Job for Saturday! Road test of online video creators!

Job for Saturday! Road test of online video creators!

It’s SATURDAY! I believe it’s meant to be a day of rest but I was challenged by readers comments on my post about Animoto, an online video creator.

CogDog (Alan Levine) said “But beware the slippery slope of getting wrapped in the tools- what seems more important is the craft of writing/storyboarding a story; and learning what works in visual/audio/video expressive media”

Chris Betcher said “But educationally I think it’s important that kids think about how they present this sort of visual information, that’s why we spend time storyboarding and planning and so on. Animoto removes their creative input.”

My thoughts are the difference between CogDog, Chris and myself relate to the fact both CogDog and Chris are interested in the digital story telling aspect whereas my focus is on video creation and the content. The concept of creating digital stories has never engaged me but the power of being able to create a video that suits my training purpose does.

While we might use the same or similar tools to create digital stories and online videos — differences in what we are trying to achieve means we will favour some appropriates over others.

Now CogDog really knows his digital story telling and has been working really with 50 tools to create 50 domino stories for his CogDogRoo tour of Australia. Actually I am beginning to think that CogDog is even crazier than me — but what fantastic work you have done on these stories.

And on a side issue CogDog has been elevated to Honorary Top Dog of Western Australia as a result of his picture of Australia covering up all other Australian States and Territories so that only Western Australia is displayed!


So what I decided to do was check through CogDog’s 50 domino stories to see which of the tools were good for creating online videos. I know how long it takes to create videos using PhotoStory, MovieMaker and iMovie as I use them all the time and if I am going to use an online video creator it must make the creation quicker or easier.

I often teach lecturers how to create videos using video footage from their digital camera. But different digital camera record video footage in various video formats and not all formats can be imported into MovieMaker. Which means that you need to convert to a compatible format before you can edit using MovieMaker.

Fortunately based on my criteria of quicker or easier to create online video there was only 3 tools that fit:

My rules allowed me to use either images and/or video footage provided video footage was shot on a digital camera (if I shoot video using my digital video camera I would have had to capture using MovieMaker and no iSight on my Mac because that uses iMovie). OH and no dogs allowed!!!!!

Please note each video I created is unique and shows you different aspects on my world!


Extremely fast way to create a video using images only that looks really flashy but takes minimal effort. And yes you can add both text and your own audio to it! You just need to think outside the box! Create a PowerPoint with the text you want to use and then save as jpeg instead of PowerPoint (thanks Brian C. Smith for telling me how your wife did it!).

Record audio in Audacity but when you save it make sure you change the Project Rate (bottom left side of screen) to 22, 050 hz or the audio chipmunks when you upload. Not totally convinced that adding your own voice to this type of movie is a good idea – but I had to prove you can do it!

Negatives to this tool are you only get 30 seconds free video – if you want longer you have to pay! Also not sure that we won’t eventually get tired of this look. Here is my Animoto video with my spoken audio and text!

[kml_flashembed movie="" width="432" height="250" wmode="transparent" /]


Fairly easy to create online videos by editing video footage online. I did crash FireFox 3 times while using MotionBox but do believe that it was all me being too impatient!

Benefit to your viewers is they can use the thumbnails or tags to jump forward to sections of the video they want to watch. Motionbox accepts videos a range of formats including: .avi, .mov, .dv, .mpg, .mp4, .wmv, .asf, .qt and a variety of cell phone video (.3GP).

Here is the video I created using MotionBox.

[kml_flashembed movie="" width="425" height="460" wmode="transparent" /]


This tool is like having MovieMaker or iMovie online! Can add titles and effects. Very easy to use (says she who makes movies all the time).

Here is the video that I created using JumpCut!

[kml_flashembed movie="" width="408" height="324" wmode="transparent" /]


All three online video creators are good for different reasons. Key with both MotionBox and JumpCut is to be patient and do something else while the videos are uploading. Each has its own tricks that you have to work out — but nothing in comparison to some of the skills I have had to learn with desktop applications.

Let me know what your thoughts are? Which of the 3 video looks do you prefer? Have you tried any of these applications and what did you like/dislike about them?

10 thoughts on “Job for Saturday! Road test of online video creators!

  1. The only one of the three that I’ve tried is Animoto. It’s quick and easy, and the results look impressive. The brevity of the free clips also tends to focus students’ attention!

  2. Sue, I’ve really enjoyed your posts on tools available for blogging, and these posts about videos are JIT (just in time) for a couple of video podcasts that I want to put together. Once again, thanks for sharing!

  3. Thanks for sharing your experiences with the video creation tools, Sue, as well as for sharing a peek at your world, home, family, and a bit of the city of Perth.

    There is a blurry line between the video editing tools and the ones that allow audio narrated slideshows, which are, to me, actually a bit easier to create (no video camera needed) and to edit. I just played with myPlick ( which was about the easiest of ones I have tried for doing the synchronizing of sound to visual.

    I would say however, that while my example I have used to try the tools puts it into the “digital storytelling camp”, my approach is that there are less differences than you think between that and what your aims are. I am totally interested in content of all kinds…. Some of my Voice Threads efforts are more audio explanation over a tour of screens, e.g.

    The point is, whether you are doing a personal story or a how to clean a fish tank content piece, the process of planning your “story” ahead of time (an outline, storyboard, even a sketch on a napkin), and acquiring your assets *before* starting the media creation will give you more success in the end. Even a “training” segment has a purpose, and end in mind, as much as a story has an arc.

    Anyhow, kudos to you for putting some effort into trying this, and as your comments show, inspiring some interest in others.

    PS- Thanks for the top dog award, but its really just the limit of your monitor resolution 😉

  4. Hi Sue
    Animoto’s limitations (30″) before you have to pay can be turned to a postive i.e., quick, easy, and focussed, and a great intro tool for either ‘how to’ approach: shooting technique and planning a story-board for the content. Its lack of dedicated audio is not such a bad thing either, given narration is an art/skill in itself (can you tell I teach this?)

    Motion Box has obvious advantages with the different file formats available. I’ll take this one for a spin using my smartphone, but I’m concerned at a couple of comments on crashing.

    I found your JumpCut vid the best myself, but it stuttered a bit on my G4.

    And thanks for a little look at you, your favourite chair, family, and Perth!

  5. Diane – I checked out your video created using Animoto. It is good to see that Chris has lead us all astray. As I said on your post the best bit I like is this debate over the educational value.

    Joel – thanks for enjoying my post. I am feeling really bad for my readers as I am still in the middle of writing about Web 2.0 tools with students and have side tracked with sharing online video tools plus the famous multi-task post. I suggest you also check out our etools and tips for educators community. But I think I have already mentioned this to you? Bad news about MotionBox.

    Alan – I checked out MyPick digital story. What can I say!!! Bugger would have made the list yesterday!

    Well now story telling and what I do. ROFL well if you have watched my videos on my podcast site or any of my audio podcasts you would definitely know that I had no idea with planning – I just do!

    Top Dog award well earned – hopefully some other readers will tell me if WA is the only State showing on their computer.

    Kate – maybe we should get you to give us some lessons on the artist side. Happy with you to work on the audio with me – bearing in mind that I have a speech problem it will be interesting. I agree I think the JumpCut was the best.

    Regarding the glimpses of Sue and her life this was all inspired Kate by your video which I had been meaning to do.


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