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Phhhoto

Animated GIFs turned party souvenirs through a ring-lit photo booth

by James Thorne in Tech on 21 February 2013

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GIFs are fun, shareable, and now they're the ultimate party trick. Our friends at software company HYPERHYPER originally created PHHHOTO—a social photo booth that creates looped-motion images—to record a blowout event they were throwing last December. Engaging and endlessly entertaining, PHHHOTO was such a huge hit that they decided to take the project a step further and introduce it to the marketplace.

We've seen a similar concept in The Bosco, but what sets PHHHOTO apart is the minimalist, DIY spirit that informs the design—the whole thing boils down to an iPad, a ring light and some hands-free software. Behind the wall-mounted light it is an iPad running proprietary software that takes and uploads the GIFs to a dedicated cloud. The running stream can be accessed from mobile devices or simulcast on monitors or projectors at the event.

Using iPad's facial recognition feature, PHHHOTO waits for partygoers to walk up and pose. After a quick countdown, a few seconds of action are captured and looped up and back for a seamless GIF. The resultant file can be shared via text message or social media, captioned and accessed online through the event feed. At the party, monitors and projectors can be used to display the feed for all to appreciate your animated selfie.

Champ Bennett, founding partner of HyperHyper, stopped by to install a portable version of the booth at CH HQ. Compared to previous wall-mounted versions with multiple projectors for the feed, our install is significantly more opaque. It also shows off how brilliantly easy the whole setup really is, provided you have the software to run PHHHOTO. After snapping a few GIFs of the team and the office dogs, it's safe to say we got hooked. You can see the result of that experiment at Cool Hunting's PHHHOTO feed.

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HYPERHYPER is a creative technology agency that typically designs and develops software for big brands like Showtime and Red Bull. Loyal readers will recognize their work from the CH Gift Guide app that launched in late 2012. PHHHOTO required the team to expand their thinking and integrate what they knew of iOS apps with some creative hardware rigging. The floating ring light turned out to be a key element in motivating people to participate. "The halo is so attractive that people just see it and have to walk up to it—that's what we've found," Bennett explains.

The company has plans to install PHHHOTO in event spaces, retail stores, restaurants and clubs—and they expect wedding planners will want in on the action as well. "PHHHOTO is a service just as much as it is a product, so we made the entire app customizable to satisfy the most demanding parties," says Bennett. Customization packages include special filters, backgrounds, LED lighting and branding. In the meantime, don't be surprised to see the photo booth making its way through the party circuit this year.

Stills by James Thorne; GIFs by PHHHOTO

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