YouTurn Is Like Hyperlapse With Benefits

YouTurn is probably wincing that I compare it to the extremely popular Hyperlapse. In my defense, there are similarities that simply must be noted — primarily that the app creates super-fast videos of events.

However, YouTurn, which is showing its concept on the floor at Disrupt SF, has a slightly different angle, and it revolves around taking road trips in your car and also (most importantly) scoring your videos to soundtracks.

So let’s discuss the objective of YouTurn. In short, it is sort of a dashcam app. However the app’s focus is for capturing time lapse videos of road trips and of the landscapes through which you drive. These aren’t short three- or four-minute videos, mind you. These could be hours-long videos of your trip.

This is where one of YouTurn’s main differentiators comes into play. Their app allows you to capture video at specific and smaller frame rates — like maybe one frame per second or maybe five. In this way, they are achieving a similar effect as Hyperlapse, but are compiling a much smaller video file while doing so (instead of a much larger file like Hyperlapse). This is how they turn a one- or two-hour video into a five-minute video…they get rid of frames. It’s kind of old school really.

Creators Michal Niezgoda and Felix Pletzer said that this method of content creation is not distracting for the user (who could be driving a car). You’re not fooling around with your phone to create these videos. Instead, you put your smartphone on your dashboard and then you “set it and forget it.”

While Hyperlapse is definitely compelling, some of the most memorable videos I’ve watched were scored to music, and since the app doesn’t do this itself, the result was likely achieved through post production.

YouTurn does this out of the box and this is another great differentiator. Once you have created your video, you can choose audio from SoundCloud and score it to your video.

YouTurn doesn’t actually compile the audio into the video file. Instead it uses reference files to sync a separate streaming audio feed with your video. This requires the both audio and video to remain hosted on servers and therefore not resident on you computer or Smartphone, and that’s a tradeoff, but they avoid rights-protection issues (in theory) by using SoundCloud’s API this way. That’s an interesting approach. They want to consider other streaming services in the future.

Another cool thing about YouTurn is that it’s capturing location information at certain intervals so that you can tell where the events on your screen happened. Neat.

It’s not perfect, though. For starters, this is currently going to be an Android-only solution out of the gates. Also, because you are eliminating frames, you will never have the original, un-edited source file like Hyperlapse does, meaning that you will never be able to slow down the video.

Also, there is no image stabilization in its first version. This means that you really will need to keep the phone that is capturing the video mounted somewhere stable — car, train, plane — and the faster speed you are moving the better the video will look. But, as mentioned, that is the use case they are aiming for, so at least they are sticking to their goal.

So how are they going to make money? Like many early startups, they have several ideas that they will reveal at a later date, but right now they’re focused on building out a community of users. They plan to have this concept finalized and available in Google Play before the end of 2014.