Nishat Kurwa on Wednesday, Mar. 23rd
The team at Xtranormal has made a lot of progress on their social storytelling technology since our last story — they’ve created an embeddable movie maker that they’ll be rolling out next month.
Xtranormal President and CEO Graham Sharp said he’s hopeful it will shift the flat-text commenting paradigm and get a lot more people communicating via animated blogging. “We’ve just finished writing a new animation engine that enables a lot more collaboration, so we can have more characters in the scene and the characters can move around,” he said. The player can be integrated with social sites like Facebook, and then friends can share characters, or contribute to craft roles (like director or cameraman) in each other’s movies. And the white label widget allows users to skin the player themselves, to approximate the look and feel of their own sites. (Just released: you can make a movie directly from YouTube).
The last big announcement at Xtranormal, shortly after Christmas, was a change to the pricing model, which sparked an outcry from some of the more prolific users. Instead of offering some characters for free, as it had to date with the web product, Xtranormal began charging for all characters, and offering users free points when they signed up.
Sharp said the company is still tweaking the policy, and is above all committed to a freemium model of some sort. “Clearly we need to be able to cover our costs. But at the same time, we want people to be able to make some movies for free. We’re thinking we’ll probably end up where it’s a mixture, where there will be some free characters and some free points on the way in. The problem is always navigation and discoverability. If you make it too complex, people don’t come in and easily understand what the process is. I’ve given up trying to guess or understand what happens when you make slight modifications.”
Update: Xtranormal has just announced a film festival launched in partnership with search engine Bing. You can submit an Xtranormal movie in one of three categories– romance, horror, or action — and one of the prizes is a custom animated character.