Talking Tech Friday – Animoto

I almost improvised a column today – I keep my list of topics on my protopage, and protopage was down for most of the day (as a side note, check out http://downforeveryoneorjustme.com to see if a website is down!). Fortunately, it’s up again, and here’s this week’s topic, thanks to Christine!

What is it?

Animoto is a service that creates a music video for you from your pictures and music. You can then either link to the video or embed it on a website, blog, etc. You choose the pictures and music, and Animoto will put them together for you. From the About page: “Animoto Productions is a bunch of techies and film/tv producers who decided to lock themselves in a room together and nerd out.” They develop “technology that thinks like an actual director and editor. It analyzes and combines user-selected images and music with the same sophisticated post-production skills & techniques that are used in television and film.”

How does it work?

After going through the usual registering process, blah blah (they asked for my zip code – that’s unusual), you can start making videos.

You can make a 30-second short video for free, or a full-length video, which costs $3 per video, or $30/year for unlimited videos and downloads. Around 15 pictures make a 30-second short, but the full-length videos are only limited by a 10 MB file size for music, which they say can be from 5-10 minutes.

The first step is to upload pictures. You can either upload pictures from your computer, or export them from a variety of web hosts such as Flickr, Picasa, Facebook, and Photobucket. However, Animoto exports based on album or set from these sites, so you’ll want to have one set up in advance (I thought I’d be able to choose by tag, maybe, so that’s why you get the exciting video of my pancake making resolution).

Secondly, you choose the soundtrack. Again, you can either upload mp3s from your computer, or choose from Animoto’s selection. I thought I’d peruse their collection – all of the genres are pretty limited, only offering between 10 and 20 songs, but it’ll do the job if you’re just making a quick video. Side confession: I’m such a nerd, I didn’t recognize ANY of the artists they offered. My guess is that if I make any future videos, I’ll be uploading my own music.

Once that’s done, you choose “Finalize” and Animoto will put together the video. It takes about 8-10 minutes for each video to be produced. Luckily, it doesn’t tie up your browser – you can close the window, surf around, or blog about it while you wait. If you keep the window open, the video will load when it’s done. Otherwise, you’ll receive an email notification.

You can export completed videos to YouTube, post them to MySpace, Facebook, Blogger, iGoogle and other social applications, email a link, and download it to your computer. Additionally, it looks like Animoto also plans to make it easy to add your videos to iPods.
The other thing to mention is that you can reuse the same pictures and music for a remix – Animoto asserts that every music video is completely unique.

Edit: typical WordPress won’t let me embed the video, but check out the YouTube Link, as well as the Animoto link!

Finally, you can also share videos with friends within Animoto.

Possible Library Uses

I can really see this being useful as a marketing and outreach application. Rick was talking on Tuesday about making a face for your library using Picasa and YouTube – but every slideshow is better with music! This could also be a great, easy activity for library patrons – have a workshop where everyone makes videos! I can see this is as being fun for patrons of all ages. I have to admit, this is the most fun I’ve had reviewing a site since JibJab (oh wait, I didn’t review that).

Any other suggestions?

Reviews

TechCrunch

Read/Write Web

Cnet

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~ by Anali on March 28, 2008.

2 Responses to “Talking Tech Friday – Animoto”

  1. Hey this sounds really cool. I have been thinking about doing something with pictures and video that spices things up a bit.

  2. You know it has to be cool if it makes pancakes look fun!

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