This week we explore tools that make it easier to turn text into video, to create multimedia explanations and to create digital magazines.

PART 1: Turning text into video with Guide

Miami-based tech startup Guide originally offered a system of digital news avatars that could read text on the Web. But now Guide’s system has been refocused to automatically turn a text story into a video. The company's founder explains how the revamped tool could be used to expand the work of journalists online.

Reporting by Laura Davison.

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For more information:

Guide CEO & Founder Freddie Laker explains why the team decided to re-direct its efforts to a new product and user base in this blog post.

Guide, in conjunction with Yahoo, produced a video demonstrating how the technology works. In this video, Guide condenses a 900-word story about Syria into a 60-second video.

Taking it for a test drive:

We decided to see for ourselves how the Guide tool works. We uploaded this Kansas City Star sports story about Missouri’s loss in the SEC Championship game. We didn’t alter the text or add any photos. However, the system allows you to do that. This is the result:

The video needs more images and some text edits to make sense and be complete. The auto-summarization didn’t always make sense, and the algorithm wasn’t able to pull photos for every spot of the video. However, with about 10 more minutes of work to edit the text and pull in some photos from Creative Commons or the newsroom's own images, and some more human-sounding narration, the video would have been a solid video summary of the text story. Guide's system is still in development, so accuracy is likely to improve with time.

In response to our experimental video above, the team at Guide offered up this example, which shows how the same video could look with a human voice and a touch of human editing.

PART 2: Creating multimedia stacks with Newsbound

Newsbound plans to release a tool soon to make it easier for designers to create embeddable explanation "stacks" that incorporate moving images and animation. We visit the Newsbound offices and learn about the stack story format from founder and CEO Josh Kalven.

Reporting by Teddy Nykiel, Reuben Stern and Olga Kyle.

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PART 3: Publishing tablet magazines with PRSS

A recently launched tool called PRSS offers the ability to design digital tablet magazines entirely through a cloud-based web interface. We hear about the system from Co-founder Jochem Wijnands.

Reporting by Reuben Stern and Olga Kyle.

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Reuben Stern  
Director of NYC Partnerships


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