Cool Video Production with Music/Audio: Animoto

13 08 2009

I’m always running trials and experimenting with new web 2.0 technologies to determine how they can be leveraged for learning and business. Last week I heard about Animoto which is an excellent tool to make great videos from your images within minutes. You can add notes to images, insert a voice or music file then email your finished videos or download them. Your videos can also be easily posted directly to Facebook, YouTube, Myspace, Twitter, blogs and more.

Creating an account and developing videos that run up to 30 second is free but each video will have an embedded Animoto logo. However, if you want to created unlimited length videos without the Animoto logo, then the cost is $99 for a three month trial, or $249 for one year.

I created a quick presentation using photos embedded in PowerPoint slides (with captions) then converted the presentation into jpeg format. Subsequently I uploaded the presentation into Animoto and each slide was converted into a separate image. I wanted to add a voice file (actually words and singing) so I recorded this as a memo file on my iPod before uploading it to my computer. As this was in wav format, I first had to convert it into an mp3 file using Audacity (a free audio editing application) before importing into Animoto. I was advised by the program that a 30 second video should use 12 to 15 images. I first used 10 images and once the video was processed, my narration was off-synch with my images and the singing actually faded before the short song had ended. However, in a second trial I used 13 images and the result was better, although the images ran out before the short song was finished.

Please take a look at my efforts with “Waltzing Matilda” on YouTube. Once I had uploaded the video to YouTube, I sent a tweet to alert my Twitter followers and also posted a link to the video for my friends to view on Facebook.

When I use Animoto again, I now know that I need to use at least 15 images for a 30 second soundtrack (whether it is a voice or music file).

This application has unlimited potential for just-in-time learning and for business promotion. Anything that can be captured as an image and as a voice or music file in mp3 format can then be quickly converted into a short, compelling movie. It’s surprising what you can do in 30 seconds or less!

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