That’s right, mobile video editing applications are back, after a brief respite following the decline of overhyped Viddy and Socialcam. There’s a handful of new apps out on the market. They’re raising money to make another go of it in the wake of Vine’s recent success, albeit at less nosebleed valuations than Viddy and Socialcam did.
David Stewart, founder of JumpCam and former head of product at Yammer, is one such entrepreneur jumping on the trend. As we’ve written about before, JumpCam allows friends families or strangers to add clips they’ve shot to each others’ videos. That way, using just your phone you can easily create a wedding well-wishes montage, show Billy the Banana traveling the world, or crowdsource a music video. The company just launched its Android app, close on the heels of a successful iOS launch a month ago.
“What we’re doing would have been impossible to do a few years ago,” Stewart says. “But the prices have come down enough and the data speeds have gone up enough that we can deliver a free product.”
Smartphones with good cameras are finally becoming ubiquitous, people are engaging with video in ways that they haven’t before, and network speeds are coming into their own. Those factors, combined with the fact that cloud computing has gotten much cheaper, faster, and more reliable, means that the average smartphone can handle the major processing required to knit a video together on the fly.
It’s only in the last year or two that technology has advanced enough to allow that to happen. And now, we’re entering the new post-Vine era of the video making mobile app.
There were three prior waves in video creation via smartphone.
The first was, not surprisingly, YouTube. It allowed you to upload a video you had taken from your smartphone directly to your YouTube channel by emailing the clip to a unique address YouTube created for you. There were not, however, any editing options.
The second wave was social video applications that relied on Facebook for traffic in 2012. Viddy and Socialcam were of this period, allowing users to add filters and effects to clips they had shot before sharing them. These apps showed a lot of traction early on, because they were piggybacking off Facebook algorithms. But when Facebook changed algorithms, user growth slowed dramatically.
Viddy and Socialcam didn’t engage users in the long-term, and today, the two companies are struggling, having either sold out at lesser valuations than expected or rebranding and launching new features to get a second wind.
“That put a bit of a freeze on video,” Stewart remembers. “A lot of investors and other people were concerned. They didn’t know whether video could be a big thing.”
When SocialCam and Viddy started struggling, investors and founders pointed to inherent problems with video. It takes longer to consume than images or text, it’s harder to watch in public, people aren’t as comfortable taking videos as they are taking pictures.
But Vine’s launch in January 2013 put video back on the map, facilitating the third wave of video apps.
The six-second clip limit tapped into users’ creativity. It may seem silly, but viral videos like Best Vine Compilation of 2013 or Bat Dad Vine were exactly what the market needed. They got people more comfortable with the idea of social video, opening the door for other product iterations.
MixBit, created by the founders of YouTube, launched in August 2013. It lets people add together clips from the MixBit community into movies up to 68 minutes. According to Entrepreneur magazine it has raised an undisclosed amount from Google Ventures and a few others.
JumpCam launched in September 2013 to facilitate collaborative video. It has raised $2.7 million from Google Ventures and Trinity Ventures. And Coub, the popular Russian site that lets people combine music and repetitive video clips for meme making, is currently waiting on iOS app store approval.
These won’t be the last. Just like the world was inundated with photo applications following Instagram’s success, we’ll inevitably see a lot more video products emerging in the success of Vine.
Welcome to the new era. Let’s see if it has got staying power this time.
[Image courtesy: Wikimedia]