Online video stage fright is real. We all love to watch videos on YouTube, Vine or Instagram — but when it comes to turning the camera onto ourselves, many are hesitant to push the big red recording button. That’s why Moviefone founder Andrew Jarecki is trying to make the production of videos with your phone less intimidating with his new KnowMe app. “You don’t just have to be shooting yourself,” he explained in a recent interview.
KnowMe, which launched Thursday with an app for Apple’s iPhone, allows users to quickly record clips and mix them with photos and previously recorded videos from their phone’s camera roll. Users can also do an image search on the web and mix the results with their own source material, add music from their phone’s MP3 collection, or tap into KnowMe’s licensed music library. users can touch up the video before finalizing it, and the result can be shared with other KnowMe users, or exported to be shared on Facebook, Twitter or elsewhere.
KnowMe isn’t the first app trying to simplify video recording. Numerous apps are trying to deal with the huge amount of photos and videos recorded by smart phone users every day. Magisto for example uses algorithms to automatically generate highlight clips from personal media, while Vidmob taps into a network of video editors to manually make the best of raw recordings.
On the other side of the spectrum are video recording and sharing apps like Vine and Instagram, which offer users some basic editing tools but put a bigger emphasis on providing a platform to share the content.
KnowMe wants to position itself in the middle of these two camps by simplifying video editing while also tapping into celebrities to encourage sharing and social interaction. One of KnowMe’s more prominent spokespeople and early users is Nev Schulman, best known for his 2010 documentary “Catfish.” Other celebrities using KnowMe include Sean Hayes of “Will & Grace” fame, stand-up comedian Morgan Murphy and Instagram celebrity Elliot Tebele aka FuckJerry.
KnowMe’s Hollywood connection is no accident. Not only did Jarecki found the movie listings site Moviefone, he is also the Emmy Award-winning and Academy Award-nominated director of HBO’s “The Jinx.” The company, which has been funded by a number of private investors led by Bessemer Venture Partners, also counts J.J. Abrams among its backers.
Despite the celebrity angle, Jarecki is trying to position KnowMe as an app for the average user without access to expensive editing tools. “We tried to make video accessible, and essentially democratize it,” he said.