Monday, May 26, 2014

We Video Next

We Video is a popular Chrome add on especially in school based 1-1 programs that rely on Google Apps. Partly a result of demand from Chromebook users for an off line solution, they offered We Video Next.   We Video Next is a video creation tool based on HTML 5 technologies that work both online and offline.

My intent in reviewing We Video Next is its offline video editing tools, knowing full well it is more of a hybrid video editing solution. The big promise is that since its HTML 5 based, it will be OS agnostic, in other words the program will function in a similar way on Linux, Mac, Microsoft, or even a Chromebook.

So how does it measure up? The first issue I ran into was video formats. It did not recognize the mp4 files I created with Kazam. It did recognize the mp4 files I edited in Open Shot. Most likely because eventhough I saved them as mp4's I optimized the videos for YouTube. I tried recording directly to webm in Kazam but I lost audio halfway though the video.

The interface was pretty basic with the ability to add videos, photos, and music to your timeline. Under your settings you could easily customize where We Video should search for offline content. While it did not offer more advanced editing, the program seemed perfect for stitching several clips together or adding an audio track.

I enjoyed the program until it was time to publish. There was no option to export locally which the reason why will be revealed later. When you publish it uploads your finished video to the We Video Hub and also syncs it to Google Drive. The Google Drive component was very important to me because for my work flow its as good as saving the video offline.

So after I published the video I looked in Google Drive and saw the We Video folder but no video. I then watched the video on the site and noticed a download option. I thought great, since there was no YouTube option, I will download it and upload it to YouTube.

I was given a pop up that downloading was a premium feature and I would have to pay a monthly fee. WTF, an offline video editing solution in which I have to pay an extortion to download the video I created. I am more than willing to pay for themes, clips, audio etc but holding my video hostage for payment is beyond what I am willing to accept.

I thought that We Video Next would be something I could feel good about recommending to Linux Mint or Chromebook users but the developers lack of an ethical compass makes that impossible.

Am I being unreasonable? After spending hours working on a video in an offline editor, should I have a reasonable expectation to download my creation without being extorted with a subscription fee.

Yes I am pissed and no I would not recommend We Video Next to anyone. I plan on deleting all my content and the Chrome App from my browsers. Maybe that is what the Next stands for, what comes next after the cloud. Services or programs where having offline access or ability to download is a premium service.

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