Animoto….putting my ideas in motion

Name: Animoto
Cost: Free (for 30-second videos)….Free “unlimited time” for educators!!
Type: Internet tool
Rating: 5/5


Animoto logoI’m a fan of trailers….not the mobile kind, but the movie kind. I like that the movie trailer breaks down the main concepts into very brief visual flashes set to music. Well made trailers capture your attention even more than the opening scene of the movie (and sometimes the trailer is the only good part of the movie). To me, Animoto, gives me the tools to create these brief presentations of information that are visually engaging. The tool provides a theme with an interesting background throughout the video, but then you add the graphics and text to interact with the theme. Like a movie trailer, I have to edit down my ideas to just the highlights, which is more of a challenge that using the tool itself.

Goal: create short, movie-trailer type of video that is visually engaging

Animoto themes

Here is a view of some of the available themes you can start with.


  • The tutorial makes it look pretty simple to get started, as long as your focus is on graphics (not text).
  • Free music is available; suggestions are provided based on the chosen theme
  • Educators get a FREE version that includes more templates and a longer video length


  • The preview of the templates does not give a clear indication of how text would work with the theme, as the preview is for a photo gallery presentation.
  • Each slide cannot have it’s own “time frame” (e.g., 5 second pause for one slide and 10 seconds for a different slide).

Animoto workspace

This is how the workspace looks once I got started designing the presentation.

Insider View: Most of what I create for my classrooms are text based to inform students about a concept. For Animoto, I found it easier create the text on individual PowerPoint slides, then save as JPG files, so each slide could be uploaded to to Animoto.

Final Thoughts: This is a great tool for a presentation mostly of graphics (photos), though if you can keep the text phrasing fairly short, then it works well. The free 30-second version is not enough for me, so I probably would not use this tool as much without the educator’s account.



Samples: This sample was created for my Composition II course, where I could embed the video in the classroom for students. I started with white/black PowerPoint slides and uploaded them as individual JPG files. The theme added enough color and dimension that I didn’t need to design the slides before uploading.

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