Following Instagram’s rise and acquisition by Facebook, entrepreneurs across the globe have raced to create the “Instagram for video.” Services like Socialcam and Viddy saw massive growth rates early on, but those rates appear to have leveled off. Now, Twitter’s Vine is hogging all the attention in this space, and in some ways that’s well deserved — Vine truly does make video sharing effortless; it’s low commitment and low friction features, like Gif-style looping, make it entertaining for everyone I’ve shown it to.
But what if you’re not trying to crack the “Instagram for video” nut? Eschewing instant satisfaction for storytelling, Directr wants to make you an artist with its video-sharing app. Today, the company is announcing new features to make that happen, including a social layer which lets you request a specific movie from another user; a new Web experience, which adds feeds, a more detailed profile, and social features; and the ability to upload videos you’ve already taken outside the app.
Before we dive into these features, let’s discuss Directr.
The company tells us that “Directr’s secret sauce is made of humans” — that is, the app is based around storyboards which were “handcrafted by professional filmmakers.” The idea is to make you the artist. Directr will handle the editing, sound and various other effects.
Of course, you can just point and shoot a quick video with a “blank storyboard,” which will give you similar results to shooting a video on Vine, but that’s not the point. He’s a video I made on Directr while cooking dinner (I needed an extra person to help, as I have only two hands):
A quick Vine could yield something like this:
Clearly, both services have their perks. Some of the best videos on Vine end up being a creative use of the service’s own limitations. On Directr, however, if you follow the requirements of a storyboard and have nice enough lighting, you’ll likely end up with more professional results. Is that what the masses want?
The updates & overall impression
Adding the ability to upload videos from your library should help to ease the friction of creating a video though Directr, making it easier to piece your creation together later. The new Web presence looks quite nice, but given how much Directr relies on mobile devices, you might not find yourself using it often. As for the new “social layer” which lets users request videos from friends, this might add too much complexity to an already heavy service.
Yes, I’ve been spoiled by short and often cheap Vine videos, but assembling a well-composed video during my night out keeps me from actually enjoying it. Similarly, while I was cooking I found I needed to interrupt the process to make the video. We call that friction in this business.
Our verdict is that Directr could be a great solution for power users — those that don’t mind putting in the effort. That in mind, if you’re itching to capture a quick video of a cupcake you’re about to eat, this isn’t the app for you.
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