Armed with GoPros and smartphones, people are generating more video than ever before; recent estimates claim 500 hours are uploaded onto YouTube alone every minute. As the digital world morphs into video form, there is increasing pressure for platforms to handle huge amounts of footage in faster times.
Traditional video transcoding methods can result in long upload waits and server strain. Australian-based video compression startup, Clipchamp, has an alternative. Clipchamp’s unique video solution requires no installs and uploads streaming ready content, up to 20 times faster.
Their story, and ingenuitive approach is regularly compared to the fictional startup in HBO’s comedy Silicon Valley’s Pied Piper: Former SAP employees who set out to create the world’s largest distributed supercomputer, discovering their own, platform-ready video tech on the way. CEO and co-founder Alexander Dreiling explains his journey and just how this all works.
How is consumer behavior evolving in the online video industry? How does Clipchamp tie into this, what problem does it solve?
We’re seeing more video, of a higher quality due to better cameras. Today there are cameras everywhere. However, sharing this content is still an issue, with upload bandwidths that cannot cope with large files. Popular solutions such as Vine and Snapchat severely limit video length. Clipchamp makes it pain free and fast to share any video from any device. Consumers, Youtubers and other end users can share their videos to Youtube, Facebook, Vimeo and other platforms for free, up to 20 times faster than other web uploads. On top of this, Clipchamp’s business customers can receive video from their users fast and easy, in one unified format of their choice.
So, how do you do this?
Clipchamp records and uploads our customers’ users’ videos directly to our customers’ Amazon S3, Microsoft Azure or internal backends. Our products record, convert and compress videos directly in the user’s browser, with no additional installs. Instead of using Flash we have built the first HTML5 video webcam on desktop and mobile, and have a full video compression and conversion stack in the browser that allows us to produce videos before they get uploaded by the user.
Anyone can currently upload videos for free on clipchamp.com. Businesses can sign up for the subscription service to use our API, which allows them to put a video recording and upload widgets for their users on their own website. The video never touches Clipchamp servers, everything is compressed and converted on the client’s side.
How does Clipchamp differ from the alternatives? How is it unique?
Traditional video converters process video files server side. This means long upload times and heavy files put a strain on servers. Using third party services to convert a video also redirects videos to external servers. For many businesses operating under strict privacy laws this is simply not an option. Our customers want fast video uploads, sophisticated formats and guaranteed privacy.
We don’t see the videos our users put on Youtube, or any other platform. We also never see the videos that our customers’ users upload directly onto their websites, and their cloud and company internal backends.
What type of business customers do you work with?
We have done this for education sites, helping students upload their video assignments or questions, and also for recruitment and casting agencies – such as MyCastingNet, a leading Australian online casting service – offering applicants to film themselves on the site. Using Clipchamp, the company receives user casting videos directly to its Microsoft Azure, where their client picks it up in a streaming-friendly MP4 format. We also work with news and media agencies, providing a fast way for the general public to upload newsworthy footage.
What was the original inspiration for Clipchamp, and how did the company start out?
Our four co-founders all met and worked together at SAP in different areas across Australia and Germany. We came together with a goal to create the largest distributed supercomputer in the world, a zetta-flop as a service. Shortly after, we realized the vision was great, but very hard for a small startup to execute. We decided to focus on just one aspect – the video compression, and pivoted to form Clipchamp.
What trends currently excite you in this industry?
The sheer amount of video that gets transmitted is mind-blowing. Add to that the latest generation of mobile phone cameras, action cameras, drone cameras or single lens cameras that record amazing but huge videos and the societal trend to share amazing experiences with our friends and the world. People earn money in ways that were unimaginable ten years ago with video and the number of business models around video is exploding. We love it because we address the “first-mile problem” of video sharing, that is constraint upload bandwidth from users with amazing videos.
What are your plans for future growth and development of your product?
We see so many websites that have video upload facilities or that would benefit from video upload facilities. Hundreds of thousands of recruitment agencies, schools, real estate agencies, health organisations, and others. We are currently executing a plan to convert paying subscribers to our service. Medium-term we’ll focus on growing the end user platform into the millions of users per month, where we are in the hundreds of thousands, 20 months into the service without much marketing. Long-term we can think of a variety of different avenues including a content play including monetization.