Launching a location-based media sharing service can be difficult, as the recent Color fiasco has shown. However, this Tuesday, Flixlab is releasing an update to its iPhone video creation app, proving that location-based media sharing doesn’t have to be a creepy gimmick.
Here’s how it works: Let’s say you attend a wedding, and some of the folks in attendance are also your friends on Facebook. Flixlab lets you pool the photos and videos each of you shoot and use all of these clips and snapshots to edit a video right on your iPhone. Check out the company-provided demo video for more info:
Flixlab started beta testing its app earlier this year to address a larger issue that comes with the prevalence of mobile recording devices: We all shoot photos and videos with our phones all the time, but most of these photos and video clips never see the light of day after that.
A number of services have tried to change that by making video editing and sharing easier. Animoto, for example, automatically compiles video slide shows from select photos. Meanwhile, Clipik takes a completely different route and uses professional editors to produce small personal videos.
Flixlab’s functionality is a little closer to what Animoto does, but Flixlab CEO David Slater told me during a phone conversation that its focus on actual video recording sets it apart from the popular competition. Flixlab also has a heavy cloud focus: All new footage is immediately uploaded to the cloud, where the company’s servers then use predictive algorithms to compile selected footage to videos. Users can also manually override suggestions and edit or remix their own footage as well as videos that have been shared with other users. “All the heavy lifting is done in the cloud,” explained Slater.
This should also help the company roll out apps for other mobile platforms, and Slater said it’s targeting Android next. Tablets and the iPad will eventually also get dedicated apps as well, but Slater said that this wasn’t just about adopting the app concept to a bigger screen. “Tablets aren’t used as capturing devices,” he explained, but they might be ideally suited to remix and organize footage.
What’s most intriguing about this is that it uses location — but not just for location’s sake — and it doesn’t just share your data with anybody. It does so by looking at the geotags of your media, and it cross-references this data with people within your social graph. Users also need to explicitly opt-in to share pictures of an event with you. “I don’t want to share to share, I want to share with a person,” Slater explained.
The one thing that Flixlab could improve is its notion of time. Events automatically end after a few hours, and Slater told me that the company will add rolling events, which continue as long as enough participants are at the same location, with the next update. However, what I’d really like to see is the ability to share media from past events. I don’t want to spend time going through media sharing options while I’m at a wedding, but I want to be able to easily collaborate with all of my Facebook friends who were also attending the event on a movie the day after.
Flixlab has been working on its platform for four years, and the executive team includes Tim Mott, who co-founded Electronic Arts, Macromedia and Audible and now serves as the startup’s executive chairman. The company raised a total of $6 million from Mott and angel investor Michael Marks, as well as investment entities Marks and Mott control.