How I Created an Animated Music Video from my Montville Photos with Animoto

image of Animoto HD video - View from Montville

image of Animoto HD video - View from Montville  

Animoto is a state-of-the-art program that enables you to very easily convert photos into animated, music videos.  In a previous post, I discussed three levels of membership of Animoto – Free, Plus and Business. 

In this post, I want to focus on how I created an Animoto video from photos taken during my recent visit to Montville.  First let’s look at how Animoto can make you look professional and improve your productivity.

Creating an animated music video from your photos with Animoto

I had taken 35 photos at Montville with my Panasonic Camera and I wanted to present them as a group under a theme.  I had previously taken out Animoto Plus membership ($30 per year) so I can now create as many non-commercial videos of whatever length I want.  So here is the process: 

  • Decide the theme and title for the video – I chose, ‘View fromMontville’ 
  • Upload the photos to Animoto – I uploaded the folder with the photos and Animoto assigned spots for them and progressively uploaded them.  This can take a while if you have a slow connection.  While I have a fast connection, I was still able to use the waiting time to clean up some of my email.  
  • Decide the sequence of the photos for the video – you can move the photos around to change the sequence (drag-and-drop).  I left the photos in the sequence in which I took them. 
  • Highlight photos to stand out as stills – this was a simple process of highlighting a photo and clicking on the ‘highlight button’.  This facility enables you to have a few photos that feature (they will be stills during the animated video and one will typically come into focus at the end – a really cool feature). 
  • Add a text slide – this comes with a headline and a single text line.  I chose to use the video title. ‘View from Montville’, and the sub-title, ‘Sounds of Mountain Birds’ (there is a limitation on the number of characters).  Again you can locate the text slide where you choose (via the drag-and-drop option). 
  • Decide the accompanying music – Animoto provides a music library covering a range of genres.  I chose to use my own audio – the MP3 I created by using Audacity to edit the recorded sounds of birds (developed through the voice recorder on my Samsung Galaxy S11).  One of the tricks here is to match the chosen audio to the length of your video (determined by the number of photos).  I had to expand my previously recorded audio to cover the number of photos involved.  I originally uploaded a 1.18 minute audio and Animoto identified about 8 photos that would not be included in the video because the audio was too short.  So I expanded the MP3 to 2.15 minutes (I had lots of recordings of bird sounds via my Samsung phone).   The resultant video is 1.24 minutes long.  A rule of thumb then that you can use is 2.15 minutes of audio to cover 35 photos (there is obviously some compression of the audio which is done automatically by Animoto). 
  • Decide the quality you want for your video – I discovered that there are some relatively new options for this.  The basic quality (350p) comes at no additional cost. At the moment you can improve the quality by choosing the 480p option ($3) or the high definition 720p option ($6).  I chose the latter because it really makes a difference to a video that involves mainly scenes taken from a distance (the HD enhances the depth perspective and the color).  

While the basic quality video (380p) comes with two formats (for computer and smartphone), the HD quality option comes with four different formats that are suitable for:

  1. viewing on a computer (MP4)
  2. viewing on a HD television (ISO)
  3. using with a HD projector
  4. burning as a Blue-ray disc (or as an AVCHD encodedDVD) for playback on a Blue-ray player

The 480p quality option includes formats 1, 2 & 4 above and adds formats for playback on standard resolution TV’s and smartphones.  However, the HD quality option automatically incudes access to all the lower quality formats. 

In my next post, I will have the completed HD Animoto video available for streaming on the blog and I will explain how I was able to install the video. 

Meanwhile, visit the Animoto site and be inspired by what you can achieve in terms of improved productivity and creativity.

Turn Photos into Video to Promote Your Small Business


One of the easiest ways to market your small business is to turn your photos into video.  You must have lots of photos lying around that you can use for this purpose.  However, if you want to make the most of this highly effective marketing option, you can be more deliberate about what photos you take and the videos you create.

The program I have used over the last few years for turning photos into video is called Animoto which is an online service that is spectacularly easy to use.

Animoto uses the very latest in cinematography to produce stunning videos that you can upload to your blog/website, YouTube or any other video hosting site.   You can use the video to promote your small business and/or your services and products.  The online program uses state-of-the-art cinematography to create a video from images, video clips and music.  So you end up with an animated musical video created from your photos.

The steps are quite simple to turn photos into video:

  1. upload images to Animoto
  2. identify the two or three images you want to highlight
  3. decide what music track you want (yours or theirs)
  4. press “create video”
  5. upload video to your computer and/or YouTube (press a button)
  6. press remix as often as you like to make alternative videos
  7. admire your handywork.


You can adopt a number of strategies for your small business video marketing.

1. Create an eye-catching video from your photos:

This is illustrated by the rainforest video at the end of this paragraph.  Here you are simply creating an attractive video that people like to watch (e.g. some holiday snaps).  Your aim is to redirect the traffic from the video site (e.g. YouTube, Facebook or Flickr) to your website or blog.  The rainforest video has attracted nearly 3,000 views on YouTube (and many more elsewhere).  A number of people have placed the video on their own websites as well:

2. Produce a video about your small business and your staff

Animoto is great for this because you can add text to the video that you create from your photos.  You can also splice in 30 second videos created elsewhere.  Here’s an illustration of what I have created to promote our own business, Merit Solutions Australia:

3. Promote your local area

There are stats that show most small businesses generate up to 80% of their business from their local area.  So a video highlighting your town or city can attract the attention of residents as well as potential tourists.  You are then able to reinforce the fact that your business is local.  The following video was taken during a holiday but it could be used to promote your local business if you lived in the beachside town of Mooloolaba:

Animoto offers both free and paid versions of their program.  The free version allows you to create as many 30 second videos as you want (for non-commercial use).  A very cheap option allows you make as many non-commercial videos as you want of any length (you are not restricted to 30 seconds).  The paid or business option includes unlimited videos of any length as well as the production of high definition versions of your videos.

This can be an exciting area of small business marketing because you can combine your love of photography with promoting your business.  I frequently take photos on my holidays and business trips to use in videos that I create to promote my small business.   Animoto opens up a whole creative world and makes it easy for you to turn photos into video.