Published by Jose John,
PDFs are everywhere, and they are easy to create.
Movies are easy to view.
Documoov transforms PDFs into videos that you can share and view your content anywhere.
In Documoov, pages in the PDF provide the visuals and you record narration within the app. Documoov compiles a movie from the pages and the recorded audio.
Use Documoov to:
- Add voiceover narration to presentation PDFs
- Summarize sketchnotes and handwritten notes into a video
- Record awesome storytime videos for kids
- Make educational videos rapidly from illustrated books
Documoov is available for macOS 10.11 and later
on the Mac App Store.
The Documoov user interface has two main parts: the PDF viewer on top, and a strip of controls below. The strip of controls is divided into three panels: for recording, playback, and export.
⌘ O to open a PDF from disk. Use left and right arrow keys to browse pages of the PDF. Resize the window or put the app into full-screen mode for a larger view of the PDF page.
The lower left panel shows
Page X of Y, to indicate the current page position within the PDF.
red record icon to start recording narration for the current page. Or, use the shortcut
r to both start and stop the recording.
The recording also stops if you turn the page using the arrow keys.
You can make multiple audio recordings for a page.
The list of recordings attached to the current page is shown in the table in the lower left panel. Here, you can select a recording and hit the
delete key to remove the recording. The total duration of recordings for this page is shown in the table’s title.
The middle panel is for playback. It shows the total pages in the PDF and total duration of recordings across all pages.
grey play button to playback all recordings from the current page through to the last page.
You can change this behavior in Documoov preferences: for example, if you want the grey play button to only playback the audio on the current page. Or, use the commands under the
The right panel has the
Export Movie button. Select a desired resolution for the movie and click Export to produce a MOV file.
You can choose to generate a MP4 file instead in Documoov’s app preferences.
How it Works
Documoov saves your audio recordings in the
Each PDF that you open gets its own subfolder.
Documoov does not modify the PDF that you open. When you add or delete recordings to any page in the PDF, only the contents of the subfolder changes.
As a result, Documoov can even work with PDFs that get changed on disk. For example, even if you append pages to the PDF, the audio recordings already made to prior pages remains intact. You can re-open the PDF and add audio recordings to the new pages, if you wish, and then export a movie.
Show Preferences using the standard
⌘ , shortcut for macOS apps.
- Set the recording quality. Better quality requires a larger file size.
- During playback, specify the behavior of the grey play button: whether it should playback audio only on the current page, from the current page through to the last page, or from the first page through to the last page.
- You can also play back the audio at faster than recorded speeds such as 1.5x (or 50% faster) to save time in review.
- For export, set the movie file format (MOV or MP4) and choose whether to open the movie in a viewer application after export.
The “simple" feature of attaching voiceover narration to a PDF to produce a movie makes possible several valuable workflows.
Narrate Presentation Slides
Export a presentation to PDF using PowerPoint or Keynote, then open it up in Documoov to add narration to slides.
Presentations are an excellent way to seek out up-to-date information on a topic. For example, search Google using
filetype:ppt (for PowerPoint file format) or on a presentations repository site like
look for the blue Download button to obtain a PDF.
Use Documoov to browse through the presentations, taking audio notes on interesting content, and then export to a movie to serve as a quick reference.
Video Summary of Handwritten Notes
Handwritten notes are very effective in helping us learn. However, they can be cumbersome to review. Instead, convert these notes into a video calling out the key points on each page.
Sketchnoting is a popular approach to note-taking on conference talks and keynote-style presentations. These delightful visuals are densely packed with information. Prepare a PDF of multiple sketch notes, and you can then record a narration that pulls out the insights.
The iPad Pro and Apple Pencil is a fantastic note-taking tool for handwritten notes. GoodReader is an app that can export your notebooks to PDF automatically to Dropbox or iCloud Drive. As you make changes in your notebook, the PDF is updated too.
Documoov works well with such PDFs that are updated in place. In Documoov, use the menu command File → Reload PDF from Disk (shortcut
⌘ R) to update the PDF viewer within the app. And then add audio recordings to the appended pages in the PDF.
On Android devices such as the Galaxy Note with S-pen, the Squid app has a similar feature where notes are automatically uploaded as PDFs to Dropbox. The Squid app is also available for Chromebook.
Video Storytime for Kids
Kids love stories. And there are hundreds of excellent, wonderfully illustrated books for kids.
To obtain these books in PDF format, you can either scan the books you have using a tool like CamScanner for iOS, or using a screen clipping utility like InstantShot! to capture page-by-page from kids library websites like EPIC books or Skybrary online.
Of course, this is for personal use only.
When you have 5-10 mins to spare, record a dramatic storytelling session using Documoov. Over time, you’ll build up an excellent library of video content of far higher quality than what you’ll find in the YouTube Kids app, for example.
At the bottom right in the Export panel, Documoov has an option to export to a 4:3 aspect ratio, which matches the screen size of older iPads.
Rapid Educational Videos from Book Illustrations
Using InstantShot! and an Automator workflow you can make a PDF from any series of screen clippings. For example, you can combine illustrations from books and video frame grabs into a PDF pack.
Open the PDF in Documoov to create an educational video.
for Documoov tips & tutorials.
for support, preferably using the menu command Help → Contact Customer Support from within the app.