Quick video from stills – for free – no problem – just the presentation lacks

Have to admit I usually don’t get exited about new web-services, BUT this one


It does what it says on the tin. Log in – upload 10-12 photos – select music – go have a cup of tea / coffee and hey presto a nice little animated video which you can download or upload to Google video or YouTube is ready.

If you don’t like it – remix it. They are useful and presentable.

Yes, only 30 seconds are free but to make longer ones its 3$ a shot or 30$ for unlimited / year.


To get to this one you need a bit more than just Animoto. So here comes the fun bit. The videos are great but if you upload these to Google or YouTube (which is now owned by G anyway) the original mp4 is transferred into flash and looses quality. Also Animoto is produced in 16:9 whereas YT / G do 4:3 format. Than the original video starts on a black background. So once it’s played it rewinds to the black start (boring) or a start picture you can’t influence (G video). You can download Animoto but it’s MP4 format. If, like me, you happen to have your own server(s) and want to be a bit different or more to the point independent what to do? How to prep it up a bit? How to run it in a flash player that is not bulk standard?

The difference between MP4 and FLV (Flash streaming) format in high quality is not much. Thus you can, like I did, convert into FLV and edit, or do it straight in MP4.

Unfortunately, hunting for the right tools may leave you frustrated. Here is a quick guide to get on with it with the least amount of fuzz.

Converting and cutting:

After lots of trials and problems I ended up downloading Avidemux. This allows conversion and/or cutting of video formats. Thus I cut the start to the first picture and curtailed the end.

Flash player and added functionality

I wasn’t impressed by the quality of YT / G and I don’t like the vanilla Macromedia flash player. I wanted my own and my own skins and extended controls. Sometimes you want a video to auto-start sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you want all controls, sometimes you don’t.

Finally I found Flowplayer. It’s open software and highly customizable. Best of all it does a seamless playlist. So if you have two or more videos – it will play them seamlessly. To get a nice start picture just add a suitable JPG or PNG to the playlist, Be aware if you don’t do auto-start you will have to give these stills a time.

On our House for rent page you can see the result of my trials or just run the one on this page.

Or you could just head to the guys at Toufee and generate some small vids on line, than play it all together with flowplayer on your site. It looks easy but it is  a very powerful on-line software.

They also provide software so you can generate your own skins, but the standard ones are pretty good.

This should get you started nicely.