Israeli startup Magisto has announced a new version of its iOS app, introducing so-called smart photo-editing which it says will refine the art of personal movie making.

Just to recap, Magisto officially launched its app at CES in 2012, but was first covered by us way back in April 2011. In a nutshell, it lets users upload a collection of video clips and have them transformed into a slick home movie. Indeed, it automatically selects the most compelling moments and weaves them into a story, with customized styles and music.

Last year it also went on to integrate with Facebook Timeline, before adding Google Drive support, and rolling out albums and themes as it hit 3 million users earlier this year.

Magisto gets photos

Now, Magisto is launching a new update to coincide with the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference in Texas, one that will allow users to include photos as well as videos when creating visual stories. While it’s launching initially for iOS only, the feature will be hitting Android shortly too.

summary screen 220x315 Magisto brings photos into the video editing mix with its latest iOS update, Android to follow    photo screenshot1 220x315 Magisto brings photos into the video editing mix with its latest iOS update, Android to follow

Similar to videos, users are able to snap a picture within the app, or upload from their camera roll. Then, Magisto works its magic to choose the best moments within the pictures and videos, and automatically mesh them into a narrative.

Initially, Magisto users will be able to include up to five photos in their movies, but those signed up to the paid premium version can reel in twenty. The movies will also include smart photo-editing effects, including filters and zooming, and more will be added shortly, such as as morphing between faces and 3D effects.

In our initial tests, it seems you can only use photos taken together with videos on a specific day, though we’re told this will be updated shortly so you can choose from any photos. Also, while you can shoot video directly from within the Magisto app, you seemingly can’t snap a photo…you have to exit Magisto and use another app, which seems very bizarre to me.

“We know that when it comes to capturing and sharing life experiences, people don’t necessarily distinguish between photos and videos and in fact, often use one device to capture both,” says Oren Boiman, CEO of Magisto. “More than half of the movies that our users make have photos that could complement their videos. We’re giving people exponentially more raw material to tell their stories, which in turn offers greater ease in chronicling their lives.”

For SXSW, Magisto is also being used to create a social scrapbook called “Austin Chronicles,” with a slew of creatives from across technology, film and music chronicling their perspective on the festivities using the app.

To mark today’s launch, Magisto also announced it has seen more than one million downloads in the past month alone, and is now approaching five million users in total. It says this is partly attributable to the new themes and albums that launched in January. It also expanded into Asia recently with a partnership with Korea-based Between (via Softbank).

Magisto | iOS

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