Sexy Animoto now for businesses

Animoto screenshot (Animoto)If you think you aren’t hip enough to be using a web-based video application called Animoto, or if you think you don’t have a use for user-generated content, think again. It’s not related to Japanese anime, and you don’t have to watch a prairie dog doing something strange: you’re safe. Animoto made headlines last year after inking a deal with Amazon, and partnering with Google and YouTube. This week, the company announced Animoto’s first commercial-use service. I took it for a test drive yesterday, and it was the most fun I’ve had at 5pm on a workday in a long time. Watch the video I created about the IPG Emerging Media Lab.

Here’s how it works: a super easy (and fairly intuitive) interface allows you to upload photos from your computer or other sites (i.e. your facebook account); then you get your pick of commercially licensed music, or you can draw on your own music library (with the rights, ahem, all cleared); finally, you add a little text about your video, and press a button. A few minutes later, you get a fully mixed and rendered video. You want your wedding guests to see your photos in a fun, entertaining format? Voila. You want to pass around a family album and avoid the old slideshow song and dance? Voila. Or, with the new Animoto for Business, realtors, restaurants, basket weavers–you name it, can create a slick looking video on a shoe string. (A three month package is $99, a year pass is $249).

Am I gushing? I promise, I’m not the only one, TechCrunch thought so too–it really is that cool.

Give it a spin and let me know what you think. With Amazon’s backing and the new commercial features, the company could be poised for a strong showing on the Web in the coming months.