Sunday, March 1, 2009

Animoto

Animoto is an online service, enabling the user to create unique trailer-like videos which can be shared with other users. The application also enables the user to upload a soundtrack to accompany the photos. Its creators claim that the ensuing video takes into consideration the music’s genre, rhythm and tempo to generate a trailer that takes into the song’s nuances.

Animoto was founded by a New York based company, with previous experience in the entertainment industry. In March 2008, The Animoto Videos application was launched on Facebook and became a popular way for users to showcase their photos on this social network

Getting Started

The first time you log onto Animoto, you will be asked to sign in with an active e-mail account. After signing in, log onto your
e-mail in order to activate your newly created Animoto account. Upon logging in, click on Choose your Video Type to start your project. There are two types of videos on offer: the Animoto Short 30 sec Video or the Full Length Extended Video. While the former is free of charge, the Full Length version can be created only against payment and requires the user to purchase Video Credits (from the website).

Uploading your Images

Animoto will let you use images from one or more of the following locations: from your computer, from online sources or from its very own digital library, which contains a good selection of stock photos and images and are great for getting started or for introducing Animoto to students. Click on the Images tab to start uploading. You will also be given the choice to rotate, highlight or move your pictures along the timeline, but sadly, nothing else. If you wish to edit or crop your pictures, you must do that before you upload them on Animoto.

Adding Music

After choosing your images, you can then proceed to upload a suitable soundtrack to go with your slide show. Click on the Music tab in order to choose your preferred music. Once again, Animoto has a good array of pre-loaded music tracks, however it also lets you upload music of your own. (Animoto's creators claim that, when the final slide show is being generated, it takes into account the music's genre and tempo to generate a trailer-like video, and that is why users don't have the option to set their own transitions and/or animations).

Your Video is served...

After the images and music have been uploaded, its time to click on the Finalise Tab and generate your video (this might take some time, especially on slow connections). In the case of Animoto Shorts (i.e., the freeware version of the application) one cannot have a tangible copy of the video on the hard disk (for example, as with MS PhotoStory or Picasa Video). The video will actually only be "saved" in cyberspace. However, the video will be available for viewing on the user's Animoto account. To share with others, one can:

  • click on Send video to friends icon, so that your friends will receive a link to the video by e-mail;
  • click on Post/Embed Online to post your video on a website or blog;
  • click on Export to YouTube icon to upload the video on YouTube;
  • click on iPhone Options to send the video to an iPhone.

So, although one cannot actually have a downloaded version of the video on the hard disk, there are many ways to share an Animoto video with others. Animoto's strength lies in its user friendliness and the ability to easily share your creation with others, without having to leave the application or hog your or your friend's mailboxes with too-large attachments.

Below is my very first Animoto Short video. For more information about Animoto, go to http://animoto.com/

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