Animoto: what the experts are saying

Trey Ratcliff writes the top travel photography Blog on the Internet. He is the first photographer to have an HDR (High dynamic range) image displayed in the Smithsonian, and has been featured on many television networks.

Ratcliff has worked with both the basic and Pro versions of Animoto and reviewed it on his Blog. He listed the following benefits and downfalls of the tool:

Benefits of Animoto

  • Easy to use and fairly idiot-proof
  • Make something that looks professional even if you are a rookie, hack, miscreant, or all three
  • The video is online immediately and very easy for you to embed into your website, blog, and the like
  • Looking to deliver an “added feature” to your clients, this is something that is easy and has an amazing “wow” factor

Reasons Not to Use Animoto

  • Do you already have a Mac and iPhoto + iMovie?  If so, you can create very similar effects with these programs…  However, these are a little harder to use and don’t have some of the “themes” that Animoto offers
  • You only have a few photos or very little “source” material.  Animoto can’t help you with that
  • Cost – if you are on a super-tight budget, then the “free” parts of Animoto might not have enough power for you

Ratcliff goes on to say that importing photos from online photo sharing sites like Flickr can be problematic, as it does not work well with too many photos in a library. He also refered to some confusion regarding resolution of photos to upload when using the pro version of Animoto.

Overall, Ratcliff seems to appreciate the tool, saying, “I’ll keep making more and more videos with this…because it is fun!” (2010), although he had some suggestions to make it even more user-friendly. It appears as though some of these improvements, such as more theme selections, and direct exporting to YouTube, may already have been made since Ratcliff’s assessment in 2010.

I tend to agree with Ratcliff’s observations that Anomoto is an easy, fun way to create a simple video using one’s photos. I found the basic, free version provided all that I needed, and all that my students will likely need to display their photos and short pieces of writing.

Read more on Radcliff’s Blog, and watch a video he made with his beautiful photos, using Animoto Pro.


Ratcliff, T. (2010, Jan. 3). Animoto review [Web log comment]. Retrieved from



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