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Make Your Kids Stars With a Little Disney Movie Magic

Make Your Kids Stars With a Little Disney Movie Magic

Every parent wants to show off those great shots of the kids, and Disney's Story app for the iPhone makes it easy to turn your disorganized record of an event into a charming narrative, automatically grouping photos and videos around a central "moment." This means your trip to the zoo could be treated as an epic adventure. Your kid's soccer game could become a triumph of endurance.

By Chris Maxcer MacNewsWorld ECT News Network
06/03/13 5:00 AM PT

Story by Disney is available in the iTunes App Store for free.

Story by Disney

If you're a parent, you probably have dozens, if not hundreds, of photos and videos of your children and families on your iPhone. You share these photos and videos in a variety of ways, but usually only one, two or three random shots at a time.

Following an event, though -- a road trip, a visit to the beach, a hike or a soccer game -- there's a great chance that your iPhone will house a whole series of photos and videos of the event.

Enter Story, a free app from Disney for the iPhone.

Story accesses the photos and video stored on your iPhone and -- using the metadata -- combines them into "My Moments." If you're at a zoo, for instance, all your zoo photos will be grouped together.

Story lets you select your zoo moment, for instance, to turn it into a Story, which it calls "My Stories."

How?

The app automatically creates a horizontal storyboard that embeds your photos onto the virtual pages of the story. One "page" might have one big photo or it might have a video while the next page has three photos. You can easily delete photos, add new ones, or change the layout of a page to better reflect whatever your iPhone camera captured.

You can also move the photos around inside their frames on the storyboard, zooming in or out or moving the photo to effectively focus on one element, say a baby giraffe's tongue. I was impressed with how fast and smooth it was to zoom in or out of photos in the story line.

Overall, your editing options are limited, but that's actually good. Because the app is designed for the iPhone's screen -- and parents don't have a lot of free quiet time -- the controls are highly focused, which lets the users home in on the photos and videos they want to include.

Words on the Page

While you can tell a story without words, Disney's Story app lets you add text over existing photos or add text to a blank page next to story elements. This lets you essentially turn your event into a readable, more engaging story.

If you have kids, this means your trip to the zoo could be treated as an epic adventure. Your kid's soccer game could become a triumph of endurance.

It's really easy, and Disney did a fantastic job of making a story almost automatically unfold before you. I've got to admit, that's cool.

Uploading and Sharing, Oh My!

Some parents aren't too keen on posting photos of their children online so the world can see. For these protective parents, Story isn't terrible, but it's not fantastic either. While you're editing your photos, Story uploads them to its servers in the sky and holds them securely there for seven days before deleting them.

This pre-upload is designed to make the upload process faster. Once uploaded, you can share your story via email or Facebook, or embed it in a blog. As near as I can tell, it's only discoverable by whom you email the link to, but your friends or family could forward the link to others. Disney explains this in its description, of course.

In my tests, uploading seemed slow, as if stuck for minutes on end, but then later blasted off with as if rocket engines had suddenly ignited. My connection? Disney's servers? I don't know.

All-in-all, Story makes it easy to turn a series of photos into a family-friendly narrative. The only feature I specifically want is the ability to export the story into some sort of portable file format that wouldn't require uploading to anyone's servers that could make them unintentionally shareable.

Still, there's indubitably something cool about seeing a day out and about turned into a shareable story.


MacNewsWorld columnist Chris Maxcer has been writing about the tech industry since the birth of the email newsletter, and he still remembers the clacking Mac keyboards from high school -- Apple's seed-planting strategy at work. While he enjoys elegant gear and sublime tech, there's something to be said for turning it all off -- or most of it -- to go outside. To catch him, take a "firstnamelastname" guess at WickedCoolBite.com.


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