out that I was sad we couldn’t talk about. But now we can!


So, in early April, Apple released a new video app. It’s called Clips, and in four days, they had over one million downloads.

It’s a video recording app that includes effects and things like that. It’s not too bad for an app that was just released. It’s got some standard features: You can record from the app, you can upload photos into it, if you’re recording, you can pinch and drag to zoom. It’s got this nice smoothing effect. And like any app that does video nowadays, you can add emojis and effects and things like that.

But, that’s not what I like about it so much.

What do you like about it so much?

I constantly am getting the question, “hey, how do I do those captions for my videos that people are putting on Facebook?” And you know, there’s some apps out there to help with that. A lot of people tell me they use Vont. It’s not one of my favorites, it has a ton of fonts, but it’s not super easy to use.

I personally usually use Premiere, you know bust out the big guy when I’m putting a video out there, but that takes forever.

Clips is amazing because you just press a button and it gives you a transcription of everything you’ve said in the video in the form of captions.

That’s cool. So it does it for you.?

Yeah, and it’s so accurate. I tested it myself, I was speaking pretty clearly, trying to enunciate correctly. And then I dropped that and talked like I normally do, and it picked that up.

And then I tested it around Poynter on people with various accents, and it worked with everybody.

It’s better than Siri, which is kind of weird.

That’s great. So this is a free app?

Its completely free, it’s only for iOS, so you’ve got to have an iPhone or an iPad, unfortunately.

So this solves one of the workflow problems of getting your videos ready for Facebook, right?


I know this is a new app, any things you’re not loving about it?

Yes, this is such a baby app, and I’m hoping they add all kinds of things, but right now you’re limited to square videos. I’d really, really like them to add support for other aspect ratios. Maybe they thought it was the best for social, but I’d really like some horizontal and vertical videos, because those are catching on on social.

The other thing I’d really like is there are only eight different styles you can do for captioning, and some of them are not the most aesthetically pleasing.

I’d like them to add some support for further customizing the captions and making them really look cool.

We don’t know what we’re going to talk about next week, we’ll see what new tools are out there or what old tools we feel like digging into, but in the meantime, if anyone tries this, let us know.

Also, if you have any tools you’re really excited about, let us know.

Editor’s note: This is the latest in a series of articles that highlight digital tools for journalists. You can read the others here.

Learn more about journalism tools with Try This! — Tools for Journalism. Try This! is powered by Google News Lab. It is also supported by the American Press Institute and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Support high-integrity, independent journalism that serves democracy. Make a gift to Poynter today. The Poynter Institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, and your gift helps us make good journalism better.
Kristen Hare teaches local journalists the critical skills they need to serve and cover their communities as Poynter's local news faculty member. Before joining faculty…
Kristen Hare

More News

Back to News