In this spirit of discovery, one of our Elon iMedia professors, Ken Calhoun requires us to us to find and explore a web 2.0 site. We then take what we learn and present our findings to our “Producing Interactive Media” class.
Since it’s my turn to present, I dove into Animoto.com, a site that takes photos and puts them together to make short videos, resembling movie trailers.
So without further adieu, here’s my quick and dirty critique of the site with some pros and cons.
From the start, Animoto’s home page mission statement is clear: “Animoto automatically produces beautifully orchestrated, completely unique video pieces from your photos, video clips and music. Fast, free and shockingly easy.”
A 60-second video on the home page walks you through the site and asks you to give it a try. The thing that sparked my interest was the narrator’s claim that no two videos they make are ever the same. Once I heard that I was immediately excited to get started.
Making a video is broken into a three step process.
1. Add images or video
2. Add the music
3. Click “create video.”
Animoto then puts the video together for you, which takes about 10 minutes or so.
What is unique about this site, is that it allows you to upload photos or short video (thinks 5-8 seconds clips) from your computer, another website (Facebook, Flikr etc…) or from the Animoto’s own library, which I found to be of high quality. You can add titles or captions as well.
On top of that you can import your own music or select from a pretty substantial list of songs from the site’s library, which it calls the “Music Lounge.” I gave a few tracks a listen and was impressed. Songs ranged from Hip Hop, to Indie Rock to Oldies.
I’ve included two finished videos in this blog.
The first was created using images I took (of my TV) while watching my beloved Penguins win the Stanley Cup last June. I added a text on the title page and then uploaded “We are the Champions” by Queen from my computer.
The second video was created using stock photos and video from the Animoto site along with a song from their “Oldies” music library.
1. The interface is clean and easy to use, especially if you have ever used any form of editing software in the past. Even if you haven’t, you’ll pick this up in about two minutes.
2. Both videos I produced came out high quality and professional looking. I was really impressed by how simple the whole process was and plan on using it for a few other projects in the future.
3. Once the video is made, you can share it with all of your contacts, send it as a type of greeting card, embed it for use in a blog or export it to Youtube (which I did). You have the option of sharing videos with “friends” on the Animoto site as well. I am assuming this is some type of social-networking option within the site, although I didn’t explore this too deeply.
1. You can only make 30 second clips. If you want to make longer clips, it will cost you. Pop up screens prompt you to upgrade throughout the process of putting the videos together, informing you to buy a $3 full length credit per video or pay $30 for a year-long membership. As you can imagine, these pop-ups were annoying.
2. The editing options are limited when only making 30 second videos. If you want to do more, you have have pay. This frustrated me a couple times.
3. When uploading images or video from Animoto’s library, you can only select one thing at a time. Unlike when the site allows you to upload multiple images at once from your computer or a website like Facebook, you have to click back and forth, over and over to grab images. This seemed like a time waster and an annoyance.
4. If you want to upgrade to DVD quality mp4 video, you must pay another $5. This is on top of the $3 full length credit or $30 year membership. This simply seemed like a nickle and dime approach, which again annoyed me.
Overall, I enjoyed the site. While I didn’t have much control on how the photos were edited together (I’m guessing I’ll have to upgrade to find out), I was pleased with the end product.
I would recommend this site to friends or family that aren’t too tech-savvy that want to put together fun slide shows.
As far as media professionals, since Animoto doesn’t offer much editing control, I would only recommend it if they are looking to make a quick and dirty short video.