Have you ever visited a web site and been impressed by the video on the home page? You know the sort of thing. An animation, often consisting of text and pictures which gets drawn by an animated hand, to spell out some key information about the product or service that the site is offering.
Such videos are known in the trade as an "explainer". And if you're a marketing person with a decent budget, there are plenty of companies who will produce a really nice explainer video for your business. But if you don't have the money, you can actually do it yourself using a free point-and-click tool. And if you don't mind the tool's logo appearing on your finished production, it's free too (for non-commercial use). Which makes it a fun and cheap way to create animated, personalised Christmas cards for friends, colleagues or family.
The software that I've been using to try out the technique is called VideoScribe, which you'll find at http://www.videoscribe.co. You'll need to sign up for a free account, and you can then download the software. It's a 45 MB file, which is malware-free according to VirusTotal and Web of Trust. Then just type your text, or drag in some images, and hit the Play button to see the animation. If you've ever used a presentation program such as PowerPoint then you'll feel right at home.
You can upload your videos to Youtube automatically, so then it's just a case of sending the URL of your finished card or greeting (or business explainer, if you prefer!) to whoever you would like to show it to.
Creating explainer videos is great fun, and might well keep the kids entertained until it's time to open their presents.
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