Animoto – Professional Quality Videos From Your Pictures and Music for Just $3

In Episode 49 of the net@night podcast, Amber MacArthur and Leo Laporte interviewed the co-founder of animoto, Brad Jefferson. animoto is a web service that generates professional quality, customized videos from your images and music. FYI, here’s Leo’s video.

I decided to give it a whirl. I am impressed. So far I’ve ‘produced’ three videos including this one of my 2002 trip to Thailand (turn on your speakers for this).

The images in this video were taken from these Thai locations in this order: Bangkok (including the backpacker Mecca of Khao San Road), Ko Samui,Ko Tao, Phuket, Ko Phi Phi, Rai Leh, Ao Nang Krabi, Kanchanaburi (Bridge Over River Kwai), Phang-Nga then back to Ko Samui

Except for the uploading and processing time, assuming your pictures are generally ordered on your computer or hosted web service in the order you want them in your video, the process takes only about 10 minutes of your time.

Animoto ‘How To’ Summary

  • Select Images: Upload your pictures to animoto (one picture per second or two of music worked well for me). Alternatively, you can select pictures from your flickr, facebook, smugmug, picasa or photobucket account
  • Arrange Images: Arrange the photos in the order you wish. You can tell animoto which pictures to highlight in the video
  • Select Music: Select one of their canned tracks or upload an MP3 file from your computer
  • Payment: Pay either U.S. $3.00 per video, or $30 for a year long unlimited all-access pass, with Paypal or Google Checkout (unfortunately no credit cards yet). Note: See the referral program info below to get $5 off the all-access pass
  • Processing: animoto will churn away for an hour or two analyzing your pictures and chosen music and then create a customized video. animoto will email you a link to the finished product when done

Below I describe what you can do with the resulting video and provide a step by step guide, showing how I made the Thailand video.

Read the rest of this entry at The Daleisphere »

19 thoughts on “Animoto – Professional Quality Videos From Your Pictures and Music for Just $3”

  1. That looks very interesting especially since I recently used to digitize every photo I had in the house (as did my father). So I am certainly not lacking for pictures.

  2. Nice find Dale,
    I’m making a video collage for my daughters graduation party as I type this – Kind of wish I’d seen this post a few days ago as it looks pretty good…

  3. I just signed up for this and I have to say I love it! I REALLY wasn’t expecting anything fantastic but i thought I’d check out the 30 second video with my wedding pics.

    The service worked really smoothly and the only slow part was uploading my pics (they’re still full res). When I finished and saw the 30 second video I was honestly so excited about the video that I bought a years subscription immediately.

    If you’re even peripherally interested in this, you need to check them out.

    By the way, Todd, I don’t know if they use OAuth but I did notice the option to get pics from Flickr.

  4. I don’t know if they use OAuth either. Most people who look but don’t try assume, as I did, that this would be too hard or too time consuming.

    It’s not. Anyone can do this and it would be a breeze for the average ZNF reader.

    Honestly, except for the uploading and processing parts, I can now pump out one of these in about 5 minutes time. I’ve now done 5 videos and about 10 remixes as variations on themes (mostly experimenting with different music and trying to get the perfect number of pictures per video).

    Thanks to those of you using my referral code I now have 6 months of free access. I’m going to do this for all of my vacation pictures going back over 10 years of digital photos.

    There’s a limitation I found since writing the piece. It doesn’t accept .png files. Not sure about gifs yet.


  5. Wow, I’m impressed. I was expecting some sort of Kenn Burn’s slideshow set to music, but your sample video was really amazing. I’ll have to check it out more closely…

  6. Wife and kid were gone all morning so I played with this.

    The quality of the pics when played on the HD LCD TV were, unfortunately, not quite as impressive as the smaller online version. I didn’t resize the photos so it did take a while to upload. And as I said, the better photo quality wasn’t represented in the final product.

    Otherwise, it is a cool little tool that I recommend to anyone who wants to have something more entertaining on their family blog than the normal slideshow.

  7. Dave, are you planning to set up a referral account for yourself? After all, I found it through this blog.

    If not, I’ll make sure Dale gets the 3 month Pass.

  8. D’oh, but Dale posted it here! (Lousy 2am reading comprehension!)

    Grabbing your code now Dale.

  9. Thanks for the referrel David.

    On Mc’s resolution issue, if you listen to the net@nite podcast I linked to at the beginning of the piece, I seem to recall Brad Jefferson mentioning towards the end of the interview that they are working on adding higher def functionality and the ability to make DVDs from their product. I don’t know when that will happen. They are working through a huge explosion of users. They went from 35,000 users to 750,000 users in one week after launching on Facebook. So My guess is they’ll be working on scale issues for awhile. This company is just a few guys so far. But Jeff Bezos loves their product (he used it at a recent demo of Amazon services) so perhaps there may be an Amazon acquisition in their future.


  10. of course, those with Macs can do this with iMovie by dragging into photos, adding a track from iMovie and click SHARE to create a movie in minutes. You can adjust each tranistion or add the Ken Burns effect (pan/scan) and of course, fiddle with the audio, you can add your mike recorded sound – that takes longer but you have full control. If you have the $29 version of QT Pro, you can designate a folder, number in the order you want, select CREATE slideshow and it creates a movie in minutes (there are some different transition effects you can choose like ‘shuffle’ but timing from slide to slide is the same). You can paste in audio but you have to create the track specifically to match so it’s a little more work – not that your link isn’t interesting but for Mac owners and presuambly even Pc owning QT Pro users, you too are minutes away from a photo slideshow.

  11. I wasnt entirely sure about this but gave it a shot and was pleasantly surprised …… all hail the Blogosphere !

  12. The results are quite impressive. I will suggest this to a friend who likes to make DVD slide shows.

    Does anyone know of software that can do these kinds of effects with video clips instead of photos?

  13. At first, I thought Animoto was pretty cool. Actually, I still think the technology is.

    But their support is horrific.

    I signed up for the annual subscription. I tried to make a movie by retrieving images from my SmugMug account. It didn’t work, so I reported it to their support contact.

    Their response was a simple “Are you still having problems with SmugMug? I couldn’t replicate this. Let us know if the problem has persisted though.”

    That was late May.

    Although I have sent them several emails since, they do not respond. Their “Contact Us” page is blank.

    Although very cool technology, I cannot recommend paying them, considering the abysmal support.

  14. George, perhaps things have changed as I have experienced quite good and speedy responses from ANIMOTO after joining a month ago. I’m also a Smugmug Pro user and have had lots of success creating videos with ANIMOTO using photos from my Smugmug galleries.

    I’ve written a detailed step-by-step tutorial here on how to create an ANIMOTO video and the convert, upload and embed into your Smugmug site (the info is useful for anyone that just wants to see how to create ANIMOTO videos):

  15. Having used one of the canned tracks on the site for use in the animoto video and then uploading to you tube by the upload link provided by animoto . I have now had my video is tagged as copyright abuse. Whats going on ? I paid for this program to produce a video with audio track now I can not distribute it to either you tube or facebook without it being flagged even thou animoto put links for you to upload on site and the music ame fro the libary on there site. What a swizz.

  16. Although (last year) support was not good, and it is impossible for me to load from SmugMug, I still use Animoto by uploading the pix (not via smugMug). Family and friends love the output …. so much better than standard slideshows.

    I have not checked with Animoto support, so I don’t know if they have improved over the last few months. However, I just tried the load from smugMug feature again. Same thing … I get “whoops, some problems retrieving your images. Click here to delete the problematic images”.

    Until it works, my support of Animoto is half-hearted.

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