Joe Sumner, the son of music legend Sting, came up with his startup idea after seeing a sea of camera phones recording the action on stage at a concert he was playing at. While the event was getting recorded by fans all around the venue, there was no easy way to bring that footage together.
Sumner teamed with David King Lassman to build Vyclone, an iOS app launching today, that lets people record video and contribute it to a single movie that incorporates multiple angles. Users can create a movie automatically from various cameras in one place or they can edit the footage themselves. It can work for anything from a birthday party or sporting contest to a protest or big news event.
Here’s how it works: users start filming a clip up to 1 minute long before uploading it to Vyclone’s servers. Vyclone automatically senses who else is shooting at the same time and location, kind of like what Bump does when it shares content between two users. The app stitches a video together alternating between the views of the different cameras using a single audio track. After a short time of processing, you have a finished product that takes into account the various points of views of one event.
If users want to apply their own editorial control, they can remix their own cut. Utilizing a simple editing tool, they can edit up to four different video streams into one clip and they can go back in adjust the clips from each camera angle. The app can pick from an almost unlimited number of videos shot at the same time but only four videos can be featured in one movie. The remix tool isn’t just for videos you helped shoot. Other movies from the Vyclone community can be remixed. Finished movies can be shared on Twitter or Facebook or saved to the device.
The app first appeared last month in the UK in what was essentially a beta test. Now, with the formal launch, Sumner and Lassman have added more privacy layers so videos can be shared with just other people shooting video at the same place, the people in their larger social network or the entire community at large. There’s also a delete button for people who reconsider sharing their video and also better UI elements that make the service more accessible.
The goal, said Sumner and Lassman, is to help people record real life and do it in conjunction with others. This kind of “co-creation” requires some tough work in the background, syncing the different videos, normalizing the audio and creating a smart editing system that automatically merges videos into one movie. But the pair believes enabling people to collaborate easily on videos helps encourage more video creation and changes the way people approach video recording and sharing.
“You can share with Facebook, Twitter and Socialcam, but when you’re out in public with your friends, the ability to get everyone’s view point creates stories that more are interesting than something from one angle,” said Sumner. “Video is more complex than other media, but we’ve tried to make it so easy that you expect you’ll have other video that can be synchronized.”
The app is free, but Sumner and Lassman see revenue opportunities in offering premium services such as HD quality video or the ability to cut long clips. There’s also a potential for Vyclone to work with TV networks and live event producers. The company has raised $2.7 million so far from Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary’s A-Grade, Thrive Capital, Dreamworks and Live Nation.
I’ve played around and made a few videos with Vyclone. It’s not for just any occasion and you have to have a lot of people on the service to take advantage of it. It works best when there’s some coordination going on between shooters, but that also makes it more complicated. So this is not just a casual form of video shooting.
But when you get a groundswell of shooters at one event, it really does help you capture a moment. I would love to have this at a birthday party when the cake comes out or I’d like to use it during an event like the Olympics. I like that you can edit existing videos, too, so you don’t have to be present at an event to create a movie about it. Citizen journalists could use this to show what’s happening on the ground from multiple view points. It’s not trying to be the Instagram of video, but Vyclone offers a fresh take on social video, by making the actual recording and editing more collaborative.
Here’s a little video of Vyclone in action: