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Video editing made easy by Magisto

We are all a busy bunch and any chance to automate tasks is welcome. For example, there is Magisto, a new piece of online software developed by SightEra, an Israel-based start-up. Magisto automates video editing to help you create and share even more clips on YouTube.

The service automatically finds the best parts of your video, edits them together for a supposedly coherent video.

“No manual intervention is needed whatsoever just one click of a button and Magisto's tool instantly 'finds' the best scenes in your video and cuts out the blurry, bad and boring bits,” the company says.

The slightly disturbing statement from Magisto is: “The magic is that there are no people involved in the process.” Though it's not the best kind of advertising slogan for the service, we know what they mean.

The service is very simple to use. Sign in at www.magisto.com or to YouTube at www.youtube.com/create_detail/Magisto. You can upload up to 16 videos or 600 megabytes to make a clip. Then you choose at title and a soundtrack from their list of music, or upload one of your own.

The automated process begins. You receive an email a few minutes later with a link to the completed video. I uploaded five clips and it took about 10 minutes or less to complete a passable video of about one minute, with music and a few camera techniques. I have a few beefs, which the company is going to have to work out.

My first video was composed of four clips of my son. I chose a hip hop music clip. Unfortunately, I did not know the song and did not listen to it beforehand. It contained a few choice swear words so I had to trash the video and start again. Perhaps they should label the music or put descriptions so one does not chose something inappropriate for the subject matter.

The service also requires users to pick a sound clip, but suppose I just want to use the natural sound? One of the clips is of my son singing and I would prefer to hear him rather than the theme song to the Godfather, for example. Magisto should make the soundtrack optional.

You can re-edit your video afterwards, change the soundtrack and add in effects. I found this much easier to do on YouTube. How about if I want to remove annoying effects? I should be able to do so as well.

Lastly, I find their copyright terms onerous. As I have stated about sites such as Facebook, YouTube and other social media, users essentially hand over copyright to these companies. Magisto's terms are typical today, and you either accept them or reject the service: “You grant SightEra and its successors a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, sublicensable and transferable license to use, copy, distribute, transmit, modify, prepare derivative works of, publicly display, and publicly perform any and all content, and expressly including any edited or summarised videos, through or in connection with the site or services in any media formats and through any media channels, including without limitation, for commercially promoting the site and services.”

At least they have not claimed to right to sell your videos for commercial gain yet.

Twitter is ideal for automating some daily tasks, especially if your smartphone is connected to the service. Bots such as Twitter Cal, Timer and Trackthis will remind you of appointments, actions you need to take at specific times, and track your packages. There are lots more of these bots out there. Check out Twitter 411, a directory of public apps you can use to handle various tasks.

Bot assistants were a novelty a few years ago, but Apple's iPhone 4S is making them mainstream. Siri is a talking “intelligent assistant” introduced by the 4S. It is similar to Android's Edwin, Speaktoit and Vlingo assistants, but seems to have caught the popular imagination by being easier to use and more intuitive and chatty.

Give it commands with your voice and you can keep your hands off your iPhone. You can get it to schedule meetings, send you reminders and, if you get lonely, talk back to you. The bot is linked to a powerful set of databases and usually has an answer to every question an owner may choose to pose. While an automated assistant sounds like a good advance, a bot friend seems like a step backwards.

Send any comments to elamin.ahmed[AT]gmail.com

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Published October 26, 2011 at 2:00 am (Updated October 26, 2011 at 9:19 am)

Video editing made easy by Magisto

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