The problem with most video apps is that they don’t allow viewers to have much of a clue about what a video is actually like. Too often, video publishers pick a thumbnail that is misleading or only shows a small bit of what their content is about. That can leave viewers frustrated if they invest the time to actually watch a video. And for publishers, it means lost views, if they don’t choose correctly. Cinemacraft’s Videogram technology seeks to solve this problem by creating thumbnails that provide more context.
Cinemacraft CEO Sandeep Casi believes there hasn’t been a so-called Instagram for video. Video thumbnails simply don’t provide enough context for what’s happening in a video, and so potential viewers will choose not to click through.
So Cinemacraft has designed a solution: It’s built technology that scans videos and creates a pictorial summary of their content. With both a platform API to look into publisher videos and an iOS app to display them, Cinemacraft’s Videogram products give publishers a better way to display their content and gives viewers more insight into what a video is actually about. Videogram breaks videos down into chunks that it displays so that they can quickly get an idea of whether or not they will want to watch the whole thing.
But there’s other interesting stuff happening on the back end: For instance, since the video previews that it generates are created dynamically, the platform knows not only where users are most engaged, but which moments they are most likely to click on. That enables it to provide more compelling previews as time goes on.
It also provides analytics into what viewers are watching and engaging with within the video. Trending moments can be highlighted, and publishers can use them to better target pre-roll or impression ads.
Right now, more than anything the Videogram app is a showcase for what publishers can do with the technology. It curates content from multiple providers and displays them in its own Videogram format, providing a few other features — like the ability to comment within the app, or share clips with others on social networks. In fact, they can share specific moments, not just the entire video. Videogram users can also upload or capture their own videos within the app and get the same preview thumbnail treatment.
But really, the Videogram technology is best for publishers, as a way to show off their videos. On that front, the company is running pilot programs with 10 publishers, including the likes of Sony, Collective Digital Studio and Big Frame, among others.
The core technology is licensed from Fuji Xerox Palo Alto Lab, where Casi helped develop it. Cinemacraft is based in Tokyo, with offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The company has received seed funding from 500 Startups and other angel investors.