Online video editing in the NY Times
While sites like YouTube and Veoh have lately become popular for allowing users to share their self-produced videos, Jumpcut is part of a new class of sites that also offer simple tools for stringing together video clips and then adding soundtracks, titles, transitions and unusual visual effects.
All of the sites...have been introduced within the last year. This summer, they will be joined by another site, Motionbox, based in New York.
Their shared objective, the founders of the sites say, is to reduce the complexity of video editing and to reduce the cost to zero.
"We wanted to make video editing over the Internet faster than desktop editing," said Jim Kaskade, co-founder and chief executive of Eyespot, based in San Diego. "We think it will broaden the base of people who are creative, but may not have thought they were, by creating this tool kit for them. Editing video is eventually going to be as simple as sending e-mail."
In the piece, I quote Steven Cohen, a movie editor who was one of the first to use the Avid non-linear editing system on a feature film ("Lost in Yonkers," in 1993). He's one of the tech leaders in the editing field, and he had some other thoughts about these online editing systems, which I wanted to post here:
Jumpcut seems much slicker as an editor, probably because it's based on Flash, but screen redraws were quite buggy in Firefox Mac and you sometimes saw a blank screen or a screen with lots of stuff missing. Eyespot didn't seem as buggy, but you have to open every clip in it's own window and thus seemed much more awkward to use.
My feeling is that one of these, or something like them, will probably catch on at least in a limited way. For me, the lack of responsiveness is a real problem, but with faster connections it will eventually improve. What makes it appealing is that it gets rid of the problem of storage, and for that reason it seems very freeing. Let somebody else worry about where all this stuff is and how to back it up! But how much storage can they be offering? It's hard to believe that it would be enough. I can't really imagine uploading hours of DV material. Too slow, and the quality I saw sure wasn't DV. So for now it's for videos made with still cameras or phones or grabbed from YouTube.
The ramifications are good and bad for us professionals. It raises awareness of what we do, which is important, but it also attracts people to the field, which increases competition. In both these ways it's no different than FCP or iMovie. Just a step further in the democratization of motion media.
There will probably be stylistic ramifications, too. In the same way that music videos and home videos influenced the style of films, probably these ubiquitous internet videos are going to change our tastes. Already I find a lot of network video seems dull, canned and lacking in originality and spontaneity, probably because most of the stuff I watch is homemade and available on the net.
I guess, bottom line, online editing seems inevitable. But as a tool, not all that flexible or powerful.