Animoto.com is an online do-it-yourself video production program so easy your grandchildren could absolutely create their own videos. It’s effortless and affordable. We found it fun and quick enough that the shortest attention span can hold out during the production process.
For free trial use go to the site and clicked on the get started link. We found seven options to make shorts, full-length, unbranded video and four kinds of greeting cards. We got an immediate nudge for upgrading to a paid subscription, but hey, they’re in business to make money. Once you buy a membership – you can begin creating videos. We chose the All Access level and decided to make an unbranded, short video.
We found we could turn photos or clips into a 30 second video the one featured above, with storytelling text. The site is straight forward and easy-to-use. We uploaded still images from our computer to the site. You can use your own images, select from Animoto’s stock library or retrieve from another website like Flickr, Facebook, Picassa. You’re responsible for monitoring copyrights on your own. In other words – use only material you have rights to.
Once we uploaded, the amount of time required was governed by length and resolution of the videos or stills. Animoto allows 8-15 elements (clips or images) in shorts. We chose four still images, typed a little text and clicked. Animoto took us to background music selection, the we gave the video a title and short description. Our video processed, analyzed and rendered, letting us know what it was doing each step of the way, for about 60 seconds. Then Animoto began actual production, showing us in color animation what it was doing. I was interested in following the progress over one and a half minutes it took to complete the video.
When finished, Animoto loaded the do-it-yourself video into the page and emailed me a copy. I didn’t have to keep the browser open. You can go do something else, or start another video in the meantime. The end result was attractive, high quality video in less than ten minutes. This process is slick and appealing. You can produce videos for your social media – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube – or email them to friends and family. They would be suitable for showing customers your entrepreneurial products, or for sending a video resume to employer prospects.
An enterprising person could buy the pro-quality level and start a business producing wedding or family videos for profit. Animoto has been around for about three and a half years and began as a consumer level product. It has expanded to serve photo professionals and will increase its capabilities this year. Bottom line – we couldn’t find anything to complain about. The prices are justifiable, the quality outstanding, the process simple and fast. We recommend you give it a try. My partner, not easily impressed, said, “This is actually totally cool.”
Pro account $249 annual subscription – produce unlimited length, unbranded, commercially licensed high res videos. Three months for $99.
All access: $30 per year. Unlimited full length greetings and videos for the price of an evening at the movies. Finished product has the Animoto brand name on it with music video style credits on it indicating your name as producer. It’s like watching real music videos and there are awesome embellishments available. Animoto will provide a downloadable MP4 file for $5 or a DVD for $20. If you can’t find a use for this product, you’re not a photo enthusiast.