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Magisto teams with Outside Lands in sharing visual experience via smartphone app

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San Francisco’s massive annual three-day Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival at Golden Gate Park may be over, but a contest tie-in with cloud-based mobile technology service Magisto continues through Aug. 31.

Users of the Magisto Android and iPhone apps can submit an Outside Lands-themed movie—with #outsidelands tagged in the title—by uploading photos and videos celebrating the Aug. 8-10 festival’s focus on music, art, food and drink. They then choose the app’s Indie editing style “theme,” which offers music from eight featured indie bands that played at the fest: Tumbleweed Wanderers’ “Roll with the Times,” Soul Rebels’ “ Let Your Mind Be Free,” Nocona’s “Brimstone,” Nahko and Medicine for the People’s “Budding Trees,” Tycho’s “Awake,” Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers’ “Little Too Late,” Aer’s “Spades, Clubs & Diamonds” and Lucius’s “Hey, Doreen.”

Contest winners receive a pair of VIP tickets to next year’s Outside Lands festival or a $250 Amazon gift card.

“We want to turn people on to Magisto and show them the magic and benefits of using it,” says Reid Genauer, chief marketing officer for the company, which launched in 2011 and is headquartered in Tel Aviv--with offices in New York and California. Its free smartphone app (a premium version provides enriched capabilities) takes users’ photos and videos and turns them into professional quality movies in a matter of minutes.

“Think about how we remember our lives—in little episodes that we store and edit in our memories,” says Genauer, by way of explaining Magisto’s name. “The aim is to create a digital version of that edited, eclectic experience and to get the gist of the moment: the sense of place and emotion of whatever the experience is that you’re capturing, using ‘artificial intelligence’--for lack of getting into computer-speak--to magically recreate the gist of the moment.”

By “artificial intelligence,” Genauer means Magisto’s Emotion Sense Technology, which enables anyone to convert their stockpile of images and video into Hollywood-style movies including action, suspense and sentiment. With the uploaded photos and footage—and the user’s emotional direction manifested by choice of music and video theme—the Manifesto app compiles the best moments and edits them according to mood.

The promotion with Outside Lands, which was headlined by such acts as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Kanye West and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, was natural in that “music is such an integral part of storytelling,” notes Genauer. “So much of the emotion depends on the music, and from a product point-of-view, when you think about the place where we want to hoist our flag, an event like Outside is the perfect place for us to be.”

Genauer, incidentally, was lead singer of Vermont-based indie rock band Strangefolk and currently fronts folk-rock/jam band Assembly of Dust.

“Both as part of an organization and for me personally, Outside Lands holds a lot of interest,” he offers. “San Francisco is the birthplace of a lot of the music I love, and obviously, it’s the epicenter of technology. So the festival makes for a cool intersection of things that interest me—media and disruptive technology--as a person and broadly as a company.”

Genauer notes that with the advent and universal acceptance of the smartphone, “all of us have an HD camera and video camera with us virtually at all times. The quantity of personal media we create comprises the largest data set the world has ever seen: Half of all the photos taken in the history of the world were taken last year! But while we’ve solved the problem of capturing and chronicling life through media, 99 percent of it is personal media that fits on our phones and cloud storage and is just sitting there rotting. We’re drowning in personal media!”

The challenge, then, is to organize the media in a compelling way.

“We still think of publishing personal media like we did when we took three snapshots and tried to find the best one to hang on the wall,” says Genauer. “Now we can take 50 at a time, so how can we make all 50, along with the four minutes of video you took at one given event or experience, have some use in personal storytelling?”

It took two years after Magisto was founded to launch--the time needed to perfect the Emotion Sense Technology interface.

“Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of the world has smartphones and doesn’t know how to edit,” maintains Genauer. “Our mission is to make it simple. We’ve reached the tipping point where you can touch everyone you’ve ever met one way or another through social media or texting or whatever, but the depth of those interactions is very shallow. Shared experience and emotion, using technology and efficiency to add depth back to conversations and relationships, is at the heart of our product.”

Magisto thereby gives participants in a “fan experience” like Outside Lands a means to “celebrate above and beyond being at the event,” says Genauer. “In submitting movies about their personal experiences at the festival—in its categories of music, art, food and wine—the notion is that there is a fan experience that happens all around an event, whether its sports or entertainment, and that fans celebrate in a variety of ways including capturing it in a 360-degree visual with a personal story.”

The concept certainly seems to be catching on. Eighteen months ago, notes Genauer, Magisto had three million users. Today it has 40 million.

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