Nestled in Manhattan’s West Village, a small team led by Charley Miller, Erick Schonfeld, and Edo Segal have created an iPad app that they think will revolutionize how web video is created and experienced.
In terms of web video creators, Schonfeld sees “two types of people — the people who are already using video and we are providing this really amazing authoring tool for them and those who are just starting from the social web and want to share their web experience in video.”
TouchCast is designed to help each group with what they’re calling video apps, or “vApps.” It basically means adding chyrons, YouTube videos, websites, Google maps, and other on-screen graphics to videos, just like broadcast news, but without the giant production team. And because it’s the web, vApps are all interactive.
Users can watch these interactive videos right in the app, or on TouchCast’s website, which supports Chrome and Safari browsers. The videos can also be exported to YouTube, though in-video interactivity won’t work. “People who are active on YouTube will see a lot of benefit from the iPad platform because there’s so much value embedded in the app,” Schonfield explains. “A lot of the features we have built into the app for free are paid apps in the iTunes store.” The hope here is that these additional capabilities will convince users on YouTube to download TouchCast and use it to create, watch, and share videos.
The TouchCast app enables users to shoot from the front and back cameras, so vloggers can add vApps by themselves while they’re recording, or put production in the hands of an assistant. This signals another element of the TouchCast plan: How it can be used by news organizations and other media companies for professional reporting and other types of video content creation. In fact, TouchCast’s co-founders want to license its technology to broadcast outlets.
The company plans to launch desktop apps by the fall, which would make it possible for media companies and other creators to shoot from a studio as well as do on-field reporting via the iPad.
As for how the startup plans to monetize the platform, TouchCast might move to a freemium model down the road, where additional filters, storage, and other features could come for an extra charge.
It’s easy to see how TouchCast could change web video, especially considering the wealth of vloggers currently dominating the YouTube ecosystem. But that’s long-term. Right now, take a minute or two to see what the service is capable of.