MixBit: Capture, Edit & Share Videos

Video on smartphones seems to be all the rage right now. While Vine wasn’t the first app to make video sharing popular, it certainly streamlined the process so that anyone was capable of capturing and sharing short videos. Instagram eventually joined in on the fun, bringing video sharing to its 130 million monthly active users. But what about the original video service that made video sharing over the Internet what it is today? I’m, of course, referring to YouTube.

In terms of streaming video, YouTube continues to reign supreme with over 6 billion hours of video being watched every month. YouTube co-founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen succeeded in their mission to make it easy for individuals to share videos. With their new app and service, MixBit, they’ve set their sights on helping people make videos that are great.

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What is MixBit?

MixBit is not unlike YouTube, in that it’s a service in which users can upload videos to be shared with others. Unlike YouTube, however, MixBit is a tool that can be utilized for each stage of creating a video — capture, edit and publish — all from your iPhone (YouTube Capture does allow you to capture and publish videos, but in a very rudimentary manner). Once published, your videos can posted to your Facebook and Twitter accounts, or you can simply share a link to your videos, which can be viewed in a mobile or desktop web browser.

Getting Started

After completing the tour, MixBit places you in the first of four views — Featured — where you’ll find an expanding list of videos that are featured on MixBit. I found myself checking out a few random videos to get a feel for how the service was being used, and was surprised to discover that I couldn’t search for a particular type of video. To access the three remaining views — My Videos, My Projects and Account — you’ll need to tap the icon in the upper-left corner.

MixBit's navigation scheme is simple and enjoyable to use.

MixBit’s navigation scheme is simple and enjoyable to use.

You can begin capturing and editing videos straight away, and even publish videos without an account. However, if you want the ability to manage and share your videos, which is kind of the point of using MixBit, you’ll need to register for an account. Interestingly enough, registering requires you to use an email and password, and doesn’t include the ability to do so with your Facebook or Twitter account (unlike apps of a similar nature).

You can sign in with connected social media accounts once you’ve registered for a MixBit account.

You can sign in with connected social media accounts once you’ve registered for a MixBit account.

Capturing Videos

Tapping the + icon in upper-right will initiate video capture mode. Videos are captured in clips (referred as “bits”), and each clip can be as short as a second or as long as 16 seconds. Each full video (referred to as a “mix”) can include as many as 256 clips. Clips are stored as independent elements, and can be edited as such, but will play together in the final mix.

MixBit hopes to bring the demise of portrait videos.

MixBit hopes to bring the demise of portrait videos.

Clips are shot exclusively in landscape mode, even when holding your phone in portrait mode (take that, portrait video shooters!). When in landscape mode, you can view far more elements on the screen and the video is at its highest quality, whereas shooting in portrait mode only captures about ⅓ of what’s being displayed on the screen. Check out this video for an example, which includes a clip shot in landscape mode and the same subject in portrait mode.

The color options used for the lines are a reference to the SMPTE color bars that are shown on TV.

The color options used for the lines are a reference to the SMPTE color bars that are shown on TV.

Capturing video is achieved by either tapping the red record button in portrait mode or tapping anywhere on the screen in landscape mode. While capturing video, you can toggle the LED light if needed, and reverse the camera if you want to shoot clips of yourself. Landscape mode also includes a grid feature, if that’s something you find useful. Each clip is marked by a color line displayed along the bottom, and the length of the line signifies the duration of the clip.

Editing Videos

When you’ve finished capturing clips, turn your phone to portrait mode and tap the Play button to transition to the Review view. Each clip is represented by it’s own square, and can be deleted, cropped, duplicated and/or saved to your phone. Rearranging clips can be achieved by tapping a holding a clip, and then dragging it left or right. You can also import videos and photos from your Camera Roll, or use clips you’ve saved from other MixBit videos (a.k.a. “remixing”).

Imported clips can exceed the 16 second limit.

Imported clips can exceed the 16 second limit.

I’ve used a handful of video editing apps, including iMove, and MixBit’s editing feature is very well done. My only issue deals with trimming clips, which is handled in the same manner as trimming video in Photos.app. I found that trimming from the beginning of the video worked well, but trimming from the end often led to clips being cut off sooner in the final mix than what I had selected during editing.

Trimming clips is simple, but may require a bit of trial and error to select the correct endpoint.

Trimming clips is simple, but may require a bit of trial and error to select the correct endpoint.

Publishing Videos

Once your editing work is complete, tap the right arrow button to move on to the final step — publishing. The Publish view is where you’ll make your final arrangements, including adding a title, which can include usernames and hashtags (similar to Vine and Twitter), and a location. You’ll also need to select whether you’d like to video to be public (i.e. can be seen by anyone), limited (i.e. can only be accessed by the provided link) or private (i.e. can only be seen by you). Finally, select if you’d like the video to be posted to your social network accounts, and then tap the green checkmark button to initiate publishing.

Hopefully publishing upload times will decrease as the service finds its footing.

Hopefully publishing upload times will decrease as the service finds its footing.

Videos are published one at a time, but you can queue up multiple videos to be published in succession. Upload times varied for me, sometimes taking five or more minutes to even begin, and I ultimately found it best to initiate uploads when I was planning on be connected to Wi-Fi for awhile. MixBit does allow you to upload videos over your network, but it’s not a recommended practice for anyone that’s data consequence.

Grievances

During my time with MixBit I found myself having mixed feelings (pun intended). I very much enjoyed the capture and edit aspect of the app, but don’t like the restrictions placed on publishing. I understand it’s a service that’s intended to share video, but I’d also like the ability to save videos locally. I also have issues with the video playback. Though touted as seamless by AVOS, there’s a noticeable lag when transitioning from clip-to-clip (check out this video and see if you agree). I also find it odd that I can’t edit videos once they’ve been published, or add background music to my video. In addition, the app and service are missing a few key features that would benefit its social aspect, such as search and the ability to find and follow friends.

The Bottom Line

As an app and service, MixBit is very much in its infancy and has a great deal of potential to grow. My big concern for MixBit is monetization. A service that hosts as much video as MixBit does needs to bring in revenue to survive, and seeing as videos can’t be saved locally, there’s a potential that videos published to MixBit won’t be available if the service were to fail. However, seeing how successful Hurley and Chen were with YouTube, perhaps my concerns are misplaced.

For the time being, MixBit is good for individuals that are inexperienced with capturing and editing video, or use Vine or Instagram to capture video but would like the ability to capture several clips and edit them as needed. In many ways, MixBit is really the “pro” version of Vine, without the social features.


Summary

Easily capture, edit and share videos.

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