The Streamweaver app allows simultaneous video recordings from multiple users to be combined into one, split-screen presentation. JOHN PARTIPILO / THE TENNESSEAN
Written by Walker Moskop/The Tennessean
By offering what its CEO calls "split-screen synchronicity," Nashville startup Streamweaver will try to convince users that shooting mobile video can be a simple and highly social experience that can be done with friends.
Through the free app, which the company launched Sept. 26, up to four users can simultaneously record videos and then upload them into one split-screen video that plays each recorded angle at the same time.
Watching the finished product is a stimulating experience, which is part of the point. Streamweaver's target audience is "Generation C," which the company's CEO, Erik Carlson, described as 18- to 25-year-old heavy technology users for whom "instant gratification doesn't happen fast enough" and having too many screens isn't a problem.
During a recent interview, Carlson pulled out his phone and demonstrated how the app works. He scrolled through the home feed of the app and selected a video that captures the spontaneous, goofy reactions of some users playing with Streamweaver for the first time.
The video -- shot from four angles -- shows of a bunch of guys yelling and jumping around on a porch at night, and as four dimly lit views of the same front deck swirl and bounce up and down, there is nonstop chanting:
One guy blurts out: "Everybody's got a camera. It's a multiangle camera hang! I don't know what's going on!"
As silly as that statement may sound, he's touched on something important. Streamweaver is the first app to offer split-screen, simultaneous recording, which means that there isn't much precedent to determine exactly how consumers will react to the app or what they'll use it for.
"People haven't been saying, 'Oh, I wish I had multiperspective video,'" Carlson said. "We haven't seen that market request."
"We're only a week into it," he said. "We don't know yet what users think."
Carlson wouldn't reveal how many people downloaded the app during its first week, but said user reception was strong. While initial excitement is a good thing, Streamweaver's big challenge -- like others that have come before it -- will be transferring the wave of user enthusiasm surrounding a new technology into sustained habit.
And eventually, that habit will need to be turned into money. Currently, Streamweaver draws no revenue through the free app. Carlson said the company had developed viable revenue models, though he declined to discuss them.
For the time being, Streamweaver is focused on attracting a strong base of users and learning from their behavior, Carlson said.
The app presents mobile video users a new experience -- the closest competitor, Vyclone, mashes up videos from multiple users, but doesn't play them simultaneously using the split-screen format.
Carlson envisions the app being used for a variety of purposes -- birthday parties, pranks, extreme sports, even citizen journalism. Its appeal, he said, centers around being able to relive an event and retell a story from multiple angles and perspectives.
"There's this general fear of missing out," Carlson said, "and we think this is very much a product of our time."