CrowdFlik’s Auto-Synced, Crowdsourced Footage Lets Anyone Become A Documentary Filmmaker

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Have you ever tried to film your favorite song at a concert, only to have someone block your view with their massive head? Or discovered that the only footage of an interesting panel discussion on YouTube was shot by someone with shaky hands? CrowdFlik is a new app that lets you assemble clips shot by different users at the same event, making sure that everyone has video of exactly what they want to see. What makes CrowdFlik unique–and fun to use–is its technology, which syncs all uploaded footage to a master clock and geo-location data.

This means you don’t have to hunt down footage from the same event or time-sync it, one of the most tedious parts of video editing. When footage is shot with CrowdFlik, the app automatically slices it into 10-second segments that are synced within 100 nanoseconds using the U.S. Naval Observatory Atomic Clock, allowing you to assemble videos with precise cuts even for fast-moving events like sport matches. All you need to do is open an event in the app, view the collection of clips by other users and drag favorites into your timeline, where CrowdFlik instantly places them in the right order.

CrowdFlik’s iOS app launched last month and an Android version will be released soon. The team plans to push out updates quickly, including one that will allow users to download their edited videos.

CrowdFlik_IMG_1565Before founding CrowdFlik, CEO Chris Hamer worked in executive marketing positions at companies including Clear Channel and Sony. He came up with the idea for the app after going to a Dave Matthews concert and seeing how many people were filming it on their smartphones.

“Almost everyone films songs at concerts. I just looked at that and thought there must be a way to bring all that great content from different angles together, put it on a platform that is super simple and allow any user to create his or her own edits from synchronized, gathered content,” says Hamer.

He describes CrowdFlik’s ten-second slices of footage as LEGOs that can be rearranged into videos up to 50 minutes in length. One of the ways the app’s team plans to gain user traction is by promoting CrowdFlik for private events (protected albums are an upcoming feature) such as weddings, children’s sports, conferences and even birdwatching expeditions.

“Our model to get people to use CrowdFlik is to put it in environments where it can solve a problem,” says Hamer. For example, he describes filming a dance troupe in New York City’s Washington Square Park when a bystander wandered into the frame and blocked the shot. Fortunately, Hamer discovered that someone else in the crowd had uploaded clear footage to CrowdFlik, allowing him to assemble a video.

CrowdFlik’s monetization strategy draws on Hamer’s marketing background and focuses on enabling companies to stay connected to a sponsored event after it ends.

“When the lights go down at the end of an event, that continuity of sponsorship ends,” says Hamer. With CrowdFlik, however, brands can pre-name an event tag in the app (for example, Absolut Presents Dave Matthews At The Hollywood Bowl). Eventually, users will be able to find out more information about a sponsor, performer or venue through events on CrowdFlik, allowing promoters to increase engagement with fans and consumers in a novel but unobstrusive way.

From a user’s perspective, the most intriguing (and fun) thing about CrowdFlik is that it allows any smartphone owner to turn into a documentarian. The challenge of creating videos that fit within Vine‘s six-second time limit unleashed the creativity of users who make videos ranging in tone from comically surreal to sublimely beautiful. Like Vine, CrowdFlik opens up new possibilities.

The app’s ease of use makes it attractive to people of many ages and levels of tech literacy. It can also draw in users who might not be particularly interested in shooting mobile videos, but discover that they love playing with other people’s footage. Hamer says CrowdFlik will eventually enable multiple replays in the same video, allowing you to create vignettes that tell the story of the same event from different perspectives (imagine creating a video of your kid’s soccer match that uses the same non-linear narrative technique as “Pulp Fiction” or “Inception”).

“The whole [mobile video] ecosystem is growing in leaps and bounds,” says Hamer. “CrowdFlik brings a multidimensional view and ability sync multiple cameras. There are infinite possibilities.”

The app’s early investors include James Huaslein, the former CEO of Sunglass Hut, CEO 13 Mobile founder Stephen Maloney, Source Marketing CEO Derek Correia, Source Marketing managing directors Mark Toner and Richard Feldman and social media expert Sarah McClutchy.