Create Videos Like a Rock Star with Susan Roderick’s Advanced Animoto Tips

Moira West


“I always kind of dreamed of being a rock star,” photographer and videographer Susan Roderick told the “How to Boost Your Business with Animoto Videos” class on CreativeLive. “I always thought about being up there and…moving people with the songs that I write.”

“And I will tell you now that editing videos together and creating videos is like being a rock star. You can make people tear up. You can make them smile. You can make them laugh. It’s almost like I am that musician that I always dreamed of being through video.” See what she means in the video she created for photographer Sue Bryce below:

But to be a rock star video creator, you need to know your instruments. Here are some of Susan’s advanced tips to help you design your own.

How to choose your video and photos

  • Always (and we can’t stress this enough) shoot horizontal for video.
    As Susan put it, television, movies, and commercials are all horizontal – your videos should be, too. So if you have the choice between photos that are vertical and photos that are horizontal, choose the horizontal ones.
  • Keep videos short.
    Susan’s videos were all 2 minutes or shorter to hold viewer interest. This means editing your content so that you only use your best, most moving photos and video clips.
  • Match your video to the photos you’re featuring.
    For example, when Susan has a photo of a certain dress, she includes video clips of that dress before showing the photo.
  • Use video or photos of details (your B roll) to break up changes in poses.
    Susan pointed out that it’s a technique that avoids bringing the change to the audience’s attention.
B Roll

Advanced Animoto Video Tips

  • Create smaller video clips.
    Upload time slowing you down? While Animoto video uploads can go up to 400 MB, a clip that’s 100 MB will upload faster. Susan keeps her clips to 2-3 seconds, which lets her keep her keep the size of her files down.
  • Mute video clips.
    Once the videos are uploaded, don’t forget to mute the video clips if they don’t have dialogue you want to include.

    Mute Clip
  • Resize your photos.
    You can also resize photos to reduce upload time: batch process from Lightroom and use Animoto’s Lightroom plugin to upload to Animoto.  Susan found that horizontal images work best when resized to 2000 pixels wide: anything larger or smaller could look pixilated.
  • Adjust your style for your business.
    Susan recommends customizable styles like Classic because she can change the look and feel to suit her customer. Use HTML color codes to match the colors in your logo or just select a transition that works with the tone and pacing of your video.

    Color selector

    You can find customizable styles by looking for a symbol that looks like a volume control next to that style’s name.

  • Spend time on your music.
    Susan spends almost as much time on music as she does on editing her video, because the song is what hooks the viewer. “If it moves you every time you watch it and every time you hear the song, this is the song you need to pick.” She uses music from Animoto’s licensed music library, which has tons of fantastic tracks and is free to use with an Animoto account.
  • Add a logo and call-to-action button to your video.
    They link to your video to your business and help you get a word-of-mouth boost when clients share it.

Overall, Susan’s biggest tip is this: make sure you tell a story with your video. And don’t be afraid of clichés. “Don’t worry about being original with your stories; just be authentic.” What keeps a story feeling fresh is the quality of the storytelling, not the originality.

Ready to turn your video clips and photos into a story clients will remember? Try out Susan’s tips today and let us see your video by posting to our Facebook group or Twitter.