Like every proud father, Pablo Lema has been busy taking hundreds of photos and video clips since his daughter was born four weeks ago. Like most parents, he doesn't have time to edit all that raw footage.
Fortunately, Lema has just spent months working on a solution: Clipik, a San Francisco-based startup he co-founded, uses crowdsourcing to produce professionally edited videos.
Here's how it works: Clipik users upload to the company's server from 10 to 30 minutes of raw video footage, some music, and up to 150 photos, Then they describe their editing needs. One of Clipik's freelance editors grabs the job, edits the video, and sends it back to the user, who can request a single do-over, free of charge. The final result is a professionally edited clip, two-minutes to 10-minutes long. Each job costs from $50 to $200, depending on the amount of footage used and the length of the edited video.
Clipik's business model is based on the observation that we all record more photos and videos every day, with much of the footage ending up untouched and unwatched. Granted, editing applications such as iMovie are getting easier to use, but turning raw footage into something that actually looks good takes time and skill. Most people give up and never edit their videos, Lema believes. "They get stuck with the enormity of it," he tells me.
Automated Editing Tools Lack Magic
Competitors such as 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," says Lema, arguing that an algorithm can't find the five magic seconds with the perfect smile in a five-minute baby video. He admits there is some use for automated tools, but doubts that anyone would want to rely on them for weddings or other significant occasions. "It works if the video isn't important," he says.
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. Clipik also wants to utilize advanced filtering, based on past projects, to find the best editor for each job.
It's hard to say if Clipik's current business model will work. Lema is the first to admit that the startup may have to experiment with the pricing and service levels it offers. 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, editing it all may be the next big challenge.
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