Friday, June 17, 2011

Retweet: WSJ's Drake Martinet interviews CollabraCam's Kyle Hilla; Martinet shares his tools of the trade

The WSJ's Drake Martinet today posted an interesting video interview with Kyle Hilla, the Grand Rapids, Mich. based developer behind the CollabraCam, video production app found in Apple's App Store.

CollabraCam is a $4.99 app that allows for the set-up of a multi-camera video recording situation. Think of it this way: instead of five TV cameras recording a baseball game you instead used five iPhones. Each iPhone would send its video signal to a "director", either another iPhone or an iPad. That "director" would then use their device to live edit the feeds, just as a television producer would live edit the feeds from the TV cameras.
The catch is that each iPhone would have to have the app on it – meaning each iPhone owner would have to buy the app themselves. Now $4.99 is hardly a fortune, but the App Store has kind of conditioned people to expect to pay 99 cents to $1.99 for most apps.

Martinet's interview is interesting, in general, but one line caught my attention and was worth retweeting. When asked about the idea of producing a lower cost app that would simply serve as a video camera app, while then having its original app be only a "director" app, Hilla said this:

"Holding off on that right now, didn't want to do that right off the bat – and now with the Lodsys patent (lawsuits) against developers with in-app purchase we're going to sit on the fence for a while," Hilla says.

This is the first time I've directly heard of a developer saying that the Lodsys patent lawsuits was acting to hold back app development.

Drake Martinet, in case you are not familiar with him, is Associate Editor, Social and Multimedia at D: All Things Digital, at The Wall Street Journal. He is based in the Bay Area and, in addition to his work at the WSJ, also maintains his own website.
Martinet's last post there is also worth retweeting. Two days ago Martinet posted his last story within shows the video recording "rig" he uses to shoot his WSJ video interviews.

Now I must admit that his video work is hardly state-of-the-art, but they certainly work. Martinet uses his iPhone to record his videos, saying they that "it obeys the “Best Camera” principal, by which the best camera is always the one you have with you."

I would have liked to copy the photo he posted of his set-up but the two hour difference in time zone discouraged me (didn't want to wake the guy up), so I'd encourage you to check it out.

Martinet whole set up, he says, costs him about $90, not counting the iPhone, of course. He uses a Glif to attach his phone to a Joby Gorillapod portable tripod with magnetic feet. Attached to his phone is a wide angle lens, available from Photojojo!, and a Vericorder microphone.

I used to use a Mikey from Blue Microphones on my iPhone 3Gs, but the company currently doesn't have a microphone solution that works for the newer iPhone 4 – too bad, I really like my Mikey!

But I bought the Glif tripod attachment. The people behind Glif, it you recall, got started thanks to a Kickstarter campaign, and the Glif is a pretty essential $20 piece of plastic.

The tripod choice is up to you, of course, any tripod you like that has a standard camera attachment tool will work. The Joby Gorillapod tripod Martinet uses is nice simply because it is so portable and can be had for under $25 on Amazon.