The larger tech startup community loves noodling on the idea of better ways of sharing photos and videos.
How about adding filters to photos? Instagram — that worked pretty well. Maybe by doing the same thing for video? Viddy and others tried that; didn’t work. Maybe by limiting videos to six seconds and looping them? Vine — that seems to have turned into a neat medium for comedy. Maybe by helping groups of people create joint photo albums? Lots have tried, through none seem to have broken through. Maybe by layering the front-facing camera and regular camera together? Frontback — unclear if that will take off.
You get the picture.
The latest contender, and one that seems to have won the eye of the Silicon Valley in-crowd, is the iPhone app Mindie. Mindie’s twist is combining short, looping video with music.
The French startup, which previously made a storytelling app called Ever and is in the process of relocating to San Francisco, has raised $1.2 million from SV Angel; Lowercase Capital; David Tisch; Dave Morin and Slow Ventures; Nick D’Aloisio; Betaworks; Pete Cashmore; Michael Arrington; Troy Carter and Atom Factory; Chris Howard; Cashmere Entertainment and other angels.
“The music is to videos what the filter is to photos,” said Mindie co-founder Stanislas Coppin. That is: Music helps people without videography skills make something half-decent.
Making a Mindie starts with choosing a song. Then you get seven seconds while the music is playing (right now you can’t choose which seven seconds, but that feature is coming) to record a video. The video recording interface is just like Vine: Press to record, and repeat as many times as it takes to fill up the seven seconds.
Because the music is playing while you record, it’s not that hard to time your cuts to the beat, or to mouth along with the words. And then it loops.
If the step-by-step Mindie description didn’t come through, just think “Vine set to music” and you’ve got it.
The music is the magic ingredient that makes it all make sense, according to Mindie co-founder Gregoire Henrion. “Music is sticky and music is international,” he said. “That’s not the case for Vine with jokes and comedy — that’s more local culture.”
Plus, that magic ingredient doesn’t cost any money, because Mindie is built on top of iTunes song samples from Apple.
Though today Mindie looks like so many other mobile social media apps, Henrion said he has aspirations that Mindie could be “the MTV of the mobile era” — a sort of crowd-sourced music video channel.
SV Angel investor Brian Pokorny, the guy who helped introduce Mindie to people in Silicon Valley, added that he thinks the addition of music doesn’t just make things easier for the creator of the video, but also the subject, who might feel awkward being filmed.
“For hundreds of years, the general public have become accustomed to being photographed, but only just recently has the ability to be captured on video existed for the masses,” said Pokorny, who has been involved in many a photo- or video-sharing startup, including one that he ran called DailyBooth. “I think the element of music reduces the friction in capturing video and makes the entire experience enjoyable for all involved.”