Magisto launches Surprise Me to automatically generate videos from your camera roll

film roll

Israel-based video app Magisto is set to officially unveil its Surprise Me feature Friday as part of an update to its iOS and Android apps, which automatically compiles short, shareable video clips based on the videos and photos people have on their smart phones. Surprise Me, which has been beta tested by the company for the last couple of months, uses machine learning to identify the most relevant photos and scenes for each user, and combines them with music and themes to turn them into little stories.

The resulting clips are similar to the ones Magisto users have been actively creating since the launch of the app, which has been offering users a way to selecty a few shots and clips and then have the app turn them into a movie.

However, Magisto CEO and co-founder Oren Boiman told me during an interview this week that users often overlooked everyday photos and video clips when actively selecting media for Magisto videos. “In many cases people are using a very small part of their camera rolls,” he told me, explaining that Magisto always wanted to go beyond this very selective approach. “We didn’t design it for the wedding only,” he said, adding: “If an event was important enough to capture it, we should help you to make it worth sharing.”

Of course, Magisto isn’t the first app to automatically generate videos out of users’ personal media. Google+ has been offering a similar feature for some time with its Auto-Awesome videos — but Boiman said that the company’s products are very different. Google, he suggested, tries to summarize an event. Magisto’s philosophy on the other hand is to evoke emotions, which can mean to focus on photos that help the story, but may not be the best overall shots.

Magisto currently employs 40 people, and has 40 million registered users, according to Boiman. The company’s business is in part based on a freemium model, and it already sees “a very significant revenue stream” from subscription fees, Boiman said. More recently, the company also started to work with brands to combine personal media that people share online with their brand message.

An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Magisto had 40 million monthly active users. This was corrected on 9/5 to clarify that these are registered users.

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