I don’t know about you, but I find it very difficult convincing myself to spend money on apps. It takes a lot to convince me to spend an innocuous amount on an app that I’d happily spend in a shop without hesitation. One app that I would be happy to drop some cash on, however, is My Talking Pet – a silly new release from Woba Media that offers a surprising amount of opportunity for hilarity.
On the surface, My Talking Pet is a gimmick and that’s no real surprise. The idea behind the app is a simple one. Take a photo of your pet, record yourself saying something or a snippet of a song, and the app creates a video where your pet appears to be saying your message in a silly voice. You can change the pitch of the audio between Chipmunks high and Barry White low, and add a number of effects to the image like accessories (tiaras, sunglasses etc), glowing red eyes, or cascading hearts. That’s it, job done.
The videos you can create this way are funny, but not exactly something with long-term staying power. You’re going to get bored pretty quickly. However, that’s where my son and I started out, using a photo of our pet cat Jinx.
It didn’t take long for me to start considering what else the app could be used for. Would it work with people or toys? As it turned out, it most certainly did. A downloaded photo of Special Agent Fox Mulder from The X-Files and a snippet of “I Spy (For the FBI)” by Jamo Thomas became my first human trial:
Some of the best results I got came from our collection of Disney Infinity figures. Using a macro lens for my phone to get close up, in focus shots of them, I was soon combining these photos with music to create my very own Dubsmash style short vids only using inanimate objects:
After sharing these with my esteemed GeekMom and Dad colleagues, the team were soon making their own vids after downloading the app for themselves. Together we discovered that stuffed toys and snapshots from Pokemon Go could also be used for these vids.
Finally, I used Funko Pops and a free video editing app for my phone (Splice) to stitch together several shorter videos made with My Talking Pet into one longer one, to make a video of Hannibal Lecter telling Will Graham a bad joke:
After playing around with the app for a while, I discovered a few basics that help in creating a good video.
- It’s best to use close-ups of the face. The better quality the photo, the better the video will be.
- You need to be able to see two eyes and a mouth. Photos/figures without mouths (such as Funko figures) can be used because the app will create a moving mouth shape in the location specified. There just needs to be a space for it to go.
- The app works best on closed mouths; open ones become disturbingly distorted.
- If using music, avoid tracks with a strong beat, because the app picks these beats up as words and moves the mouth accordingly. Check out the difference between Rey and Poe above. Poe’s song has a strong beat behind the vocals and Rey’s doesn’t, so Rey’s mouth appears more in synch with the words than Poe’s.
My Talking Pet also has a widget option for iPhone that can be installed in your Today View, which is how I ended up with Twin Peaks’ Dale Cooper reading out my calendar and weather report in the mornings. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a way to start each of his sentences with “Diane…”
My only gripes with the widget are that you cannot choose which voice is used (when making a video you can adjust the pitch) and that despite my phone being set to display temperatures in degrees Celsius, I couldn’t find a way to stop the widget reading them in Fahrenheit.
We had a lot of fun playing around with My Talking Pet, and after keeping it on my phone for several weeks, I’m still spotting objects around my house that I want to create videos of.
Let us know if you and your family create any videos with My Talking Pet – we’d love to see what you come up with!