Thursday, October 4, 2007

Tjoon: Split Screen Web Videos

Tjoon is an interesting webcam app aimed at, I suppose, musicians. It let's users create a 30 second split-screen video with up to 4 participants. Tjoon can be used to jam with friends or create a 4 part harmony with yourself -- or maybe just to recreate the opening credits to the Brady Bunch (sorta).

Unfortunately, there are a few limitations to Tjoon that effect its usefulness. First and foremost, there isn't any real-time collaboration going on with the application. Jam sessions must be done asynchronously by each participant recording their piece separately and passing the Tjoon along to the next guy. Second, 30 seconds really isn't enough time for a band to get their ideas on paper, er, video. Last, they only offer 4-way split screens -- a number of videos on the site just have empty third or fourth spots, which looks silly.

Tjoon was created as a spare time project from a group of employees of Suite 75 and was built with Ruby on Rails and Flash. The site supports some limited social features (commenting on videos, basic user profiles, and embedding of clips).

There is certainly potential for this project, but they need to address their major limitations for it to really be useful for bands. I have some friends in a band that currently operates out of New York City, but for awhile they were separated by thousands of miles while band members pursued degrees at different schools. They worked on their music by sending recorded media back and forth, but a real-time web jamming application would definitely have come in handy for them. My advice to Tjoon would be to go in that direction -- that's something I think a lot of musicians would pay for and lends itself to a great social network (for musicians to hook up and find jam partners).

A clip of a band jamming out -- albeit for just 30 seconds -- is embedded below.

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