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Israel's Magisto Partners with YouTube to Turns Hours of Home Video Into Mini Masterpieces

Israel's Magisto helps you transform hours of homemade video into exciting two-minute clips at just the click of a mouse.
By: Brian Blum
Published: February 11th, 2012 in Business » Israel

Most video is boring: Cats doing flips, babies taking their first steps, your second-cousin-once-removed’s bar mitzvah party. Yet we can’t help ourselves from churning it out. Some 48 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. And it’s just getting worse with the proliferation of smart phones, which can take high-quality video (Apple’s new iPhone 4S even offers HD).

Oren Boiman feels your pain. When his first daughter was born six years ago, he ran out and bought a camcorder to capture her first moments, only to shelve the many hours of footage that proved unwatchable.

“People will fall asleep. You can only share one minute before your friends say ‘Okay, let’s go on!’”

Fortunately, Boiman was not just a new parent. He also has a PhD from Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science in computer vision and video analysis. He teamed up with army buddy Alex Rav-Acha, also a Weizmann PhD, to create Magisto, a cloud-based web service that automatically edits unwieldy videos down to two-minute, fast-paced, seemingly “directed” videos.

Magisto was launched in beta in September last year, after raising more than $7 million (the most recent $5.5 million from Hong Kong-based Horizon Ventures in August). The company has users from 120 countries and a partnership with YouTube.

Three simple steps

Rather than having to import video clips into an editing program like Apple’s iMovie (just about the easiest program out there) and managing timelines, manually adding transitions, dragging and dropping music, Magisto users simply select up to 16 clips (with a maximum of 600 MB), give the movie a title and choose a soundtrack from their own collection or from Magisto’s free, licensed library of pop tunes.

Click “Create,” wait 15 minutes, and an email informs you your video is ready. Cool transitions including wipes, swirls and split screens are added automatically; the music ducks down so you can hear your two-year-old’s babbling; and the video actually seems to have a storyline. Boiman calls it “rocket science,” and the description doesn’t seem so far off.

Magisto’s technology combines facial recognition with object and action tracking to create “a semantic understanding of what’s happening in the video,” Boiman tells ISRAEL21c.

“For example, if the same person appears over and over in the video, Magisto concludes that person must be important. We select the best parts, post-produce them, and add effects and transition to tell an intelligent story,” he says.

Want to tag images in the video? Magisto extracts the faces it can find and lets you mark them directly in Facebook. You can then upload the video to the social media site or to YouTube with a single click.

This article is reprinted with permission from Israel21c. To read the rest, click here.

Related articles: Magisto, YouTube, Video, Social Media, Facebook, Timeline
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