Greg, you have to render a series of frames as a mov, avi or sequenced image file, the last option is best as you can abort it and continue later
it can be made into an avi using virtualdub or some other video editor afterwards.
under render settings you have image file or animated video as options, your video length is determined by the number of frames on the timeline
as you move your camera or object it is parented to along the timeline it will create keyframes that the frames inbetween will tween (smoothly tansition between)
like wise any new poses on the figure will be tweened.
usually 30 frames between figure poses works best, your camera will need at least four if not eight positions, for a 30sec animation at 30fps that is every 225 frames.
so using my torus idea, rotate it 90 degrees every 250 frames
you will not want very high render setting to do a 900 frame movie so for quality renders another alternative is less frames per sec making it a slide show even if needed.