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UA creates Filmstacker, new educational resource, video and social media platform

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Carmen Valencia | The Daily Wildcat

J.D. Gibbs head of software development and Cody Sheehy, head of video production, put together their drone as the get ready to use it for their new program on Friday, Sept. 2016. The UA created Filmstacker, a new video and social media platform to be an educational resource.

UA personnel from the College of Agriculture and Life Science have founded a start-up business and created a new video and social media platform for sharing educational content.

Filmstacker is an online video distribution system intended to be used in educational settings.

Cody Sheehy, co-founder and coordinator of video production for CALS communications and cyber technologies said Filmstacker allows users to share their own documentaries on social media.

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Sheehy said users can watch different clips of videos in whatever order they choose, and as they find more clips that interest them they can move them to an editing area to change the flow of their video by arranging the clips in different orders.

Users can also watch other videos and “restack” the clips into a different order, allowing for greater collaboration.

“We’re hoping to really sort of re-imagine how people watch video on the internet,” Sheehy said. “Right now it’s been very static, and they don’t allow people to creatively contribute, and we kind of are imagining a world where you can go to a place, upload your own content or find other content and build films online, or just a fun way to experience films differently.”

The idea for the technology behind Filmstacker came a few years ago, according to co-founder J.D. Gibbs the senior website designer and developer for CALS Communication and Cyber Technologies.

They put the idea to use when working on an upcoming documentary project titled "Beyond the Mirage," which focuses on water issues in the Southwest.

Sheehy said that they knew that many people often watch minute-long videos and get their information through social media.

“We started trying to think of a system that would be fun to use and still be able to get complicated ideas out into this new kind of environment that we’re in online, and the trick to that, I think is involving people in that process,” Sheehy said. “So all these kind of ideas led to the idea of them being able to build their own water documentaries, and we developed a prototype of that.”

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From there, the idea for Filmstacker spun off into a start-up business. Sheehy said the team is hoping to create a public-facing site within a year that allows people to upload their own video and build projects.

Gibbs said he would be interested in making an app for Filmstacker in the future, as well.

To help with the start-up's development, the Filmstacker team worked with Tech Launch Arizona to license the technology from the UA, with the help of Lewis Humphreys, the software and IT licensing manager for Tech Launch Arizona.

A TLA team also helped the Filmstacker team further develop ideas about their product. Kevin McLaughlin, a mentor-in-residence at Tech Launch Arizona, said he worked with Filmstacker to develop a business model and to figure out how to market to different customer segments. The TLA team also spoke with the Filmstacker team about different ideas for the use of its product.

“Often because we work with early-stage technology, it’s not clear what the end product might be or what the market is or how to commercialize this, and that’s a lot of what we do,” Humphreys said.


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