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Automated Video Creation for Social Media

With the world's appetite for a colossal amount of video content, there's ample reason to be working with an online-only platform, especially for short-form videos designed primarily for social media. I recently acquainted myself with one such platform that delivers on both fronts: Wibbitz.

As browser-based platforms, cloud computing, and video streaming have improved over the last few years, so has our ability to edit high-quality video projects online. Companies have been attempting something like this in one form or another for quite a few years, but the state of the art for online video editing has recently taken some real leaps forward for quick and easy publishing to social media platforms.

With the world’s appetite for a colossal amount of video content, there’s ample reason to be working with an online-only platform, especially for short-form videos designed primarily for social media. I recently acquainted myself with one such platform that delivers on both fronts: Wibbitz.

What Is Wibbitz?

Wibbitz (Figure 1, below) is an automated video creation platform that enables anyone within an organization to create videos quickly and easily for any number of social platforms, websites, and more. Before professional editors write off Wibbitz, let’s set a few expectations.

Figure 1. Meet Wibbitz

Wibbitz is not intended to replace an offline NLE like Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple Final Cut Pro, or Avid. However, it’s also not meant as a supplement to these platforms. Wibbitz is a standalone product. It was designed for a very specific set of uses geared toward journalistic organizations with a focus on editorial and current events content. Although Wibbitz won’t turn an amateur editor into a pro, it can help make amateur videos much better than they would be otherwise.

How Wibbitz Works

The preferred way to start a project is by utilizing a pre-written script or article. Wibbitz can tie in directly with an organization’s website so that any published articles are readily available. The Control Room (Figure 2, below), powered by natural-language processing and AI technology, will then analyze the story text and suggest an edited video by assembling relevant clips and copy. From here, creative choice can override or accept what the platform generated automatically.

Figure 2. The Wibbitz Control Room

There are style templates available for all videos that affect everything from color to typeface (Figure 3, below). These can be customized to fit within the branding guidelines of the user’s organization or client. The length of the video can be tailored and adjusted indefinitely, and each clip on the timeline is shown with its length clearly displayed immediately below the thumbnail. Clips can be quickly removed or replaced with more relevant footage. Along with the video imagery, the Wibbitz editor also clearly shows just how the copy is being displayed on each clip. The same copy can be directed to span multiple clips in a row while extending the screen time without having the same clip displayed for too long.

Figure 3. Customization in the Wibbitz Control Room

In the video demo I was given by Wibbitz, I was particularly impressed by how the platform doesn’t limit even the pickiest of editors. I was surprised to learn that even transitions can be customized—and transitions include more than just fades and wipes. The video templates boast advanced transitions with motion graphics and alpha channels. Of course, no video is complete without music. Wibbitz delivers stock from Audio Network, allowing the editor to choose from different styles and genres to fit each project.

Video Publishing

Once ready to publish, videos can be finalized in several different formats. The beauty of the platform’s walled-garden approach is that all of the content is instantaneously dynamic. Whether the project calls for a vertical format for mobile users, a square format for Snapchat, or good ol’ wide format, Wibbitz will crop and reconfigure all of the content to optimize each version.

Fortunately, even with this automatic customization, the editor is still able to tweak things. If text is too small, a separate version can be created for a specific format. In my video demo, the platform did an excellent job of optimizing all on-screen content on its own no matter what aspect ratio was required.

Adding Voice-Over

Of course, some video will benefit more from true voice-over, rather than just on-screen copy. Again, Wibbitz is easy but flexible where it needs to be. Users can effortlessly upload their own recorded narration if that’s desired, or Wibbitz can supply a custom voice-over from a real person, usually within a few minutes. If the voice-over or music needs to mix with natural sound or sound bites, the platform allows for ducking and prioritizing which audio track dominates a given clip.

What Wibbitz accomplishes all within a browser is nothing short of amazing. After reviewing it, I found it hard to poke holes in what I saw. Wibbitz has managed to make producing short-form editorial content about as easy as possible while still maintaining the level of control required for professional outfits and discerning editors. Newsrooms are increasingly filled with “multimedia producers” who are expected to be Swiss Army knife journalists. They have to write, shoot, edit, record their own voice-overs, and create their own graphics. A platform like Wibbitz makes the objective of creating a noteworthy product something that’s achievable even for the user with little or no video editing experience.