News & Features

Meet Our Team: Ali, Test Lead & Controller of Time

Megan O'Neill


You’ve met our Social Media Manager Emily and Animoto Programmer Justin. Today, we’re pleased to introduce you to Test Lead Ali.

Ali King Animoto

Ali has been at Animoto for 5 years THIS WEEK (Congrats, Ali!) and is responsible for putting daily smiles on our faces with his shenanigans, which include building a massive 6-foot cardboard dome in the middle of Animoto HQ (really!), setting up a slackline on a regular basis, and skateboarding everywhere he goes in the office.

Ali says, “Test is valued a Animoto, and we’re deep into product teams partnering with developers to increase confidence in our software. We are not trying to break things that developers hand us, we’re working with them to deeply understand and improve stuff. My funnest days are those when I get to solve a weird new problem or write a tool to make something less annoying.”

As you can see from the video, Ali loves making videos that mess with speed and time. He shared some of his favorite tools and apps for time control with us!

Speeding things up

Ali says, “Mostly I’ve just used an app called Lapse It Pro. Given how good the cameras on modern phones are, you can get some really good results with a relatively simple setup.

“A couple of us at Animoto also built a ‘time-lapse dolly’ — a motor-powered device that moves the camera very slowly while the time-lapse is being recorded. It’s very hacky: wardrobe door sliders, scrap wood, a stepper motor, and an arduino controller in an Altoids can, but the effect you get in the final video is of a slowly moving camera with very fast moving action. It’s more interesting than a static time-lapse.

“The biggest challenge with time-lapse is how long it takes, and resisting the tempation to fiddle with the camera once you’ve set it up.”

Slowing things down

“Lots of the latest generation of phones will shoot video at 120 frames per second, which should give really good looking slow motion ¼ speed. GoPro or similar action cameras will shoot that fast by default so you can slow down a lot in editing. GoPro studio is the software that comes with GoPro and it makes slow motion pretty easy.”

If you’ve gotten your phone within the last couple years, odds are you’ve got a slo-mo option built right into the camera app on your device.

Reversing your footage

“My first reverse movie was actually shot on super 8mm film. To shoot in reverse with film, you just hold the camera upside down! Then, when you splice it together, you flip that section right way up and front to back. Everything gets mirrored, but plays in reverse.

“In modern times, there are lots of ways to reverse a video file.” Try Reverse Vid or a similar app.

Once you’ve made your slo-mo, time-lapse, and reverse videos, throw them together in Animoto and share a link with us!

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