Clippabl was a SaaS project I worked on from 2019 to 2021 in my spare time. It was a video clipping tool that allowed users to add a video from any platform and then clip out sections of the video to create a new video clip with burned subtitles in it for social media and marketing use. It was a fun project to work on and I learned a lot about video processing and ffmpeg.

The Problem

Initially this started as an alternate problem. I was training the staff at Motto and I started filming screencasts for them to reference to save on my time. However, these were very long videos and I needed a way for them to easily search and find their specific topics among hours of video.

Initially, I thought I would have to clip the longer videos into shorter topical videos and then appropriately tag them. However, I had a full time job as CTO and doing this would be very time consuming. I said to myself, "there must by a way to search over the subtitles of a video to seek exactly what you need."

The technology was already there, so it seemed pretty straightforward:

  1. Download the video
  2. Extract the audio
  3. Convert the audio to text
  4. Index the subtitle text in a database
  5. Make a UI to search the database for the text

The Pivot

I started working on it and it seemed very solvable. However, once I arrived at the stage where I subtitled videos that were added and created a database of subtitles, I considered a different shorter path. Finishing the UI for the project as is would be pretty time-consuming, but there was an alternate product that was pretty much already built.

Content creators at the time were feeling the pain of having to manually subtitle their video clips on social media, since by default audio is muted when you scroll. I personally knew several content creators that had this pain. So I pivoted the project to be a tool that would allow content creators to easily subtitle their videos and then clip out sections of the video to create a new video clip with burned subtitles in it for social media and marketing use. They could add branding, change the subtitle font, edit the subtitles, and export for any resolution.

The End

I arrived to market with this new version and successfully billed a few customers. However, I was not able to continue to work on the project due to time constraints. Towards the end, I realized there were several competing products, as well as social media platforms that were reliably adding subtitles automatically. I figured it wasn't worth pursuing the project any further. However, it was a great learning experience and my first working SaaS product!

Technologies Used