The Radica Video Journal Digital Camera
The Video Journal Software
The camera is cool, but the software is even be better. It has all the features you’d want in a journaling program. Each user creates their own account in the software by entering a username and password. She can then upload photos and video into the program from the camera or from the PC. If a little brother or sister enters the room, a quick click of the “hide” button pops up a generic screen so that no secrets are given away.
Start with a blank page for the journal entry and then add a fun background to show what the entry is about. Drag and drop photos from a toolbar along the bottom of the screen. The stamp feature helps label pictures to show off “BFFs,” crushes and more. You can add lots of text and play around with the fonts. You can even paint freehand on the page. All of the objects on the page (with the exception of the background and painting) can easily be resized or moved.
If you’re not happy with the photo quality, there’s a great little photo editor built in. I was impressed by the features. You can control contrast and brightness or even blur or sharpen the photo. Creating a page in blue? Add a blue tint to a picture. Other effects include embossing, negatives and masking with fun shapes.
Perhaps you’re suffering from a bit of writers block. Have no fear! The Video Journal software comes with some prompting pages. It also has an area to help you write poetry. The software explains a number of simple poem styles (including limericks, haiku, and the cinquain) and provides examples so you can craft your own. You can also craft a “Mad Libs” style photo story. The software asks for photos of certain people and objects and then presents a story book that includes the appropriate photos. All of the writing prompts can be printed.
Whoever gets the Radica Video Journal is going to want to send a huge thank you to the gift giver. Luckily, the Video Journal software also has some photo card templates including a few thank you notes. Insert a photo of the happy recipient with her journal and print a personalized card.
The Bottom Line
This was a huge hit with the 11-year-old who tested it and I enjoyed it as well! The software (tested on both Windows XP and Vista) was easy to install and equally easy to use. It’s colorful, it’s fun, and it has a long list of great features. With an MSRP of $29.99, the camera is just an added bonus. Honestly, given the price point, I can find anything bad to say about it. Instead I’ll simply say that you should buy this product for the software and not for a digital camera, as the camera quality is mediocre. The Video Journal is designed for ages 6+, so some teen girls may find the graphics too young.
A short note to parents: Don’t skip reading the manual. There is an admin login that allows you to reset any of the account passwords in case one is forgotten or you find the need to access one of the accounts.