Earlier this year, I wrote about funding for a stealthy video-editing app called Directr, which had raised $1.1 million in seed funding to help people make better mobile videos. But we didn’t really know how it was planning to do so.
Well, the wait is over. The Directr app has officially launched, with an interesting approach to making actual watchable short mobile movies. While some apps are focused on helping people edit videos after they’ve already been shot, Directr has a whole different approach — it wants to help teach people how to make better videos. It does that by providing them with a framework of different video types, which they can then fill in with their own shots.
The process is called storyboarding and is used all the world around by actual movie and TV producers to prep before shooting. But due to the relative newness of the mobile video market, it hasn’t necessarily caught on with regular users. And guess what? That means regular users generally create crappy videos. Anyway, the app provides a bunch of potential storyboards for various types of videos, gives users examples of what their videos could or should look like, and then lets them shoot their own.
According to co-founder Max Goldman, about 20 percent of its beta users seemed to follow the storyboards exactly, while another 10 percent just ignored them altogether. It’s that middle 70 percent that are interesting, because those are the people who are using the storyboards for inspiration, but then riffing on them to create their own stories semi-independently. While providing some guidance, the app is designed to give users the freedom to do that.
There are more than 60 storyboards for users to test out right now, and the startup is adding more each week. But in preparation for Christmas, it’s rolling out a big group of holiday-themed pack of storyboards for users to help capture some of their holiday memories with. Use them and “your Christmas will never have looked better,” Goldman said.
Well okay then. Investors in Directr include NextView Ventures, Boston Seed Capital, Advancit Capital, and Alexis Ohanian and Garry Tan’s Initialized Capital, as well as angels like Thomas Lehrman, Ron Shah, and Joe Caruso. The company is based in Cambridge, Mass., and has about 12 employees now.