The present and future of post production business and technology

New approaches to ‘Automatic Editing’

A recent articles, and project, demonstrate an increasing trend to automate certain types of production: generally that which is highly predictable. One example uses new technology to build news videos from text articles; the other builds multiple videos based on the same XML template.

These types of technologies are but another in a series of developments on templatorization or automatic editing. Naturally, at the heart of all automated processes is metadata.

An article at the BBC Now news videos can be created by software shows one application of this evolving field.

Wibbitz, a tech startup in New York, has developed a program to create videos automatically by adding footage and stills to an audio track that it generates.

The example result is okay. No craft editor need feel threatened, that’s for sure, but in a world where more and more video content is demanded, and ‘print’ deprecated, the ability to provide video content with minimal effort will work for some people.

In parallel with reading about that software, we’ve been working to automate the production of videos from still images. Some base templates are created as there are some variations on the same basic theme. The appropriate template is chosen based on metadata, images are swapped out based on a predetermined pattern, and new videos are batch exported.

Temploratization won’t affect the ‘Hollywood’ end of the business, but in news and many other areas of production these types of technologies are highly viable, and likely to drive the future of production.

It’s a theme I’ve talked about for a long time.

In The Templatorization of “Creativity” Terry Curren and I talk about the subject.

A year later in Temploratization – it’s here! I said

With directr you choose the template and the app then tells you what shots to take. It then builds them into a video based on the template


It’s pretty much what I envisioned the first round of temploratization to be: slightly more than a glorified shot list, not so far removed from my teaching a class some 20 years ago on the shots they’d need for a child’s birthday party, for example.

In November 2011 I wrote an article called How I automated my writing career! I discussed two companies:

Automated Insights, has automated is quantitatively oriented. That’s the trick. We’ve automated content by applying meaning to numbers, to data. Sports was the first category we tackled. Sports by their nature are very data heavy. By our internal estimates, 70% of all sports-related articles are analyzing numbers in one form or another.


 SundaySky create up to 1.4 million unique videos a month:

SundaySky, Tel Aviv/New York-based start-up with 50 employees, with no video camera or production staff, will produce 1.4 million video clips this month for a range of big retail and real estate corporate customers including and the History Channel. The company pulls customer data into a customized template which creates videos with movement, music, narration and graphics and video.




2 responses to “New approaches to ‘Automatic Editing’”


    iMovie Trailer templates has had this nailed fro years. 🙂 About time others tried it.

    1. Philip

      Trailers are relatively easy. Truly nailing automated editing is a much more complex problem to solve. And much more interesting!