It's becoming evident in social media circles, the written word (or even 140 characters) is just not enough. And although it's been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, to get really social these days, users just wanna be in (moving) pictures. The success of YouTube alone is testament to this growing trend.
This past week, the 2-year old start-up Qwiki is said to be close to being acquired by Yahoo for a cool $50 million dollars. Promoted as an automated video production company that converts photos, music and videos from a user's smartphone into movie shorts, Kara Swisher from AllThingsD noted that "while deals such as this often go sideways, sources said that Qwiki and Yahoo are in advanced stages of discussion over the acquisition."
The same week, a similar service called Animoto added a major update to its iPhone app, which reduces the number of steps it takes to create videos. The 6-year old company operates on a freemium model, in which users can create videos up to 30 seconds in length for free, but have to pay for longer videos or more customizable features. It’s either $5 a month or $30 a year to take advantage of those features.
And the Silicon Valley isn't the only creative denizen for creating instant movies. While Kathmandu struggles through daily electricity cuts, unreliable Internet, and Maoist protests and strikes that cripple the city’s infrastructure, Picovico, a fledgling start-up that hails from that neck of the woods thinks they can compete head-on with Animoto by rendering videos quicker, reducing the production from 30-seconds to 15-seconds.
Even Twitter sees value in riding the DIY video craze (albeit an offering with a much more basic approach). The microblogging network has teamed with Vizify to offer a way to automatically generate short videos highlighting user’s tweets, photos and Vines.
The Portland, Oregon-based Vizify helps users unify their online presence by pulling together data from social networks and other sources into a single, visually appealing presentation. The start-up’s second partnership with Twitter should help the 2-year-old company gain major critical mass as it tags on to Twitter's 500 million user base.
The Vizify video for Twitter can also show when a user is most active during the day and the keywords that are mentioned most often in tweets. The editable video, which is technically an HTML5 animation, can be posted to Twitter and that tweet can be embedded on other websites. Users may automatically link to the video from their bios.
Twitter is calling the tool #FollowMe, and it's ready for a test drive at Vizify. I was able to put mine together in just a matter of minutes.
But the fun is just beginning. All these services might soon face a new competitor planning a bigger and better "mousetrap" in the not so distant future. Still in the developmental 'incubation' stage is a new player appropriately named "Tawki" (entering the scene 90 years after the silent movies transitioned to "talkies," with the debut of "The Jazz Singer" in October, 1927).
David Leonhardt"We're looking to make Tawki much more robust and streamlined than the current software apps," noted David Leonhardt, one of the founders. "Including a social network for users to share and communicate with one another will also set us apart," he added.
The company's goal is to make their video production functionality simpler, without sacrificing quality. In fact, they have plans to boost quality, so that users can add an exciting new level of “coolness” to their videos, without having to pay high premiums for customization. "Small-to-medium size companies are looking for solutions like this to compete in today's marketplace, but don't have the marketing dollars to spend on costly video productions," noted Leonhardt.
Want to join the team of cool beta testers and be the first to create your very own "tawki's, contact them here: firstname.lastname@example.org? The company would also welcome your participation in their IndieGogo Fund-raiser.
Instant DIY videos might be the latest craze, but they are far from a passing fad. Are you ready for your close-up, Mr. DIY Filmmaker? If so, just comment below as to what service you prefer (and why), or what additional options and/or functionality you would like to see added to these types of platforms?
Join Tawki's IndieGogo Fundraiser