Last November, Facebook announced it was generating a staggering 8 billion video views per day. Around 300 hours of new video is uploaded to YouTube every minute. Video has become very much the norm for online communications, and its ubiquity has a significant implication for internal communicators.
Traditionally, video has been an effective but relatively expensive communications option. While there’s still an important role for professionally-produced film, smartphones have lowered the entrance barrier to producing acceptable content. There’s now no reason why video shouldn’t play a key role in your internal communications channels mix, whatever your budget.
Internal communicators seem to agree too. In Gatehouse’s recent State of the Sector report for 2016, 70% of respondents rated video as an effective communications channel, with 63% looking to increase its use over the coming year.
But video can still be time consuming to do well. That’s where Animoto can be a useful part of your video toolkit, enabling you to insert energy, fun and pace into your films at minimal cost.
So what is Animoto?
If you’ve not come across it, Animoto is an online video producer which allows you to seamlessly combine video clips, images and text with professional music, using a variety of templates.
I first came across it as a slick way of making photo slideshows, but when a blog post by Nolan Haims highlighted how he had used Animoto for short video collages as part of presentation pitches, I saw its potential for internal communications too.
Ways to use Animoto
Over the last few years I’ve used Animoto for a number of business films. They’ve included:
- An ‘explainer’ film for an HR transformation project
- ‘Highlights of the Year’ films at an annual conference, and a ‘conference highlights’ film after the event using pictures taken on the day
- Making it available as a tool for user-generated videos, also for use at a conference
It’s especially good for injecting video content into events at almost zero cost, and provides a great platform for highlighting business achievements and recognising teams’ contributions. You can see an example of one I produced for a Sodexo HR Conference below.
The benefits of Animoto
Animoto isn’t suitable for everything, but it does overcome some drawbacks of other low-cost video production methods. For example:
- Sound is often the achilles heel of user-generated smartphone films: it’s difficult to record great sound unless you’re in a very quiet room or you have a decent external mic. But you can get round this in Animoto by overlaying a great soundtrack and letting the pictures tell the story.
- It’s easy to use, with a simple drag and drop interface. You can create a professional-looking film in a relatively short time.
- Music makes all the difference to film, but finding low-cost licensed music for your project is often a challenge. Animoto’s professional subscription includes 2000 music tracks to choose from, giving you plenty of options.
- You don’t even need video: you can produce a simple but effective film by crowd-sourcing photos from your employees, interspersing them with text, and overlaying an upbeat music track.
- It’s incredibly cheap: one annual subscription allows you to produce unlimited HD videos. The more you use it, the cheaper it gets.
Tips and tricks
- Many of the templates are designed for personal photo slideshows and probably won’t amuse your corporate branding teams. But select a simple, plain template and you shouldn’t have any problems.
- It can be time consuming to go through Animoto’s vast music library, so try searching for corporate themes and ‘favourite’ the ones you think will be useful in future.
- Animoto’s text tools are not very flexible, but you can bypass them completely by making your own text slides in PowerPoint or Keynote, exporting them as image files, and uploading them into Animoto.
- Another way to add lustre to titles or headings is to create a header slide in PowerPoint or Keynote, apply an animation, export it as a movie file, and then upload it to Animoto.
- Keep it simple: Animoto’s beauty is its simplicity, but that reduces its flexibility too. If you need total editing control, use a different tool.
What does it cost?
A Professional annual subscription costs £192 and should give you everything you need, including the all-important ability to remove the Animoto logo from your creations. Or you can sign up on a rolling month-by-month basis for £24 – useful if you only want access for a short time.
Upgrading to a Business subscription gives you more users and more music tracks for an extra £100 a year.
The film above was one of two produced to highlight team achievements at the annual Sodexo People Team Conference. The colleagues holding up the signs were part of those teams responsible for the achievements, and we supplemented them with clips from other relevant internal comms films and photos taken during the year.
Both films were produced to short timeframes for just the price of the subscription, but helped to add an extra dimension to the event.