Animoto: A compelling way to tell your story

One of the communication technologies I like experimenting with is video.

That’s why I play with new tools like Qik (live video streaming from a Nokia mobile phone) and seesmic (video conversations via your webcam).

I discovered another one today that I find so compelling that I’m just amazed the whole internet isn’t a-buzz about it (although there is indeed plenty of buzz).

This is Animoto, a web-based service that automatically creates a video from images and music.

That rather dry description does this service little justice. You have to see what it can do to fully appreciate its potential.

Take a look at this:

This video was automatically created by Animoto, using images from one of my sets on Flickr. I gave it permission to go into my Flickr account and grab those images.

The excellent music is a track I selected from the ample music library at Animoto. I can also upload my own audio (music or anything) if I want.

The whole thing took about ten minutes.

You have two sign-up options with Animoto – a free account, which lets you create videos of 30 seconds or less; and a paid account for videos longer than that and other benefits.

The video above runs about a minute and 14 seconds. That was the second video I did, after quickly signing up for a paid account (it was a no brainer at $30 a year, and a PayPal option makes it hard to resist just doing it).

My first effort was a video of less that 30 seconds to try the service out. I simply uploaded a handful of images from my pictures folder, chose some music from Animoto’s library, and that was it – one short video created in less than five minutes:

You’ll note that both these videos are on YouTube. That’s one of the benefits with the paid account – exporting your video to your YouTube account.

And coming soon, according to the website, is an option to create versions suitable for iPods (and iPhones too, I’d guess).

Imagine the uses for something like this service. For instance:

  • Show off your product or service in a new and different way
  • A montage of images of people at a conference set to music
  • A music video catalogue of your art work / designs / fashions / etc
  • A funky music video tour of your favourite neighbourhood
  • Cars, cars, cars (as Dennis Howlett did)
  • … (your idea)

Who’s behind Animoto? According to the about page, they are “a bunch of techies and film/tv producers.” According to a TechCrunch write-up and company profile, Animoto is a New York-based startup which secured funding from Amazon this month.

There’s no limit to imagination.