Animoto Review

Update!

Animoto has added a ton of new themes and the UI has received a major upgrade! I just came back after being gone one year and made a new Burning Man video. I’ll put it below!

Try Animoto for Free

You can read my review below, or go see how easy Animoto is for yourself. You can sign up and try it out for free… in just a few minutes, you’ll get a good feel for it!

Or Get Two Months Free

Use the code STUCKINCUSTOMS to get 2 months free on the year deal with a Animoto Pro account! Thanks to the team for sending that along to our readers… enjoy!

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Animoto Review

Animoto is awesome. Here are some videos I made with it. Life is short. If I didn’t think it was awesome, I would not have used it!

Animoto Sample Videos

Here are a few below I have created using Animoto! I’ll start with one I made from my Burning Man videos. The coolest thing is how it automagically times the video with the music you choose. Watch full screen and turn up the volume!!

Like that Music?

By the way, here is a good story. The music was made by Antonis Karalis, a fan from Greece. He did the instruments and voice himself — nice eh? You can support him by buying that song on iTunes!

Benefits of Animoto

  • Easy to use and fairly idiot-proof
  • Make something that looks professional even if you are a rookie, hack, miscreant, or all three
  • The video is online immediately and very easy for you to embed into your website, blog, and the like
  • Looking to deliver an “added feature” to your clients, this is something that is easy and has an amazing “wow” factor

Reasons Not to Use Animoto

  • Do you already have a Mac and iPhoto + iMovie?  If so, you can create very similar effects with these programs…  However, these are a little harder to use and don’t have some of the “themes” that Animoto offers
  • You only have a few photos or very little “source” material.  Animoto can’t help you with that
  • Cost – if you are on a super-tight budget, then the “free” parts of Animoto might not have enough power for you

More about Animoto

Animoto can also import your photos from Flickr, SmugMug, and more. I found this a bit problematic, since it does not seem to work if you have more than 300 photos in a library. I had to export them all from my local iPhoto library and then upload.

I noticed that the default version was low-res, even though I am a pro member. At the end, I clicked a button to make it high-quality. I then had a much better version. Although, it was still confusing to me as to what resolution photo to upload. I looked at the FAQ, and it said 1024 pixels wide/tall should be good — although that seems low for a high-quality video. I went ahead and uploaded a 1500-wide version of each photo, and it seems pretty good.

The first theme I used had sort of a faded “bokeh” version of my photo in the background. This looked cool in motion, but when you do a freeze-frame, that bit is a bit blocky and didn’t look so great. I doubt anyone really notices this, however.

I like how, when creating the video, I can “highlight” certain photos so they stay up twice as long.  You may see this in the video above.

Still Experimenting

I’ll keep making more and more videos with this…because it is fun! Also, I’m testing the following things:

  • Different themes – right now most of them feel like the opening to Oprah or a daytime soap.  I want more!
  • Can I export automatically to my YouTube and Vimeo accounts?
  • Timing with the music is pretty good and automatic.  Sometimes I want more control, but I don’t really have any suggestions
  • When I put portrait-photos up, sometimes it doesn’t look so great.  Maybe it would be nice if I could do more of a zoom-in with those… but perhaps I can get to that with other themes.

Any questions about the nature of these reviews? Visit my Ethics Statement. It’s all quite simple!

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  • http://www.dmmphoto.ca David McLaughlin

    Hi Trey, Just finished watching your Animoto video. Very nice.
    I do have another “Reasons Not to Use Animoto”. If you want to produce these “wow” factor slidshows for clients on a semi-regular bases, you may want to look at a program from Phoodex called ProShow 4.5. I been using this program since version 3. The latest version has a wizard if you are new to the system and it will set-up a show for you. You can see some demos here.

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  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/magicpepper RT McDonald

    I introduced and have been using Animoto at our company over a year. We use it for promos of upcoming events and slideshows of past events. Very easy to use with professional looking results. I was impressed that the Producer’s Guild of America use it for their events – like they don’t have other resources. I’ve been happy with what it does and am convinced there’s nothing easier. If you don’t like the way a particular video turns out, re-render it and it will be different!

  • Jake Laughlin

    I love everything but the music choices. I wish there was a way to use your own music! Otherwise, I have no complaints!

  • david

    i have been using Animoto for over a year now and find one thing annoying…you are limited to the length of the song you choose in the presentation. I would like to see the capability of using more than one song back-to-back. I find the use of video and still photos to be particularly effective. However, this increases the overall length of the Animoto production and requires a longer tune. Their choices aren’t particularly great, and you must be careful of copyright laws using other music. Overall, I would give it an “A” grade for wow factor, a B+ for ease of use, but maybe a C for flexibility.

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  • http://msummersphoto.com Margaret

    Very nice video and music. I have just recently used Animoto to create a couple of videos on my new website (msummersphoto.com). I’m using some acoustic guitar music written, recorded, mixed, etc by Tim Mielak (link on my website or find on itunes). You might really like it, since you seem to be a connoisseur of music. BTW, he happens to be my son (full disclosure), but he’s good anyway.

  • JVH

    Fantastic music … !!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mihael-Tominšek/1626789247 Mihael Tominšek

    I was pro User of Animoto several years. But they do not hear users well: One song, short titles, countless rerendering needed, NO proper HD even in 2012! No PAL support, only stupid templates are on 720p, high cost, etc… For the price of several year subscription I rather buy decent software and have full control over every project (and final product is MY property). Beside that Animoto is good.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/I4ZMDHROP3HV7NHGUSICFVUHAA Jihoki

    I do enjoy the manner in which you have presented this particular challenge plus it does indeed give me personally some fodder for thought. On the other hand, because of what I have personally seen, I just simply hope when other feedback pile on that individuals stay on issue and in no way start on a soap box involving the news du jour. Still, thank you for this superb piece and whilst I can not necessarily go along with this in totality, I regard the viewpoint.

  • http://www.whitedoor.co.nz/ School Ball Photographer

    Just signed up to the Pro account – appreciate the discount. Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bev-Ethington/100000631217421 Bev Ethington

    I’ve been using Animoto since 8/9/2012. To my knowledge if you have videos uploaded anywhere on the web and you cancel your service with them the videos will be taken down, so expect to keep paying them monthly or by the year if you want to keep those videos up and running. I was also disappointed when I downloaded a video and gave it to a client to post on her business Facebook Page, I gave the same video to my husband to post on his Personal Facebook page as a test and Facebook took his video down citing copyright problems. I contacted Animoto and after several emails I was told I could file a claim with Facebook stating I had the right to post the video (btw it was because of the music file on the video which was one of the Animoto’s songs from their library). The one I gave to the client is still on her Business page but thank goodness that didn’t happen to the her- it would have been embarrassing and I am certain she wouldn’t want to go through the hassle of filing a claim with Facebook just to keep that video. It seems to work great if your posting to your own blog or someone else’s blog because then you can just use the HTML to post the video – or if your posting to your own Facebook page. But I bought a Pro account so clients would be able to post the video on their social media. I’ve cancelled my account with Animoto. By mid September I’ll be looking for another service.

  • Sri

    Hey all – the latest news is that Animoto seems to have released their multi song functionality. Now the videos are no longer limited to one song length. As a pro user, I am excited!!!

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  • Jocelyn

    Because I used Animoto for an educational use I found that it wasn’t very exciting or
    useful. I felt that it was easy to use and to create an account but because I didn’t
    have a real purpose for using it I found it pointless. The website was well put
    together and had a lot of good tips and ideas, but they didn’t really have the
    wow factor they promised. I would say Animoto is a good website and people
    should use it, but when using it for educational purposes I don’t think it was
    the best or easiest.

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