Lumen5 is a highly rated social media video creator.
But is it worth the hype?
I've been using their Business Plan for a while and in this post I will go over:
- What Lumen5 is great for
- What it's not so great for
- And what you should consider before buying it
Plus I'll go over any discounts that are currently available for Lumen5.
Let's dive right in!
Creating a Video
Almost everything in Lumen5 is designed for speed and efficiency.
Their AI and UI are fleshed out to make creating content marketing videos easy and quick.
Sources and Templates
There's a couple starting points for creating a video:
You can paste an article URL, paste a script, or use your own media.
For most of my videos I've used the script option, but the URL option works well also. It even pulls in images from your blog post for easy use!
If you have a blog connected, you'll also see this option:
This happens if you've connected your blog's RSS feed to use their "instant video" feature. This saves you an extra couple clicks (speed!), but isn't a crucial feature.
They also have tons of starting templates if you don't have a video idea or just want a complete fill in the blank template.
You can click on the toggles below to check out some example templates:
Formats and Themes
This is a tool made for social media so it's not surprising to see video dimensions for nearly every social media platform out there: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Pinterest.
They also include video length limits for each, but this number can be a bit deceptive.
For Instagram posts, the real video limit is 60 seconds (unless you have a large following.)
But the video limit for Instagram stories isn't 15 seconds. That's just the limit if you don't want your video to be split into 2 videos.
The same applies to YouTube. Obviously the maximum video length isn't 120 seconds, but they "recommend" a 120 second video length.
Basically, even though they provide timing recommendations, do your own research for each platform.
As for the themes: they have 24 themes and you can edit the colors, fonts, etc for each of them.
You can also this and save it as a "brand template" to reuse over and over again. (Speed!)
This is what the editor looks like:
Simple and designed for speed.
Depending on what layout of the videos you choose it may go vertically or horizontally (for Instagram story videos).
Other than that, everything else pretty much stays the same.
The Media Library
Lumen5's media library is the biggest one I have ever seen, but it greatly depends on which plan you buy.
If you buy the most expensive business plan like I did, you get access to 175,000,000+ videos and images.
However, if you purchase the cheapest plan you only get access to ~15,000,000 videos and images.
Still sizable, but not nearly as impressive.
You can click on the toggles below to check out some of the media examples:
Their music library is on par with every other tool out there.
You can pick the category or search by specific instruments or moods.
My only peeve with it is that the order of the songs is always the same so if you're looking for a new one it can take a while to scroll down to find something new or different.
You can also upload your own music if you're on the business plan. This can be useful if you have brand music, but other than that their library is sizable enough for most.
Lumen5 does not allow you to record or add a voiceover to your video so if you wanted to get around that you could add a voiceover here.
However, you would lose the background music unless you added the background music to your voiceover and you you would have to adjust the timing yourself which can get annoying.
The fact that they don't have a voiceover makes sense. It's a social media video tool. Many videos on social are watched without sound so not having a voiceover isn't a problem.
I've mentioned before that you can edit the slide fonts, colors, etc. This happens in the styles section.
You can add a watermark, quickly change the colors, or change the theme entirely.
You can also change the font, colors, and background of the text.
If you have the business plan you can upload your own font, but that's not necessary for most people as they have the most popular fonts anyway.
You can also choose different layouts for each slide.
This is different from simply moving the text around (which is also an option).
You can click on the toggles below to see some examples:
Speaking of moving text around: you can only position text in the 9 spots that Lumen5 gives you. You can't move the text around like you would be able to with a regular video-editing tool.
And finally you can edit the video you select by cropping it (for Square or vertical videos) and selecting certain parts of the video if the video is longer than your scene.
As you can see it also tells me that this scene will use 1 marketplace credit. This is only relevant if you have the Business Plan.
You get ~300 monthly credits to use the Premier videos from Shutterstock's 160,000,000+ video library for free.
Now that we've talked about the editor, let's talk about their AI.
Their AI is pretty good, but not perfect.
Let's take a look at an example.
Here's the script I wanted to make a video for:
Not too complicated, right?
Here's what the AI created video looked like:
The AI Video
Not bad, but obviously not perfect.
Some of the scenes are spot on, but some make no sense.
Also, as you can see the AI removed the last 2 slides. This is due to their auto-summarizing feature, which I don't really like.
It might be useful for more informational style and type posts, but if you have a story-based post or a very short script the AI will just mess it up.
For most of my videos I end up clearing the board and adding all of the sentences myself. This can be a pain because you can only add. one. sentence. at. a. time. So even though the process is simple, it can get annoying.
The Human Video
I swapped out some videos, moved around the text, changed the music and this is what the video looked like after about 5 minutes of work:
This video would definitely benefit from a voiceover, but sadly you can't add one in Lumen5 yet. It's something they mentioned they're considering, but don't yet have.
So the verdict for the AI is: it's a useful starting point, but don't assume you'll be able to create videos without any human intervention.
- Creating videos is very fast.
- Tons of templates.
- Formats for every social media platform out there.
- Largest video library out of any other tool.
- Multilingual support!
- Their AI provides a great starting point for videos on each slide.
What's Not So Good
- No voiceover.
- Maximum video length is 5 minutes.
- Their AI isn't perfect.
- Their mobile app doesn't work well for transferring videos from mobile -> desktop
Who It's For
If you're a business owner doing any type of social media marketing this is an extremely valuable tool.
Videos greatly improve CTR for ads, get more engagement, and are more effective at getting people's attention.
Lumen5 is perfect for making top 5/10 style videos which Buzzfeed is so popular for (and they've grown to be huge!)
While the pricing might be somewhat prohibitive for small business owners, I recommend getting their Premium plan for a month, creating as many videos as it allows, and then testing those videos on social.
If you get higher engagement (which you should), you can continue with it.
Pricing & Discounts
Not including the free trial which has a Lumen5 logo at the end of each video, there are 3 pricing tiers:
- Starter - $29/mo ($19/mo if paid yearly)
- Premium - $79/mo ($49/mo if paid yearly)
- Business - $199/mo ($149/mo if paid yearly)
There are 3 main differences between the tiers:
- Export resolution - 720P for Starter. 1080P for Premium and Business. I don't recommend getting the starter plan because 1080P is the de-facto standard right now.
- Number of exports per month - 10 for Starter. 25 for Premium. 50 for Business. Keep in mind that this is exports. You can create as many videos as you want, but you can only export this # of videos without a Lumen5 logo per month.
- Size of media library - 15,000,000 for Starter. 17,000,000 for Premium. 177,000,000+ for Premium with 300 credits on the 160,000,000+ Shutterstock marketplace per month.
There are some other differences you can see by clicking here, but they won't be relevant to most people.
As for the discount: the only discount currently available is the 35% off if you purchase it yearly rather than monthly.
While expensive, Lumen5 is a valuable content marketing tool for any business owner trying to get attention on social.
Their huge library, streamlined video creation process, and variety of formats more than makes up for the small problems with the software.
Highly recommend it.