Moviemaking for Dummies

Those that have done any serious video editing know how time consuming it can be. And despite all of the time that goes into the process, it always seems to come out lacking something. Enter Animoto -a video creation tool that mashes together your pictures and music into a dazzling video, and does it in a matter of minutes.

Instructify, @edu, Moving at the Speed of Creativity, Mr. B-G’s English Blog, U Tech Tips, Huff English, and of course the huge tech blog, Webware, have all posted on this cool tool already. I guess that means I’m late to the party. Nevertheless, I’m excited to share a little bit about Animoto. To avoid beating a dead horse, though, I thought I’d mention the features that most educators will find relevant and exciting.

  • While most people can get a free account that allows them to make 30-second clips, Animoto has seen fit to spoil educators by giving us free full-access passes. All you have to do is subscribe, they’ll review your information and will give you a pass to create unlimited videos of unlimited length. Kudos to Animoto for this amazing gift!
  • Animoto provides a (limited) selection of royalty-free music for you to use in your videos. Ranging from classical to rock to hip-hop, you can use whatever style of music you want to spruce up that slideshow you were planning.
  • Animoto links directly to YouTube, allowing you to upload your video quickly and seamlessly to your YouTube account. It’s also very easy to embed Animoto videos directly into a blog or website.
  • Some pictures are just more important than others. Animoto lets you “spotlight” certain pictures so they appear both in the background and appear longer and brighter than other pictures.
  • The newest feature of Animoto is the one thing that it was missing before: text. Now, along with the pictures you upload, users can create “images” in your video that are nothing but text. And like everything else on the site, the text is about as professional looking as you can get. The only downside is that there is a character limit – 20 on the top line, 30 on the bottom line. Even so, this was a much needed improvement.

Rather than going on and on about Animoto, here are a few examples that I’ve “created.” Enjoy!

First, a quick video tribute to my alma mater:

And a mashup of headlines from around the globe on November 5, 2008 (via the Newseum - another amazing site I’ll talk about sometime).

And finally, a remake of my first ever trailer – the prologue from Romeo & Juliet (a little longer than I’d like, but still pretty darn cool).

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