AnimotoBy Amanda Witham & Stephanie Offerding

What is Animoto?
Animoto enables users to make professional looking slideshows from their own pictures, video clips and music. The founders of Animoto helped produce shows on Comedy Central, MTV and NBC. They have used their expertise in this area to help create a tool that lets even the novice make professional looking movies. Every slideshow that is produced from Animoto is unique and one of a kind!

How do I create an account?
  • Go to animoto.com
  • There are four different kinds of accounts: lite, plus, pro and b2b. (Lite is the only free account, all of the others require a fee.)
  • You will provied your first and last name, a valid email address, your date of birth and create a password. Your email address will be your log-in name in the future.
  • Click on the "get start" button to begin creating your first video.

Steps to making a video:

Step 1: Choose a Theme
There are many options, but in the free lite version not all themes and options are available. There are a variety of choices, some realistic and some cartoon-style. The themes that are only available to paying users have a red circle on the top-right corner with the word "pro". Once you have chosen a style, click the "create video" link. A box will pop up with a large blue button called "purchase video" with a small link underneath that saying "make a 30-second video for free." This is the first of many attempts the website will try to get you to upgrade to a version you must pay for.
Step 2: Images and Videos
You can upload videos from your computer, retrieve them from Facebook or another website, or select from Animoto's collection of videos and images. Click on which of these choice you want, and the dialogue boxes will walk you through linking your account to Facebook, another site, or browse files on your computer. Select a video, and it will be placed onto a new screen, one that looks like a grid. To add more videos and pictures, click on the "+add" button along the bottom of the screen, and you will be taken back to the upload screen.
Step 3: Editing
Click once on any video and it will be shown on the right of your computer screen. There, you can set how many seconds you want of the video (1-5 for the free version) Drag the slider to where you want it in the video, and preview the shot to ensure it is the section you want. You do not need to save this part, just click on the next video clip you want to edit in the grid and it will be shown. To change the order of the video clips and images in your slide show, click and drag them to the new position you want on the grid. You can add, delete, or duplicate images/videos using the buttons along the bottom of the screen. There is also a button to add text to your slide show, but you have only two lines with very limited characters. Text cannot be added over images or videos, it can only be inserted as another slide, and you cannot change fonts or colors. After you have completely finished editing the video clip, image, and text slides, click the "done" button on the bottom right corner of the screen.
Step 4: Music
You can select mp3 files from Animoto's stock or your computer. Your slide show will be paced somewhat to your music choice, so make sure it fits your video and is not so slow that your video will not get through all of your slides in 30 seconds. When you have chosen your music, click "done" on the bottom right corner.
Step 5: Finalize
This tab gives you a place to put in the credits information and alter the pacing of your slides. (You actually cannot do this with the free version.) When you click the "done" button on the bottom right corner, Animoto then begins to make your video.

How do I retrieve my finished video?

Animoto will email you at the account you used to sign-up when your video is ready. It takes less than an hour for the free videos, as they are so short. The email will include links to view your video on Animoto and to publish it on Facebook or YouTube. Check it first to make sure it is what you want before you publish it.

Issues

When using the free version of Animoto, you are limited to 30 seconds but cannot alter the pace to make it faster. This limits how much information you can put into the slide show. Inserting text slides takes up significant time in the show, which further decreases the time for video clips and images.

Educational Applications

Animoto is extremely engaging and motivating. Students would love to see their work presented in a video form. Insted of written papers, at times teachers can assign Animoto videos to their students to help get them get and stay engaged. The 30 second limit can be very constraining. Teachers, who may choose to pay for the next level above the free lite version, could use this as a more dynamic and engaging tool than PowerPoint for presentations, introductions to units, or even notes on a day when a substitute is in. The following are a few examples of Animoto being used in education.