Blabberize “make images speak”

Blabberize allows you to quickly animate any image to make it talk, by simply adding audio and specifying the bottom lip or jaw section. Within minutes you have a talking photo and the novelty factor of this will never wear thin for students. They absolutely love Blabberize. Make a famous person speak, give an animal a voice, even add a mouth to an inanimate object like a hamburger and discuss its nutritional value.

The key to utilizing Blabberize is being creative with your lesson planning and encouraging students to be creative with their homework or assignments. Ask students to write a speech, information report or give them a scenario and ask them to write the ending. Students can then practice reading their script aloud into a computer microphone. You can re-record your voice as many times as you like, so it’s also excellent for pronunciation practice and language learning. This really is a great tool for practicing literacy skills in a fun way. More lesson ideas for using Blabberize in the classroom are written at the bottom.

Features

  • Blabberize allows you to upload your own images and specify (crop) the area you would like to use.
  • You can pre-record your voice and upload it or you can record via the website. (The pre-record option might be better if you want students to concentrate on their speaking and pronunciation, without being distracted by the novelty moving mouth.)
  • You can add additional scenes with different photos and audio. This means your final Blabberized video can play like a mini movie. See the example at the bottom.
  • When you have finished “Blabberizing” an image, your saved image is given its own url link, so you can share it with anyone.
  • You can also embed the finished product onto your own website, wiki or blog.
  • Users who have signed up and logged in are given the option to download and save their “blabberized” image as an mp4 file. This allows you to play it when offline and edit it further in a video editing program. You may need to pay for this feature in the future
  • There is a simple sign up process only when you want to save your image.

Ease of use

The Blabberize website is very easy to use. Just upload an image, select an area of the image to move for the mouth and add audio. Choosing an image with a closed mouth really looks more effective. You can make a small mouth by decreasing the blob or allow the whole bottom of the face to move by increasing the blob size. But I think the most important thing is to not expect your talking image to looks too realistic. Treat it as a bit of fun and you will enjoy the experience a lot more. I made the animation below for my class as a part of a drug education unit in about 20 minutes.

Design

I really like Blabberize and I think it can be very useful for teachers. However I am not very impressed with the design and feel of the website. The homepage displays peoples’ tweets about Blabberize and it also displays blog messages. To be honest 99% of visitors aren’t interested in these things. But when you try to look for relevant facts like… can I download the finished product? Can I add more than one voice to my images? How big a photo size should I use? What is the maximum length of audio I can add? These answers are near impossible to find on the website. The FAQ section at the bottom of the homepage is not clear and filled with a lot of irrelevant info for most visitors. I know that Blabberize is a work in progress and improvements are being made all the time, but I think the design and FAQ section needs to be clearer.

Value

At the moment Blabberize is 100% free to use. Their blog and FAQ section indicates that users may be charged for excessive bandwidth usage or possibly for video conversions in the future. The website does mention that they want to allow as much free use in the future as possible, especially for educational purposes, so different membership types may be introduced.

Overall Rating

Blabberize is simple to use and students have a lot of fun creating and watching other peoples images talk. As a literacy tool this is excellent as students can write speeches, poems, movie scenes or other text types and then practice their speaking skills into the computer microphone.

The creators of Blabberize seem to be very creative and innovative. They even had a feature where you could call in audio via your phone, but this has been discontinued due to issues. Personally I think they should improve their FAQ section and place it on the main menu instead of hiding it down the bottom.

Ideas for classroom

  • Recreate a famous speech or moment in history
  • Write a report about an animal, food or object and make it speak
  • Watch a movie, write a script for a different ending and make the characters speak
  • Scan in students pictures and make them talk
  • Explain what it feels like to be an animal or object
  • Discuss marketing technique of junk food and make the wrappers speak
  • Language learners can practice and read a sentence each and make a short story
  • Check out how this creative teacher has used Blabberize and video editing to animate her students’ photosynthesis raps.
  • If you have any other ideas please share them via the comments below.

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    Comments

    1. Nikki Polk says:

      How do you embed your blabberize videos so that they are smaller? I am trying to do the same for a teacher’s website but everytime we change the scale the video is cut off.

      • Hi Nikki, Unfortunately the embedded videos don’t scale well by changing the values, which is a feature they need to fix. Therefore you need to use an image size which is the exact final size that you want people to see. If you don’t want to recreate the video then you could try downloading it as an MP4 (after logging in to Blabberize) then editing it in a video editing program or upload the MP4 to a program like Youtube or Screencast.com which may allow you to scale it without losing part of the image. If you need help send my a link to your Blabberize file and tell me the exact size your require and I’ll try to help you further.

    2. Great website for teachers to learn about the latest technology to assist with their teaching. Keep up the good work!

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