This weekend I had the pleasure of attending Video Hack Day in New York City as Dropbox’s sponsor representative. It was hosted at General Assembly and organized by Ziggeo. Given that video is quickly becoming the content type of choice when it comes to communication, especially for the digital generation, it’s no surprise that this event was buzzing with energy from hackers — all eager to make something awesome.
After hacking all day, participants demoed their projects on Saturday night. There were hacks that aimed to make life easier for the visually impaired, hacks that help you get tutoring or language help with video, and hacks that enabled a variety of real-time video sharing scenarios, such as internet karaoke or sales pitches. As a sponsor, Dropbox got to give a prize for Best Use of the Dropbox API. Out of the many creative hacks, the winner we ultimately chose was VidComb, an app that takes the hassle out of making collaborative videos with your friends.
This app clearly resonated with the audience as well, and VidComb also won the category for Crowd Favorite. The team went home with portable JBL speakers from Dropbox and $1,000 in cash from Video Hack Day.
For their demo, VidComb gave a delightful presentation about making surprise birthday videos for your friends. They showed how the app lets you create a video project, specifying whose birthday it is, and then invite friends to collaborate. Everyone then records or uploads a video from Dropbox. The app collects all the video contributions and the final video is automatically cut together and rendered — and the happy birthday montage is done!
The VidComb team included Marilyn Chew (designer), Mikhail Gorbachev (developer), and Zhi An Ng (developer). Marilyn and Zhi An are from the National University of Singapore, now in New York for a year of internships through NUS Overseas College. They met Mikhail at Video Hack Day; all three are hackathon veterans. They bonded over the project idea, their love for surprising their friends, and their disdain for the tedious task of coordinating on group videos. Next up in the project’s future is to add support for music and editing before final download — check out the github page here.
Dropbox API demo
In addition to giving prizes and hanging out with hackers, I also gave a short talk on the Dropbox API. For a demo, I showed how to get and use links to streaming video content (via /media) and to sharable and downloadable video content (via /shares). The end result was simple webpage and a python app that integrates with Dropbox – you can find the source code here. During my presentation, I used my sample app to generate links to a very special video that we made for Video Hack Day.
Dropbox and the Developer Platform
Thanks to everyone who made Video Hack Day possible, and a big thanks to everyone who tried their hand at adding a Dropbox integration to their project. I was very inspired by how each team accomplished so much in a single day, and I’m excited to hear about the awesome things you build next.