Why is Vittle Named Vittle?

by qrayon 19. December 2013 11:51

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Dan Langendorf asked us what others have probably asked themselves too: “Why is Vittle named… Vittle?”.

The simple answer is: We had a couple internal brainstorming sessions, that that’s the name that came out of it. We actually started with “Viddle”, but found that it was too similar to a couple other products out there, so we tweaked it. “Vittle” is also an actual word, albeit an archaic one. It’s an old slang for “victual”, i.e. food. We thought it was a nice, somewhat wholesome (if obtuse) angle to an App for creating “nourishment for the brain”. Yeah, I did say it was obtuse. :)

Bonus backstory: The name may also have come from playing the miner level in The Cave. That game tends to sear the subconscious in more ways than one.



Vittle 1.4 on iOS7

by qrayon 18. September 2013 19:04

Screen Blanking Bug

We discovered an issue with Vittle 1.4 on the public version of iOS7 today: After dismissing the Scene Viewer, the next line drawn may cause the rest of the canvas to go momentarily blank. While this doesn’t affect the video created, it can be annoying. A fix in v1.5 has been submitted to Apple, and should be available in a few days. Sorry about this!


Mic Permissions

Another issue with iOS7 to be aware of: The very first time you tap Record in Vittle, iOS will prompt you to grant permission to access the Microphone. This is a new privacy setting in iOS7. This prompt will cause a zero-second, empty scene to be created. Just delete this in the Scene Editor, or overwrite it in the Free Edition.



Backing Up Inkflow and Vittle Files

by qrayon 16. August 2013 14:19

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Inkflow user Phil recently asked a question about backing up his over 200 (!) Inkflow books. We thought other users might want to know more about this too.

There are three ways to keep your files safely backed up:

1. If you activated your iCloud account and turned on iCloud backups, your device automatically gets backed up when you charge it. This includes the device settings and all App data (unless you individually turn them off). You can completely restore your device (or a new device) from the iCloud backup in case of a catastrophic failure. This is a good failsafe, but the problem is that it's an all or nothing proposition (i.e. you can't choose to just restore one or two Apps at a time).

2. iTunes backup works in the same was as iCloud backup, but it's to your computer. There's a WiFi backup option, so you don't need to physically connect your phone. This is a good idea, just to have a second backup available.

3. There's a new feature available in Inkflow 3 that activates iTunes File Sharing. This lets you copy individual Inkflow (*.inkflow) files to your computer. To use it, connect your iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch to your computer, and then:
    a. Select your device in the iTunes sidebar (View menu \ Show Sidebar).
    b. Navigate to the Apps tab, and select Inkflow.
    c. Copy the Inkflow files (all of them if you like) to your computer.

You can then copy these files to an external backup disk or cloud backup solution of your choice. To restore them, simply copy them back to the same Apps tab, or to a new device.

This is also a good way to “archive” older books that you don’t need to carry around on your device all the time. First backup the files, then delete them from the device.

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Vittle also supports iTunes file sharing. You can similarly copy project files (*.vittle) and their associated video clips to your computer, and back them up in the same way.

Bonus Trick: Backing up to Dropbox Directly

There’s one more way to backup individual files in Inkflow directly on your iPad or iPhone. In Inkflow 3, we added the ability to export the native .inkflow file. Tap the “Action” toolbar button, select “Export…”, then select the Inkflow format. If you have the Dropbox App installed, you can open .inkflow files with it. When you do, it will prompt you for a folder and then upload the file immediately.

This is a great way to save an important backup of a file when away from your computer.

Open Inkflow from DropboxYou can also open Inkflow files from the Dropbox App into Inkflow. First view it in the Dropbox App. It will say “Unable to view file”, but don’t worry. Tap the download button (top right on the iPad) and selecting Inkflow from the list. Just be aware that this will create a duplicate copy in Inkflow if a book already exists with the same name.


Create a Backup Plan that Works for You

When it comes to backing up data, having multiple levels of redundancy is a good idea. Pick the combination of options (or all three) that best suits you.

How To Change the Background in Vittle

by qrayon 16. July 2013 11:53

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Use the Lock-Image feature in Vittle to use any image as the background for your projects. Here’s how:

1. Insert the image you want to use as the background.

2. Tip: You can copy images from external Apps such as Mail, Safari, or Dropbox and paste them into Vittle.

Copy from Dropbox

3. Resize the image to fill the screen, then tap on it and select “Lock Image”.

Lock Image


You can now draw over the image and move things around without affecting the locked image. To unlock an image, simply tap on it again then tap “Unlock Image”.

You can quickly create multiple pages with your background image. Tap on the Page Number at the bottom, and tap the Duplicate Page button multiple times:

Duplicate pages


Bonus: Grid Paper Templates

To get you started, here are three grid templates that you can use as backgrounds:

1. Numbered Grid

2. Numbered Grid with Positive values

3. Un-numbered Grid

You can create your own in any graphics program, even using Keynote or PowerPoint. Here is the PowerPoint file for these templates.

We hope you’ll find this useful in your projects.

Vittle’s 720p HD Letterboxing

by qrayon 12. May 2013 16:25

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Vittle produces letterboxed (actually pillar-boxed) 720p HD videos, with black bars on the sides. There's an interesting reason for this: It turns out that YouTube and other services will only enable the HD option if your video is 720p (1280x720 pixels) or higher. 720p is also a 16:9 ratio, and of course the iPad's screen has a 4:3 ratio.

YouTube 720p Letterbox

In designing Vittle, we considered the following options:
1. Stretch the visible canvas from 4:3 to fill 16:9. This will cause distortion.
2. Letterbox the 4:3 content with black bars
3. Fit a 16:9 canvas in 4:3, which would lead to a smaller (20% shorter) effective canvas for writing on.
4. Only show 4:3 on the iPad, but actually record more of the canvas for 16:9 (making the viewport harder to control).
5. Record in the iPad's native aspect ratio, but then HD won't work in YouTube.

We picked option 2 as the one we think most people will prefer. This allows a perfect 1:1 mapping of the image you see on your iPad and the pixels in the generated video, so there are no surprises. This also enables fast native recording, avoiding a lengthy video processing step.

What do you guys think of the pillar-boxes? Is there another option you would much prefer? Please let us know. If enough folks need it, we’ll consider adding an option for other output sizes.

Cropping with iMovie

In the meantime, if you absolutely must remove the black bars or wish to stretch your video to fill the screen, iMovie for the Mac does have a handy crop feature. This Apple support document describes how. Your favorite movie editing tool on other platforms probably has a similar feature.


Thanks for your feedback! Hope you guys are enjoying Vittle!

Three Simple Ways to Practice Video Storytelling

by qrayon 4. May 2013 16:59

Video is fast becoming an important medium for our business and everyday communication. You can describe things more clearly and in a more engaging way using video and simple drawings than with just text.

This is a short guide to help you get started using video and leveraging it in your own work.

I'm going to be working through the three exercises using Vittle on my iPad (you can download the free edition from the App Store here), but you can use any recording device you want, even your iPad or iPhone's camera.

You can also start practicing by recording audio-only first, then add the visuals later.


1. Exercise 1: Describe a Recent Trip
Pick one photo from a recent vacation or trip and pretend you are describing being there to a close friend or family member.

Here's one from a trip we made to the Jefferson Memorial in Washington D.C. last Fall:


If you are like me, you are probably going to find yourself getting some points out of order when you try this for the first time. That's ok. Remembering a scene from the past tends to be non-linear. You are trying to put your memories into a coherent structure. As you speak, you will likely remember additional details that you want to add in.

What's nice about video is you can easily record multiple takes, and that's the first secret to making great videos: Multiple takes. Your audience doesn't care how many takes you did, since they only see the last one.


2. Exercise 2: Your Living Room Layout
For this exercise, you are going to sketch out the layout of your living room, and describe it to someone such as an interior designer.

Here's my description:

In this exercise, we had to be a little more exact, to combine facts like sizes with subjective descriptions. Notice how even a crude and simple drawing helps convey the information more accurately. Imagine how difficult it would be to have to describe that same room using only text.


3. Exercise 3: Refueling a Car
Now, for something a little more complex: Pretend you are describing how to fill up a car to someone who has never done that before, as if to a teenager. This lets you practice describing something you are probably very familiar with already.

Here's the description I came up with:

Notice that this was a little more involved than describing the static layout of your living room. The quality of the sketch is not important here. The goal is to convey a piece of complex information quickly and efficiently.

Simple drawings help a lot to convey the relative locations of things and their operation. Certain elements are easier to show with a quick sketch, while other points are easier to simply narrate.

Next Steps

Ok, hopefully these three simple exercises have helped you warm up your video-storytelling skills. You can easily apply these techniques the next time you need to explain your business to a customer, or get a point across to your colleagues.

Please let us know what you think. You can send us feedback through our website.

Happy video-making!

Five Reasons Why Video Is the Future of Communication

by qrayon 4. May 2013 16:49

You may prefer to watch the video of this post instead of just reading it:


Humans are naturally audio-visual creatures. We are born with an instinct to parse our world through sight and sound. Yet it takes years of training to learn written language, which are essentially shortcuts to our visual vocabulary.

Writing is a marvelous invention, but its role is destined to become more narrow and specialized in the future. At the same time, the role of video in everyday communication is going to dramatically increase. Here are five reasons why:

1. Video is Far More Engaging than Text

We much prefer to consume video over text. Just compare the number of movies you’ve watched over the last year to the number of books you’ve read. The reason is simple: A well crafted video can concentrate the experience of reading a long book into a much shorter amount of time. Video can also deliver a level of impact that a book cannot, simply because it engages more of our senses at once.

2. Our Attention Spans are Getting Shorter

It’s not our fault, there is simply so much more media to consume these days. As a result, video’s ability to deliver more information in a shorter amount of time is going to win out in the long run.

The other interesting feature of video is that it is easier to consume passively. You can watch a video lecture or news program while eating dinner, and easily absorb most of the content without and trouble. With a smartphone, you can also consume video from pretty much anywhere.

This passive nature also means that people are more likely to consume your information through video when they are tired after a long day's work.

3. Video Production is Now Free, Actually it's Better than Free

If you bought a smartphone anytime in the last 3 years, you already have an entire video production studio right in your pocket. Couple that with free online services like YouTube and Vimeo, and you now have the broadcast capability that rivals even the biggest movie studios.

These days, you can even earn a portion of advertising revenue from the videos you post online. What was once inconceivable is now trivial. Just ask all the folks who make cat videos.

4. Your Customers and Colleagues are Going to Expect Video

Look at the example of video lectures. They once used to be a backup in case you missed the actual class. They are now fast becoming commonplace and actually preferred over live lectures. The idea of “flipping” a classroom is quickly catching on in schools across the globe: Where students watch their lectures at home, and spend their valuable time in class working on problems with their teacher’s personal supervision.

In business, we are right now crossing a tipping point where video is going to become the norm. Once enough websites have a video introduction, all websites are going to have them, just to stay competitive. Once someone in the office realizes they can more effectively spread their great idea with a video instead of another long email, everyone is going to expect it.

So why wait? You can be the one to lead your organization through this transition, instead of having to play catch up later.

5. Video is More Human

None of us have any trouble engaging in a conversation with a friend or colleague. This is after all, the core of what it means to be human. So why do many of us struggle with so called “formal” writing? Try reading a typical business email or website out loud. Why do they sound so impersonal and even somewhat alien?

The reason is that it’s hard to convey your exact meaning or mood in writing. As a result, we are forced to err on the side of caution. We don’t want to give the wrong impression or accidentally alienate someone. So we avoid being too casual, or appearing uncertain about things, of being too human in our writing.

Video changes this. We can now communicate in our natural way again. This is not only more authentic, which our audience already expects, but it can be far more accurate and precise.

What Can You Do Today?

Start by practicing recordings of everyday topics you are already familiar with. Here are three simple exercises you can try, check them out. I'm sure that before long you will be connecting with your audience in a more meaningful way. The extra bonus is that recording videos can also be a lot of fun, and even liberating.

I hope you found this post useful. Please send us any comments or feedback you might have through our website. We really love hearing from you guys.

Thanks a lot.

Introducing Vittle: Write a Video as Easily as Email

by qrayon 4. May 2013 16:24

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Ever since the iPad came out, we have been busy trying to figure out what the Killer App for it is.

We think we’ve finally found it.

When you look at in person communication, at the office or at school, a lot of it is done in front of a whiteboard. A whiteboard lets you draw and speak at the same time. This is both more engaging, and much more flexible than doing either alone. When you explain something to someone on a whiteboard, it comes across as more free-flowing and natural. It doesn’t feel as scripted and rigid as using slides.

Vittle captures that same experience on your iPad, and makes it even better.

It lets your record anything you write and say into a video that you can instantly share with anyone. Here’s a 1-minute video describing Vittle, made with Vittle:


Download Vittle here.

Communicate Naturally

Vittle is built on our proprietary Inkflow Engine and gives you a large canvas to write and draw on. Zoom and pan anytime with two fingers. Unlike a real whiteboard, you can resize and move anything on the page. Don’t worry about running out of space. You can also drop in photos, and import PDF documents, including PDF slide decks from Keynote or PowerPoint.

Vittle is great for both quick, impromptu communications as well as for more formal presentations. Have you ever wanted to describe a quick sketch for someone when they weren’t in their office? Well, you can now email them a Vittle right from your iPad. E.g. annotate a screenshot of your website and show exactly what changes you want done.

Have you noticed the proliferation of those whiteboard-style introductions on websites? With Vittle, you can now create your own to promote your own product or idea. If you are a teacher, you can now easily create a library of video lessons that you can reuse year-after-year. Even create your own YouTube channel to share your expertise with the world.

Vittle can also be used just for fun. Create simple stop-motion animations; tell stories with comic characters and photos; storyboard your next movie production, in video. This is a medium that’s bound to spur new art forms.


Welcome to the Age of Digital Video

We are now approaching a tipping point where video communication is going to become ubiquitous. Bandwidth is now cheap and fast enough to handle video with no problem, even on mobile devices. Free services such as YouTube and Vimeo give you the broadcast reach that rivals any major movie studio.

As a result, we can now communicate in ways that are more natural and authentic to us as humans, rather than ways that are optimized for computers from the last century.

The iPad is ideally suited for this form of communication.


Vittle Snaps Right Into Your Workflow

Vittle produces native 720p HD video files that you own. We don’t force you to upload them to any online service, but you can easily share them on the service of your choice, email them just to the folks you want, or save them securely to your company servers. Videos are ready to share the moment you stop recording.

Vittle includes everything you need to record and share videos, and can even handle multiple scenes/recordings. However, you can also easily import the videos you create in Vittle into the editor of your choice. Use iMovie on your iPad to add themes and music, or pull the files onto your PC to compose your weekly video podcast. These days, a lot of basic editing can be done online. E.g. both YouTube and Vimeo let you add theme music to your videos.


Ok, Go Check Out Vittle Now

Download the Free Edition of Vittle if you want to try it out first. When you are ready for more, upgrade to the Full Edition. You can find out more about the two editions on the Vittle homepage.


Please Tell Us What You Think!

We are just at the beginning of discovering whole new ways of expressing ourselves using the medium of digital video. Let us know what you are doing with Vittle. If you post your videos online, just add the hash tag #vittle in your video description to make it easier for us and others to discover.

Feel free to drop us a line anytime, via our feedback page or through Twitter.

We can’t wait to see what you’ll do with Vittle.

Have fun!

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