Lauren Goode

Recent Posts by Lauren Goode

Animoto Launches App for Easy iPhone Slideshows

Making video packages on an iPhone can be cumbersome, especially if you’re used to working with a desktop editing program. The phone’s small screen just doesn’t lend itself to manipulating clips and pics easily.

New York-based Animoto, a five-year-old slideshow service that makes awesome-sauce out of images and video clips, has used some of its $25 million in recent funding to make the mobile editing process a whole lot easier.

In the newly released mobile version of its Web app, Animoto helps users auto-produce slideshows from the images on their iPhones, adding transitions, effects and theme music to selected pictures from the device’s camera roll.

The app takes the idea of “nonlinear” one step further, by displaying selected images and theme and music options in tile format on the app’s interface, for one-tap selection. While users can’t select a song from, say, their iTunes or Amazon music accounts, Animoto offers 500 royalty-free music options, and there are five themes — including holiday and celebration styles — to choose from. The slideshow is stiched together based on the beat of the chosen music, and it takes about 15 seconds to produce a 30-second video, provided there’s good Wi-Fi and data connectivity on the phone. Then, users can share their videos via email, text message or through Twitter and Facebook.

One of the biggest drawbacks of the Animoto app is that it only works with still images, not video clips. For basic slideshow videos, this works fine, but lots of consumers would probably like the ability to throw their video clips into the mix.

Animoto CEO Brad Jefferson says the company wanted to focus first on getting the picture-slideshow capabilities of the app right; he pointed out that users can use Animoto’s Web app to make polished packages out of both photos and videos. Animoto charges $5 to $30 a month for extended video projects; videos 30 seconds or less can be created for free on both the Web site and the iPhone app.

The Animoto video-editing app is currently only available for the iPhone; it is not optimized for use on the iPad.

If the Animoto app isn’t what animates you, there are other video apps out there that will help you auto-tune your mobile video-making. VidRhythm, created by Harmonix, makers of the popular Rock Band videogame franchise, costs $1.99 and includes 20 pre-downloaded songs to help transform everyday videos into music videos. Magisto, which in September received funding from investor Li Ka-Shing, will launch a video-making app in January at the Consumer Electronics Show; Magisto says its app begins to process users’ video clips as they are capturing them on their smartphones, making the mobile post-production process even faster.

And there’s always Apple’s $4.99 iMovie app for iPhone, but that app requires a little more manual editing on the part of the user.

Jefferson says that Animoto is looking to offer a more personal video-making experience that will set it apart from music-video and mash-up apps. He predicts that an increasing number of Animoto videos will be made on its iPhone app, as consumers become increasingly mobile. Some 800,000 videos were made on the Animoto Web site last month, according to Jefferson, and approximately 15 percent of those were viewed on mobile devices.

Animoto also offers a professional-grade video editing program for $249, which contributes to a significant portion of the company’s revenue.


Latest Video

View all videos »

Search »

When AllThingsD began, we told readers we were aiming to present a fusion of new-media timeliness and energy with old-media standards for quality and ethics. And we hope you agree that we’ve done that.

— Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg, in their farewell D post