Wednesday Jan 23, 2013 by Susan Johnston - Contributor, VentureFizz
Tools like Instagram have made it easy for smartphone users to polish and share photos. However, many homemade videos remain unshared because there isn’t a comparable tool for improving the image quality of videos. “The average person has 20 videos on their phone that they’ve captured but they’re not willing to share,” estimates Katherine Hays, CEO of the Cambridge-based visual effects software company GenArts, which is used by several leading TV and movie production companies. “There hasn’t been a convenient way to make improvements to videos.”
Hays hopes that will change as GenArts today announces the launch of Vivoom, a tool designed to help social media users improve the image quality of their videos and make them more inclined to share those videos.
Platforms like YouTube and Vimeo have already tackled the issue of video sharing but few address video quality because improving video is much more complex than simply filtering static images. “We’re helping users take the video that they’ve already captured and make it look great,” explains Hays. “It’s disruptive, it changes behavior and makes creators substantially more willing to share that video.”
To improve a video’s image quality, Vivoom starts with a portfolio of over a thousand filters built specifically for video. “Those filters are powered by the world’s top effects engine,” explains Hays. “That’s really important because it means there’s no constraints to the user. They can actually see the look or the filter in their video in real time.”
To help users find the right filter for their video, Vivoom uses its technical analysis of the video as well as data about the user and their social profile. “We know past performance of looks with similar videos and similar users, so we can suggest the best particular one for your context and your situation,” says Hays.
Vivoom will be announcing the first partner within the next month. “We’re partnering with social media sites, blogs, video sharing sites,” says Hays. “For some of those sites, they’re offering it to users for free because they know that it will drive viewer engagement.” She adds that the business model will be a revenue share where users pay per video to try as many looks as they like and choose one.
The company also has plans to launch a standalone app in the spring and introduce new filters on a regular basis. “Some of that will be driven by what we learn,” says Hays. “What type of looks users want vary by season, current events, trends.”
Hays say the total market opportunity is already significant, but it will increase as users grow accustomed to editing video and start experimenting with filters and effects the way many now use Instagram for photos. “The goal is that it’s a fun, simple, and easy creative experience but one that measurably makes every video look good every time so users are more willing to share and viewers will watch longer,” she adds.