I have been playing with Animoto for over a week and think it is something you guys might be interested in.
What is it?
Animoto used to be a slide show creation web application but it has recently added video capabilities. So you can now mix stills, video and music to create a very pro looking video.
Think of it as Motion for dummies.
What sets it apart from other slide show apps?
First, it is web based. This mean you don’t have to install anything and once created, the slides are already available to others (according to your security preferences) and can be shared on Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Second, the transitions are gorgeous and fit with the music. What ever the number of pictures you sent and the beat of the song you selected, the transitions will always be in tune with the music.
Third, Animoto supplies a bunch of royalty free songs you can use without worrying about being sued.
Finally, if you pick a pro account, you can remove all references to Animoto in the clip/player and make it look like the whole thing was your own creation.
Show it to me!
To demonstrate the application at its most basic, here is a clip made by letting the system run free. I just selected a bunch of pictures from a lingerie fashion show and then picked a song from the library. I did not reorder or adjusted anything other than spotlighting a few of my favorite shots.
WARNING: VIDEO NOT SAFE FOR WORK
This is the “brute” stuff coming out of Animoto. It is always possible to go back and tweak the display order afterward but I was curious to see what would happen if I let the system run wild.
Why you might need it?
Clients (at least in the wedding and portrait business) are now asking/expecting slide shows, often the same day as the shoot. While it is possible to generate one in Lightroom or Aperture, they tend to look more like a PowerPoint presentation than the work of graphic artist.
Using a solution like Animoto creates a very pro looking product in a very short amount of time (pick your selects and song, upload and then then download the high resolution file and you are done!).
How much does it cost?
Animoto prices its service according to the flexibility it gives you. Either you use it for fun or as a pro, the commercial account being the only one I would recommend for any client work since you can remove the Animoto logo and claim the work as your own! Prices are:
- 30$ for the all access pass for a year.
- 99$ for the 3 month commercial (keep reading to make this 4 months) access.
- 250$ for the full year commercial access.
Rebecca, our Animoto friend gave us a coupon code to get an extra month out of any 3 months commercial package purchase if you enter 5dtips on this page or use this link to get the other packages. The promo code is good until December 31.
On the flip side…
While super easy to use, it would be even better if the developers added a LightRoom / Aperture plugin to directly export the pictures to the site at optimal size and also a compressor droplet to downr sample the clips to a reasonable size.
My other suggestion would be a bit more flexibility on the aspect ratio of the video so it would work better in portrait mode. Then again, I guess they would have to redo all their animation/transitions…
While it is not a tool I would use for every job (I am a control freak when it comes to slides), I think it does an incredible job at quickly creating a pro looking slide show. I did not have the time to test it with video but will very soon.