Thursday, November 22, 2007

Animoto: New way to present photos

Aminoto (beta) is a cool web application that automatically generates videos from images and music.

Upload your own images or retrieve them from Facebook, Smugmug, Picasa, and Photobucket.

Add your own embed music from the Aminoto's selection or use your own.

The 30 second version is free, but the longer version current costs $3 or you can get unlimited access for $30 per year.

Possible uses of aminoto are:

  • showing activities during anual reports to local funding agencies.
  • summarizing a season or year for a group.
  • setting the stage in an opening of a meeting by using an upbeat video.
  • creating video scrapbook.
According to the animoto site, future plans are to:

  • provide additional user control over speed in the near future.
  • user control over the photo.
  • allow downloading of the videos.
  • add text to videos (currently to add text you should edit the photos in a photo editor to create a photo with text).

Why does animoto charge?

The main reason we charge has to do with the intensity of our video production process. In order to be able to offer something different from what's out there on the web, namely the type of "high-end" motion design and effects used in TV & film, we actually have to produce from scratch EACH new frame of your Animoto video... and there are 24 frames in each second of video! As you can imagine, this takes massive amounts of processor power, so we unfortunately can't afford to give everything away for free, particularly full-length videos, which really have intense demands on our render system. Fun fact: did you know it takes Pixar Studios 408 hours to render each second of their films using 3000 computers? Makes what we're doing here at Animoto seem pretty whimpy.

For demonstration, I used a set of photos taken from a trip that members of the Alabama Agricultural County Agents and Specialist Association made to help a few citizens in Hancock County, Mississippi one year after Katrina (September 2006). The story behind the video can be found at .

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