Taking photos has been revolutionised in recent years by the likes of EyeEm and the newly-unpopular Instagram – and now a similar wind of change is sweeping through the world of videos. VJAM is a new app from UJAM, an online music creation platform, which enables you to put Instagram-style filters on videos together with music from Oscar-wininng composer Hans Zimmer.
Hence the claim from UJAM, which was founded in Bremen, that it is bringing a touch of Hollywood to mobile videos. But the real killer feature is that the music is always perfectly synced with the movie, no matter how long the clip lasts.
The free app is available on iOS and the resulting videos do genuinely look awesome. It’s a simple process: Load a movie from your camera roll or record something directly, then pick a theme in VJAM, which is a combination of a soundtrack and visual filter. The app renders your video so that the music matches the footage perfectly. You can then save it or share it by posting directly to Facebook.
While there are other platforms with similar products, VJAM’s unique selling point, according to CEO Axel Hensen, is its musical expertise which allows it to fit music to video length without losing the elegance of the composition.
A DJ and producer for ten years, Axel studied computer science, and found the perfect way to combine his two passions. He and two of his co-founders, Peter Gorges and Paul Kellett, had previously worked on virtual musical instruments for Digidesign (now Avid Audio) and left to set up UJAM after getting fed up with the demands of professional users. They wanted to create something for consumers, Axel told Silicon Allee.
“We have high quality, great-sounding music that always matches your videos perfectly,” Axel said. “There’s no other app out there that can do that.” Other apps either fix the length of a video or use ugly fade-ins and fade-outs.
The app works on a freemium model, with a certain amount of themes available for free. Pro accounts have a wider selection as well as no time limitation – free videos are capped at 30 seconds. VJAM is aimed at ordinary people who are discovering the possibilities of carrying a video camera around in their pocket the whole time, just as they did with pictures. Axel added: “We are targeting those consumers who want to capture their most loved, most exciting, funniest moments while on the go.”
Ultimately, the goal of VJAM is to give consumers more interaction with music, and the UJAM team are planning to export the technology elsewhere: “While VJAM is our first try at a consumer app,” Axel said, “our ultimate goal is to make the technology available to all the video apps out there. We want to focus on music because that’s what we do.”
A basic version of the app was soft-launched two months ago before this week’s hard launch of an improved product.
Founded three years ago, UJAM has some heavyweight backing – Hans Zimmer, who won an Oscar for his Lion King score and has worked on film including Inception and Gladiator, and rapper/singer/producer/ Pharrell Williams are both co-founders, alongside Mark Kvamme of Sequoia Capital (as an individual). The company’s HQ is now in Silicon Valley, but the R&D team remains in Bremen, where it was founded.
“VJAM adds that ‘touch of Hollywood’ to everyday video,” Hans Zimmer said. “You have to see and hear it to believe it.”
And Axel said: “We had the vsion to make all the beautiful technology that we knew available to consumers… We wanted to take all the technical hurdles away and take away the barriers people have to understanding music.”