Have you been wanting to jump into the online video marketplace but lack some of the necessary equipment? Do you have a great script but no camera? Well, then this is your lucky day. YouTube has just announced YouTube Create, a platform where you can use one of three animation movie-making software tools---Xtranormal, Stupeflix, or GoAnimate---all from right within the YouTube website.
You might remember when YouTube profiled several of these animation programs back in December, or when Xtranormal announced a new pricing structure just a couple weeks later. Never fear, though, all three of the systems are free to use in this new form... to a point, at least.
The whole thing is very simple and bare bones right now; when you head to YouTube.com/create, this is what you'll see:
All three systems are different in their own way, so the experience changes from here depending on which one you choose. For the sake of experimentation, I chose GoAnimate--mostly because it is the one I'm least familiar with. I'm sorry that I didn't have time to test drive all three.
Once you authorize the program (it wants to connect to your email for some reason), you can choose one of several genres---though, at this point, only two are available, with more coming soon.
It looks like this:
I chose Comedy World, mostly because I have no idea what I'm doing and I just needed to click on something.
From there you're asked to choose a background, and let me just tell you... there are tons of them. And the first time you walk through, you're going to get a fantastic tutorial that guides you and teaches you the GoAnimate system.
As great as the tutorial is, you'll barely need it. GoAnimate is pretty intuitive. I wanted to make an actual video with GoAnimate, so you could see it in action, rather than just telling you about it like most other journalists & bloggers are doing.
With that in mind, I should tell you that I've been pretty annoyed lately with the most recent iPhone commercial---the one that says, smugly, "If you don't have an iPhone, you don't have an iPhone." (Note to Apple: this attitude is exactly why the haters hate you, not that you or your fans care one bit). So I decided to use that as the subject for my example video. Remember... this is only for example purposes... the video sucks pretty bad, I'll be the first to admit.
Regardless... took me only about 30 minutes to create this thing---no camera, no microphone, and no experience with GoAnimate:
Again, I'm sorry you had to sit through that.
Anyway... the service is moving very slowly right now, mostly because there are so many people checking it out---and because the three animation companies are hosting their own tools rather than having YouTube host them. Hopefully the speed of use will improve.
Also, each of the three movie-making tools has premium options you can upgrade to--with Go Animate, I learned the hard way that you have a 2-minute time limit with the free service. If you want longer videos, you'll have to upgrade. I can only assume the other two have similar restrictions.
Either way, not having a camera is no longer a good enough excuse for not making video. Granted, these animation studios will probably never fill the needs of serious filmmakers. But for people who are mostly just making videos for friends and quick little amateur clips... they'll do just fine.