Animoto: An Inexpensive Way To Create Professional Looking Videos For The Web
March 24, 2011
I created the video above using Animoto, a service I recommend and discuss below.
The Difficulty In Creating Online Video
Incorporating online video into your law firm's web marketing strategy is a great way to connect with potential clients. Videos can be a very effective part of a good web marketing strategy. However, it is often expensive, time consuming, and difficult to create professional looking videos. The barriers to create a video, that you are actually comfortable putting on the face of your marketing, causes many law firms to avoid producing videos entirely.
To be honest with you, we face the same hurdles here at AttorneySync. In the past, we have produced short, educational videos utilizing screen capture services such as Jing(free service) and Camtasia (paid software). Recently, we have been searching for an alternative way to create professional looking videos that wouldn't break the bank. Specifically, we wanted to create a video for our homepage that quickly described the types of services AttorneySync performs. However, we didn't want to spend thousands or even hundreds of dollars to do it.
Animoto is an engine that takes photos, video clips, music, audio, and text and mashes them into a very professional looking compilation. In their own words:
Animoto automatically produces beautifully orchestrated, completely unique video pieces from your photos, video clips, and music.
The thing I like most about Animoto is the simplicity. It is extremely easy to use even for those of you that are not technically inclined.
When you first visit Animoto, you are able to create free videos, up to 30 seconds in length, that you can use for non-commercial purposes. This is a great way to test out how the service works and see the results before committing to any type of a paid package. If you do decide you want to use the service for your business, there is a subscription option for $39 a month which gives you access to create an unlimited amount of videos, use licensed music, a call to action button after the video ends, commercial license, HD quality video, and exclusive video styles not available with the free version.
The first step in the process is to select a video style you want to use. This will determine the look and feel of your video.
Next you will upload photos, screen shots, video clips (which are limited to 10 seconds in length to keep the flow of the video), and any text you want to appear. Once uploaded, you can easily sort the various components in whatever order you choose simply by dragging and dropping each selection.
The next step is choosing the music you would like to accompany the video. With the paid version, you can choose from a large catalog of licensed music or use your own audio files. The cool aspect with the music is that Animoto actually builds your videos around the tempo of the music you choose.
In the last step, you review the selections you made and choose a destination url and call to action to appear after your video (assuming you are using the paid version). After that, the video is rendered and you are sent an email upon completion to view your new video. From there you can share the video, embed it into your website or blog, etc.
I found the software simple and easy to use and actually had a good time with it. While not every style of video will fit into the mold of what Animoto offers (ie: if you want to do longer screen captures or interviews) it is absolutely a tool to use in your arsenal for creating professional looking videos.
Jeff Berman, is co-founder of AttorneySync. "Properly marketing a law firm online is about producing relevant content that helps a prospective client understand your expertise and how you are able to help them. Finally, it’s about getting that content found by the people you are trying to help."
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