Apps, Mobile & SMS

CrowdSync Mobile Video Platform Evolves Prior To SXSW Music Accelerator Debut

Crowdsync-pinchLast week I spoke with FoxSpring Labs' cofounders about their CrowdSync mobile app, one of a series of related tech products that includes Vyclone and Switchcam, that takes crowdsourced videos from live events and facilitates on-the-fly viewing choices and social sharing. CrowdSync has the distinctive honor of being a SXSW Music Accelerator finalist and will be presenting their iOS app at SXSW.

Like every mobile entrepreneur I've spoken with about event-related apps, Alex Fortunato and Laird Hayward say their inspiration came from seeing audience members recording live events with their mobile devices. However, they told Andrea Ozretic in a piece for BetaKit that they were also shooting video of their own and later:

"took a deeper dive and were able to identify exactly where and when the video was shot. We thought with these two data points wouldn’t it be cool if we could create a collaborative experience that would let users be able to view the event from any perspective."

I have to give them props for having an origin tale that includes the inspiration not only for the app itself but also references the data angle, i.e. GPS coordinates and time, which distinguish mobile technology and allow for the identification of where and when a bit of video was shot.

Since I'm someone who should wear a sign that says "bad with apps," I'm not doing direct product comparisons in what is now a three-part series but I do want to note that Vyclone, which I wrote about on Wednesday, is employing a related approach while Switchcam, which I'll discuss on Monday, has a rather different take on solving the problem of identifying and connecting crowdsourced pieces of video.

CrowdSync Demo

Fortunato and Hayward founded FoxSpring Labs in November 2011 to focus on developing the proprietary software that's used in CrowdSync, their first mobile app which is currently available for iOS. You can get a basic idea of what the app does in the above demo video.

FoxSpring Labs are firmly embedded in the tech startup scene. Not only are they competing at the SXSW Music Accelerator, where they're looking forward to connecting with both the technology and music crowd, they're also part of this year's Startup Camp accelerator program at the Plug and Play Tech Center in Sunnyvale, California.

They released the iOS app in early December but their real debut came at the end of the month at the SnowGlobe Music Festival in South Lake Tahoe for their first official collaboration. Though they point out that CrowdSync can be used at any event where multiple people are shooting video, they are strongly focused on music concerts.

How CrowdSync Works

The basic concept is that users record footage at events and upload them to CrowdSync where they're matched with videos of the same event. GPS and time metadata is automatically populated by CrowdSync to identify and combine video clips though metadata can also be added manually. The creation of one audio track is automated including a basic cleaning process to check levels and manage noise and loudness.

Video is synchronized based on audio waveforms that take latency into account. In addition, footage can be imported from one's camera roll allowing for the use of legacy footage. Eventually their web presence will also allow for the import of footage from other sources but their commitment is to building a mobile platform with more immediate plans for an Android app.

During live events, footage is synched and returned within minutes. But rather than being given an automatically edited product, Crowdsync then offers an interactive experience in which users have the option to watch multiple perspectives at once, select them on the fly and make viewing choices using standard mobile actions such as swiping, pinching and tapping.

Their multi-touch interactive video player is a particularly distinctive aspect of their proprietary technology. It also allows for searching the platform for uploads from other events and actively viewing them as well.

Social elements are built into the platform including the ability to follow friends and share content via existing social networks.

More Developments Ahead With New Features to Be Unveiled at SXSW

FoxSpring Labs intends to continue collaborating with both artists and brands including using their platform to bring together fanmade footage from previous events. They're also creating an API for pro users to upload to the CrowdSync platform and then prepare footage for playback within the app.

You can't currently download finished edited videos to post on YouTube or other video platforms which would actually be a strong enticement for use by both musicians and brands. However that's planned for future development.

Crowdsync has integrated with Seatwave to provide ticketing through the app. This move also suggests future ecommerce potential.

The cofounders won't just be demoing the current version of CrowdSync at SXSW but will also be unveiling new features so if you're interested in this space, whether from the tech or music side, definitely keep an eye out for their upcoming moves.


Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (Twitter/ also blogs at All World Dance: Videos and maintains Music Biz Blogs. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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