The Who, What, When, Where and Why of muvee


Back in 1999, when MTV really meant Music Television, and artists like Michael Jackson changed the way the world viewed music videos, video editing was done in a dark room by those who were the antithesis of cool and had titles like Director and Producer at companies like Disney, Discovery or MTV. A year later, a small company in Cupertino would release iMovie and try to sell people on the idea that everyone of you, yes, even you, can be a Movie Director, and you can edit your own home movies (that is, on a Mac). We thought that was one of the biggest conspiracies of 2000. Home movie making, even with iMovie, was still unattainable unless you were ready to sit down with a manual and teach yourself a new language: video bin, media library, cuts, dissolves, transitions, lower-thirds, alpha-channels, multi-tracks, audio attenuation, sync sound…the list goes on. We knew there had to be a better, easier way…after all, the Japanese had made recording movies easy and relatively inexpensive. For just $10, you could buy a 180min MiniDV Tape and record mind-numbingly boring videos of Kathy and John getting ready for the wedding, the kiss-the-bride moment, the best-man's speech…and unfortunately, everything in between…all 175 minutes of it.

Around that same time, a bunch of musician-geek-wannabes were working in a government funded institute in sunny Singapore. Some of us were analyzing videos for various things like shot segments, "steadiness" of the shot, presence of human faces and complicated things like motion vectors. Meanwhile, another group was looking into analysis of audio and music, how to fuse voice and music together gracefully, how to detect beats in the music, and how to "understand" the emotional vibes in music, from Madonna to Mahler. It was the first dot-com boom and everybody and anybody were starting companies. So, that musician-geek-wannabe group sat around and exchanged notes on what we were doing, and whether it was useful to anyone. We then realized that we had the ability to cut videos to the beat of the music automatically. And by using the analysis results, even do a pretty good job of it. We decided the end result was not quite a home movie and not quite a Hollywood blockbuster. So we called it a "MUVEE"; MUsic VEEdeo. (and back then, a dot com URL that was actually pronounceable was not that rare.)

In 2001 MUVEE was thus born, and introduced Instant Personal Videos to the world with the release of muvee autoProducer 1.0. We then went on to raise Series A funding, got an office in the downtown art belt of Singapore, and continued to release even more advanced video editing software, picking up several awards along the way while securing more and more patents in the automatic video editing software space, and even had our software bundled with cameras, PCs and DVD writers from HP, Dell, Medion, Sony and Olympus and many other notable companies globally.

Fast forward to the winter of 2004: a giant company in freezing Finland was one year away from releasing the world's first cell phone with video recording capabilities (gasp!). They (Nokia, if you hadn't already figured it out) found us (we think it's the warmer weather that attracted them…) Together we released the world's first video editing software application on a mobile phone, Movie Director for Symbian in 2005 and then repeated that feat in cramming tons of code into the point-and-shoot S-series compact camera with Nikon, and released Pictmotion by muvee a year later.

In the meantime, pervasive broadband internet, Photobucket, Flickr and YouTube came along. Video and photo sharing over the internet were just becoming practical. We quickly wrapped our PC engine with APIs and put it on a bunch of servers in Santa Clara, and introduced www.muveeMix.com. Then Web 2.0 and social networking were unleashed upon the world with companies like Friendster, Bebo, and MySpace. Then Facebook came along, and we quickly realized that people have great personal stories to tell through their photos, comments, captions and status messages, but all they could share were just plain Albums. So we moved muveeMix to Facebook, and tweaked it so that it would help transform your Facebook albums into photo-stories that matter, complete with captions, statuses, profiles, Likes. Automatically.

By naming all these other companies, we realize it may be telling of our age, but we aren't embarrassed. Many of the original group who started muvee started as fresh-faced kids straight out of college, struggling to wake up in the morning because we coded into the wee hours on a caffeine overdose, working 80-100 hours a week. Nowadays, we struggle to get out of bed because our toddlers kept us up all night. But when we see the effects the muvees have on the people who make 'em (our customers) and most importantly, the people who watch them (the lucky ones), we come into work each morning determined to keep innovating, to reach more people and help them tell their stories, ridding the world of boring unedited home movies.

Today, we have a presence in Silicon Valley, Seoul and Tokyo, but faithfully keep our headquarters in Singapore, where about half of our staff (we call them muvoids…their spouses call them…um…do they even know their names anymore?) comes from 15 different countries but calls Singapore home.

Some people you may have heard of like Forbes, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal, say we invented automatic video editing or that we are pioneers in mobile video editing. Call them what you want (but we'd like you to call them "muvees"), all we set out to do was to avoid having to watch another raw unedited home movie or view a boring, thick photo album, and we won't stop until they are all but relegated to the dusty box in the basement.

We hope this answers all your questions about us. Now we need to get back to work and you need to download our free trial NOW!