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Edit Your Videos Collaboratively with Stroome

Thanks to an announcement last week, YouTube users can now perform simple edits on uploaded work. But did you know that there's a way to work collaboratively on online videos?

Video start-up Stroome grew out of a class project at the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, and is finding an audience with journalists, filmmakers, and more. Register at the site to create an account, then upload video to collaborate with other people. You can limit collaboration to your group, or open it up to the Stroome community.

Stroome uses the Kaltura player and Kaltura's Flash-based online editing tools. What sets it apart from other sites that offer online editing is the collaborative ability. Several reporters can shoot and upload footage from an event, says co-founder Tom Grasty, and then someone in the newsroom can begin to shape it into a news piece. When the reporters are finished in the field, they can add their input. He describes the concept as "Google Docs for video." The site accepts a wide variety of formats, transcoding clips into Flash Video files for editing.

The site offers two sets of editing tools, one basic and one more advanced. Grasty says many people start with the basic tools, then move to the advanced when they feel comfortable.

For a new company, Stroome is finding a wide variety of interest. It recently won a $200,000 grant from Knight News as part of the Knight News Challenge, an international contest to fund digital news experiments that use technology to inform specific geographic communities.

Stroome will use that money to build up the site and make the service able to handle high-demand usage, says Grasty. Right now the site is a "highly functioning prototype," he says. Members get about 10GB of storage space, which could decrease if many more members sign on. They can automatically send videos to sharing sites or embed them on their own sites. Stroome handles the hosting and delivery, which is currently free.

Stroome is currently used by USC-Annenberg as a teaching tool for field journalism. Expect to hear major announcements regarding new uses of Stroome in the coming months. The team behind it is in discussions with large news organizations, a film festival, and a global event that will involve reporters and documentarians around the world shooting and uploading video.

Grasty hopes to turn Stroome into a tiered service, where people can pay for additional features. He thinks there will always be a free version, and wants it to lead to an online clip pool where users can share and download videos.

It's all part of larger trend in on-the-fly video editing, something Grasty thinks people are becoming more comfortable with. Sign up for an account and see if collaborative editing is a good fit for your projects.

Troy Dreier's article first appeared on OnlineVideo.net

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