It’s no secret: video content has become king, and videos as a part of your visibility strategy for your business is a tactic that can help boost the know, like, trust factor of your brand.
At Learn to Flourish, we specialize in eLearning creation and in today’s environment video is a must-have in learning programs! Video accommodates different learning styles and keeps your learners engaged. It is a cost-effective way to create and deploy learning and communication at an accelerated rate.
While adding video may be an after-thought to the content you’re currently creating, the value that video brings to your marketing and learning programs makes it a key component that cannot be overlooked in this digital, video age.
But if you’re a novice to video, it can be overwhelming to know what kind of software to choose. What produces the best quality video? What is the easiest to learn and use? What will set me up for video production success for the long term?
Here is a comparison of 4 good video software options that we have tested and used here at Learn to Flourish:
Lumen5 boasts that it is: “social videos made easy.” Lumen5 takes pre-written content, like blog posts and articles, and automatically converts it into a video storyboard. How cool is this?.
How does it do this? Lumen5 matches keywords in each sentence to an image in its library, and it automatically highlights what it thinks are the keywords from the sentence. Hello, Artificial Intelligence (AI)!
Each scene of the video is created from a single sentence, and for each scene created you can swap out the images and choose new pictures and/or video clips. While you can go with the default images that the software chooses for you, I typically swap out the images for a lot of the scenes because the preselected images don’t tell the story that I want to tell. Still, the capability is there and the AI generated scenes give me a great starting point!.
There is a surprisingly good selection of video clips in the library that you can use free of charge. If you want access to the full library you can upgrade to their premium service.
You can also add background music directly from their library. They have TONS of tracks to choose from and you can search for styles of music by how the tracks are labelled (ex. happy, dark, funky, etc).
With Lumen5, you can also use your own images and videos, but with the free version of the software, you are stuck with Lumen5’s branding on the last scene.
One huge limitation of Lumen5 is that you CANNOT add voiceover to your videos. This can be a drawback if you are creating a training video.
Lumen5 Hack: In the text document that you are going to use as the “script” for your video, put periods after each single concept–even if it doesn’t make sense grammatically. This way, Lumen5 will create more scenes and you can highlight the key-words for each concept. Once the scenes have been created you can change the punctuation as needed, but it will save you time in the long run by creating the scenes initially.
Lumen5 is definitely the easiest software to use, but at $50-$99/month, you want to make sure that you are going to be making a ton of videos to justify the cost of the premium version. Keep in mind that you can use the free plan forever but are stuck with the Lumen5 branding in every video and lower video quality.
Renderforest is another free online video maker for the creation of all kinds of videos: intros and outros, animations, slideshows, and promos. Their claim to fame is that you do not need any technical skills to use it and can still create great videos in minutes.
To begin with Renderforest, you first choose one of their (really cool!) style templates. Next step is to load your own media into the software, like text, images, video clips, etc. With Renderforest, you need to preplan your video and basically have to storyboard the whole video before you start.
As you go into creating the video, you add additional media as you go and just grab things from your computer.
One big difference between Lumen5 and Renderforest is that you have to use your own media. All that Renderforest supplies is the background template media, a collection of background music (their library is way smaller than Lumen5), and the capability to end with a produced video. Everything inside as far as images must come from you.
Even though Renderforest has some really cool templates, creating a video from start to finish it takes way longer than in Lumen5.
Another con of Renderforest is that you can only preview your content by fully rendering your video. Even if your video is only a few seconds long, it takes several minutes to render for the preview.
Like Lumen5, you cannot load voice- over onto your content. Adding text with Renderforest is frustrating in that you have no control over positioning and size and only parts of the sentence end up displaying on your scenes.
One of my favorite things about Renderforest is that you can do a pay per render instead of signing up for their monthly subscription. This is great if you only plan to do a couple of videos or need to see if video content is a good fit for your business. (Hint: it is!)
A third video software to consider if Animoto. Like Lumen5 and Renderforest, they have templates for you to use as a starting point for your video and have a couple of “step by step” style templates that would be especially good for training/instructional-style video content.
With Animoto, you can have voice over in your video, but they make it very challenging to upload pre-created voiceover. The easiest way is to record the voice over within each scene, but then you cannot control the quality of the voice over. You can load a pre-recorded voiceover (much as you would a song) BUT if you also want background music then you would have to add the background music in your voiceover file. Complicated? A little.
Animoto allows you to preview each slide without rendering the entire video (unlike Renderforest), and they have a lot of design styles to choose from, like fonts and colour presets.
However, there is no ability within the tool to manage the darkening or transparency of images, which can creates a problem with text overlayed on images. Animoto is also limited in text features–there’s no ability to add shadows on text or change the color of just certain pieces of text.
A pro is that it has an extensive music library with fantastic search filter options. Plus you can “heart” your favorites and save them for future use. (This is super helpful when you are going through hundreds of songs to find the perfect one!)
Animoto offers a very limited access to images. Only the ones that are part of the template that you choose in the beginning of the project are available to use for your video. You can find and upload your own media, but you aren’t able to browse their photo library for other images.
Finally, Adobe Spark is another video creation option for the business owner looking to add video to their content plan.
Apart of the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite of applications, you can use Adobe Spark to easily create social graphics, video stories, and even web pages with its user-friendly interface and focus on branded content.
Adobe Spark is easy to use and free. It gives the ability to add scene-by-scene voice over (a huge bonus if you are creating a training video), and you can add images, videos, icons, text and background music. Choose media assets from their library, or load your own.
While all four of these video creation softwares have their pros and cons, the favorite here is hands down Lumen5.
It is the easiest program of these to learn and implement, and the fact that it can take a pre-written script (like a blog post or article) and turn it into the foundation of a video that we then just simply tweak to meet our creative, brand standards is huge for video creation people like us.
Maybe it will be the perfect addition to your family of programs as you create video content to grow and expand your own business.
As an example of how Lumen5 can work for video content, here are two example videos that we created using Lumen5:
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