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Animoto : Easy Music Videos from Your Photographs

Animoto is an online service that makes it easy to create professional-looking animated videos from your photographs. The process couldn’t be simpler — you just upload a group of photographs or choose them from your account on Flickr or other supported site, choose a music clip from their the Animoto collection or upload your own, and click on Create. Animoto’s software takes it from there, analyzing your images and customizing the movement and special effects to match the music. It takes several minutes before the video is ready, but you can get pretty impressive results with very little effort. The video can be viewed online, mailed to a friend, or uploaded directly to YouTube.

This could be a fun “craft program” for kids or teens, who might enjoy making their own videos like the sample below:

Thirty second videos are free. If you want to make longer ones, you can pay $3 per video or $30 a year.

Libraries and other organizations can use this site to make simple promotional videos to post on YouTube and their own sites. Here are some examples:

Of course, there isn’t much skill or creativity involved in making videos this way — the software is doing all the work. It can be fun, though, and users who tire of this and want more control have lots of options for making their own movies using other programs.

Give Online Photographs a Fancy Frame

Nina  -- Museum Matte versionGive your online photographs a high-class look with an elegant mat and frame. This is a nice way to display photographs you’re using for a special online exhibit or display, and is especially nice for library photography contests.

There are several cool tools that make it simple to add these mats and frames. One of the easiest is Matte, on of several quick and handy tools at the Big Huge Labs website. You can upload a picture from your PC, Flickr or another website, adjust the width of the frame and mat, turn on the options for beveling and add a credit if you like, click Create, and then either download your framed masterpiece, or upload it directly to Flickr. If you’re looking for something a little different, there are other tools at the Big Huge Labs website that can do other kinds of frames and poster effects. (more…)

Helen Keller and Lizzie Borden

Two recent news stories caught my eye, quite literally. Each reported the discovery of a previously-unknown childhood photograph of a legendary American woman. The women couldn’t be more different : the notorious Lizzie Borden and the inspirational Helen Keller. In each case, the newly-discovered photographs give us a rare glimpse into the childhood of these women — in both cases, the new photographs may be the earliest known photographs of their subjects.

Library of Congress on Flickr (yet again…)

Street in industrial town in MassachusettsYesterday’s Brainiac column in the Boston Globe, “Everyone’s a historian now,” is about the Library of Congress images on Flickr. Columnist Joshua Glenn admits that asking the crowd to provide identification and information about these pictures makes him nervous, but notes that “so far, so good” and he gives examples of information already provided by Flickr members. “Crowdsourced history — maybe there’s something to it, after all.”

Library of Congress on Flickr (More)

Germany Schaefer, Washington ALThe Library of Congress collections on Flickr have gotten a lot of attention and activity since its launch on January 16. Flickr reported on their blog that in the first twenty-four hours after the launch, users added about 19,000 tags and just over 500 comments. The Library of Congress reported on their blog that all 3,100 + photographs had been viewed, with over 650,000 photo views in total as of the evening of January 17.

Library of Congress on Flickr

The Library of Congress and Flickr have a new pilot project called The Commons. Photographs from two of the American Memory collections, 1930s-40s in Color and News in the 1910s, a total of over 3,000 images.

The first set consists of photographs taken for the Farm Security Administration (FSA) and later the Office of War Information (OWI) between 1939 and 1944 and focus on rural areas and farm labor, and World War II mobilization, including factories, railroads, aviation training, and women working, and these records have some descriptive and subject information that’s been carried over to Flickr. The other collection, New in the 1910s, are news photographs from the Bain News Service, taken in about 1910-1912, and there’s minimal information for these.