Editing a video on Pie
Watching a video on Pie
Users who own 360 cameras can upload videos instantly to Pie
Pie's new iPhone app lets users create and share 360 videos with or without a 360 camera.
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, USA, November 14, 2016 /EINPresswire.com/ — 360 video startup Pie, which just released its first app for iPhone on the App Store, has raised a seed round from McClatchy, Colopl VR Fund, Sparkland Capital, Stage Venture Partners, Graph Ventures, Matter Ventures, and others to build a mobile social network where users can discover, create, and post 360 videos in seconds – with or without a 360 camera.
Pie videos are vertical, 10 seconds long, and the viewer can choose where to look by swiping the screen or twisting their phone. While 360 video is commonly associated with virtual reality, Pie is not a VR app. Pie’s team of four engineers and designers are instead laser-focused on building the best way to watch and create 360 videos on mobile phones without the need for a virtual reality headset.
Co-Founder Ceci Mourkogiannis explains ‘we are excited about the long-term possibilities of VR as it relates to 360 video, but today we want to serve the 2 billion people who already own smartphones and give them a way to create and watch 360 videos that fits into their everyday lives.’
Pie and its investors believe that by focusing on making a seamless 360 video creation experience, Pie can fend off competition from 360 video heavyweights YouTube and Facebook. ‘Until now the difficulty of creating a 360 video has been holding back mass adoption of this new medium,’ CTO and co-founder Guillaume Sabran elaborates. ‘We set ourself the goal of making the process of capturing, editing, and sharing a 360 video at least 10x faster than existing options.’
Using the Pie mobile app today it takes under 20 seconds to capture, edit, and share a 360 video to Pie – complete with 360 filters and text. That’s compared with the hours and sometimes days it takes to complete a 360 video if you’re dealing with a high-end 360 video rig and other software – not to mention the difficulty of re-injecting 360 metadata into edited video files so that they’re recognized as a 360 video by Facebook or YouTube.
There are two ways to capture content for Pie. Users who own a consumer 360 camera like the Ricoh Theta S, LG’s 360 Cam, or the new Nikon KeyMission 360 can upload videos directly to Pie from their iPhones in seconds. Creators who own an Insta360 Nano camera ($199) that attaches to their iPhones can shoot 360 videos directly within the Pie mobile app thanks to a partnership between Pie and Insta360 parent company Arashi Vision Co. Video clips are trimmed to 10 seconds – a length which Sabran says ‘is long enough to explore a space in 360, but short enough to keep the viewing experience dynamic and interesting.’
Users without a 360 camera can use Pie’s proprietary ‘slices’ feature to capture a video experience using only their iPhones that feels like ‘a cross-between a Boomerang and a 360 GIF’. Capturing a slice is similar to the process of taking a panorama, with the user scanning the space in front of them, from left to right, for 3 to 5 seconds. To play back a slice or a 360 video, users can simply swipe their phones or spin around in any direction “magic-window” style.
‘We've had a great response to slices, particularly from younger users who have seen 360 videos in their Facebook feed but until now haven't had a way to make one that was quick, easy, and didn't involve buying separate hardware,’ explains co-founder Jacob Trefethen.
‘The fact that slices allow you to move forwards and backwards in time as well as through space was initially an accident we came across while hacking on the iPhone camera. Once we realized what that experience could be like, we couldn’t wait to get it out there. It means you can slow down, speed up, and reverse dance moves, skate tricks, or even just funny faces with a swipe of your finger or just by turning your phone using the iPhone’s gyroscope, the same way you move through a 360 video.’
Users’ Pie videos and slices are automatically added to the user’s Pie story: a Snapchat-like feature that Pie’s team adopted because they wanted to ‘give users an easy way to create and watch stories with a beginning and an end, rather than just individual clips’. The story format is at its best with slices – allowing the viewer to move from one slice into the next, seamlessly, simply by continuing to spin or swipe their phones.
Mourkogiannis attributes Pie’s innovative approach to 360 video to their small team size and the fact that they aren’t part of a larger organization: ‘As a team of four we’re able to be more flexible than most and respond to what users really want. We don’t need to sell VR headsets or court brands like the bigger players in the space so we’ve had the freedom to build a product we know users love without anything else getting in the way of our decision-making.’
‘A lot of the features that we’re most excited about wouldn’t have even occurred to us if we’d been building a VR app: slices, the way we add text to videos, the transitions between videos, fast cuts, short clips. None of those things work in VR, but the experience is awesome on a smartphone.’
Pie’s founders have stressed that their goal is not to build a content library of 360 content, but rather a social platform and community around 360 and other ‘touchable video’ formats like slices. For that reason the company has stayed clear of the kind of branded and professionally-produced 360 video content that has previously dominated the 360 video industry. Instead, the company has said that its small team is obsessed with finding out ‘how people will use 360 video and slices to communicate with each other and share small snippets of their lives in a way that helps us feel closer to one another’.
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Pie: Team Interview & Demo Video