INITIAL LIGHT BULB:
Scott McDonald and Gavin Anstey worked together at Lumenati, the Denver video production company McDonald founded in 2015.
During production for clients, Lumenati's crew would use iPhones to shoot and social media to distribute "quick behind-the-scenes edits," McDonald says. "Those were gaining a lot of traction, more traction than the commercial."
But the iPhone wasn't ideal. Shooting with it was awkward and unwieldy, McDonald says. "Everybody felt really dumb using it. We said, 'How can we fix this?'"
McDonald and Anstey set out to create an iPhone-encasing body that would mimic the "coolest camera ever," a retro Super 8 model funded by a Kickstarter campaign, manufactured in China and launched to the retail market in early 2016.
But the $150 Cinebody spawned a software platform of the same name that allows a horde of users to shoot and upload footage to the cloud. It's quickly gaining traction in pilots with Nike, Red Bull, Tropicana and other high-profile Lumenati clients.
"We built this beta software program while building the hardware," McDonald says. "The real business is that."
IN A NUTSHELL:
Numerous users shoot footage with their iPhones or other iOS devices anywhere on the planet, and the Cinebody app automatically uploads the footage to the cloud. Lumenati can edit the footage into a finished spot, or in-house teams at agencies or brands can handle the task.
The turnaround is speedy. "That's the power of the cloud: instant distribution," McDonald says. "Twenty minutes after it's done, it's edited, polished and out on social media."
In late 2016, Nike used the platform to produce an ad with footage shot by running clubs all over the world. "That gave us the go-ahead that people could use this at events or concerts," McDonald says. He's since pitched the concept to creative agencies and major brands and says he got a notably positive response.
Platform subscription fees start at $1,000 a month for smaller businesses and go up to $5,000 for larger companies.