GoPro is launching a new feature today called QuikStories that makes it even easier for users to receive automatically edited videos of their footage. It will also make it possible to transfer footage from a GoPro Hero 5 camera to a user’s phone with just one swipe (on iPhone) or automatically (on Android) in the background.
QuikStories is essentially just an improvement to the Quik app, a mobile editor that can automatically assemble an edit to the beat of a song from one or multiple video clips and photos. The difference now is that GoPro is removing all the initial steps that stood in the way of getting to those algorithmically compiled edits.
With QuikStories on Android, GoPro Hero 5 cameras can now automatically send footage to a user’s phone, and Quik will start editing it together without the user even needing to touch the app. The current architecture of Apple’s mobile software won’t allow this automatic transfer on an iPhone yet, according to GoPro, so those users will still have to suffer through one step: open Quik and swipe down on the main screen to start the transfer and assembly process. And after the app has created these edits, users can still go back in and tweak them to their liking.
The catch? GoPro warns that users should make sure their camera has more than 20 percent battery left before starting this process, otherwise it could die in the middle of the transfer. And while Quik is able to identify what should be the best footage based on a combination of computer vision and sensor data from the camera, users will probably still have to be a bit more judicious with their shooting if the camera is sending everything to their phone.
GoPro has been improving its software — specifically its video editing software — for a while now. For instance, there was no way to quickly create complex edits like these before GoPro bought and rebranded the Quik app in the first half of 2016. And when the Hero 5 cameras were released last fall, they introduced a way to automatically back up footage to the cloud that users could then access on their mobile devices.
Both of these were massive changes to the GoPro ecosystem. But GoPro CEO Nick Woodman thinks QuikStories can be an even bigger shift in how the company’s cameras are used because of all the steps the new feature eradicates. Before QuikStories, a GoPro user would have to shoot footage, open the main GoPro app, select and transfer specific files to their phone, open up the Quik app, and select those files again to get the automatic video editing started.
“While we had all of the tools, previously, for our customers to get to an edit and realize the value of owning a GoPro, we’re pretty candid that that was a very complicated solution for somebody to figure out,” Woodman tells The Verge.
By automatically combining footage (and photos), companies like GoPro hope to encourage users to share more of their own content, which can in turn excite them and others to create and share more in the long term.
GoPro is far from the only company that’s been working on ways to do this. Apple, Google, and Facebook all have ways of automatically repackaging a user’s videos and photos into easily shareable edits. But before QuikStories, GoPro’s algorithmic edits were still something that required action. A user had to make a conscious decision to seek them out. Now it’s something that happens almost completely in the background.
“When you’re reviewing the footage [with QuikStories], it’s as though you captured it with the phone itself,” Woodman says. “That’s a much more compelling solution and experience than what GoPro was before QuikStories, and so we think it can weave GoPro into people’s more casual use in a way that GoPro wasn’t really relevant before because of the amount of work it took to get to the edit, to get to the story.”
Finding new ways to stir up business is key for GoPro going forward. The Hero 5 cameras have been selling well, but 2016 was a rough financial year for the company, and this past spring, GoPro went through another round of layoffs — its third since the beginning of 2016.
As for the name, Woodman admits he’s aware that the word “stories” has become somewhat of a loaded word in the app world. “There was a healthy debate over, you know, is it going to seem like we’re jumping on the bandwagon,” he says. But ultimately, Woodman adds, the name felt accurate, and the company also didn’t see associations with features like Instagram Stories as a bad thing. With video, he says, “we’re just seeing people become more and more creative, more and more expressive, and we think we can be right at the the heart of that.”
Quik Stories is available today by updating both the Quik editing app and the main GoPro app.