Good news for those new to video editing—you don’t need After Effects to complete a great movie project. Contrary to common misconceptions, creating custom videos does not require years of training and advanced software. Programs like Animoto make it easy to produce professional business promos, wedding videos, and much more without the learning curve.  

If you’re inspired to use our footage but intimidated by editing software, Animoto is a fun and cost-effective platform for filmmaking—and it works on both computers and mobile devices. You can drag-and-drop your video into place and then update your projects on the go.

To help you get started, we put together an Animoto demo and some quick movie-making tips.

 

Tip 1: Keep it short

There’s a reason most of our clips are under one minute: the average Hollywood film shot lasts a mere 2.5 seconds. They key to holding interest is to keep things moving and keep audiences wanting more.

This means that before you even begin a project, you should set a maximum length, such as 5 total minutes of video and a max scene length of 4 seconds. Keeping it quick and punchy will leave your audience wanting more.

The only exception to the rule is when you have text on a clip. You’ll want to make sure these bits are long enough for the viewer to finish reading and digest the content.

 

Tip 2: Tell a story

It might make sense for Hollywood directors to begin a film in medias res (in the middle), but many of us won’t have captive audiences for 90 minutes to unfold a story. Whether your goal is to showcase wedding photography or share a family vacation, success may largely depend on clarification of the narrative early on.

A few seconds of setup—e.g., a view from an airplane or a morning sunrise—can help your project feel more like a story. This is especially important if you are promoting a company or product because it will make customers connect with the brand.

 

Tip 3: Use establishing shots

Just as fades and transitions aid in the visual movement from scene to scene, establishing shots aid in the transition of topics, timing, and themes.

Making a promo for your business in New York? Use footage of the city’s skyline or the statue of liberty to cue each location. Sharing photos from a wedding on the beach? Use some waves or a tropical scene to take us there. Want to indicate changing seasons? Show snow melting or leaves changing color.

By using such shots, your audience can better follow the story behind your project—while also giving your video a professional, cinematic quality.

 

Tip 4: Set the mood

Think about how you want your audience to feel when watching each scene. Do you want to emphasize extreme heat or the day it rained? Maybe add a funny sound effect for comedic relief or fast-paced loop to heighten action?

B-roll and audio both play an important role in shaping the viewer experience. When you pick your clips and music, consider the ambiance you’d like to convey. It should be harmonious with the message and themes of your film.

 

Tip 5: Be consistent

It can be tempting to add in all sorts of exciting transitions and effects, but too much of a good thing can become distracting. Try to maintain a consistent style throughout the video—and remember that simple is often better. If the sound and visuals are confused, then your viewers will be too.

So there you have it. Anyone can create clean, professional videos in Animoto, but with these five straightforward tips, you’ll make your movie projects really shine.

Ready to get started? Visit Animoto for a free trial—no credit card required—and use code VIDEOBLOCKS20OFF at checkout to save $50 on an annual Animoto subscription.