After ten years Animoto has just launched their next product, Marketing Video Builder. If you're not already familiar with Animoto, their first product has been a staple for photographers to easily make quality video slideshows. Their product lets you combine both stills and video to your favorite song (or songs), or use their expansive collection of over 2,000 royalty free songs, to produce a video slideshow that's perfect for marketing, client products and so much more.
I use Animoto slideshow five different ways. I typically create three types of slideshows for my clients showcasing their engagement session, wedding, and wedding album. I make one slideshow for FAQs because most people just don't read that much anymore and showing them a video helps them see all of the information and retain it much longer. And finally, I use it endlessly to create marketing videos that end up on my website, social media, and sometimes shown during client consultations. You can see a more in depth view of what those kinds of videos look like on a recent Animoto blog post here.
Now onto the news.
In addition to their original Slideshow Video Builder, they now have the Marketing Video Builder. Their new product lends itself to the marketing end of things. You'll see some similar features like being able to mix stills and video, use their song library or upload your own, and a collection of styles to get you started. What's different in this new product is that their styles are more like templates that give you fully laid out storyboards to work from. All you have to do is just click and drag your media into them. Building Animoto slideshows and videos just got 10x faster and easier, with more options and customization too.
The biggest changes have to do with text, audio, and graphics. Now, you can add text on top of pictures, with the ability to change fonts and colors. In the original product you had to add text on a separate slide with a blank background in between photos and videos. The new templates come with quite a few graphic options (like the ones in the video below), that make it appear the video was done by a commercial videographer rather than an easy online service.
Another much anticipated add-on is voiceover. I'm pretty sure this has been the number one request from Animoto users over the years and I'm very happy to see Animoto listened. While I haven't used this feature myself yet, it's definitely a good one to have especially for non-photographers/videographers who aren't skilled in capturing clean audio and video at the same time. You can create your visuals separately, and then add voiceover to bring in another element to the video. Best part, is you can record the audio right inside the storyboard, though I would recommend using a USB microphone rather than just your computer's build-in one.
Personally, I've been using the new product primarily for marketing videos, rather than client videos. I don't think my clients are looking for the pizzazz that the new product offers when it comes to viewing their wedding images. For marketing, on the other hand, there are endless possibilities for making videos that are a perfect fit in today's online world. Videos that are great for social media, branding, and client consultations, like the one below that I recently posted on Instagram and Facebook when the new product launched.
What I Liked:
- Speed - For me speed is everything, especially if I end up using this for my same day edits at a wedding reception. Having pre-design storyboards that you can use as-is or tweak as needed makes it lightning fast.
- Storyboard View - I love having the overall view of the project and be able to edit it from there. It reminds me of the Fundy Album Designer 7 that I talked about last month. That kind of storyboard view allows for big picture viewing which helps the entire project come together very nicely.
- Text and Graphic Integration - Finally having the ability to have text over images and video is a big step for Animoto. Adding in graphic overlays with customizable colors and fonts is the icing on the cake.
- Editable Duration - Animoto has always taken the reigns on choosing the pacing and timing of the images. With the new product, I can decide how long I'd like an image on the screen in second increments.
- It's included! - If you're an Animoto Pro customer already, this extra product costs you nothing. Woohoo!!
What I'd Like Improved
- Thumbnail Size - Because you can't change the thumbnail size in the storyboard layout, dragging and rearranging your elements can be a bit tedious having to drag, then scroll, then drag again. Having the ability to make the thumbnails a little smaller would make it easier to move the photos and videos around the project.
- No Re-Mixing - Once you've chosen a style/template, you're married to it. You can't change styles like you can in Video Slideshow Maker. Not a huge deal, but a freedom I did grt used to in the first product.
- No Photographer Specific Styles - While I'm sure this is in the works because Animoto has always spent time updating their styles and templates in their first product, I would've liked to have had a photographer specific style right off the bat. Us photographers make up a large part of their customer base, so if we ask, I'm sure they'll make it happen!
Here's a screenflow of creating a video in the new product. It took under 10 minutes to create a quick 32 second piece that I'll end up using on social media later this month. With the new Marketing Video Builder being so fast and easy to use, plus all the new features and having unlimited videos included the subscription, it's a no-brainer.