June 11, 2010

How to mash up a visual story for your nonprofit


Stupeflix & Animoto offer new ways to tell a story

Updated to remove RockYou, which has switched its business model to focus on games, and Slide, which closed up shop in March 2012.

By Kim Bale
Socialbrite staff

In a world where we’re bombarded with 3,000 messages a day, it’s hard for nonprofits and social change organizations to break through the noise and get your message across in just a minute or two. But a new generation of multimedia storytelling tools lets you do just that. You don’t need high-end video editing software — just a compelling message, some good visuals and a knack for mashing up content and music in an eye-catching way.

Three companies that are helping to blaze the new multimedia-meets-Cuisinart terrain include Animoto and Stupeflix. The sites make it simple for you to upload photos — often from existing Flickr or Facebook accounts — add captions and music, and create a finished product that is both professional-looking and affordable.

Photo sharing services like Flickr and Photobucket let you embed a photo slide show — here’s a nice slide show by the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation — and we like those, too. But we love the new breed of multimedia roll-your-own-video sites, which take visual storytelling to another level. You’ll notice that these sites cater to pop culture; don’t worry about that, so does YouTube!

Here’s a look at what they offer:


Among the most advanced in multimedia technology, Paris-based Stupeflix has a lot to offer. It lets you choose from four basic themes and upload your images from your computer, Facebook, Picasa or Flickr. You can easily arrange your images by using drag and drop and add a soundtrack by choosing files from your own computer. Preview your creation and export it for free or upgrade to a higher quality version for just a few dollars. You can automatically upload it to Facebook or YouTube for no cost, or remove the Stupeflix brand and create own your own commercially licensed video for $5! (Of course, you’ll want to make sure you have the rights to use the music or that you use only a small portion, though this area of fair use is far from settled law. However, if you plan to sell DVDs, make sure you’ve secured the rights to use of all content in the video.)

The video above created by Stupeflix highlights Seedcamp 2008, a gathering of entrepreneurs in Europe. It can be used as marketing material or as a highlight reel of the conference.

Just as interesting, though, is Stupeflix.tv, an aggregation of tweets and Flickr photos updated to the minute and arranged based on topic. Check out this channel on global warming. Continue reading