WeVideo Makes Cloud Video Editing Look Like Kids’ Stuff

12/2/11Follow @wroush

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get other stuff done while you wait for WeVideo to e-mail you to let you know that the file is ready. The default output format, for those who care about such things, is H.264, which means the videos are automatically compatible with YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, and Twitter—and in fact, WeVideo can output videos directly to those services.

WeVideo is still pretty new, and the truth is that it still bears the imprint of its origins in the world of K-12 education. Its biggest flaw, at the moment, is the disappointing range of choices when it comes to effects like transitions and titles. Most of the transitions the program provides are pretty kitschy—I can see how they’d appeal to kids, but more serious videographers won’t be crazy about all the bubbles, stars, and waving flags. (In my video I stuck to the simplest available option, a cross fade.) Similarly, there’s only one font available for title graphics, and it can’t be resized. After spending quite a bit of time with Final Cut Pro and iMovie, I miss Apple’s emphasis on aesthetic details like these. But it’s probably only a matter of time before WeVideo’s engineers load it up with additional options.

I found one bug that makes me think WeVideo hasn’t fully perfected the proxy-editing scheme. In my Mendocino video, most of the video clips included ambient sound. As I was editing, I reduced the volume for each clip to zero in order to let the music carry the soundtrack. It worked great in the preview window. But in the final, rendered video, the ambient sound was still there—as if that part of the change log hadn’t been uploaded to the rendering program. I e-mailed WeVideo about the issue, and I’ll update this story if they send me an explanation.

WeVideo’s co-founders, including Svendsen, put $1.4 million in seed funding into the company this spring, and he says they’ll be going back out for more funding soon. The publicity from the DEMO win will undoubtedly help with that. The company’s business model is simple: entry-level membership is free, but if you want to export more than 15 minutes of video per month, you need to sign up for the “Plus,” “Ultra,” or “Commercial” plans for a monthly fee of $6.99, $39.99, or $79.99, respectively. (Those prices are discounted to $4.99, $29.99, and $59.99 through December 31, 2011.) If the company can recruit a bunch of newcomers to video editing while also converting some old Adobe, Apple, and Avid customers, it could build a pretty nice revenue stream.

Of course, if you stay signed up for WeVideo for a year or more, your subscription costs will eventually exceed the price of a desktop video-editing package like Final Cut Pro ($299) or Adobe Premiere ($799). But Svendsen points out that to make that software smoothly, you also need a high-end computer. “With our platform, you don’t have to invest in new hardware, because you do all the rendering in the cloud,” he says. “We haven’t had anybody really pushing back on the pricing. On the other hand, we are very ready to listen to the market.”

WeVideo’s big goal now is “to convince people that video editing is not as difficult as they think,” Svendsen says. He says he’s familiar with automated alternatives like Animoto, but he says consumers go to Animoto for “a completely different use case. If you want to make a video for your company or your baby shower or your wedding, or if you’re an online journalist and you want to make a new story, you need more freedom. One of our goals in the coming months is to come into the market and say, ‘There is a new way of doing video editing that is fun and easy and takes away a lot of the headaches associated with traditional video editing.’”

Fun, yes; easy, yes. If WeVideo can add styling options that make its tools feel a little more professional, I’ll be a happy camper.

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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  • http://www.lifeofbikes.com Scott Moroney

    This is a pretty cool, and timely idea. With the availability level so high now, video is quickly becoming the standard to catching someone’s attention that a photo was generations ago. I’m interested to check it out and also see where the cloud-based model could be used to collaborate in more professional applications.

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  • sluggh

    I keep getting Ken Burns fatigue. Fighting that as a new user myself.