Review: Using SwitchCam – Crowd Sourced Video

As part of a campaign, we used a video app called SwitchCam.  The idea is to invite fans to film a song at a show through the app, the footage is all uploaded to a specified account and automatically synced to the music. You then generate an interactive video of all the fan footage.  This consists of a player with the multiple camera angles available to switch between.

Here is the interactive video we generated.

As well as this content, you can access the footage, and edit your own final cut.  See below.

There are a number of selling points to this activity.  To start with, people love to film bands at live shows, and as cranky as Karen O gets, trying to stop people is a bit like telling naughty school children off for playing with glue. They want to do it, capture the experience, and you risk being resented if you’re constantly telling people off.  On the other hand, it’s really annoying if people are always filming. So this exercise specifies a time when people can record the band, which people tend to respect.

The second benefit is the social networking value. We ran a ticket competition for the show – where fans who signed up for the ‘camera crew’ were eligible for guest list to that show. It generated some fan excitement, a competition and also reminding everyone the show was coming up.

Thirdly is the creation of an ‘asset’ to use marketing speak. We end up with a fan sourced video to share on networks, youtube and even PR. Depending on your strategy. Not only is a new asset, but it’s one that fans are already involved and engaged in (some at least).

Another interesting benefit, that is easily forgotten is copyright.  On this app, the camera crew give up their copyright to the footage as soon as they send it/up load it to your account.  Everyone knows where they stand. You have any of this wishy washy ‘everyone owns the creative’ you find with Vyclone (also an interesting app). You can’t have anyone dispute your video.

Finally, and probably most importantly, over all the app is really easy to use. Even if you don’t manage to film via the app, you can very easily upload .mov files from your computer.

Despite selling points, there are definitely many things that can be improved on this app.

Firstly, access to the raw footage. We were sent a link to download the footage, but only after we had generated the interactive video. But we were waiting on additional footage from the label to include – and in the interest of work flow etc it would have been nice to access the footage earlier. It set us back a few days (which on the internet is aaaages).

Secondly, they can improve how easily the interactive video can be distributed. Yes, you can share it, but facebook makes all third party site shares look totally rubbish. Which is a but unfair when it’s something a bit different like this.  There is an embed code, but for some reason it doesn’t work in wordpress/blogger. A marketer needs this to be possible, we want bloggers to share our crowd sourced video (goddamit!). In the end we couldn’t send this out, it’s not ready or easy enough for sites to use. So I advise they have a chat with WordPress about widget and all that.

Thirdly, we made an amazing video with the footage. And with how easy it was to bring it together, I’d certainly consider using it again. But the company needs to think about revenue stream, and they’ve now slapped on a fee for access to your raw footage. I’ve not particularly against this, and I can build in costs to the client, but be realistic about who is using the app, and what their budgets are.  They’re still in the throws of working out costings,and I’ve all fingers crossed it’ll be something reasonable, otherwise its use stops dead in the water for us.