The Birth Of The Slowmographer

Intensely aware of the incredible quantity of images in our feeds and channels, I think it’s not very interesting to talk about state of mobile photography any more. The numbers: billions of images shared in every second; thousands of mobile tools being used to create the perfect illustration to every moment, make any argument meaningless. As members of image sharing networks, or as content creators, we’re looking forward to the next thing. We’re now ready for something new.

Video Creation Still Isn’t Mobile

Far more interesting is the question why mobile video creation hasn’t found its way to hundreds of millions of smartphone users yet. Why didn’t it go mainstream? Is it the image quality? No, the iPhone and many other smartphone cameras offer outstanding video quality. Is it the lack of tools? Nope. A distribution problem maybe? Unlikely! Videos are everywhere! And still, the majority of them is made by professional teams.

The average smartphone holds over 25 videos but usually, they stay unshared. People think that their own videos are not shareworthy and they believe that good videos can only be made by professionals. They’re not completely wrong. In people’s heads, video is something super-complicated. Even if there’s a huge variety of easy-to-use apps it’s quite a lot of work to create something compelling. Vine, Magisto, Instagram’s video feature have solved part of the problem, but even among their users the most outstanding stuff is created with professional tools, by production companies.

No wonder that people stay trapped in the realm of photos, when expressing themselves visually, because they perceive photography as something easier to master.

The Key Is Slow, Slow Is Key

What if there was a new image format? A new medium between photo and video? A format that is as handy and easy as mobile photo and at the same time as compelling and stunning as a movie. Sounds good, I know. And it sounds hypothetical, I know.

Photographers, Instagrammers are constantly looking for new ways of self expression, but are they happy with the results? Instagram’s Boomerang, Apple Live Photo and VSCO’s new DSCO are attempts creating a new moving image format but the output has less photographic qualities than most photographers would accept as minimum, and less videographic qualities most videographers would use. That’s why we can’t be sure that these GIF-types can ever widely succeed.

Instagram has demonstrated that anyone can make better photos using their app’s smart filters. Similarly, Slowmographer wants to empower people to shoot better video. To reflect a beautiful moment by using short slow motion sequences and adding smart video effects and filters to the mix.

While a ‘normal’ video is considered as interesting only if the output looks professional enough or the story is so strong, a slow motion video is interesting by default. This is a key point: we believe that slow motion videos are stunning, no matter if the creator is an amateur or a professional. Anyone can create an awesome visual experience where the ‘story’ is a single but beautiful moment rather than a series of events directed and edited into a complex movie.

Why is it so stunning? The beauty of a moment can be much better represented if recorded at high speed and played back at normal speed. This way, the viewer has time to observe every little detail of that moment and can see even things the human eye would not be able to capture otherwise.

The format is closer to photo than to video. We call it slowmography as it best describes what it does. A slowmograph combines photographic qualities, such as a beautiful composition and image filters with videographic features, like transitions, looping, as well as connecting multiple loops together into a longer edit.

The Slowmography Experience

Not only the viewer enjoys this new perspective, it’s a lot more fun to the content creator as well. First of all, the slowmographer takes a photo of something that’s moving (or someone in motion). The app automatically turns that snapshot into slow motion loop. There are a number of ways to fine tune, emphasize, highlight the details by adjusting brightness, using filters and transition effects, changing speed, etc. But the best thing about it is that you can share it right away without adding any filters or effects to it. It’s like a visual tweet.

Users with a more sophisticated plan can connect multiple shots into a longer story. Any number of shots can be stringed together and saved but it’s a good idea to keep it under 4 shots (15 seconds, which is the limit on Instagram). When sharing a slowmograph to Instagram we recommended using a special tag (#everydayslowmo) in the caption to get a chance to be featured in the app. We’re showcasing selected videos not only as inspiration for new users, but slowmographers can like each other’s videos and visit their Instagram profiles.

A slowmograph is a silent format, closer to a GIF than to a video. However we see it more as a living photo format (or a better live photo) the app automatically shares it as video when the actual platform supports looping video. In all other cases a GIF is being shared.

It’s designed to offer the best and fastest way to create stunning loops to either supplement a message or even replace the good old photo or video in certain (‘moving’) situations.

Slowmographers Welcome!

Slowmography is a newborn medium. Its (hi)story is so young, it’s just starting now, and everyone is invited to shape it. Yes, you, you can be part of it too. The timing is perfect. Welcome in the community!

Slowmographer has been named by Apple as “Best New App” in 10 countries. Download from the App Store now!

It launched on Product Hunt on February 23, 2016.

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