Animoto Videos Now With Text Overlays – Upgrade or Upsell? The Fine Print

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animotoA while back, I wrote about Animoto and its potential applications for both consumer and SMB video creation and sharing. Well Animoto is still working on innovations for their product and have come round to the “text + video = good” camp.

With the inclusion of text in the videos you can potentially tell a story, use the text as subtitles or to transfer information about your company or product without the necessity of dialog.

If you remember, Animoto lets you make videos out of a series of pictures and then share that video on the web, through social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and more.

According to Animoto, the text in the videos isn’t the static stuff of subtitles but is a more exciting version similar to TV and film titles. The creation process is still amazingly easy – upload photos, Organize, add text, choose music and finalize.

The text in Animoto really works more like headers for each section of a video or for a particular image. You can’t actually choose any effects or decide how or when the text shows up aside from a broad general idea.

It could be useful to get an email address, website or phone number into your videos. But it wouldn’t be useful for subtitling the video you create. In fact in a thirty second video the texts will take up most of the time. Since you can’t show text over images there’s no way to save time here and you can’t choose how long the text shows. My new 30-second video features 2 pieces of text and an amazingly low 4 pictures because the text ate much of the time and the outro titles that are applied by Animoto eat another five seconds. Here is an example video that I created.

So even though they tell you it’s a 30 second video, it’s not, it’s a 25 second video with a forced 5 second outro and their logo. On top of that if you put in one piece of intro text it takes 6 seconds for the first photo to show up. That’s 11 seconds gone without even showing an image. Of course, this is the free service.

I can’t help but think that the addition of text by Animoto was solely done to upsell people to full-length videos which of course requires that you purchase credits. I feel that Animoto is not actually offering a service to consumers who want text in their videos as much as they are selling the upgraded service. Plus it seems almost unscrupulous that 5 of 30 seconds, or approximately 17% of the time given is stripped away by the forced closing credits and Animoto logo.


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