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Animoto Adds Text

Animoto is a service that makes it simple to turn a group of photographs into a music video. You can upload your pictures from your computer or pull them in from another photo site like Flickr, choose some music from Animoto’s collection or upload your own, and then let Animoto create your video. It takes about ten minutes for your video to be ready, and if you don’t like the results, you can run it through again and get a remix. It’s free to make 30 second videos, and you can make longer ones for $3.00 each or $30.00 a year.

Animoto just added a new feature which will be great for libraries — the ability to superimpose text across your pictures. This makes it easy to take a group of pictures from the Children’s Room and have words like “Come to story hour” and “Get help with homework” float across the screen. It’s really easy to use, and the video you make can be uploaded to YouTube or posted to your blog or website.

Here’s a quick example, just a remix of one of my first test videos I made several months ago, remixed with a few words added. It’s really easy to make these, and just another way to show off your library pictures!

And you also might want to use this as a library program. Kids and teens (or anyone, actually) will also enjoy playing around with this their own photographs with Animoto.

Living Room Candidate

Living Room Candidate — If you’ve had enough of the 2008 election, how about looking to the past? The Living Room Candidate website is a beautifully-designed online exhibit from the Museum of the Moving Image, showcasing presidential campaign commercials from 1952 to 2008. You can explore by year and read a short article about each candidate’s television strategy, or browse by type of commercial (biographical, fear, real people, etc.) or by issue (corruption, taxes, war, etc.)

But the amazing thing here is that you don’t just read about the commercials, you can watch them online and draw your own conclusions about how fair, accurate and effective they were. These primary sources are invaluable for media studies and political history.

Some of these are quite entertaining, too. I love the contrast between two 1952 commercials, Eisenhower’s cartoon “Ike for President” and Stevenson’s torchy “I Love the Gov.” commercial.

Universal Newsreels at the Internet Archive

From 1929 to 1967, Universal City Studios produced newsreels twice a week to be shown at movie theatres before the feature film. Each newsreel was a collection of six or seven short segments, usually just a minute or two in length, covering news, sports, the arts, fashion and more. The whole Universal Newsreel collection was given to the National Archive and placed in the public domain in 1976, and the National Archives is working with CreateSpace, an Amazon subsidiary, to digitize these and other public domain movies and make them available on DVD.

But around 600 of these newsreel clips are available now on the Internet Archive. Some of these have also made their way to YouTube, but the Internet Archive site has better cataloging, higher quality and more file formats. There’s some really amazing stuff here, especially from the Depression and World War II era.

This whole collection could be really interesting for students and others studying the history of the twentieth century, and since it’s all in the public domain, you can do whatever you want with them.

Universal Newsreels — This is the collection page on the Internet Archive website


  • Satchmo Swings in Congo — Louis Armstrong arrives in the Congo on his historic Africa tour, October, 1960.
  • FDR Urges National Unity — “”Hyde Park, NY: President Roosevelt, in a vigorous speech on the eve of elections, warns the nation that in these troubled times, democracy must be a positive force in order to maintain liberty against military aggression abroad.”
  • Wakefield, Mass. — “Support Our Men in Vietnam” rally organized by a high school student draws a crowd of 25,000