Apart from Flip Video’s software and a brief run using Photobucket, I haven’t done much in the way of fancy schmancy movies or slideshows. My photos and videos just sit in their respective folders on my hard drive (figuratively) gathering dust. (My computer literally gathers dust—Utah is a very dusty place!)
When Animoto approached me about reviewing their online movie-making site, I was totally game. It looked like a lot of fun and claimed to be easy, the perfect combination. But was it easy? And was it fun? And did the end result look super cool? I’ll tell you—and show you—in just a moment. First, a bit about Animoto:
... Animoto was founded to help people better share their stories and express themselves through online media by innovating technologies in the field of video production. Using the latest in entertainment post-production technologies, Animoto is designed to bridge the gap between the high production value of film and television, and the more “amateur” feeling of most user-created videos and photo albums.
The heart of Animoto is its newly developed patent-pending Cinematic Artificial Intelligence technology that thinks like an actual director and editor. It analyzes and combines user-selected images, video clips and music with the same sophisticated post-production skills and techniques that are used in television & film.
And that Cinematic Artificial Intelligence of which Animoto
boasts is the main reason someone like me can upload a few slides, some video clips and snatches of text and have it turn into the best 3-minute-22-second memory ever:
No, it’s not going to win any awards but my mom loved it. (I know because she sent me an email with “LOVE IT
” in about 96-point text.) And now I’m hooked. It was easy AND
it was fun. I’m already wondering what I can make next—possibly a video for Father’s Day for Nathan?
I couldn’t believe how easy it was to use Animoto’s process for creating the movie. It was so easy, my 13-year-old gave it a shot and had a movie made in just a few minutes:
Uploading images and video was a snap as was uploading my own background music. (You can select from hundreds of songs on Animoto’s site as well.) And of course having a variety of templates to choose from was a nice touch. I do wish they had more of a selection, or at least more options for non-Pro account users.
I think the only complaint I had about Animoto was only being allowed 10 seconds of video time. Trust me, the video of us in that golf cart is hilarious; I would have loved to have shown a bit more of it. The same goes for us laughing uncontrollably in the car. It also seemed the video lasted only as long as the song I chose. I was hoping the song would loop so the slides would stay up longer, but I couldn’t quite figure out if that were a possibility or not. I remade the movie a second time, choosing a longer slide length, but the final length of the movie stayed the same so obviously it didn’t matter.
With Animoto, you have three pricing options: Lite, Plus and Pro. Lite is free and allows for only a 30-second movie. Plus, which is what Animoto offered me for this review, is $5/month or $30/year and allows for full-length video. Pro, which is $39/month or $249 a year, has a lot more capability, is ad-free and lets you do HD movies. (You can read more about what each plan includes here.)
After using it just once, I would totally recommend going for the Plus. Lite just doesn’t cut it, and $30 per year isn’t much at all. Then if you love it, you could always upgrade to Pro. I’m thinking you need to at least get a Plus account immediately so you can put together a fabulous Animoto movie for Mom for Mother’s Day. It’s sure to make you the favorite!—Emily
*** Giveaway! Animoto is giving away one (1) year of its Plus service! ***
Here’s how to enter. You can do as many of these as you’d like. Each one is worth one entry into our giveaway; please leave a separate comment for each one you do:
• Leave a comment telling us what your first movie/slideshow would be using Animoto’s service.
• “Like” Animoto on Facebook and leave a comment telling us you joined.
• Follow Animoto on Twitter and leave a comment telling is you’re their newest follower.
• Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment with the URL of your tweet.
• Update your Facebook status with a link to this giveaway and leave a comment telling us you did so.
Include a valid email address for our drawing. We’ll draw the winner from the comments and contact her via email. Deadline: May 4, 2011 (midnight). The winner will have 24 hours to claim her prize or a new winner will be chosen.