Animoto turns Facebook photos into 'Best of 2012' videos

The photo slideshow app lets users produce a highlight reel from images posted to the social network throughout the year.

Donna Tam Staff Writer / News
Donna Tam covers Amazon and other fun stuff for CNET News. She is a San Francisco native who enjoys feasting, merrymaking, checking her Gmail and reading her Kindle.
Donna Tam
2 min read
Inside Scoop: Facebook's new partnerships in time for the holidays
Watch this: Inside Scoop: Facebook's new partnerships in time for the holidays

Animoto, the app that turns Facebook photos into slideshow videos, added a highlight reel feature today that lets users create videos based on their most popular photos of the year.

The magic behind the highlight reel is Facebook's Open Graph. Animoto pulls the photos and captions from your profile -- these include ones you posted and those you're tagged in -- based on how many times your friends commented or liked them, or how many people were tagged in it. The videos are set to music and can include text.

The result, Animoto CEO Brad Jefferson said, is a video of the most memorable moments of your year. "It's going to make you cry if it's a birth of a child; it's going to make you happy if it's a high school adrenaline rush type of thing," he said.


The new "best of" feature launches just as the holiday season kicks off. Jefferson said the company chose this time because many people create and share holiday videos this time of year.

Animoto debuted its iOS app last year during the holidays for the same reason, but what sets the highlight reel feature apart is that the app automatically chooses your most popular photos for you. You can still choose the music and theme, as well as swap out any photos you don't want in the video before sharing it.

Facebook released a similar app to encourage people to switch over to the Timeline format. The Timeline Movie Maker pulls photos and videos to create a video of a user's entire Timeline and sets it to music. While the Timeline app has more of a cinematic feel to it, you can't tweak it or personalize it with text.

Animoto users have created more than 30 million videos since the company started in 2006. The company, which has raised $30 million, has 60 employees and is headquartered in New York; it also has a San Francisco office. While users can make an unlimited number of 30-second or shorter videos for free, they have to pay a subscription fee to make longer videos. Jefferson said the idea behind the business model is that people will pay for quality content and services. Animoto has 5 million registered users with 150,000 subscribers.

"As long it has value, we find that people are willing to pay for it," Jefferson said.

This story was updated at 12:31 p.m. PT to fix a typo in the amount of money Animoto has raised. It's raised $30 million.