Blabberize allows you to upload a picture, record your voice, and add a "mouth" that "talks" as the audio is played. It's free and pretty easy to use. As with other tools, you need to create an account. Note: Elementary students need not apply -- the terms of service states that you have to be 13 or over. There are, of course, limitations with this being free. The odd thing, however, is that while there is a mention of a "premium membership," the signup and payment for this membership hasn't been implemented on the site yet (????).
To create a "blabber," as Blabberize calls it, you first upload a picture. It's probably a good idea to be mindful of copyright here. For my sample I chose this image from Wikimedia Commons. Next, you make a "mouth." A red oval appears that represents the "mouth." You click and drag on purple and green dots to change the size and shape. The part of the image inside the red oval is the piece that moves up and down, so in my case, I shrunk the red oval considerably.
After making your "mouth," you record some audio, or upload an audio file. I prefer making my own audio files using a separate program. As I mentioned in my PodOmatic post, I use Audacity. The site says that you can only upload a 30-second clip, but actually, the audio clip can be longer, as long as the file is less than 2MB (2,097,152 bytes).
The last step is to preview your work. I believe that you can go to a previous step if necessary -- I had to reshape my "mouth" and it seemed to work. Hit the "OK" button, and you have your blabber. Here is my sample. (Don't laugh.)
(So you are probably asking, "What is he saying in the audio?" I mentioned in a previous post that I spent my last summer in Seoul, Korea, studying the Korean language at Sogang University. Before the final exam I created an audio file of me reciting some Korean proverbs and their meaning, to help me in memorizing them. The file was originally a WAV file, but that was too big, so I had to convert it to MP3.)
You can also convert your blabber into a video file (MPEG) and download it, but it's a "test feature" on the site, so the feature can be removed, or be restricted to "premium members," in the future. I did this and my sample blabber became an 11.7MB MPEG video (250x500 px, 24 fps). You can't control any aspect of the video file (like resolution, framerate, conversion factor, etc.).
I mentioned that there are some issues with this site. Here are two big ones, in my opinion.
- There doesn't seem to be any strict controls on the content in the site, so it's possible that students could find blabbers with inappropriate content.
- There is a limit as to how many times anyone can access a particular blabber.
Well, "how many times" isn't really accurate. The site calls this "embed bandwidth." According to the FAQ, "Embed bandwidth is how many bytes of outgoing data transfer we allow views of your embedded blabbers to consume." Anytime someone plays my blabber, he/she uses up my embed bandwidth. I am limited to 2GB (2,147,483,648 bytes) a month. So if I have just one blabber that takes up 2MB (2,097,152 bytes) when a person watches it, then my blabber can be played only 1,024 times in a month, and afterwards, the next person who tries to play my blabber will get a "Personal Bandwidth Exceeded" error. You can check to see how much bandwidth has been used in your account page.
Despite the issues, I had a blast in creating my sample blabber. I'm tempted to create one of me lecturing on a lesson for my Calculus class next year, just for kicks.