Animating Mount Shasta with Animoto

Written by Rick Henrikson on June 25th, 2009 Posted in Technology

I’ve been using Animoto for about a year and a half now (one of the few products I have stuck with from the humble beta beginnings).  It is an extremely simple way to make professional, film-quality slideshows on the web.  I know some of you may really enjoy the control you have using something like Windows MovieMaker or whatever the crApple equivalent is, but there is something to be said for brainless ease of use.

Using Animoto

There are only 3 steps to creating an awesome video:

  1. Add Photos. There is support for direct upload from flickr, facebook, or your hard drive.  Though I would recommend stearing clear of the facebook option since they irreversibly compromise the image quality on all of your uploads (which will lead to a lower quality video in Animoto).  You can also insert text captions and highlight particular photos to be featured.
  2. Add Music. You can either use their library of music (broken down by genre), or you can upload any of your own tunes (mp3 only).  It would be nice if they also split the music up by tempo or mood or some other parameter that could better link to the theme of your slideshow (like Netflix recommendations – “Cerebral dark comedies involving 3 or more midgets and a french mime”).
  3. Finish. You can add some basic information about the video (title, etc.)  Then you’re good to go.  Animoto will automatically begin analyzing your music and rendering a sweet video with your photos.  This process seems to take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes, depending on the length of your video and probably how many users are making videos at the time.
  4. Re-MIX! (optional) If for some reason you aren’t pleased with the first video animoto generates for you, you can have it render a remix with just one click.  All new effects will be introduced in another attempt to somehow make your life look interesting and meaningful.

The Cost of Animated Awesome
Animoto - The End of Slideshows

You can make an unlimited number of short (30 second) videos for free.  After that, you can make individual full-length videos for $3/video or you can sign up for an all-access pass ($30/year) to get unlimited full-length videos.  Any of your videos can be converted to DVD-quality for $5 each.  They also have a professional plan but I don’t think I know any of those.

The video embedded above came from my recent mountaineering adventure up Mt. Shasta that resulted in my temporary Angelina Jolie Lips (click through if the video isn’t showing up in your feed reader). I woke up a couple of days after the hike and my lips had actually healed together. After soaking them in warm water for a while, I was eventually able to poke my tongue through and slowly rip my mouth back open. So yeah, wear sunblock kids.

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