highlight-camY Combinator-backed HighlightCam, a startup that automatically cuts videos down to the most interesting parts, released an application programming interface today to make it easier for parents, pet owners and people with security cameras to edit recordings.

HighlightCam works by assigning two ratings to frames in a video — one for motion and another for changes in sound. It will take the percentage of a video with the highest ratings and condense it down to that. So a 10-hour security camera recording can become a 1-minute clip, if you don’t have the patience to watch it.

Founder Michael J.T. O’Kelly, who is a biophysics Ph.D at MIT, came up with the technology after he and his wife wanted to find a way to watch their rabbits. O’Kelly says there are a number of potential markets he could tap — security companies, parents that want to monitor their babies and pet owners. Naturally, content providers with large media libraries like film studios or TV stations also might want to find an easy way to edit down hundreds or thousands of videos with little effort.

The application programming interface that’s being launched today lets you send a URL for a video you want to summarize and pick the percentage you want to cut it down by. It then processes the video (which takes about 1 minute, according to O’Kelly) and returns a URL for a summary and an animated GIF of the video.

The company is also releasing an API so closed-circuit television cameras can work automatically with HighlightCam and there’s a variation of it built especially for editing down YouTube videos.

O’Kelly and HighlightCam’s only other employee, Mike Katsevman, are in the process of raising an angel round.

Here’s an example.

An original 4-minute, 30-second YouTube video:

And the 30-second highlight reel from HighlightCam:
http://www.highlightcam.com/site_media/player.swf