Click play on the video above and check out the array of destinations visited by the Boingo community this past summer in 2011. Just a word of caution: the photos could trigger or exacerbate the post-summer blues.
If you’ve seen our videos before, you might recognize that we often use Animoto to produce our videos. Unlike standard photo slideshow programs with static presentations, Animoto creates polished and animated visual stories that look polished and professional. The company says the foundation of their platform is a “patent-pending Cinematic Artificial Intelligence technology that thinks like an actual director and editor.” We couldn’t tell you what that means exactly but we can guarantee that the resulting production — complete with a music soundtrack — will make you look like a cinematic genius.
Animoto offers a range of pricing plans, including: Lite for free, Plus for $30/year, Pro for $249/year and a Reseller option for $499/year.
Here’s a quick tutorial on the Animoto user interface:
- Step 1: Choose a template. Animoto offers various background templates, some of which are available to free accounts. There are also several holiday themes.
- Step 2: Upload photos and/or video clips. You can retrieve media from your computer, Facebook, or photo services such as Flickr and Picasa.
- Step 3: Create your story. Animoto’s storyboard interface is simple to use. Order your photos and video clips by dragging. Add text or mark particular images to be highlighted.
- Step 4: Pick your soundtrack. Animoto offers an amazing selection of music — hundreds of songs in twelve to fifteen genres (a Pro account gets you access to over 1000 songs). The songs are commercially licensed from emerging artists, so you won’t risk any copyright issues should you use your video for business purposes. You also have the option to use your music, provided you have the rights. The speed of your song selection affects the intensity of the resulting effects and transitions.
- Step 5: Finalize the video. At the end of the process, you can choose the length and speed of your video. After that, just sit back and wait for the Cinematic Artificial Intelligence technology to do its magic and notify you via email when your video is ready for prime time! You can keep editing until you’re pleased with the results, after which time you have many options to share your Animoto creation via Facebook, Twitter, email, or your website (with embedded code). You can also download the video file, which costs $3 (DVD) or $6 (HD). If you have a Pro or Reseller account, you can download an unlimited number of files.
We’ve also tried Animoto for iPhone and iPod Touch, a free app that’s as easy to use as the web interface. However, if you’re uploading more than a few photos and video clips, you won’t be able to do so with a cellular connection. The app will ask you to connect to a high-speed connection, such as Wi-Fi. In general, as long as we were connected to Wi-Fi, we didn’t experience the same app crashes reported by other users.
Do you use Animoto and if so, what do you think? Which other photo programs rival or even best Animoto?