When we founded Animoto nearly 6 years ago – and launched our website nearly 5 years ago – our mission was simple: to make it easy and fun for anyone to create and share extraordinary videos. This was before the iPhone (if you can believe that!) and even the Flip camera (RIP dear friend).
My co-founders worked in TV and film and we had conviction that video is the best medium in the world to share personal stories.
The funny thing about starting a video company back then was that while nearly everyone had access to digital photos, very few people had the means to capture personal video clips. So, in order to introduce as many people to the magic of video as possible, the first version of Animoto (until 2009) created videos exclusively from photos and music.
We proudly exclaimed: “Animoto, the end of slideshows!” We felt that photo slideshows sucked the life out of your photos but video created from your photos, when perfectly crafted and masterfully set to music, bring your memories to life in incredibly emotional ways.
Fast-forward to today and video is everywhere
People are capturing video clips on their smartphones nearly as commonly as photos – and there’s no hotter app category on iPhone or Android right now than the photos/videos category.
Instagram has invigorated the photo world while several companies, including SocialCam and Viddy, are duking it out to be Instagram-like in their filtering and sharing capabilities of single video clips. We love all this buzz-worthy activity because it’s building awareness that capturing and sharing photos and video clips is easy, and those are the building blocks of Animoto videos.
But, Animoto remains extremely unique as a product and in how our users use us so I thought I’d explain.
How Animoto is unique as a product
Our goal is to help users create an extraordinary cinematic masterpiece from their collection of photos and/or video clips. We’re about telling more of their story than a single photo or video clip can convey.
We want to do for photos and/or video clips what a movie trailer does for a film: distill and amplify the story. Animoto videos, spanning in length from 30 seconds to 10 minutes, can take on a range of emotions depending on the collection of photos and video clips incorporated.
The magic of Animoto’s technology is that it links together a series of production techniques professional editors and directors use to bring movies to life. I still love Eugene Morton’s G4 launch coverage of Animoto: “It’s like tossing a bunch of steel, glass and leather into a box, shaking it up and then opening the box to find a brand new Ferrari.”
The secret sauce is our patent-pending Cinematic Technology that personalizes every Animoto video, frame-by-frame. This is our art form that, like Google’s search algorithms, is constantly being updated and improved. We’re proud of the progress we’ve made over the last six years but the good news for our users is that we’re still only in the early innings of what’s possible.
How our users make Animoto special
The ingenuity of our users and the range of use cases for Animoto have blown us away. When we distill down the millions of Animoto videos that are created every month, we see a very strong thread that runs through most: these are the special moments in life.
Animoto videos are deeply personal and capture the most cherished moments and events. We see videos that share a birth announcement, a child’s first year of life, a family holiday card (a welcome update to the annual family newsletter, IMHO), a Father’s Day celebration, vacations, weddings and more. Animoto videos are also created for less momentous occasions that are equally special like a trip to the city, a 4th of July family picnic, a visit with the cousins, or a day at the beach.
Why we feel lucky
It’s an awesome privilege for us to be part of these incredibly personal and intimate videos that will be watched again and again and shared with future generations to come. We love owning this responsibility and will continue to help make the creation, sharing and viewing of your special Animoto videos faster and more enjoyable. In fact, just last week we made major improvements to the video creation and viewing experience on Animoto.com.