Lightt’s New App Re-Imagines the Idea of ‘Instagram For Video’

October 17, 2012 by Seth Fiegerman

There’s no shortage of startups releasing apps that try to do for video sharing on mobile what Instagram did for photo sharing, but these applications generally face two basic obstacles: videos tend to require more effort to produce than photographs, and they require more data and take longer for the viewer to load.

Lightt, a San Francisco-based startup, tries to solve these issues with its new video sharing app and in the process re-imagines what a video sharing app can look like. Rather than ask you to create and share a perfectly produced video clip, Lightt prompts you to capture short 10-second snippets, which then get stitched together into one long digital reel that tells the story of your life.

When you open the app, you’ll see three options: You can either view a continuous stream of your own videos, clips from featured users or the most recent footage captured from people you follow on the service. In each case, the stream of videos play in chronological order at a speed faster than real-time, to make it quicker to consume. You can tap on the video to slow it down, freeze playback or scroll ahead to another segment.

As Alex Mostoufi, the co-founder of Lightt, explained to Mashable, the app functions as “something in between” photo sharing and video sharing. Indeed, the clips come off more like flip books than videos. At any point, you can freeze the video, like or comment on a particular frame, or share the still image.

At first, the viewing experience can be a bit jarring — both because the playback is faster and because the videos don’t have any sound — but the constant stream of footage soon gets to be pretty addictive. Just as importantly, by tweaking the formula for how videos are captured and streamed, Lightt has managed to reduce load times and even caches some clips so that the viewing experience is better.

Even so, the playback isn’t perfect. There will inevitably be moments when a clip takes extra time to load, which isn’t true once you’ve refreshed your photo stream on Instagram. Still, at it best, Lightt gives users a good tool to be a fly on the wall of their friends’ lives.