Create and share impressive photo slideshows with Ptch

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By Pete Davison

Ptch is a new iOS app from the company of the same name. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store¬†with no additional in-app purchases.

Ptch markets itself as a fast and convenient way to share photos and videos online. In practice, it is a simple photo and video slideshow editor, which allows its users to organize media from a variety of different sources, add captions and titles, apply preset effects and then publish to social media or Ptch’s own built-in social network.

Using Ptch is very straightforward and simple to understand, but the team has provided some helpful videos to explain the app’s basic features to those who need assistance. Once the user has chosen to begin a new Ptch, they are taken to a landscape-oriented screen in which they can begin assembling their project. At the top of the screen are a selection of sources from which media can be pulled — just the phone’s camera roll by default, but by tapping the Add button, users may connect Ptch to their Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and Viddy accounts to retrieve content. Media from any of these sources can also be filtered by albums where applicable, though there is no search function.

Creating a Ptch project is a matter of dragging photos and videos from the sources at the top into a large timeline in the center of the screen. Once an image or video has been incorporated into the project, it can be edited and adjusted in several ways. Photos can be reframed and have their duration adjusted as necessary, and media pulled in from social media can optionally have any comments attached to it overlaid on top of the image. Users may also add their own custom captions as they see fit, and blank “title card” slides may be inserted and custom text added at will.

Once the basic structure of the project has been set, users can pick one of several predefined visual styles, which provides default, non-adjustable filters on the photographs as well as, in some cases, custom (and, again, non-adjustable) text styles and transitions. A music track may then be picked to use as backing for the video, though this may only be selected from a predefined library according to the user’s region — there is no facility to pull audio from the user’s music library or other sources. This is a bit of a shame, but helps protect Ptch and its users against copyright issues — all of the tracks available to Ptch users are effectively being used as advertising for iTunes, since they all carry a link to download the song via Apple’s music store.

When a project has been completed, users may either save it to their drafts or share it publicly or privately. Optionally, users may also choose to share the resulting video via Facebook, Twitter and/or email — doing so sends a link to the relevant services and allows the video to be viewed via Ptch’s website. Ptch’s site also allows for comments and likes, though its coding needs some work — in Google Chrome, the site displayed no less than two unnecessary scroll bars at the side of the screen while watching a video; a small matter, but one which detracts from the otherwise-professional appearance of the site.

Within the app, users may also comment and like on others’ videos, but they may also “remix” them. This downloads the individual pieces of media as well as the Ptch project to the user’s phone and allows it to be rearranged, added to and republished at will. Users who do not wish this to happen to their media can publish their projects privately to just friends, and there is also the option for users to “lock” public posts against remixes for those who wish to protect their content but still share it with the community. These options are not made especially obvious to users, but they are there, at least.

Ptch is already an excellent app that provides an excellent means for users to express themselves through custom photo and video slideshows. It’s simple to use, works well and provides plenty of options for its users to explore, though the theme and music offerings could use some expansion over time. It would also be nice to have the option to use music from the device’s music library as backing songs, but as already discussed this could raise tricky copyright issues.

As it stands, then, Ptch is a strong contender for that coveted “Instagram of Video” title, and a good addition to the arsenal of those who like to share all their memorable moments on social media.

Ptch is not currently listed on the App Store leaderboards, but is enjoying a feature spot on the front page of the App Store in some territories. Check back shortly to follow its progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.