There is a plethora of video app startups out there nowadays, but few of them focus on the issues with video capture . Instead ,their focus is on editing and upload, and this is a mistake.

Editing is a relatively solved puzzle at this point. Trimming, cutting, these are operations that are not difficult to implement engineering wise. They are also no longer novel from a user experience point of view.

In addition, with consumer video the behaviour is fundamentally different than professional video. Think of sports games. The camera is always on, capturing every moment, no matter what is happening in the frame. For hollywood films, there will be retake after retake. Editing in both of those scenarios has a lot of value.

In a consumer setting, we self-edit. Getting out my camera phone is an act of self-editing. I’m saying: “this is exciting, I should capture it.” Because I also want to enjoy myself, after a while the camera goes away because whatever is happening has been captured to suit my needs. Hitting the record and stop button is an act of editing. Trimming is useful, cutting is useful, but to a large extent I have edited my clip by default.

The act of shooting video, though? There, we need help. Stabilization is a massive problem. Lighting and colouring, also massive issues. And of course, many would-be-spielbergs move too quickly and frame shots poorly. Both of which technology can help with but not solve.

One of the big issues is simply the form factor of the device we are using. Holding your iPhone steady and recording video is a skill that many don’t have – especially if you are conscientious and are trying to avoid Vertical Video Syndrome. Instagram, in their infinite wisdom, chose to launch their video feature with stabilization as the marquee feature. Of course, their genius solution to avoiding having to deal with landscape and portrait photos (just make it a square!) works beautifully for videos, too.

The other issue is simply “digital confidence”. How many of your previously non-artsy friends have you noticed posting artsy pictures on Instagram? Cynically, one could scoff at this – “yeah, people love using those Instagram filters!” But wait. Previously they would never have gotten out their camera to take the shot in the first place. Now they are taking the artsy shot of the cool looking tree that is casting long afternoon shadows. Make it black and white or sepia and BLADOW! It looks great.

In many ways, video is much more simple than a photo. Keep the action in the frame, don’t move too quickly and don’t shake. The rest is up to how interesting your subject matter is.

The video app that can bring the same digital confidence for video that Instagram gave for photos, that’s the app that’s going to win.

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