Affordances and Constraints

If you are looking for a very simple, self-explanatory video-making tool, MASHER is the application for you! The layout is easy to navigate and users can move from one step to another with a click of the “next” button at the bottom of the editing screen. This was one of the best features, in my opinion, because the website is laid out in a way that lets users focus on one aspect of their videos at a time, whether it is the visual structure, content, or audio. In other applications, these things are all addressed on one screen at the same time and can become over whelming for the users, while MASHER’s organization simplifies the process for its users.

This is the display of the video timeline in the editing stages

The website also creates a template for your video. At the beginning of the process, users select the theme they will use for their projects. This theme establishes the font, color, and size of the text used in one’s video. This is great for a basic project that calls for simplicity or that is being put together in a time crunch, however, it does not allow for much customization or personalization. When I make a video, I want it to be my own; themes are helpful guidelines to start from, but I want to be able to put my own touch on it. MASHER’s themes are unchangeable and there is not currently much of a selection to choose from; there are currently only four theme options available on the tool. In addition to the solidified theme, there is also not a way to edit the length of time the images in your video appear. In other applications, like iMovie or Movie Maker, users can customize the display time of each photo/piece of media on the time line. In MASHER, however, each photo is displayed for ten seconds and then the next take over the screen through transitions users cannot personalize. It is also not possible to view your “mash” until after you save and “create” it; all you have to go off of, in terms of getting an idea of the final product, is your timeline.

The simplicity of the tool, however, makes it a quick process to create a short video. Putting photos and audio into a video is easy and can be done by simply clicking the plus sign on the thumbnail or by dragging the media onto the timeline where it is wanted. Photos can be rearranged quickly, too, with the arrow buttons on the thumbnails on the timeline. Although the creative process is quick, however, the uploading process is not. When uploading media to MASHER, one can only upload one photo at a time and this may take anywhere from ten seconds to one minute to upload. In other programs, users can upload multiple pieces of media to the “library” of their projects in an instant. This made the beginning of the process slow and irritating for me, immediately turning me off of the product, especially in comparison to other similar programs and any social media site I’ve used.

Another part of the process that takes a lot of time on MASHER was saving and “creating the video.” I faced a lot of issues at this step and could not get my video to save. It says it should take about a minute, but I waited for ten without seeing any progress in the uploading process and checked back in a day later to see the same results. This is a huge glitch that needs to be straightened out on the site.

This is the message I constantly received when I checked on my mashes, but the progress never changed
This is the message I constantly received when I checked on my mashes, but the progress never changed

I was able to see example videos created with MASHER, though. MASHER has a great feature that allows users to share their work and view the work of others. Currently, all MASHER-created videos bear a watermark branding the product. Although this is annoying and disruptive to the final product, it will soon no longer be an issue – as MASHER continues to expand and grow and develop, one of the changes to be made is to get rid of this branding. The most convenient part of the final product, however, is the number of options of exportation that the site provides its users with: Facebook, Twitter, MP4, embedding into a personal blog, etc. Other programs deliver a product that can be tough to download or upload online, but MASHER provides these links directly on the viewing page of the video. It does, however, come with a price (of $3) to download your video, an issue I ran into when trying to save mine to speed up the process.

Although the program currently feels bare due to its lack of user customization, it is still developing. There are many “coming soon” features that are advertised throughout the site. For example, in the future, users will be able to upload video clips to their mashes. This will be a very nice addition since it is a video-creating website. MASHER is also going to be uploading photos and videos that its users can use. Right now, there are audio clips that users have access and freedom to, which is a nice feature, especially for those who do not have access to audio clips of their own. The communal videos and photos will be modeled after those clips. The future of the site looks brighter than its current situation; it seems to be coming into an age of video-editing, rather than slideshow-creating.


Next: Design

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