Last week, I had the opportunity to attend my first Visual 1st conference, which I hope will be the first of many. I can’t say enough about the thought leaders I met - from tried and true brand name companies to innovative startups - and the new, cutting-edge products they’re creating in the fields of photography, videography, and AI. Unlike any other conference I’ve attended, everyone was on a mission to showcase a ground-breaking technology or stimulate a conversation.
Here are my top 3 takeaways:
1. Photo and video creation and editing is still extremely complex. I witnessed 20+ companies - old and new - focused on improving photo editing, retouching, and background removal using AI. And, then there’s video, which is even 10X more complex than photography with multiple dimensions including sound, music, noise, sentiment, scenes, background, topics, resolution, etc. In short, we are just at the beginning of the video capture and editing revolution. While some video capture and editing tools exist for professionals, we are now starting to see these tools commoditized at scale for consumers given the sophisticated, yet simple, phone devices in our hands combined with exploding social platforms like Tiktok, Youtube and Instagram. Will consumers become video professionals? Will it be hard to know whether a video was created or edited by a professional or consumer?
2. Prompt engineering is here. In simple terms, prompt engineering means you can send text commands to a video to generate a new video (for you techies, here’s the official definition). For example, a cat running on the left side of the road in a video is sent a prompt to instead run on the right side of the road. A video is then automatically generated of a cat running on the right side of the road. Prompt is a way of instructing an existing media object to metamorphosize into what you instruct it to become. In another example, prompt engineering could be taking a digital Picasso print and instructing it with prompts to become an impressionist style print.
While on the surface prompt engineering sounds “kewl”, prompt engineering is very advanced programming and frankly, magic, using AI, machine learning and human imagination to generate new art and actions. Prompt engineers will become very valuable as they will decide how to make these metamorphoses happen.
3. Regenerative AI is a new genre of content. This is a type content that is regenerated based on an original picture or video with prompt engineering. While regenerative AI creates endless possibilities, it brings up a host of unknowns and controversial questions.
Two Attention-Grabbing Startups
Fun, value and adoption is top of my mind, when I think of new startups. Here are two startups that I thought provide new perspectives and questions at the intersection of the metaverse and physical world.
To my delight, many panels, conversations and discussions ended up with comments on video. I met several executives and tech leaders whose current businesses - whether print or hardware or software - are now extending into video. Thus, building tools to increase video productivity, revenue, consumption and creation was top of mind among all attendees. I’m thrilled that I was able to listen and contribute to these conversations and now have many more ideas as to how Vyrill can further the video revolution!
Finally, I want to give a huge shoutout to Hans Hartman and Alexis Gerard, who have been leading the conversation about photography for a long time at their conference and now videography. The speakers and agenda were authentic, thoughtful and well-organized. I can’t wait until next year!
Ajay Bam is the CEO and Co-founder at Vyrill, a first-of-its-kind video intelligence company launched in 2017 through UC Berkeley’s Skydeck Incubator program. Vyrill helps brands and shoppers find the “moments that matter” inside videos. Its AI-powered “In-Video’' search technology analyzes & shares insights hidden within videos to improve personalization, SEO, and conversion. Before Vyrill, Ajay launched Boston-based, mobile shopping app company Modiv Media. He is a proven and accomplished product management professional, entrepreneurial thinker, and innovator with more than 13 years of experience leading startups and world-class brands.