I love Christmas. I love everything about it. By the 1st December I have my tree up and decorated. Sadly I even make a note of this on my calendar. One thing that I do find a bit of a slog, however, is the task of writing Christmas cards.
How do you write yours?
Do you go all production line, do you write as short a message as possible? Do you take weeks over the task as you craft the perfect content for each card? Do you sometimes wish that there was another way?
Well, this is what I have started to ask myself. It then dawned on me that I could combine two passions of mine - Christmas and making videos.
I have made Christmas videos for clients in the past. Some have celebrated special personal memories of the year gone by, while others have been created to mark the end of another successful 12 months in business.
These videos can be fun and amusing, moving and emotional. I'd definitely recommend creating one.
As a result, in this post, I will take you through 4 online tools that can help you create a video for Christmas. Where possible, I will stick to the free versions. However, as with most online tools, there will also be a paid version to select if you want additional functionality.
So here goes!
Animoto enables you to make stunning videos quickly and easily. Simply choose your style and select your music. You can choose a track from Animoto's music library or, if you have the appropriate permissions, upload your own. You can also record a voice-over and upload that. Then, upload your images or use Animoto's small selection of visuals. You can also include small pieces of video footage (different video styles allow you to use different lengths of footage) and you can add text to your video and captions to your images.
When you have finished, you have the opportunity to preview your video. This preview is of a lower quality than the final version. If you decide to make changes after the preview you can easily do so. However, you may notice that your edited video is slightly different to the first version. This is because the software adds subtle effects and those effects can change after every preview. As a result, it is always worth previewing your video again to make sure that you are completely happy.
When you are happy, select 'Produce' and Animoto will finalise your video. You then have the chance to upgrade to HD 1080p, which I would recommend as it is the best quality. Once the upgrade is complete, you can email your video, share it on your social media platforms, link to it, upload it to Vimeo or YouTube or embed it onto a website (as I have done in the example above).
I love to use Animoto both for my own business and for my clients. Check it out and let me know what you think. There are some lovely Christmas templates to choose from!
Go Animate is really fun and you can create great animated videos with this software.
Once you have signed up to an account, click the orange button called 'Make A Video'. You can either start from scratch or select one of the pre-made templates available (just scroll down to see them). Go Animate will try to tempt you to sign up for its business (read paid) version. However, you can make some great little animations using the free version (up to 30 seconds long and including some subtle Go Animate branding). You are a little limited on characters and layouts but this is not a deal breaker by any stretch.
For my sample video, I chose a template to get me started. I went for a holiday theme - these can be found by clicking 'Search All Themes' on the top left of your screen. I selected a snowy scene and then chose some Christmas characters from the 'Characters' option in the menu on the left side.
I chose some of Go Animate's seasonal music to accompany my video (you can alter the volume level by clicking on the music track on the timeline at the bottom). I was now ready to start.
You have to build your video piece by piece. You can select each character's time and method of entrance and exit. Each new stage in your video should have a new box by clicking the plus button in your video timeline at the bottom of your screen.
If you would like your characters to talk, simply click on the character and make sure you have selected an animation that suits the tone of what you will want him or her to say. You can change this by clicking on the character and scrolling through the actions on the left side. Then click 'Dialogue'.
Here you can either upload some pre-recorded dialogue, record some dialogue into the mic or create some type to voice dialogue. In my video, for speed, I have used the type to voice generator. As you can hear, it does sound a little robotic so you may decide to investigate the other dialogue options.
You can preview your animation as many times as you like, adding props and characters as you go. When you are finished simply save your work and publish your video. You are then free to email your creation, share it on social media or embed it onto a website.
It doesn't take long to get the hang of Go Animate. Once you do, you can create some great animations - and not just for Christmas either!
The first thing to decide when you log into PowToon is whether you want to create a presentation or an animated video. For the purposes of this post, I am going to look at the video option but I may well come back to look at presentations in a later post. Having selected this video option, you are presented with lots of ready made templates. You can also start from scratch but I will focus on a template today for reasons of speed and ease.
Selecting PowToon's animated greeting card template, I chose the 'Happy Holidays' card. I then clicked edit and was whisked into the video production screen. Wow, there are lots of options here. You have slides on the left and you can customise each one. The options open to you are in menus on the right and all you have to do is drag and drop them where you want them to appear.
At the bottom centre of the screen, you have a list of all the components of each scene. If you want to edit some text, for example, simply click on the box with the big 'T' and away you go! You also have a selection of text effects at your disposal. Now you can have some fun!
When you are finished, save and click 'Publish' (the button at the top of your screen). You are given the option to share your PowToon on your free player page and you can also chose to keep your video hidden from search engines. In addition, you can upload to YouTube and Wistia. If you upgrade to the Premium service you can also download an MP4 at this stage.
PowToon's free version only allows you to select the standard resolution option and you have to accept some PowToon branding which includes a rather alarming end to my video at least!
Once you have published your PowToon, you can share it on social media and embed it onto your website.
I really enjoyed using Powtoon. I feel I will be back again soon!
Moovly is another timeline based animation tool. In the same way as Go Animate, you start by selecting from a range of scenes and characters and placing them onto your 'stage'.
I liked the way I could build up my room scene and control (to a certain extent) what happens to my characters and props by adding animation effects such as hand swipes and fading. You can also upload your own images and sounds to your video. The video I created is so very rough and ready (and super short!) - it was based off of the example that Moovly gave in its recent Slide Share (see below).
However, it only took me a matter of minutes to get to grips with some of the ins and outs of the platform. I will certainly return to see what else I can do!
The only drawback at present with Moovly is that, if you want to download your creation, you have to wait quite a long time to access your finished video. There are no social sharing or embedding options to select either. In addition, you can only select a standard quality version for free.
Over To You!
So, now it is your turn! Have a play about with one (or all four!) of these tools and don't forget to let me know what you create!
Take care, Jane x