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Chris Garcia brings interactive video portraits to volume photography

Chris Garcia

Chris Garcia of GSP Studio never expected to be in the app business but when he saw an amazing imaging technology at an industry event, his mind raced with new potential.

As a result, Garcia, with his technology partners at Flam, launched at the SPOA conference the RMBR app for iOS and Android. The app uses Flams' award-winning interactive technology to turn school photos into video prints.

Garcia, who has been steadily growing his traditional volume business, was watching the Visual 1st Spotlight on Photo Print Apps in March of this year when he saw Flam co-founder Malhar Patil demo the latest version of ZingCam, the app that brings video to still prints. In short, the Flam technology allows a video or augmented reality presentation to be triggered by a print. Unlike previous attempts at melding video with printed images, Flam's technology allows the user to add a video after the print is made. Previously, a barcode or QR code would be used to trigger the video, whereas the ZingCam technology uses the image itself.

After seeing the Visual 1st Spotlight, Garcia reached out to Patil to get more information on what it would take to create an app for the school portrait market.

"How cool would that be that we have to have a wall full of memories, and every photo tells the story?" says Garcia. "Now, every picture tells you its story behind it."

Garcia is still exploring the many possibilities offered by the ZingCam technology. He envisions a day soon when portraits will be enhanced using AI technology.

"In a sitting, there are three or four poses per outfit, with multiple outfits," he explains. "You have to have the cap and gown for Mom and Dad and Grandma. But now, what if you could take that session and speed up the time where don't need an hour; just 20 minutes to photograph on a white background. From there, Mom could change the outfit. and the hairstyle. That's what I see happening within the next two to three years."

Today, the RMBR offers these functions in three steps:

  1. Scan & Add Video: Customers select a favorite photo and place an order with the school photographer and scan the photo from the RMBR app. The photo will come alive with the video once scanned, which is saved within the RMBR app.

  2. Record: Record your school video experiences on the RMBR app and access them later.

  3. Download: Users can download the RMBR video experience and share it on social media.

The ability to add a video or AR experience to a printed image could be a powerful selling tool for school photographers, according to Garcia. "We not only can we give photographers the power to sell just their images, but now they can sell digital products as well along with the images that are more than just a digital download. Take the images that never sold, like graduation photos, and remarket them in a new way. For example, with our high schools, we get a lot of seniors right take their photos but still never buy them. What if we could take that graduation photo, add a video where you get your diploma, and add a slideshow that has the senior portraits taken in the studio?" Garcia also thinks there is a huge potential market for yearbooks, as each book could become enhanced with video: "We think yearbooks will be big because what if you could actually scan that team photo and it plays a highlight reel of the football season?"

The advantage of this approach with yearbooks, according to Garcia, is the book now becomes more of a community project: "The yearbook is what the yearbook class sees what they want. But when you're an athlete, you're at practice every day, you're on those bus rides, you see different versions of things. And so do parents who are in the stands every Friday night." Each player, student and parent can have a yearbook with a personalized video or AI component to it.

Another example is enhanced ads within the yearbook, as well as portraits linked to other content on the web. "One of the products we're working for senior portraits is do a slideshow of their five favorite pictures and a link to a Spotify playlist," says Garcia. "Imagine going back five years later and hearing the songs you liked, right from the app." Garcia is continually looking for products to enhance with the new technology, including adding hype videos to sports banners.

Garcia will be presenting the RMBR app at the Visual 1st in-person conference, Oct. 24-25, at Ft. Mason in San Francisco, Calif. Click here for more information on the conference.

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