Desktop: Getting out the vote

YouTube and other video sites were important forums for Barack Obama and John McCain. Now our own politicians are busy analyzing the tactics.

October 30, 2008 11:03
1 minute read.
Desktop: Getting out the vote

Obama good 88 224. (photo credit: )

Elections are breaking out all over - there's one in the US next week, and now that the campaigning is over, our own politicians are busy analyzing the tactics used by Barack Obama and John McCain. It turns out that YouTube and other video sites were important forums for the candidates. Both sides produced slick-looking videos that were watched by millions, and supporters of each posted thousands of others. While any schnook can post anything on YouTube, the official videos for both campaigns were slick - just like their TV commercials (also on YouTube). This would seem to be bad news for the likes of you and me: Would we, who don't have the money for a slick video campaign, automatically be counted out because we couldn't come with fancy video ads? Doesn't sound very democratic, does it? There's no need to worry. The republic is as steady as she ever was. Democracy lives: You, too can have a slick made-to-order video - and it won't cost you a grush! Just surf on over to Animoto (, upload some photos of you kissing babies and shaking farmers' hands and let the magic of Web 2.0 do the rest; when it's done, you'll have a professional video guaranteed to pull in tons more votes. What's amazing about Animoto is that it does its magic with still photos, turning them into something that wouldn't look out of place on MTV. Using all sorts of focus and highlight tricks - zooming in and out, integrating photos, positive to negative images, etc. - Animoto automatically analyzes and arranges images for maximum effect, and even matches your show with appropriate music (you can upload your own as well). When it's done, you get a free 30-second video (longer ones cost a few dollars), and you can e-mail a link to your show to all and sundry or embed it on your own Web site. And because Animoto uses powerful computerized algorithms to do its stuff, the site says that every video generated is different - even when using the exact same images and music. Of course, you don't have to be running for office to use Animoto; it's great for family videos, business presentations, etc. But if you do happen to run for something, think of Animoto as your own free in-house video production unit.

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