We covered FlipTrack last November when they launched a beta version of their desktop client, which syncs a photo slide show to music. They’re back, with a $1.5 million first round of financing and a new web client. The financing comes from a group angels and Mohr Davidow Ventures. The new investment included some investors in FlipTrack’s former parent company, iPlay, makers of music tutorial software for Mac.
Photo slide shows are a crowded space which includes the well established Photobucket and two newer players RockYou and Slide bringing in tens of millions in financing. FlipTrack, however, keeps a distinct niche by focusing on syncing photos with music.
Their new web editor makes creating the slide shows significantly easier by automating most of the work. To make a FlipTrack now, all you need to do is pick any one of their 350 songs and upload a group of photos from your computer, URL, MySpace, Friendster, Flickr, or PhotoBucket. The editor then automatically syncs the photos up to key transitions in the song, known as a song map (see the sync to “Eye of the Tiger” below). The system is pretty smart about how to space the time delays between photos and won’t take up an entire song if there are too few photos.
The online editor is not as detailed as the desktop client, which lets you plan your transitions down to the song’s individual beats, but it doesn’t need to be. Instead the online version focuses on the ordering of the photos (drag-n-drop), effects, and transitions. Each of the photos can be captioned, cropped, rotated, and panned. FlipTrack transitions between photos with zooms, dissolves, and a variety of special shapes (flowers, cats, dogs).
The new editor, with its key frames and effects looks a lot like a video editor, and for good reason. FiipTack is also planning on adding video to its editing repertoire (See our previous comparison of online video editors). The photo slide show serves as a rudimentary version that is already being used to create simple music videos for independent bands. FlipTrack is working with labels like Nettwerk and music publisher EMI to encourage more bands to allow fans to mix together photo videos. They are currently running a BareNaked Ladies video contest.