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Animoto launches tool to help brands make quick videos for social media

Animoto Web Video Builder Drag and Drop

Wherever you look on social media, one thing is clear: There’s a proliferation of video. Brands are chomping at the bit to create videos for the big social media services. But while more well-to-do companies are capable of expending resources to produce high-quality videos, what are those with smaller marketing budgets to do? Animoto — yes, that Animoto — on Thursday launched a video storyboard editor designed to let any business simply craft social videos with as little fuss as possible.

On this Marketing Video Builder, businesses will find a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) editor, meaning there’s a lot of drag and drop functionality and no capabilities that one would see in Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere. This is the first product Animoto has targeted at businesses, as its initial product is geared more broadly at individuals and companies.

Animoto Storyboard builder
Brad Jefferson, cofounder and chief executive, explained that while Animoto has been doing well over the past decade, the company discovered that businesses wanted to pay for the service but didn’t want to have the Animoto branding on it. So Jefferson’s team set out to build a service that lets companies create distinct looks for videos that are stylized around their brand.

Anyone can build their own video easily by first choosing the style that they want: There are 12 pre-fabricated templates (like WordPress), or you can start from scratch with a selection of five styles. If you elect to use a template, it’ll come with pre-set blocks and modules that you can customize, just like with a website. At launch, there are five blocks you can incorporate into your storyboard: Logos, text, collage, photos, and video. Jefferson said that each one has a “superpower.”

When customizing your video, Animoto offers some control, including the ability to adjust the length of time for each video section, insert text, adjust the font and color, apply images (sans animated GIFs and 360 videos). You can also include voice-over audio. And you can drag and drop images into the storyboard when needed and even leverage Animoto’s extensive music library of 5,000 songs — you’re currently limited to one song per video.Animoto text control
There’s no limit to how long your video can be, but your building decisions may be influenced by the one-song limit. Videos can be downloaded right from Animoto and shared to whatever service you want, be it Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, or Pinterest.

“We want to give everyone else the service to create quality videos to compete in the news feed with the same professionalism” as premium commercials, Jefferson said. He explained that his company’s goal is to help businesses stand out on social media, and video is often the best way to engage viewers and tell a story.

Animoto’s Marketing Video Builder has been in private alpha since January, with 1,000 paying customers using it. It’s now available for everyone to build their own quick videos. Businesses can use the service if they’re part of the Professional and Business plans starting at $22 per month, which offers unlimited videos.

While it has largely flown under people’s radars, this 10-year-old company is already cash-flow positive and has amassed more than 17 million registered users, with 100 million videos created. But timing is everything, which has been a bit unfortunate for Animoto, as it was too early, emerging well before the creation of a smartphone and app market. However, Jefferson has hope for the company’s newest product: “I think we’re timing it just right.”

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Ms. A. C. Kennedy
My name is Ms A C Kennedy and I am a Health practitioner and Consultant by day and a serial blogger by night. I luv family, life and learning new things. I especially luv learning how to improve my business. I also luv helping and sharing my information with others. Don't forget to ask me anything!

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Existing EV batteries could be recharged five times faster

Lithium-ion batteries have massively improved in the last half-decade, but there are still issues. The biggest, especially for EVs, is that charging takes too long to make them as useful as regular cars for highway driving. Researchers from the University of Warwick (WMG) have discovered that we may not need to be so patient, though. They developed a new type of sensor that measures internal battery temperatures and discovered that we can probably recharge them up to five times quicker without overheating problems.

Overcharging a lithium-ion battery anode can lead to lithium buildup, which can break through a battery's separator, create a short-circuit and cause catastrophic failure. That can cause the electrolyte to emit gases and literally blow up the battery, so manufacturers impose strict charging power limits to prevent it.

Those limits are based on hard-to-measure internal temperatures, however, which is where the WMG probe comes in. It's a fiber optic sensor, protected by a chemical layer that can be directly inserted into a lithium-ion cell to give highly precise thermal measurements without affecting its performance.

The team tested the sensor on standard 18650 li-ion cells, used in Tesla's Model S and X, among other EVs. They discovered that they can be charged five times faster than previously thought without damage. Such speeds would reduce battery life, but if used judiciously, the impact would be minimized, said lead researcher Dr. Tazdin Amietszajew.

Faster charging as always comes at the expense of overall battery life but many consumers would welcome the ability to charge a vehicle battery quickly when short journey times are required and then to switch to standard charge periods at other times.

There's still some work to do. While the research showed the li-ion cells can support higher temperatures, EVs and charging systems would have to have "precisely tuned profiles/limits" to prevent problems. It's also not clear how battery makers would install the sensors in the cells.

Nevertheless, it shows a lot of promise for much faster charging speeds in the near future. Even if battery capacities stayed the same, charging in 5 minutes instead of 25 could flip a lot of drivers over to the green side.

Via: Clean Technica

Source: University of Warwick