Friday, August 24, 2012

Friday Freebies PhotoChron: An Interview with the Creator, Andy Dyer-Smith

We love to review various products for photography including Modstraps (one of my personal favorite camera accessories) and print products from the likes of Paper Coterie and Canvas Press (two of our favorite print shops).  We've also done reviews of products that we discover on our own and spread the word so that other photographers can benefit from what we've learned.

Today we are very happy to introduce you to a wonderful product that came to us all the way from the U.K.  First time father, Google employee and enthusiastic chap Andy Dyer-Smith sent us some wonderful information about this product and I love what I see.

As I mentioned, Andy is a first time dad to little Isaac.  That's when the first generation of his app called PhotoChron (as in Chronology) was, ahem - pun intended, conceived. Now he's got another little bun in the oven and we look forward to the next version of PhotoChron with new features.  We can't wait to see have this work on an iPhone.  I wish there was a version for it, as well as for my laptop where I have loads of baby photos that I'd love to play around with.  I actually did take the time to create my own time-lapse slideshow on Vimeo of my daughter, but she's now 20-year-old and does not want me to show it (sad face).  Meanwhile, this version works on Android version 2.3 and up.  It's had thousands of installs and plenty of happy customers.  Herewith we are very pleased to provide our interview with Andy:

Besides being a first time dad, what motivated you to create this app?

Like all parents nowadays, we were constantly taking photos on our phones, point and click cameras and SLRs. When were looking back over the photos of our son's first six months we were amazed by how much he had changed in such a short time. Because of this I started taking portrait photos of him every week or so, hoping to record the changes in a timelapse video. The app was a way to make the task easier (and a hobby to keep me busy on my train ride to work!)

Do you have a technical background that enabled you to create the app or did you get additional technical support?

I have a background in software engineering/consultancy, and I have a passion for coding in my spare time. I currently work for Google and they have been kind enough to grant my requests to work on a couple of projects in my spare time. Although I work for Google I am basically in the same position as all the other app developers out there, relying on the public documentation (which rocks incidentally!) to write my apps. Building the apps is surprisingly easy if you have a little experience in writing programs.

What’s been the reaction from users?
Very positive! I've had lots of feedback, from regular members of the public to various tech bloggers. I've been featured in places like MakeUseOf, PC Mag & OMG Droid.

Is there any particular customer feedback that stands out and makes you proud of your
creation?

I've loved hearing from other parents who have started using it to make movies of their children. One parent said "Thanks for making my obsessive child pic taking even easier!" and another told me "It's fulfilling a need I didn't know I had."

What are the UNEXPECTED things you’ve learned along the way as you’ve unveiled
PhotoChron?

The possible uses people have suggested to me! I've had people tell me they are going to use it to track their body building routines or track their sponsored beard growing which I was not expecting!

Without giving away too much information, are there upcoming enhancements to PhotoChron?
I'd like to add things like the ability to add a sound track or perhaps filters (think sepia tones or cine film style).

What’s been the best result of creating this tool?
The feedback I have received from people who are using it. I like to hope that in a few years time there will be lots of kids with a record of themselves growing up.

What else can you tell us about you, your growing family, and what’s on the horizon for life in the Dyer-Smith’s?
We have another son on the way in a couple of months, and we're planning to use PhotoChron from day one on him!

I'd like to thank my wife for her design advice (she has a much better eye than me) and my son for being a great test subject! (Aw - we love that Andy took the time to acknowledge his wife - we are Moms Who Click after all).

Here's a sample video of Andy's son Isaac over the past year:


And here's one of Andy (less cute (hey, the author said that not me) but a smoother video:


So head over to Google Play to download the free app today.  Show us your video slideshow!

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