A new update from Snapchat will hopefully make you a little less angry about staying in this weekend instead of going to that festival with all your friends.
Crowd Surf is a new feature on the photo and video-sharing app that uses machine learning to realize when users are recording the same performance, then take those small snippets of video—10 seconds or less—and put them together, creating a multi-angle and truly unique video. The feature was spotted yesterday in the Our Stories section, which is curated by Snapchat themselves.
The example used in the app is of pop singer Lorde performing her single “Green Light” at the Outside Lands music festival in San Francisco. It is a massive song that had the crowd singing along, so naturally everyone had their phones in the air recording the moment. Snapchat composited all the short shots, and just like that, an extremely interesting and downright cool video was born. Check out the example below.
Crowd Surf seems to take one dominant audio track and layer it over all of the selected videos. This makes sense, as quality may reduce if a video is taken from a long distance compared to a shot right beside the stage. This is also a bit disappointing, as layering videos from up close with the die-hard fans belting out every line against videos from afar would create an intriguing dynamic. The feature also seems to last only 20-30 seconds at a time before cutting to a different section of the song or performance, so you don’t get to see the entire “Green Light” performance.
As you watch Crowd Surf, you can tap the icon in the bottom right of the screen to switch your views. Swap from side stage to the middle of the pit to a shot of a girl filming herself singing along. My biggest disappointment is that there’s no actual Snaps from someone crowd surfing.
Snap unveiled the crowdsourced Our Story about three years ago at another music festival, and it was very cool to see how different people enjoyed their time. Now Snap is back at it again trying to innovate and push away from their competitors.
You can check out Crowd Surf right now in the featured section of Snapchat. As more users become aware of its existence, it may prompt them to take more videos in hopes of being used within the new feature. This means Crowd Surf could pop up at more music festivals, sporting events, parades and other places where tons of people come together for a shared experience.
For those purists out there, it might also mean more phones at shows blocking your view. Several artists have recently done shows, or even whole tours, prohibiting phone use during the band’s time on stage. Either way it goes, if you really want to see the show, you can just crowd surf and swim above the rest of your fellow attendees.