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Two Brooklyn Brownstoners Launch New Instagram-style App for Video, Montaj

By Janet Upadhye | January 17, 2013 8:16am

CLINTON HILL — Dan Long and Demir Gjokaj met as undergrads at Berkeley. But it wasn't until later in life, after catching waves in Puerto Rico, shooting a television show in L.A. and jamming in their Brooklyn brownstone, that they began to dream up an app for sharing their experiences.

And since there wasn't one out there that did what they wanted — film the moments of their lives in short digestible sequences, quickly storyboard the clips, edit them into a short film, add music, and share — they created it themselves.

Holed up in the basement of a Clinton Hill brownstone for two years, the two emerged with Montaj; a video app that helps users makes short, fast-paced and artistic videos.

“We are looking to make a huge splash with this,” Gjokaj said at the app’s launch. “This app goes beyond helping users make event videos, it can also be used to make music videos, news reports and documentaries. It’s about better storytelling.”

Dubbed Montaj, the app is based on the fact that most people shoot too much footage for videos that are too long. According to Gjokaj, the majority of people will not watch a video on YouTube that runs over one minute.

So Montaj only allows clips of five seconds or less.  Using the iPhone camera, the app guides users through filming and when all clips are in place a shake of the phone mixes them up, allowing users to find the perfect opening sequence and most dramatic finish.

The app pulls music from the iPhone’s music library to add in the background or incorporates voiceovers. It then finishes the video, ready to export or share within the app’s feed.

Gjokaj hopes that Montaj will be on par with Instagram, a highly popular app that allows users to put filters on and share their photos. Further, he hopes Montaj will pique users’ interest in the artful medium that has captured pop culture’s attention for over 100 years on the big screen, adding that Montaj would help everyone who downloads the app make Hollywood style shorts from their phone.

“Photos aren’t our favorite medium. Not even close,” he said. “We don’t spend $14 to see a gallery of photos, we go see a movie.”

And with Montaj, two Brooklyn techies hope to revolutionize the way users share their lives online.

Montaj will launch on the iPhone's app store on Jan 22.