Opinion

Animate Your Parties with a 3D Photobooth

It's the ultimate party photo — 3D, animated and bearded.
It's the ultimate party photo — 3D, animated and bearded. Image courtesy DIGITALKITCHEN.

LOS ANGELES — It looks like animated GIFs are certainly seeing a renaissance. Shortly after spotting the NYPL’s Stereogranimator, I stumbled across Protobooth, an animated GIF photobooth.

Yes, you read that right. Concocted by the Seattle-Los Angeles-Chicago design firm Digital Kitchen, the Protobooth consists of four Macbook Pros, three Canon 5D MKII’s, a few other gadgets and a party in a portable kit. Utilizing a recipe of software hacks culled together with MaxMSP, the Canon EOS Utility and the Adobe Suite (Photoshop and Flash), the Protobooth makes it easy to take animated GIFs at a party.

Three cameras were used to create the 3D animated GIF effect. Image courtesy DIGITALKITCHEN.
Three cameras were used to create the 3D animated GIF effect. Image courtesy DIGITALKITCHEN.

While some of the images are indeed animated, most have the same effect as Stereogranimator, namely, to simulate a 3D viewing experience. The moments are frozen in place, and just like bullet time, we zoom around — albeit without the full 360 experience.

So where can you get one? Ah, that’s the rub. “We have no plans to commercialize the Protobooth,” David Mikula told me in an email. Mikula, who holds the cool title of “Senior Creation,” worked on the project with a half dozen others on the team. “It was an internal project that we had a lot of fun creating. That being said, everything we learned from this process has the potential to make its way into future projects.”

Here’s hoping Digital Kitchen at least throws together an open source kit and instructions for the Protobooth-less among us. In the mean time, we can watch the frenetic images and be jealous. Or those who attended 319 Scholes Art Hack Day probably got a taste of another version of the same concept which was created by Ashley Zelinskie.

“The moment we saw the images animated together, we got excited,” Mikula said. “We immediately started thinking about the possibilities.”

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