Note: We did not get paid to do this post, but we received a free trial for writing this Animoto review. Links to Animoto.com are affiliate links.
Animoto: Slideshow Videos the Easy Way
Whether you’re scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, chances are high that you’ll run into a few dozen short videos featuring everything from recipes to breaking news stories. Capable of telling quite a bit in a short amount of time, the slideshow video has become a popular conduit for marketers and everyday image makers alike.
Unfortunately, many are deterred from giving the medium a try. For many, the task of combining multiple pieces of content together seems intimidating. To counter that sentiment and make video creation more user-friendly, a crop of easy-to-use content editing programs and applications have sprung up in recent years.
Many share similarities, but each has its own unique set of strengths and weaknesses worth considering. Rather than trying to cover the entire gamut of available editing options, today’s post will be delving into the details of Animoto, one of the most popular platforms currently available to everyday consumers.
An online video editor founded back in 2006, Animoto was one of the first creations of its kind. In short, the service combines video clips, photographs, and music into elegant slideshows. Just one year after Youtube.com first went live, the minds behind Animoto had enough foresight to realize just how impactful the rise of the internet (and streaming video) would be.
Animoto vs. Adobe
Novices need not turn away from Animoto. It lacks the complicated tools and intricacies of advanced editors like Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro, making the cloud-based service a perfect choice for those that want to make something beautiful but may not have the technical know-how to create something from scratch.
Undoubtedly it’s a handy content creator for marketers and businesses of all sorts. However, it’s also effective at bringing personal imagery together into a collection that’s effortless to share.
Animoto Review: Our Demo Video (Slideshow with Music)
So, what can one expect when they log onto Animoto for the first time? From the moment you click create, the site will guide you through the entire process of making a personalized video slideshow with music.
Choosing your Video Theme
First, the site presents a choice between creating a “Memory” or “Marketing” video.
For today’s demo, I opted to check out Animoto’s marketing builder. From appearances alone, it seemed to be the route most professional image makers would choose for their personal display purposes.
Right away, users are provided with plenty of pre-made storyboards to choose between. Put together by the experts at Animoto, users can simply swap out existing sample content with their own videos, images, and text. But, for those who prefer the DIY approach, it’s possible to build an entirely new project from scratch. The first step in doing so is to choose a “video style” or set of transitions and effects applied throughout a video.
Aside from written descriptions, users can see a style in action by simply hovering their mouse over the preview boxes. These styles only serve as templates. Once a style is set, users may go in and adjust finer details such as colors and fonts to their liking.
Uploading Content to Animoto
The next step is to upload the content of the video slideshow. A convenient media dock keeps all uploaded images and videos at hand. From there, it becomes a matter of simply dragging and dropping files onto an interactive storyboard. The app makes it painless to arrange and add content, as well as, control just how long each slide plays for.
Once the slides are in place, users can grace their slideshow with music. The site provides a list of high quality free audio files. Those files can be applied automatically overtop videos and photographs. Carefully organized, it’s possible to filter through the music library based on the mood you’d like to evoke or the occasion the video is being made for.
Once you’ve applied your content and customizations, Animoto handles the dirty work of compiling all of the components into one beautiful video. To test out the site’s capabilities, I sourced content from Unsplash’s archive of copyright-free photography for a handful of drone shots from around the world. To my surprise, it took less time to create the following video than it did to find and download the images I used for the slideshow!
The Animoto Video Editor: Easy, Fast & Professional
Ease of use and speed aside, I was pleased that my video appeared to be remarkably smooth and professional looking. It’s hard to talk down about the look of Animoto’s end product.
Quite frankly, I found that the piece was on par with commissioned pieces from experienced video artists. Topped with an intuitive platform that’s easy to navigate, it’s worthy of consideration from any individual looking to churn out video presentations.
Animoto certainly has some appealing features, but they aren’t available for free. Those interested in using Animoto’s services may opt into the platform with annual or monthly subscriptions. There are three separate price brackets for users to choose between:
1.) Personal: $16/month (or $96/year)
Animoto’s base plan allows users the ability to create an unlimited number of videos. In addition, there are no limits to the number of times users may share or download their creations. Users may also access the site’s music library and collection of pre-built storyboards and styles. However, consumers should keep in mind that more advanced plans offer more stylistic offers to choose from.
2.) Professional: $42/month (or $264/year)
Those who choose to upgrade to Animoto’s professional plan increase their production quality and may create high definition video clips. The professional plan also removes all Animoto branding from video creations. Perhaps most significantly, professionals receive the licensing rights to sell and distribute videos made through the platform to various consumers.
3.) Business: $64/month (or $408/year)
While the business plan is the costliest option Animoto has to offer, it provides users with the most creative freedom. Business accounts receive access to the entirety of the platform’s collection of audio clips, templates, fonts, and colors. Like the professional plan, business users also retain the right to sell their videos to individuals and other businesses. Lastly, a business account allows access to up to three separate users, creating a venue for collaboration.
Each plan has something different to offer, and there’s no singular option that best suits the need of every user. That being said, potential users can save money across the board should they opt out of monthly payments. When users pay an annual flat fee, it’s possible to save up to 50% on subscription costs.
Don’t struggle to create a video presentation on your own. For a relatively low price, Animoto offers the tools and guidance it takes to bring videos to life. Sign up for a free trial today and find out for yourself just how easy making films can be and why we rated Animoto the best online video editor in 2018.
Another Animoto Video Slideshow with Music:
We Created an instructional video slideshow with music some time back (sharing 10 portrait photography tips for beginners).
Watch it here: