Direction

Our company direction (mission, use cases, and next steps) is something we'll iterate on constantly, but always keep a north star.

You may wonder why our direction is public. In line with our transparency value, being open and receiving constant feedback is the best way for us to ensure we’re on the right track. If you see something here that you really love, or something where you think we’re missing the mark, please let us know.

You can see a recent walkthrough of this page here:

Mission

The potential impact of video and streaming for brands and creators is huge, but there is still so much to be done to make it easier to create great content. Our mission is to make it so anyone, regardless of training, has the resources, guidance, and support they need to produce amazing content. We want to do for video what apps like Instagram did in making it easy for anyone to make great looking images, without any technical expertise needed.

Use cases

Having a mission is important, but perhaps even more important is knowing exactly how you deliver real value to the people who use your product. We use use cases to try to organize the themes, and value prop stories to illustrate specific examples.

Coordinate the production process without needing to be an expert

What is the problem? Who has it?

Producing a video or live stream, whether for a company or as an independent content creator, is a complex task that requires a lot of specific knowledge. From script writing, to storyboarding, reviews, captions, post-processing, publishing, and everything in between - it’s a lot.

At the same time, it’s becoming more and more common for the person making the video to not have any videography experience, just a passion for the topic. For content creators, they were often inspired to teach or communicate something they cared about. For marketing teams, there is often a feeling that video is important, and someone is given the task to figure it out. They may have cobbled together a process that sort of works, but they feel like there must be something simpler and more effective.

What is the cost of the issue?

Not having a clear, well-understood production process results in a lot of back and forth. Producing artifacts out of order (such as making a first draft video before you review your script) can cause a lot of re-work, which is time that you’ll never get back. Not having a clear timeline and expectations also means a lot of time is wasted manually following up with people for reviews and approvals. A 75th percentile digital marketing manager costs on average $135,497/year in the United States. Do you really want to tie a person like that up with managing a crude, ad-hoc process.. even if it’s just half their time?

Going with an agency or hiring a dedicated video production team is an even more expensive solution. It may seem like a good idea to hire an agency to produce your content, so you don’t have to worry about it and can just direct your goals, but it’s not going to be cheap. And anyway, wouldn’t you rather have the people who are passionate about be the ones in charge of producing it?

How is this currently solved? Why don’t current solutions work?

If they aren’t spending a lot of money on agencies to produce their content, people are using non-integrated suites like Google Drive for this. They might have scripts in Google Docs, video files in a Google Drive folder, and a list of ideas in a Google Spreadsheet. Communication is done over email or Slack, or a combination of both. Because these tools are not integrated well, lots of details, depedencies, and deadlines fall through the cracks. In some cases, there’s a little bit of overall project management happening in a tool like Asana, but this isn’t especially common, and you will run into issues where they don’t really work well with video files.

Alternatively, there are products that help with reviews or asset management that sort of help with video, but they either assume you have a lot of professional knowledge, don’t model the end to end process, or both.

What has changed?

The world has really become video-first over the last five years. Accelerated by the pandemic, consumption of on-demand and streaming video has become a primary way that people engage with content. Creators know that video is important to reach their audiences, but don’t have any insight into how it’s done, day to day. They try and get stuck, and maybe even get frustrated and quit, which is a shame.

How does our solution work?

Imagine if all the documents in your ad-hoc solution knew about each other’s status, and integrated with each other into projects, and you’ll have a good sense of how Synura works. Projects are organized into coherent units, with all assets bundled together. Everyone involved in a project receives relevant notifications when they have an action or update that’s important for them. The state of the project is front and center, and anyone can see what’s going on any time.

How do we know it is better?

We provide a better way to to plan, produce, review, and publish videos, with lots of guidance built-in that’s meant for regular people. Smart defaults, helpful templates, and learning resources (such as blog posts or videos) that help teach important concepts are all built-in. The entire process is on rails, with each step of the production workflow clearly visible. Everyone understands what’s needed, rework and other inefficiencies are avoided, and collaboration is facilitated naturally as a result.

Even better, you don’t need to send your ideas to an agency to execute on your ideas. Because we make the production process easy, everyone can participate - that means that the most passionate voices can be intimately involved in content creation. This means your content will be even more impactful for your audience.

Take advantage of cloud storage and processing

What is the problem? Who has it?

Processing, storing, and sharing videos after you’ve recorded them can also be a technical challenge. If you store them locally, they can be lost forever if something happens to your computer. If you store them in a cloud file archive that isn’t video-aware, it can be hard to find and preview your files. A non-video aware solution also won’t be able to automatically process and edit your videos for you, leaving it up to you to figure out.

What is the cost of the issue?

Not doing anything will leave your videos looking and sounding unprofessional, with sagging engagement numbers. The effort you’re spending will not match up with results you’re seeing, and competitors who invest in video will look more professional.

A 75th percentile video editor will cost on average $64,282 in the United States, if you were to hire one to organize and process your video files. Once you start producing a decent amount of video content, you’ll either need to keep hiring more or move to an automated process that scales better. You could hire an engineering team to do that, but that would be even more expensive.

Videos on different platforms (TikTok, Twitter, YouTube) each come with their own requirements, norms, and best-practices. Customizing videos for each one is also time consuming, and error prone - and mistakes will cost you in engagement numbers.

How is this currently solved? Why don’t current solutions work?

A lot of creators are doing their best and publishing at the level of their capability. They may spend some time learning and trying to improve their technical post-production skills, but this takes away from time spent planning great content. Either that, or they are scaling editors, hiring post-production agencies, or building their own video pipelines using engineers. None of these options are cost-effective in the end.

What has changed?

Video processing in the cloud has brought forth a number of new possibilities to automatically handle basic post-production tasks:

  • Seamlessly remove “umms” from your speech
  • Improve light and color balance to make your videos pop
  • Remove background noise
  • Auto-generate compelling thumbnails
  • Apply standardized intros, music, and outros
  • Reframing and transcoding for different social networks, device orientations, and aspect ratios
  • Automatic transcriptions/captioning

These are examples; many more possibilities are out there. The key thing is that no special expertise is required to take advantage of them.

How does our solution work?

Once you upload a video to Synura, we can automatically run all kinds of post-processing on it for you. Imagine having every video you upload get the above suite of improvements automatically run on it, without you having to do anything.

How do we know it is better?

We’re confident that if you process your videos using our automated systems, they will look and sound better. You won’t need to hire your own team of editors, you won’t need to build out a video pipeline using an expensive engineering team.

Guiding principles

Get single-player right first

There’s plenty of amazing content out there that’s being worked on by a single person. By focusing on them first and ensuring we’re adding value to their production process, we will naturally reach a moment where we have excited users who want to be able to invite others to collaborate with.

Evolving the product in this way will help ensure we stay on track, don’t try to do too much too early, and that we’ll build something valuable and relevant for users of OBS today. It also helps us avoid making too many collaboration-only features before we know what our users need, and thereby avoid accruing too much complexity too early.

Bring “developer tools”-style innovation to video production

Over the last ten years innovation in developer tools has accelerated at a rapid pace. Video production actually has a lot of analogs with how software is planned, produced, reviewed (tested) and published, and by building features that bring these two worlds together, in terms of workflows and experience, we can really provide something unique and valuable.

This is not to say that there aren’t major differences between developer tools and video production, and we must account for them, but they can be as much a source of inspiration and creativity as they can be a challenge.

Open source is the best foundation

Although we plan to work with any video recording app, Synura is built with Open Broadcaster Software®️ (OBS) in mind from the start as our premier integration. There is no better video recording and streaming software in the world: it is battle-tested against all kinds of real-world use and is free and open source. The OBS core application has been contributed to by nearly 500 people, and we also make a monthly $10k contribution to the project. Rather than reinventing the wheel, we want to provide add-on video planning, pre-production, cloud syncing, and post-production capabilities that connect with OBS and make it even better.

As far as our own product, we plan to start with a source available license which will allow us to work as transparently as possible while still building a sustainable business.

Customer profiles

Companies and brands

There are companies that are already working extensively with video: hosting webinars, publishing to YouTube channels (typically demo style content), and creating advertisements and other pre-recorded sales and training materials. They understand the challenges and value of video and would benefit from better collaboration.

These kinds of users tend to have the most ad-hoc processes for creating videos and can benefit alot from a collaboration tool. Most of them have invented their own workflows, and would benefit from a little training and structure not just to plan and execute their own videos and streams, but to help them wrangle their stakeholders. Because these kinds of people tend to have a budget, and we can also help them quickly, they are great first users for us.

Agencies

There are two kinds of agencies that we can help:

  • Brand and advertising agencies produce video content for their clients, who are typically companies that don’t want to grow video expertise in-house. Their workflow is similar to if it was the company itself doing it but has the additional requirement of client reviews (both in pre and post-production).
  • Creator/influencer-focused agencies (i.e., Jellysmack, Underscore Talent, and ScreenPlay) provide services for creators such as remarketing (and reworking content) for different social networks, operating channels, optimizing strategy, and more - even including things like financial management, booking, and so on. These agencies have more collaboration in pre-production, while post-production (modification and distribution of content to other networks) is primarily a hands-off factory-type model for the creators.

Agencies tend to be more mature in their video production process and expectations around collaboration tools, and as such may be better to work with once we’ve built a solid foundation companies and brands. They are also much more likely to have professional videographers, motion designers, and client managers on staff.

Independent creators

In situations where an independent creator produces content (good examples are educational channels that plan and produce a video monthly), they would likely benefit from the very same features as the brand and company users.

They are sort of a middle ground between the agency and company use cases, in that they have some unique social media requirements and have more professional production processes, but they also tend to run on smaller budgets than either agencies or companies. We should welcome this kind of user by having a pricing tier that supports them.

Where we are now

We have not yet launched the product publicly and are working with early adopters to determine their most important problems to solve and what their priorities are. This includes talking to support, sales, developer relations, and marketing teams, as well as independent creators. If you are interested in sharing your feedback, please sign up for our waiting list on our home page and we will reach out.

Our most important immediate task is to build an organization that can learn, discover and iterate.

Roadmap

We want our first iterations to immediately add value, prove out the product concept, and serve as a foundation from which we can build more advanced features. As with everything on this page this concept is likely to evolve, but for now, it is likely that we will build an MVP user flow as follows:

  1. Come to Synura website and register an account.
  2. Download OBS with the Synura plugin installed and pre-configured for account username, in order to make it as easy as possible to get going. Instructions for setting it up yourself are also available in case you are already using OBS.
  3. The plugin provides cloud syncing of settings and automatic backup of recorded videos to the cloud.
  4. The web interface allows for managing metadata on a video (tags, description) and browsing/deleting/downloading your saved videos.

This will be a single-player experience at first. The second iteration will likely allow for inviting others and having comment threads on saved videos, bringing the initial collaboration workflows into the product.

You can see a full list of upcoming milestones in our GitLab group. Please upvote and comment on issues and epics you’d like to see and we’ll take that into account in our planning.

What we aren’t doing

  • There are other products out there that aim more at the professional video production market, with clients like Vice, Netflix, and others. We are not focusing on this use case for now because we believe there is an underserved segment in the enterprise and prosumer segments that we can better and uniquely address, and technology like C2C (connectivity on expensive filmmaking equipment) is not as relevant for our segment. By going after “regular Joes and Janes” we can carve out a niche for ourselves, and do it in a space that’s rewarding and can make a real difference.

Competitive landscape

An extensive competitive analysis can be found on our competitive landscape page.

Copyright 2022 Synura, Inc. All rights reserved.
Synura is not affiliated with Open Broadcaster Software/OBS Studio®️.
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