Cristóbal Valenzuela: Painting Outside The Lines

By Alixandra Rutnik on Jun 10, 2022

One Club Member, Co-Founder of Runway talks about his latest software


There are endless platforms out there that make photo editing very simple and flawless for all of us– VSCO, Adobe Lightroom, Instagram, etc. But what about the fastest editing tool for all the video creators out there? 

Cristóbal Valenzuela, One Club Member, tech designer, and Co-Founder of Runway designed Inpainting– an insane new software powered by Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence that is literally a digital magic eraser for your films. Of course, we needed more details so we caught up with Cristóbal on his latest addition to Runway– Inpainting.


As the co-founder of Runway, what encouraged you to start this tech company?

We started the company after experiencing and realizing firsthand how difficult, time-consuming, and inefficient current content creation tools are. Editing and making videos takes an unnecessarily large amount of time. Our goal is to provide a modern video editing experience where you can do end-to-end video editing in a collaborative environment and with the best technology possible. This was a vision we started building in 2018, after graduating from NYU TISCH.

"Our goal is to provide a modern video editing experience where you can do end-to-end video editing in a collaborative environment and with the best technology possible."

Have you offered Video Editing, Green Screen, and Inpainting from the start?

We originally began as a hub for creators to come and experiment with machine learning. The technology was not always as accessible as it is now– especially in the context of creative experimentation. Once we got a feeling for what machine learning models were being most taken advantage of by artists and creators, it felt natural to pivot into video. In this way, we’re both introducing new technology into the space, and filling a gap in tooling efficiency.

What is your vision for Runway five years from now?

Runway will become the defacto tool to make and edit any kind of videos. The upside case is rooted in the premise that we can succeed at transforming an entire industry. We are a company committed to creativity. Machine learning is a tool and technique that we are taking and translating in a way that helps our users tell better stories. The more empowered our users are to share their stories across distribution channels and across the web, and allowing anyone to become a storyteller using Runway, is what success looks like to us.

"Machine learning is a tool and technique that we are taking and translating in a way that helps our users tell better stories."

Which types of creatives will really benefit from your software?

Runway is unique in that different creators will find different ways in which Runway is advantageous for them. For example, a professional VFX editor may find Green Screen to be useful in a feature film for the sake of time efficiency, while a TikTok-er will be impressed by the ease of removing a pile of clothing from their bedroom dancing video with Inpainting. The possibilities are really endless, and we’re all for encouraging artistic experimentation along the way. Runway is meant for anyone creating video, whether that be a novice or pro, short or long form, etc.

What is the coolest thing you’ve seen someone make from using Runway?

Everything Everywhere All At Once

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert


 

Inpainting looks and sounds like a digital magic eraser. How long does it take to code algorithms and develop software like this that actually works?

Inpainting is a custom AI tool we developed that allows you to remove any object from any video with just a few simple brush strokes. Building that feature starts with training and evaluating the underlying algorithm. This is what takes the longest. After a model and architecture that works as we expect has been identified, we spend time building interfaces and a deployment system to run that feature for all our users. From there, it is all about continuous improvements and feedback.

What are the most rewarding aspects of software development and design?

The most rewarding thing is to build products that help our customers tell their stories. Learning and iteration close to our customers are fundamental. It is also incredible to see the projects and videos folks are able to make with Runway.

Thoughts on running a start-up?

It never gets easier. It only gets faster.

What is it about ML and AI that gets you excited about the future of storytelling, video editing, and advertising?

Runway makes previously tedious and advanced video editing tasks available to every creator, on any level. Unlocking this availability of easy to understand and easy to use tooling has infinite potential. We’re excited to tear down the barriers of entry for this kind of creation and rethink the professional editing workflow.

"We’re excited to tear down the barriers of entry for this kind of creation and rethink the professional editing workflow."

CVALENZUELA.COM

Inpainting


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