@TechEd: Project Tripod Previews App Innovation

Q&A with Jordan Knight, Co-Founder, Project Tripod

Q: Could you please take us through the concept behind Project Tripod?
A: Project Tripod is an app that we’re developing that allows you to use your device to take a snapshot of the same person, place or object over an undetermined length of time to produce creations such as a time-lapse or blend. The time lapse produces a sped up image so if you think about a park, if you did a time lapse over three hours you’d be able to see the clouds moving past quickly and the sun setting quickly, things like that. The time-lapses on Project Tripod can be as short as a minute or as long as a decade. Users will be able to create, discover and share these types of images and visually map change effortlessly without the need for any expensive equipment. We want people to think of it as their own personal tripod and share their tripod images so that other users can see them. There will be different types of outputs and settings for users to experiment with. We can’t wait to see the sorts of things people start to create once they have set up their tripods.

Q: Can you talk to me about the innovation side of the app? Is there anything similar on other platforms yet?
A:The main way to do this currently is manually, using Camera equipment which is heavy, bulky and expensive.  You have to transport this equipment to the destination you want, set everything up, get the perfect alignment, perfect light to take your photos and get your first shot. Bam. But what now? Do you pack up and lug it all back again tomorrow to set it all up again or do you leave your super shiny, super expensive equipment there in the hope it doesn’t get pinched, damaged or bumped out of alignment??! Then once you have your series of photos, using the photography editing software that is available is time consuming, fiddly and frustratingly difficult to generate quality results.

There are a few mobile apps starting to appear now, but although there are applications that allow you to create a time lapse for example, these require the phone to be set up on a tripod and the images are all captured at one time.  This is also only one type of way you can visualise changing images over time.

Q: How were you able to secure funding for the project?
A:  We are one of the first Australian start-ups to receive a €50,000 grant from Microsoft and Nokia’s joint investment program AppCampus. We were utterly delighted to find out that we had won the grant but the real recognition goes to the awesome design and prototype work that’s been done by our development partner at Xamling. Jordan and Alex Knight have already done a fantastic job in building the project and I can’t wait to see the end result. We also partnerted with Xamling because of their strong relationship with the development teams at both Nokia and Microsoft. Windows Phone will have the app exclusively for the first three months.

Q: How are you taking advantage from Nokia’s camera perspective?
A: Although Project Tripod has very powerful image alignment software, the closer a user gets to the original image before they snap the better. Part of this process is an image overlay on the screen which assist the user to align the image by eye. Nokia’s hardware based OIS makes the alignment process that much simpler for the user, it almost feels like time slowing down when the OIS kicks in.

(OIS is Optical Image Stabilisation – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image_stabilization).

On a software level we make heavy use of the freely available Nokia Imaging SDK for Windows Phone 8 – http://developer.nokia.com/Develop/Windows_Phone/nokia_apis/imaging.xhtml
We use its ability to handle very large images (for cropping, rotation and resizing).

Q: What’s the next phase for Project Tripod?
A: We are still developing the app and we’ve extended an open invitation to people from all different backgrounds and industries to nominate themselves to be part of the beta for product testing for us. They can sign up at our website www.projecttripod.com. We have some early designs of the home screen on there and some examples of the different types of time lapses and blends users will be able to create. We are also asking people to let us know what they would build if they could set up a virtual tripod anywhere. What would you capture? What would you want to do with the results?

Q: When do you expect to launch?
A:  It’s all dependent on the feedback we get. We have our Alpha testers doing their best to try to break the current release and so far so good. We have a few more key things we want to get built in before we release the Beta, again the results of that will determine how long until the full product release happens. Our current deadline is to have the application in Windows Phone marketplace by 1st of December 2013. That said – we welcome people to sign up for the beta to help us refine what’s included in the launch as well as get to play with the system sooner.

Q: What will success look like for Project Tripod?
A:  Success for Project Tripod is currently around achieving our development and customer acquisition milestones – which are right on track so far. Once the product is in market across multiple platforms we have some ambitious goals around commercialisation partnerships and expansion into international markets.

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