iPhone users, meet CrowdFlik, a new application for creating crowd-sourced, event-driven videos.
Put another way, it's a seriously super-fast way to edit video footage (that might otherwise sit around unwatched, taking up space on a phone) into a two-minute, highly shareable video.
Also, CrowdFlik users can access other people's, possibly better, footage.
It works like this: You download the free CrowdFlik app from iTunes. You create a user profile. Then, some Saturday, you're at an afternoon concert, or a wedding, or a Little League game and you decide to shoot video. Instead of launching your camera, you click the CrowdFlik app. If it's a big event, you'll see it listed as something happening near where you are. If you don't see it listed (or have the GPS turned off), you can search for it or create a new event for others to join.
Then, you hit the record button, which looks a lot like the record button on the iPhone's camera.
The footage is saved to your phone, as well as to CrowdFlik's cloud (which is hosted by Amazon). Later, you can pull up the event, and CrowdFlik will show your footage, along with the footage of everyone else who checked in with CrowdFlik, displayed in synchronized, 10-second, thumbnail-sized portions. The 10-second clips run in timed order from left to right across your phone's screen; all the users run from top to bottom. The more users, the bigger the grid. The more often a particular user's footage is chosen, the higher up the grid that footage rises.
You can tap each 10-second portion to watch in its entirety, or hold a finger on it for a quick glimpse.
To make a video, tap, tap, tap your way from left to right. Maybe for the first 10 seconds you choose video you shot, but for the next five or 11 boxes (for now the Fliks are limited to two minutes), you choose clips from various strangers, who were seated in different areas around the stage, or the game, or who caught footage that you completely missed.
Tap, tap, tap, and you have two-minute video that you can email around via a link, or share on Facebook or other sites. While you can't download the video, you can post it to a blog or Web site.
Users can also drag and drop and reorder the 10-second clips however they'd like.
"People will watch vertically, for kicks—say, the same guitar intro five times, from five perspectives," said CrowdFlik CEO Chris Hamer. "This is the gamification of video."
Maybe, if it's a wedding you were at, you make one video that's appropriate for close friends, but edit together another for the bride's parents.
"Do you know how many weddings take place in the U.S. every year?" asked Hamer, driving home the potential of the application. "1.29 million, with an average of 179 people per wedding."
He continued, "In 2010, 500 million people attended high school sporting events. Of those events, no two videos are synchronized. Now they can be."
CrowdFlik's technology synchronizes footage down to 1/1,000th of a second using the U.S. Naval Atomic Clock.
While it has obvious consumer appeal, CrowdFlik, also has tremendous marketing potential for businesses of every size.
"If you're a company that wants to reach high-school football fans ... you can see the power of how a non-sponsored event becomes a sponsored event," said Hamer. "Venues, concert promoters, sponsors—they can all benefit from the power of what people are already collecting."
Additionally, the name of the event that a person checks in to—The Best Bakery 5K—is the name people will see when the video link is emailed.
At launch, users will be able to check in to CrowdFlik using Facebook authentication. Twitter authentication will soon follow, and so will an app for Android (which is in development) and after that apps for the iPad. As with Instagram and other apps, users can also follow each other.
"Right now, you go somewhere, you shoot video, and the fun is over when the event ends," said Hamer. "With CrowdFlik, it's when the event ends that things really begin."