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How Do You Solve A Problem Like Collaborative Video Editing?January 13, 2020

We’re seeing remote work really at the forefront of daily life now, and we’ve already seen its huge work benefits for teams and individuals who use cloud-based collaborative tools like Google Docs.

This kind of real-time collaboration has already been pretty effectively solved for certain use cases — Google Docs grants users access to a number of real-time tools for composing and editing content as a team, and visual designers have specialized tools like Figma that enable a kind of real-time multiplayer for design efforts.

Video production has specialized tools of its own, of course. Adobe Premiere has existed in various forms for 16 years, first seeing release in September 2003. And Apple’s Final Cut Pro was historically praised for bridging the gap between consumer- and professional-grade video editing software. Nowadays these two niche products effectively compete with each other, as useful for making your home videos pop as they are for a seriously creative cinematic undertaking.

But when you try to use those tools in any kind of collaborative context, you inevitably feel lots of friction. It takes too long to upload large Premiere files for stakeholders to offer their feedback and approval. And then you might have to quickly implement changes after getting that feedback in an email, rinse and repeat. This is a problem deserving a solution, which is why I started Mixcut.

I got the idea to build a collaborative online video editor from a friend who earns a great living producing videos for YouTubers, and I wanted to use it. Her team, as well as the key stakeholders in any projects they execute, are distributed around the world. And the way they would handle approvals, she told me, was to email each other huge Adobe Premiere files all the time.

Sure, Premiere and Final Cut are uniquely handy within the video production world, but they’re not sufficiently designed to let people team up online the way they do in real life. They were also first conceived decades ago, primarily for use by cinema professionals instead of the casual videographers or hobbyist creators companies work with today.

You can simulate some real-time collaborative capabilities within video production using plugins, but to me this only confirms the need for a platform purpose-built with real-time multiplayer in mind. Video teams who depend on such a collaborative paradigm will inevitably stretch it to its limits because plugins can be a kind of rickety bridge, “extra” software running on top of something else. In order to make real-time multiplayer for video editing as useful as its promise, it called for starting from first principles..

Mixcut is a collaborative video editing platform that makes it easier than ever to make linear edits and elegant-looking titles for your footage, no matter where your production team might be located. Mixcut’s capabilities mean you can get input and make edits on a video project from your animator, copywriter, and audio professionals in real-time. It’s still early days, but I can assure you that this way of doing things definitely beats emailing video files to each other. And I’m excited for what’s to come.

This tool makes it easier for project stakeholders to keep their fingers on the pulse of any projects they might be attached to, more readily leaving comments and feedback on work completed (if not making the changes themselves). Instead of waiting for emails to be returned, Mixcut simply gives people the tools they need to get work done or clearly signal what kind of work should be done.

As much as half of all content produced by companies is video, finds Hubspot. This kind of content offers companies more return on their investment. Humans are visual storytellers, and visual information is easy for us to digest. Messages that are video-driven are more likely to cut through the noise of the media landscape.

On some level, Mixcut endeavors to be the Google Docs of video editing. There’s not another purpose-built collaborative video editing platform out there like this. This software’s advantage over any plugin is that it not only gives users a suitable workspace for making high-quality videos, but gives them powerful tools and real-time collaborative capabilities for using them.

This kind of multiplayer capability is going to change everything for video production. Now teams are free to work with the best of their ilk in a more geographically agnostic context. No matter where the leading editors or animators may live, now they can team up in a unified workspace online as if they were in the same office together. That’s what Mixcut is all about.

So tell your friends! With more screens driving more video consumption than ever before, Mixcut seeks to solve getting videos finished and approved no matter where the stakeholders are located.

Remote-work online collaborative tools for the win!

These 4 Video Projects Are Perfect For Remote CollaborationJanuary 11, 2020

Location is virtually meaningless for workers in 2019, and our tools reflect it!

From Google Docs to Figma to Slack and beyond, robust online collaboration tools make it a snap for people to work together on a shared mission, no matter where they are in the world. As long as they have some capable computer hardware and a reliable internet connection, the modern employee or freelancer is largely free to roam while advancing the ball and meeting company expectations.

This is especially true for the world of video production — don’t let the general lack of purpose-built collaboration tools here suggest otherwise. Yes, people wind up in the same location at the same time in order to shoot footage, but the editing process can take place weeks or months after that phase is complete. Producers, directors, editors, animators, and every other stripe of video production talent might be scattered around the world by that time, working on their next project.

People creating video for a living need real ways to team up at a distance. There are at least four kinds of video projects that cry for a remote collaboration paradigm. Let’s get into it.

A music video

From the talent to the director to the agents and producers, a music video unites a number of stakeholders to complete a short piece of filmed entertainment. There are business and publicity interests that want to make sure the music is well-represented, the artist’s vision is honored, and that the video will generate positive attention. It’s content with lots of moving parts behind the scenes.

These dispersed interests need a single place where they can talk about perceived problems and potential solutions. Music videos deserve an awesome remote collaboration tool.

An Instagram ad

Brands seeking to blanket the internet may be inclined to do so with the help of Instagram ads. The popular social media platform boasts more than 100 million active users around the world across all kinds of backgrounds and income levels. Instagram ads are tight bundles of marketing energy, each short commercial clip requiring multiple hours of work from every member in a video production team. For a new tool to effectively reduce that effort, it would have to bridge gaps of technical accessibility and real-time collaboration.

A podcast

It seems every podcast with some kind of sizable audience is lately adding a video component to its media offering. Instead of “tuning in” to Joe Rogan’s podcast while driving, you might just as easily watch highlight clips of his hours-long interviews on YouTube. Video podcasts are booming right now because video is such an effective weapon in the marketer’s battle for attention. Video conveys story more easily and can connect with the consumer more directly than any other medium.

A YouTube project

It’s not uncommon for YouTubers to collaborate with each other in order to create unique pieces of content for sharing on each other’s channels. Doing so almost always requires that they meet up in person at a conference or event, or simply travel to the other YouTuber’s city.

They might be able to complete a compelling video project in that limited timeframe, but they just as easily might have to catch a flight home without any finished work to show for it. It’s not always realistic for these people to wrap a project within the limited time they have together — they need suitable tools for collaborating in a geographically agnostic context.

The future of video production is one in which people can get work done no matter where they are. So what other kinds of video projects call for remote collaboration capabilities? Let us know in the comments.

How Mixcut’s Technology WorksDecember 28, 2019

What if Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere are becoming legacy tools?

These popular video editing systems offer lots of capability for producing videos that pop, but they offer no web services and require lots of hands-on file management at the same time. Dealing with files is a legacy concept! Tech trends show a clear movement toward the cloud and away from centralized, file-dependent paradigms.

Premiere and Final Cut are certainly capable of some impressive feats of production, but they are on their way to becoming tools for hobbyists and enthusiasts. Just as a car nut might have tools for working on his or her vehicle, video teams today generally depend on these specialized, localized tools that leave collaborators distanced from the creative process or cut out of it completely.

But people don’t maintain a fancy Lamborghini just to get groceries. They much more commonly rely on a simple tool for getting from A to B. Mixcut is this tool for video production, and it lets you bring your entire team along for the ride.

With technical DNA that includes WebAssembly, WebGL, hardware-accelerated graphics APIs, and Cache API, here’s what you need to know about how Mixcut works under the hood.

Why we love the cloud

Files can be corrupted, require backups, and are a pain to move around and update. These days it’s all about having a single source of truth, and that calls for the cloud.

Mixcut uses modern cloud technology to bring video editing into the realm of real-time collaboration. Team members share access to the same workspace, seeing exactly the same completed work across all their screens. There you have it — an authoritative standalone representation of a video project.

The cloud became a central source of truth only because web services and software evolved that way. We started with the Web as something that was unconnected to our local machine. We had to connect, do work, and then disconnect. Then uploading and downloading files became more commonplace, and the problems spiderwebbed out from there.

Platforms like Dropbox and iCloud offered syncing solutions, but new issues would emerge when people used multiple devices to access the same data that someone else might already be editing. Syncing causes the problem of “eventual consistency,” and teams instead need to see the latest updates immediately.

Our cloud paradigm makes it happen — Mixcut brings real-time multiplayer to video editing so that teams can see each other’s latest work without delay in a single, unified workspace.

How we load and render video

We’re going to store video in the cloud, of course! To play those videos in your browser, we load it into an HTML5 canvas element and simply play it. The GPU on your local device buffers the video frame data. If you’ve added subtitles or images on top of your video, the browser executes a basic drawing command and the GPU makes them appear.

When it comes time to render a finished draft of a video project, Mixcut queries a render server to generate video into a buffer (not on the screen), then saves that output and converts it to a video in multiple codecs. If the browser can’t play a codec, the video goes back to the server for conversion and comes back as a proxy format. This is a standard technique for video editing — only then does the system worry about audio.

How we load and render audio

Depending on the camera you’re using, you might have 24-30 frames of video per second. But our audio lives at 44 kHz, so there are 44,000 “frames” of audio per second. We use web audio APIs that are usually reserved for gaming and low-latency audio sampling to handle that.

A project’s audio is finalized during the video render process. Mixcut processes all the audio inputs together as one and smacks them into your video as a standalone audio track. After that, you only need to watch your finished work.

How we do “undo”

We’ve made it easy to quickly reverse any changes you want. As teams work in Mixcut together, the system stores a chain of “states” — a linear series of snapshots of the overall project. To make a change or edit to the project is to add to the chain. The “undo” command simply goes back to earlier links in the chain.

Simplicity gets things done

Mixcut doesn’t offer elaborate transitions or wipes, color correction, or high-level audio editing. And it doesn’t need to — specialists can already use other tools to do these things effectively. Our straightforward linear video editor lives in the cloud, where it can be used by multiple team members at the same time, regardless of their specific discipline.

This means virtually every member of a production team can offer their high-level input up until the very last moment. Writers, animators, sound engineers, directors, and associated businesspeople have long needed a space where they can collaborate on bringing video projects to completion.

By keeping things simple for the front-end user, Mixcut can flex some advanced technology behind the scenes to help teams meet their production goals. And there’s nothing “legacy” about that.