Video Platform Ptch Is Like YouTube, Deconstructed

By Devon Glenn 

If you took a sledgehammer to YouTube or Vimeo, you’d have Ptch. Backed by DreamWorks Investments, the social media iPhone app lets you create short movies from video clips and photographs, add music and filters, and share the entire process with friends.

“Being storytellers is part of our DNA,” said Ptch CEO Ed Leonard in a recent interview. The former DreamWorks CTO hopes to bring the art of personal narrative to the mobile space.

Rather than simply shooting a video from beginning to end, Ptch lets you assemble your work from still images and video clips.  It connects to sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, YouTube, and Viddy, so that you’ll have access to all your media. You can upload the clips from your library or shoot a video straight from the app.

From there, you can rearrange the slides, add title cards, and edit the video for length. The interface is astonishingly simple – you can tap and drag or pinch in and out to move the clips around on your touchscreen.

Similar to Instagram, Ptch comes with built-in themes, each with a light filter, signature font, and suggested music. “Styles help with tone and emotion in your media,” Leonard explained.

For now, Ptch has a set playlist of popular songs to choose from. Eventually, the app will synch with iTunes so that you can upload songs from your library as well.

The catch is that the videos must be 60 seconds or less. “It’s all about snackable media,” said Leonard. “It’s not about big production.”

A good YouTube video inspires numerous parodies, but until now, creating one has required both editing software and technical skill. When you share a video on Ptch, you’re also sharing its parts. Your friends can pull a single image or video clip from your profile and use it in their own derivative works.

Down the line, if another user likes the song in your video, they’ll be able to connect to iTunes and buy it.

“What we want to do is create visual dialogue with people,” said Leonard. “Ptch is thought about in our world as the beginning of the conversation, not the end.”