There’s been a lot of talk about how mobile video applications are poised to break out and become mainstream over the next few years, as users take advantage of the cameras they have in their pockets and share the videos they shoot with others on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. This has given rise to the whole “Instagram for video” meme, in which app makers compete to be the next billion-dollar company to make sharing beautiful media easy. There’s just one problem — the videos being produced by today’s generation of social mobile video apps just aren’t really that beautiful or compelling.
Directr seeks to change all that, with a mobile app that helps average users to create beautiful videos that their friends will actually want to watch. And to do so, it’s raised a $1.1 million seed round from NextView Ventures, Boston Seed Capital, Advancit Capital, and Alexis Ohanian and Garry Tan’s Initialized Capital, as well as from angels like Thomas Lehrman, Ron Shah, and Joe Caruso.
While Viddy, Socialcam, Klip, and others are chasing the Instagram dream, Directr founders Max Goldman and Eli Schleifer very definitively DO NOT want to be thought of as the Instagram of video. In fact, the whole idea that you can shoot a short, 15-second video, throw a filter on it and call it a day is a bit anathema to them. They believe that videos become compelling because of the story that they tell, not the filters that get added after the fact.
“The challenge is how do you help create something that other people want to watch,” Goldman told me in a phone call explaining their plans. “The idea is to take all the hard parts out of creating a video, and… guiding people through the process of what makes a great movie.”
In short, and without giving too much away, the Directr team is building an app that will help create interesting stories based on videos they shoot with their phones. It will help automate all the editing, titles, and music syncing that typically keeps amateur video enthusiasts from going beyond just uploading a short video to the web.
Schleifer was a Software Engineer at Microsoft for much of the last decade, working in its Mobile and Xbox divisions. But before that, he had a background in visual arts. The birth of his first child led him to re-think how most users are capturing and building stories on their mobile devices. Goldman, meanwhile, was formerly director of product marketing at SuccessFactors. They have a total of six people working on the Directr team now.
The app isn’t quite ready yet — the guys at Directr say they expect it to be released later this summer — but those of you who are interested in trying it out can reserve a username here.