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Animoto easily creates video from images

May 28, 2010

Animoto is a web-based service where you create a video from images, video clips, and music. First you pick a theme, then you upload photos and videos, and finally you pick or upload a soundtrack (you are cautioned, of course, not to use copyrighted material, and free soundtracks are provided for your use). After you supply the media, Animoto “automatically produces a beautifully orchestrated, completely unique video piece.”

The heart of Animoto is its newly developed 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.

You can make a 30-second video for free, but that really only gives you a taste. The “All-Access” option lets you make long videos and download them; it costs $30/year or you can buy a single full-length video for $3. There’s also a “Pro” option with additional features.

Educators are eligible to receive a free all-access pass; apply for a code at their education site. The account will expire every six months, and you’ll need a new code to renew. For more information, see the YouTube video about this offer.

I created a 30-second video, “Wakonse 2009,” from my own photos and a “podsafe” soundtrack I got from Garageband.com. I had to do it twice before I liked the result – the first one had too many photos and I didn’t like the theme.

This is a fun service that could be practical for a number of uses. It’s an easy way to create a very attractive video. You have little control over your results, compared to a product like Apple’s iMovie, but Animoto is much easier. You also have to wait a while for the results, but you would have to wait for any video editor to compress and render a final product.

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