The Wevideo API: Editing and Storyboard Tools at Your Fingertips

Greg Bates, April 29th, 2013

WeVideoThe Wevideo API opens up this video-editing-in-the-cloud service. Technical information on the API is available directly from the company.  Wevideo provides a solid set of editing and storyboard tools including a timeline and a library of soundtracks. Beyond that, the cloud gives movie editors something else: the ability to collaborate with ease. Because you can create copies of footage, different people can edit the same video as they please.

As Erez Zuckerman reports in PC World, the service works well once the video is uploaded to Dropbox or similar cloud storage service. Since there is seamless integration between Wevideo and the storage, it cuts down the time needed for the video footage to get into the editor. You can also port your finished product over to Youtube without downloading and then re-uploading it. And in his own tests, he says, the system was responsive and familiar to those already using video editing. But, as Zuckerman notes in his otherwise glowing review, there’s a bit of a nasty surprise for those starting out with the free version.

“Free accounts can only export very low resolution (480p) watermarked video. I understand the limitation, but I wish WeVideo was more upfront about it and made it clear as part of the registration process, rather than reveal it at the last possible moment when the editing work has been done.”

This raises an interesting business design issue. In Wevideo’s defense, on the pricing page the lower resolution and watermark restrictions that come with the free version are clearly disclosed. And besides, what more can you expect for free? Two points are worth making. First, most models that offer a free version make that version actually usable, hoping to entice people to pay for bells and whistles. Here, the watermark makes “free” no more than an experimental tool, an introduction to how it works. So, it’s not really “free” in the way consumers expect; it’s not a serviceable if inferior version. The second point is an issue of where, not just whether you disclose the facts.

I imagine the folks at Wevidio never intended to create a bad taste in people’s mouths. Fortunately for this otherwise stellar service there are easy remedies. One would be to disclose the limitations not more prominently–they’ve done that–but in closer proximity to the user’s activities, like right before you start your first upload, for example. Second, it could change “free” to a trial of unlimited access to the premium version for a limited time, hoping to get people hooked on the service and subscribing. And lastly, if they really wanted to mix it up, they might go the Instagram or Youtube route, offering everything for free with the aim of amassing a huge following and then selling the business to a larger entity that can integrate it profitably.

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