Beema, a 3D animation studio that has been working in the corporate space for the last decade, has released a new platform in beta that allows users to generate 3D speaking avatars with only a phone call.
During signup, users enter their phone numbers and carrier information, which is tied to their account. From then on Beema makes things easy – you simply call their free 800 number which prompts you to leave a voice message. A few minutes after leaving the message, Beema sends you a SMS text and email containing a link to your rendered video, which you can distribute as you see fit.
For the time being users are limited to Beema’s avatars, which consists of hundreds of possible choices that range from 3D wizards to Orson Welles. In the future users will be able to upload their own images, and the company hopes to introduce copryrighted characters as an option (for a small fee).
Beema isn’t going to win any awards for originality – there are a number of avatar sites that have very similar features, including Vidiator and Oddcast’s Voki platform. But the site does win points for its simplicity, forgoing Flash (which is standard for most avatars) for the standard 3GP video format, which gives users much more freedom with their videos (and also works on the iPhone). On the other hand, there’s no easy way to embed a video – there is no widget available, so you’ll have to upload your video to YouTube yourself.