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Turning video mishmash into movies

StudioNow has figured out a way to link people who own video with someone who knows how to edit it.

REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--StudioNow exists because, as a video editor, you probably suck.

The Nashville-based company has created a service that turns unwieldy libraries of video footage into watchable, short videos. The system works as follows: video gets uploaded to their servers. The company then taps its international network of videographers and editors to hone the footage down, and then it turns the finished product back to the customer, who then puts it on a site somewhere.

Customers pay StudioNow a fee for services, and StudioNow then pays its editor a commission. The business is not dependent on clicks, advertising, or revenue share with the customer, said CEO Dave Mason, speaking at the Dow Jones Consumer Innovations Conference taking place here.

"Things that might have cost $5,000 to do might cost a few hundred" with StudioNow's system, he said. "They just load it up and we farm it out to the editors, and in two to three days they can put it on MTV or YouTube."

The business is slightly different from companies, such as TurnHere, which film videos as well as edit them. StudioNow doesn't film anything, but sticks to editing and post-production.

So far, the company has attracted some film studios and record companies as customers, as well as smaller outfits. For Capitol Records, the company produces behind-the-scenes videos out of footage of Capitol artists. It also puts together videos for a water-sports association, turning hours of surfing videos, for example, into a coherent piece of work with a musical score. The water-sports group wants 15 to 20 different videos a month, Mason said.

Finding videographers and editors isn't a huge problem, he said. Many work at cable channels and TV stations during the day and do this as a night job.

The service is also attractive to editors outside the major markets.

"They live in Topeka. They live in New Zealand. No way in their wildest dreams did they think they would be working on a video for Capitol Records," he said.