Collaborative Video App Turns Moments into Memorable Events

It’s the middle of winter, and with the wind-chill factor approaching -35 C, you’ve decided to escape on a Caribbean cruise.

That’s 10 days away with three of your friends, seven days on a floating hotel, docking at five island ports of call, three inland excursions, eight on-ship photo ops and six separate cameras to capture it all.

Turning all those moments into an album that does justice to everyone’s experience is a huge task with photos, let alone video. But what if you could stitch everyone’s clips together to make a seamless memento that all can enjoy?

Grade school friends Brett Madill and Chris Recalis decided to create an app to do just that – called Clipter – to help people preserve shared experiences like trips, weddings and other special occasions.

Clipter, a current Cohort 4 company in Communitech HYPERDRIVE, officially launched their app this month in the App Store.

People who experience an event together have trouble reliving it later, because each person’s photos and videos wind up scattered across their individual social feeds. Madill says Clipter solves that problem because it is “a way to create kind of a video story from everyone’s perspective, around that trip that you went on, around that festival, around that birthday party.”

However, it’s more than just a place to collect video clips from your vacation, Madill explains. “In real-time, your family can subscribe and watch along as you go on your journey, and on the flipside of things, afterwards you have this video of that experience.”

Unlike a Caribbean vacation, the co-founders’ shared experience as first-time entrepreneurs over the past year wasn’t as relaxing.

They dove headfirst into it last summer after graduating from computer science programs, and worked on creating their vision for Clipter.

Like many entrepreneurs, they were fresh out of school and had little experience in development.

“We had a general knowledge on everything, but when we first started out, we were like, “Oh, we can upload a photo,” and that took us like a week to do,” says Recalis, a University of Waterloo graduate.

Just like the events that their app captures, their story began to evolve.

“It was like building Lego blocks of what Clipter was and became, and just taking that week-by-week, scouring the Internet to learn how do we do this as we went on,” says Madill.

It’s not as easy to Google solutions to business problems as it is to solve technical ones, and that’s what led them to apply for the HYPERDRIVE program last fall.

“Part of the reason…was to connect with people who could help where those weaknesses lay; access to the network of mentors, people who do have experience, ways to easily ask people for help,” Madill says.

One of those people was Taylor Jones, former co-founder of HYPERDRIVE company Dandy and creator of Dear Photograph, whom they recruited to help with PR, social media and marketing for the launch.

Jones, who has built a large online following through inventive use of social media channels, is using to Clipter to document his adventures.

“A few years ago, I made a little video during my summer, when I did a whole lot of travelling, and I put it together at the end of the year,” says Jones, adding, “Clipter is just a new way of doing that for me and I’m able to document whatever exciting story that I may end up doing.”

Not one to use just any app, Jones is excited to be able to pay his experience forward.

“To be able to have a local company with an app that I actually use on a day-to-day basis, and to be able to help them out and hopefully be successful, is a no-brainer,” he says.

Referring to the real-time impact of Twitter in documenting the emergency landing of a plane in the Hudson River in 2009, Jones sees Clipter as “a great resource for journalists to use and be able to tell a story well.”

The Clipter co-founders’ story continues to unfold, and with their chapter at HYPERDRIVE drawing to close in the next couple of months, they have learned a lot along the way.

“It’s very much a community and everyone wants to see everyone else succeed,” Madill says of the program.

“My biggest piece of advice is don’t be afraid to reach out to anyone, because they are likely willing to help you, and have either gone through an experience that can benefit where you’re going next, or perhaps connect you with someone else.”

This article first appeared on Communitech.