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Video-creation service Animoto has lit my fire

Animoto has turned this lazy late adopter into a video-creation evangelist.

I know video creation start-up Animoto has been written about on CNET already, here and here. But I just had to write about it too because it has changed my life.

Like my colleague Michael Kanellos, I'm not an early adopter of technology, particularly gadgets that cost a lot of money. My music collection isn't on my laptop yet, but at least I do have a digital camera. And a Flickr account. I haven't found Flickr that easy to use, and I've been lazy. So, I haven't posted a lot of photos on there. Until now.

Animoto makes it easy to turn photos into video. Animoto

You see, last week I attended an Amazon Web Services event and one of the presenters was Animoto, a company that lets you create videos from your photos. It looked cool and easy to use, so I tried it out yesterday and now I'm an evangelist.

First, I dipped my toe with a 30-second free video made from some Flickr photos of my friends. The service also can grab photos off your hard drive and off Facebook, Smugmug, Picasa and Photobucket. I selected which set of my photos to use and it downloaded them. I was able to arrange the order, delete some and specify others for highlighting.

Then I selected the music to go with the photos. Since there isn't any on my computer, (OK, there is actually one--an old Laura Nyro CD, the only one in my collection I've burned so far. Like I said, I'm lazy.) I chose a relatively mellow tune from Animoto's "indy rock" collection and it created a beautiful video. It turned what might otherwise be boring photos into an entertaining mesh of images that went well with the music.

I did have to distract myself for a short while as the images were first downloaded from Flickr, and then I multitasked for a longer period while the video was rendered. But it wasn't unduly long, say half an hour total. My other complaint would be that they need to expand their music selection. The songs in the three categories offered, indie, electronic and hip-hop, were primarily fast, rowdy riffs. They should include ambient music, jazz and classical, at least.

But I was so thrilled with the outcome, I instantly signed up for a subscription and started madly downloading more photos onto Flickr. Animoto gave me the motivation to get over that (albeit mostly psychological) hurdle and really start using my Flickr account.

Short, 30-second videos, using 12 to 15 photos, are free, while $30 a year will allow you to create as many long-version videos, with an unlimited number of photos, as you'd like. My friends were impressed with my video and even thought someone else (with more time, creativity and technical skills) had made it. Thanks!