Rip, mix, burn: YouTube founders launch MixBit to challenge Vine, Instagram

Image Credit: John Koetsier

Vine lets you take six-second videos and post them. Instagram gives you 15 seconds. But a new video app from YouTube founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen will let you not only take videos, but edit them, combine them, add others’ clips, and share them in chunks of any length — up to an hour.

Could they be pulling a YouTube all over again?

Vine and Instagram are both growing fast. Thanks to Twitter’s prominent support — and featuring of Vine videos — Vine has exploded from being on just one in 50 iPhones in January to one in 10 in May, and it just launched on Android in June, where it already has well over five million downloads. And Instagram, which added video in June, has 130 million monthly active users, and over 16 billion uploaded photos.

Hurly and Chen, who struck gold once in creating YouTube and selling it for $1.5 billion to Google, are trying to do the same again — this time with funding from Google, among other investors.

MixBit’s defining differences include that it lets you determine how long you want your video to be. Your clip can be one second long, or 16 seconds long. And then you can combine up to 256 clips into an hour-long feature film. In addition, when you build a video with Mixbit, you can drop and drop clips to rearrange them, delete them, add new ones, and edit them.

In other words, you can actually create a curated, crafted movie, rather than just capturing what you see.

The other massive innovation is content sharing and reuse. MixBit is designed to allow users to share clips and reuse them in their own productions. This is a major change from Vine or Instagram, and will likely define the platform for users, separating those who like to share from those who don’t. The potential is clearly huge: I can’t immediately get footage from Australia’s Great Barrier reef, but I can get footage of Vancouver’s iconic mountains. By sharing out and sharing in, users can add video components to their movies they simply couldn’t get without a little help from friends.

I’ve tried it, and it’s unbelievably easy to record video — with flash, by the way — see your multiple video clips, and very simply rearrange them. In fact, while Apple has tried to add video editing on-the-go to iPhone via the mobile version of iMovie, this is much simpler and more intuitive. In 20 seconds or less I was shooting and creating simple movies.

The built-in quick tour shows you how:

Mixbit was created by AVOS, a “digital media creation and discovery company” that Hurley and Chen set up separately from both YouTube and Google, with an explicit goal.

When we founded YouTube in 2005 we were looking for a way to share videos online with our friends. Now eight years later, people upload 100 hours of video to the site each minute. At AVOS we are building new tools to help people to create, find and share great multimedia content.

Whether the company’s first launched product will become as successful as YouTube remains to be seen. But, as the two very successful cofounders say on their site: “We swing for the fences.” One potential drawback: Sharing is currently anonymous. While MixBit will likely have named accounts and social profiles eventually, it doesn’t yet — a major omission.

Mixbit is at least a very interesting high fly ball. Time will tell if it’s another home run.


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