Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Joe Sumner: Synchronizing Crowdsourced Movies

Synchronizing Crowdsourced Movies
Joe Sumner: Synchronizing Crowdsourced Movies
Photograph by Ysa Perez for Bloomberg Businessweek

While touring with his rock band Fiction Plane in 2010, bass player and vocalist Joe Sumner woke up one morning to discover 450 videos on YouTube of the previous night’s show in Lithuania. Uploaded by fans with mobile phones, the footage was mostly grainy, shot from awkward angles, and had horrible sound. But it gave Sumner an idea. “What if we could link all of these videos and make a compelling movie?” he remembers thinking.

Vyclone, a company Sumner founded two years ago with friend David King Lassman, attempts to realize this vision. Its free program debuted in Apple’s App Store on July 18 and lets two or more people in close proximity shoot video with their iPhones, upload the clips, and view a movie automatically spliced together from different angles. To recognize that multiple users are filming the same scene, Vyclone tags each video with the location where it was shot using GPS. To synchronize the clips, it lines them up by the date and time they were shot, regardless of when they were uploaded. A simple-to-use video editor lets users play director, toggling from one angle to the next with the tap of a finger.