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Those cut-out video images of a person walking across a web page will become more common, if a new do-it-yourself “floating video” platform catches on.
The Tel Aviv-based startup VideoStir says the platform, announced today in its public release, is the first DIY tool for this kind of website come-on. The company is also announcing $777,000 in new seed funding.
A site owner video-records someone against a wall or screen of any solid color. The company recommends that the videotaped person not wear much of that wall’s color, since the platform will automatically drop out or “key out” the color, leaving a transparency.
For example, CEO and founder Shy Frenkel told me, a doctor might “walk” onto a page of his website, adding a personal touch and pointing the prospective patient to a clickable button for downloading a brochure.
Interactive buttons and the selection of video from several possible overlays can be controlled by the website via VideoStir’s dashboard. Before making it live, a site owner can test the results first.
While the current emphasis is on smaller sites, Frenkel said the idea is to move the feature to larger sites like Airbnb, where a house owner could walk on the screen, introduce herself, and briefly describe the room for rent. In other words, you get to meet your host before committing.
The overlays are hosted on Amazon’s content delivery network. The platform, which has been in beta for more than two years, currently requires that the viewer have Flash installed on a desktop or laptop browser. An HTML5 version is in development, as is an SDK for integrating the overlay into mobile apps.
I asked whether the overlay, coming from the Amazon CDN, affects page load time. Frenkel said the platform will automatically hold the overlay until the page has loaded, and there should be no significant hit on page performance. A site can also set up the overlay so it loads only after the viewer has clicked a button, not on page load.
The company said it’s still collecting data, but initial results indicate higher clickthrough rates for calls to action when the overlays are used.
A free trial is available, allowing a site owner to create as many videos as they like, with up to 100 views. Paid plans start at $19 for 10,000 views, and $99 for up to 100,000 views.
Frenkel told me there isn’t another DIY site for creating your own floating videos, although there are production services like Model2web and LiveActorHD that will produce the overlays for you. VideoStir is integrated with content management system WordPress, ecommerce platform Shopify, and website builder Wix so authors can readily add the overlays when they want.
The seed round was led by TheTime Innovation, an Israel-based incubator, and it will be used for product development and marketing. The company has also received $20,000 from Startupbootcamp, an incubator associated with Amazon Web Services, Google, and Intel.
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