Many arts organizations have experimented with using “trailers” to promote upcoming performances or exhibitions. But what if you don’t have the time, equipment, or expertise to film and edit a video? What if all you have are photos? Enter Animoto, a free tool that lets you quickly create short videos using a combination of photos, text, and/or video clips of up to five seconds in length. You can choose background music from Animoto’s library or upload your own.
To try it out, I created this 30-second promotion for Misnomer Dance Theater's performance back at our 2008 conference. It took about 20 minutes, including the time I spent actually finding the photos on our Flickr account.
The process is a pretty straightforward drag-and-drop design. You can add text and choose particular images to “spotlight” with extra screen time. Once your elements are arranged, one click mixes them together into a flashy 30-second video.
Other than changing the order of your elements, though, you don’t have a lot of control over the final product. Because Animoto automatically mixes the elements together for you, there’s no opportunity to fine-tune individual transitions. This is great if you’re looking for something quick and easy, but it can be a real downside for the more detail-oriented user.
Throughout the process, there is a strong push to upgrade your account, which can get a little annoying. If you’re with a 501(c)3 organization, you can request a free Pro account (normally $250/year), which allows you to make full-length, high resolution videos that are downloadable. The Pro account also includes a commercial-use license.
What have you created with Animoto? Do you have other favorite video tools?