CrowdFlik rides Waze's crowdsourcing wave with new mobile video app

Twitter and Facebook are doubling down on smartphone video as the competition between Vine and Instagram heats up. But startups are also fighting for a niche in the social video space with creative touches, like CrowdFlik’s new crowdsourcing video app for events.

CrowdFlik on Thursday rolled out its iOS app, which will encourage concertgoers, partiers, and socialites who are already recording smartphone videos to share them with the world. You check into an event—or create one—and upload video clips you shoot at the concert, baseball game, or wherever else you happen to be. The app synchronizes time and location feeds to match user clips down to one one-thousandth of a second, so you can create a new video—or “flik”—from other users’ shots. CrowdFlik lets you edit in 10-second segments; the goal is to replicate professional event footage recorded from multiple angles by taking advantage of all the little clips regular people are already filming.

A whole wedding shot from one vantage point isn't exactly the most compelling video, unless you're the mother of the bride. CrowdFlik wants to change this.

CrowdFlik CEO Chris Hamer said the idea is to let people experience the events they go to in different ways—say, if you had nosebleed seats for Jay-Z and another CrowdFlik user is in the front row.

“Everyone benefits from your awesome seats or your awesome ability to create video,” Hamer told TechHive.

Even if you didn’t go to the show, you can still see the videos from the event and create your own video from other users’ clips. There are no time limits on fliks, so you can conceivably compile footage from an entire concert and experience it like you were really there.

CrowdFlik lets you find and stitch together videos from all the CrowdFlik users at the event. So you get multiple camera angles without having to scamper around the church during the ceremony.

After putting in the work of editing a crowdsourced masterpiece, obviously you’ll want to share it. CrowdFlik is launching with Facebook’s single sign-on and has plans to add Twitter and then its own user registration in future versions of the app. At first the company will focus on public events, but private events—birthday parties, family holidays—are in the pipeline.

Crowdsourcing: The future of content

The success of apps like Waze, which turned user-generated traffic data into a $1.1 billion deal with Google, prove that crowdsourcing is a valuable way of gathering information, both for users and for the startups’ bottom lines.

WeatherSignal crowdsources conditions using your phone's sensors.

There are different crowdsourcing methods—some apps want you to report information to them, while others use your phone itself to collect data. WeatherSignal uses your phone’s sensors to create a social map of temperatures, humidity levels, and more. Sister site OpenSignal measures your cell phone signal to map coverage and tower locations.

CrowdFlik combines the usefulness of audience data with the appeal of Instagram, Vine, and other media-sharing sites.

An app or service that can jostle for space in the crowded social media market by building a base of users who (willingly) provide information or share content becomes more valuable to bigger companies who may want to acquire those apps or advertise on them.

CrowdFlik’s challenge is building a critical mass of users who will contribute their videos. The company plans to partner with venues and sponsors to promote the app, which Hamer says is a win-win. Brands see content they wouldn’t have access to otherwise, and CrowdFlik gets the exposure it needs.

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