Dave Haynes, founder and blogger over at Sixteen:Nine, has launched an innovative service for digital signage operators in need of high-quality video content to run on a DS network. Spotomate is a cloud-based video template creation platform. Which, is a fancy way of saying that you drag-and-drop photos and enter text onto a template in a web browser.
Spotomate has almost 30 60+ templates that range from generic action movie trailers that could be used for almost any product or service to application specific videos for cars, phones and restaurants. The templates are very high quality and are similar to what you would find at a stock motion graphic site like Envato marketplace. The huge difference being that you don’t even need to crack open After Effects, much less have learned how to create motion graphics. Even for designers and creatives who do know how to create motion graphics from scratch, in particular circumstances this service can be a godsend as well. From the Spotomate FAQ:
Have a client that wants awesome on almost no budget, and wants it NOW! Run the artwork through Spotomate and get a polished piece of finished, rendered creative in minutes. And charge the client whatever rate gets you your targeted margins, without tying up your talent for more than an hour.
Spotomate is also interested in your finished work. Got templates that are just gathering dust, and want to re-market them. We might be interested in buying versions off you and loading them up on our rendering engine.
The website lets you log in a just start modifying the templates for free. It walks you through each stage of the video with custom text and photos and you drop the content in as you go. The site then renders and delivers the content across the cloud to a link in your e-mail inbox. The kind of fun aspect of this site is its accessibility and speed — you can crank out an office joke video in about 10 minuets for free if you wanted to. When you are happy with the video, just pay the roughly $50 to $75 and the unwatermarked, DRM-free video will be delivered.
I see a lot of applications for this website in particular for integrators setting up small digital signage networks for clients in retail environments. You could easily create several video ads to get them started with content, and charge a reasonable fee and still make a profit and impress the clients. Or, even offer it as a bonus to sweeten a sale. The low price-point and time obligation really leaves a lot of options open.
The obvious downside is that even with 60+ templates, the videos are not going to be unique or even tailored to a client’s exact needs. I can see a situation where a client sees a video and asks: “Hey, can you slow down that transition, or loop that last video?” And you won’t be able to say yes. You’ll have to set client expectations early to prevent frustrations. The other drawback is that currently Spotomate only allows you to add still photos and enter text — no video. It’s a pretty glaring omission, but one that I’m sure is caused by the rendering engine the server uses. It’s probably not a permanent issue, but it is the current state of the application.
You can always contract out a serious motion graphic or video piece to a creative professional, and let the clients know how much that’s going to cost them. It’s all about options, and Spotomate adds a good one to your integration arsenal. Give it a shot — it’s free and fun. In fact, you can actually make and download a free holiday video if you go to Spotomate now.