Behind the Screens – Making of Mobile Video App ‘Sympler’

/ Jul 15, 2014

Sympler

Mobile is hot. Video is hot, but mobile video is even hotter right now.

So we got the behind the screens insight from Sympler Co-founder Alexander Kane on how they came up with Sympler and what the future looks like for this new mobile video app. Sympler, which just recently launched, allows creators to mix and remix video content straight from their teeny tiny iPhones (said the proud Samsung Note 3 owner.)

VideoInk: How exactly did you come up with the idea for Sympler? Was there any particular light bulb moment, or did the idea come to you in parts time?

AK: We were working on how to make the video making process easier and more democratic and were frustrated by how all the tools and apps were simply de-engineering the old editing process – which is essentially a hundred year old Sympler_Mix to the Beatsystem involving snipping and splicing. This is complex and unapproachable so very few people try their hand at it. So we started looking at other creative pursuits that were fun and easy but still led to great output and we hit on music production. Hip hop and house artists and DJs have been using samplers for years to quickly create beats and whole tracks. So we set about applying the sampler format to video. So now anyone can ‘mix’ together video samples like a DJ makes music.

VI: Who do you envision as your target users? What demographic is going to make Sympler a popular app?

AK: We already have a good idea from the beta version. 86% are under 34. and  67% are under 24. It’s the same people that are prolific Instagram and Vine users. People who want to one-up their mates with the ability to respond to something with a touch more creativity than just a tweet or a link.

Hmm …this sounds familiar – Read more in our coverage of Sympler’s launch here

VI: What are your distribution plans surrounding Sympler, and how do you go about getting the word out for a new app?

AK: The first thing we strive to do is listen to our existing users and understand how we can make it the best app we can so that they become evangelists. So the output of Sympler and our users are our best publicity. We have 80K people on the beta and some of their videos are awesome. From today we will have full user profiles and the ability for people to remix other people’s videos. This creates an element of competition and therefore stickiness. Beyond that we have some great partnerships lined up with media partners for whom Sympler offers a way for their audiences to remix and amplify their content. We’re in talks with people in movie, music and TV industries about that. And – beyond the usual PR and marketing – we also have some successful ‘makers’ whom we have given this to who are going to make mixes and promote us in the upcoming weeks.

VI: How do you think apps like Sympler (and other inventions that make video editing so easy and accessible to the masses) will affect the world of video creation at large?

AK: I think they will lower the intimidation factor – which was our original aim. Half the battle in any creative pursuit is the confidence or simply knowledge of where to start. With our game-like format we are saying that all are welcome and from your first tap you’re going to have fun – so why not give it a go. We believe creativity is a process of playing and practicing and we hope we’ve built a platform that enables those.

VI: Your Co-founder Ben Jenkins noted, “People’s creativity is improved when they can remix.” Can you elaborate on this idea and speak more to creativity surrounding adaptation?

Sympler_RemixVideoAK: Yes – we’ve both worked in creative fields where the worst briefs are undefined. Without constraints people often draw blanks. When given something to riff off you see the energy levels rise and people start coming up with better ideas. We did a lot of research with Vine users and found that people were having to do brainstorms simply to decide where to start when making a Vine. They were daunted by the process. We didn’t want people to have to rack their brains for ideas on Sympler so we provided them with the ability to start the whole process simply by remixing someone else’s video. All the best ideas are a spin or a remix of something else – from Hip Hop tracks to contemporary art.

VI: On that note, are “new” ideas becoming less popular, in a sense, when it comes to digital video creation? With so many videos online echoing what’s been done before, where is there space left for entirely original content in the video space?

AK: On that note – new ideas have always been less popular than remixed ones. But, yes, I would agree that digital media certainly makes instantaneous responses and remixes much easier. But, from old ideas, come new ones. We want people to practice by remixing old stuff and soon enough, as confidence and skill grows, those derivative ideas and remixes become new things in their own right.

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