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    ZapVM creates visual messages on your iOS device for story telling, giving instructions, whatever you can imagine

    Mel Martin
    March 24, 2014
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    ZapVM is a free app (with some desirable in-app purchases) that lets you create and share messages with sound, still photos, captions, stickers and freehand sketching tools.

    I can see ZapVM being used by PowerPoint or Keynote fans, families sharing events, for consumer reviews of places or services, vacation photos, even simple hello messages. The app does all the editing and processing right on your device, so no data link is needed until it is time to share.

    I tried the app and had good success. The options can be a bit daunting, so take a couple of minutes to understand all the icons. In a nutshell, here is the process: Take a photo or get one from your camera roll. Record a narration. You can swipe through up to ten images. When you are done, use the drawing tools to annotate your presentation with things like arrows, captions, freehand drawings or text and other graphic elements. When you are done, your images and annotations get rendered into a video, which you can then share. You don't have to register to use it, you can just send your 'Zaps', as they are called, directly from the app.

    Here's where things get a bit complicated. The free version of ZapVM allows users to create and share an unlimited number of 30-second Zap Videos with ad-based Zap Links if published on ZapVM.com and up to 25 active Zap Projects on their device. Free users may also use Zap Credits to export enhanced quality Zap Videos that are up to 90 seconds long and that include an ad-free Zap Link, if published, for three months. All users receive five free credits upon downloading the app. Zap Credit Packs with 20 credits are available via in-app purchase for 99 cents. Users may also upgrade to Zap Plus for $4.99, allowing them to store an unrestricted number of active Zap Projects on their device(s) and to create, export and share an unlimited number of enhanced-quality, 90-second Zap Videos, each of which includes an ad-free Zap Link, if published, for three months.

    ZapVM works well, and is a pretty unique approach to content creation on iOS. I'd like to see the pricing simplified and the ability to import short videos instead of just photos. The whole notion of credits bogs down what is a very powerful app. My two cents worth? Give me a free 'lite' version to try out, and then sell a full-featured version.

    ZapVM is not a universal app, and it requires iOS 7. It is optimized for the iPhone 5.

    All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
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