Like every proud father, Pablo Lema has been busy taking hundreds of photos and video clips ever since his daughter was born four weeks ago. And just like most parents, he simply doesn’t have the time to edit all of that raw footage.
Fortunately for Lema, he’s been working on a solution for this exact problem for the last few months. Clipik, a San Francisco-based startup co-founded by Lema, uses crowdsourcing to produce professionally edited videos.
Here’s how it works: Clipik users upload between 10 and 30 minutes of raw video footage, some music and up to 150 photos to the company’s server and describe their editing needs. One of Clipik’s freelance editors then grabs the job, edits the video and sends it back to the user, who can request one do-over free of charge. The final result is a two- to ten-minute long professionally edited clip. Each job costs between $50 and $200, depending on the amount of footage used and the length of the resulting video.
Clipik’s business model is based on the observation that all of us are recording more and more photos and videos every day. Much of that footage ends up untouched and unwatched. Granted, editing applications like iMovie are getting easier, but turning raw footage into something that actually looks good still takes time and skills. Most people simply give up and never edit their videos, believes Lema. “They get stuck with the enormity of it,” he told me during a meeting last week.
Competitors like Animoto try to solve this problem by offering automated editing tools that can generate slide shows and even simple videos on the fly. “These videos are all very similar,” said Lema, arguing that an algorithm simply can’t find those magic five seconds with that perfect smile in a five-minute video of your baby. He admitted there is some use for automated tools, but doubted that anyone would want to rely on them for weddings or similar occasions. “It works if the video isn’t important,” he said.
Lema and his partners have been working on Clipik since the fall of 2010. They secured an angel investment earlier this year and launched the site in earnest two weeks ago. Clipik has started to recruit a small network of freelance video editors in the U.S. as well as South America, paying them around 50 percent of the fees charged for each job. Consumers can rate each editor, and Clipik also wants to utilize advanced filtering based on past projects to find the best editor for each job.
Will Clipik’s current business model work? That’s hard to say, and Lerma is the first to admit that the start-up may have to do some experimenting with the pricing and service levels of its offering. However, Clipik is spot-on in its analysis of the changing personal video landscape. As recording video becomes a daily habit for more and more people, making sense and editing all of this footage may just be the next big challenge.