Short videos, looping videos and GIFs are some of the hottest types of user-generated content on the web today, and have everyone from Instagram to Twitter and even Facebook and Google getting involved in offering support and tools for creators. Today, a new app called SPUN wants to capitalize on this growing trend by allowing users to mash up videos from their phone along with topical pop culture videos and then personalize their creations using the app’s own library of animations, cutouts, special effects and text.
The idea for SPUN comes from serial entrepreneurs Andy Miller and Avi Dabir who have known each other for a decade and have worked in the past at m-Qube (mobile payments, sold to VeriSign), Quattro Wireless (sold to Apple; Miller was CEO) and, most recently, gesture control startup Leap Motion, where Miller was COO.
Explains Dabir, both he and Miller are passionate about mobile and have seen the organic growth in content creation, where people take moments from pop culture – like movies or TV, sports or even politics – and then turn them into short clips or GIFs which are then shared out on social media.
But the process for doing that today can still be fairly cumbersome, he says.
“People are downloading a screenshot or taking a video from somewhere then putting it into After Effects or Photoshop, putting it together, then uploading it to Instagram,” says Dabir. “People are already doing this, so let’s make it easier for them to express themselves more visually through video and through creativity. [That’s how] we got to SPUN.”
The app itself, live now for iOS, is really simple to use – even if you’re not used to working with video. To create your own mashup in SPUN, you first select video from your Camera Roll or SPUN’s community, or you can film using your camera. Once a video is selected, you can trim it, add other videos along with it, then decorate those videos with text, animation, and cutouts.
There’s also a way to cut out people’s heads from videos and swap in others in a goofy (but thankfully, not photorealistic) way.
And for those who prefer content consumption over creation, or those who are just looking for idea, the app’s feeds include featured and new videos which you can tap to “respin” – meaning, make a mashup of your own using their video as the source material.
The process for making a video is roughly a minute or two, and you’ll get better the more you use the app, we’re told. And it’s still quicker than using pro-level editing tools like many do today.
When your creation is finished, you can share the resulting 6-second max video back to the community as well as to a number of social channels, like Vine, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, SMS or your can save it to your Camera Roll.
While the sort of silly nature of the app immediately appeals to a younger demographic, Dabir believes SPUN could have broader appeal – especially as some of its users are mashing up videos from sports figures or politics, instead of just internet memes.
The app has been in private testing before today’s public debut, and now has a catalog of thousands of clips available for use. Eventually, the startup would like to partner with brands to introduce more content to its community.
In the meantime, however, SPUN has a number of content partners on board, including Shaquille O’Neal, “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” writers, NBC comedy writers, political satirists, and popular Instagramers.
SPUN is a free download on iOS, and plans to launch on Android next year.
The startup is backed by $2 million in seed funding from CRV and Highland Capital, along with angel investors David Kenny (CEO of Weather Companies), Tony Kahn (Owner of Jacksonville Jaguars and Fulham FC Soccer Club) and Mark Mastrov (Founder of 24 Hour Fitness/co-owner Sacramento Kings).