SnipBack for iOS and Android Gives You a Second Chance at Photos

SnipBack for iOS and Android Gives You a Second Chance at Photos

How often is it that you miss that great selfie expression, kid photo, or sports play because you didn't have your camera running at the right time? It happens to me a lot, but a new app for iOS and very soon coming to Android called SnipBack has some good ideas to fix this issue, and it makes me think that our pro gear could learn a few lessons here.

What Is SnipBack?

SnipBack works for audio and video, and it's easy to operate and the concept is a good one. The app constantly records to a temporary buffer. This makes it pretty easy to capture easily missed events. In essence, you point your smartphone and the camera is immediately taking images. Like a DVR, you can go back and grab a clip or a still while the camera continues to run. In addition, the app comes with other notable features, including a nice editor for arranging clips for videos and saving them or sending the video to others. 

Masud Khan, President & CEO of the company that made the app tells the story. “The idea of SnipBack came to me when I was at my daughter’s softball game. When she came up to bat, I started recording, but it was ball 1, so I stopped. Then again, I started recording, and it was ball 2, and again I stopped. Ultimately, she walked, and I had a bunch of useless videos.”

Masud thought that there had to be a better way. Why not let the user see the action first before they decide to record it? And just like that, SnipBack was born. And recently, it was awarded six patents with 20 more pending. More about that later.

How Is SnipBack to Use?

Frankly, it's not obvious when you first look at the app how it works. In fact, when you open the app, it is saving video and stills to memory. You can then scroll back in time and grab the video or still you want, which on my iPhone, went straight to my camera roll. Even though it wasn't obvious how it worked, there are several tutorials that will walk you through it. After you've used it a couple of times, it's easy to use it and extract your video or images.

For editing video, It’s also equipped with an intuitive editing interface that utilizes a simple approach. This patented interface allows you to do a wide range of things such as trimming videos, extracting unwanted portions, and adding effects in a simple and consistent way.

I don't do a lot of selfies, but I let my parrot volunteer. It's hard to get a good expression from him, as he's a bit fearful of the camera. So, I played around for a while, while SnipBack was recording to buffer.

I then went backward and saved a few frames that were worth keeping. It worked better than taking image after image and having a bunch I didn't want. I can see where something like this would be great for baby pictures and sporting events. The video editor even allows for some slow-motion effects.

Here's a demo:

Summing Up

I keep my eye on smartphone photo apps because it seems that's where a lot of the innovation in photo software is. Using SnipBack, I found myself wishing my Sony a7 III had similar features. Since I do mainly landscapes, it would not be an everyday feature for me, but in a few instances, it would have saved me from missing a bald eagle shot or other events. For wedding, portrait, or nature photographers, it could be a great feature.

SnipBack is free, and it was fun to learn and use. I wondered why such a clever app was free. The company says it may at some point have ads or be a paid app. The company also has some hopes of licensing the tech to cellphone and camera manufacturers. Sony, Canon, Nikon, and others, give the SnipBack people a call. It's a worthy feature for any camera. If you find yourself doing casual smartphone photography and wish you hadn't missed that great shot, then SnipBack is for you.

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WTF? How can you not immediately see all the privacy concerns this brings? This is like google glass without it being obvious!

Terrible terrible terrible!

I guess thank you for letting is know this exists! The question is how to get rid of this sort of thing

don't install it?

Great idea... / irony. Now how to get it uninstalled on the devices of creeps who may be taking photos of my daughter

but if they're doing that, they have been doing it without this app
Ipnone has Live Photos, it records a second or two of video when you snap the picture, you can turn that feature off though and I think the playback only works on apple devices.
sorry to say as Long as we have smart phones, this will be an issue.

You do realise that the user has to have their phone out and pointing at the subject in order to record them. How is this any different from just taking a photo or recording a video anyway?

You might want to loosen that tin foil hat dude! Even-though i fail to see how exactly this is different from the time Rewind feature on Pixelmaster camera app by Asus, I think their selling point is that this works for videos here and is available for non Asus devices. The app seems to be out for 2 years now. Guess it never got the traction it needed. Good Job Mel!

I've used it and works well on my Iphone SE. I'll use it next time i go on a trekking trip. i can see how something like this is really useful for adventurers . I've missed so many good moments cause i didn't hit record on time. NEVER AGAIN!

Hi Les - I am from SnipBack. Must be some misunderstanding. The user has to take their phone out and have the App active...and for video or pics would have to be pointing it at it would be as obvious as if someone was recording you on any device. Hope that clears the privacy concerns up a bit.

This is an old idea that already been done many times before. So I don't know how the guy can claim he has 6 patents on it with 20 more pending. Anyhow, this is just another snap shot device. Has nothing to do with seriously composing a thoughtful photograph and everything to do with putting more crap on the web.

As well as how would this even work on a Mirrorless/DSLR? Constantly be capturing photos at the highest framerate? Until it fills the buffer?

Hi Cool Cat - I am from the SnipBack team. The patents are related to a continuous recording system to a temporary buffer within a camera context, thereby allowing users to go back in time to get any action (or part of an action) they may have missed. And we filed this over 6 years ago, long before things like Live Photos were around, and received 6 patents covering various features combined with the approach. Regarding being an "old idea...done many times before", I would respectfully disagree. But I can see how you could arrive at that conclusion based on this article, since it focusses primarily on photos. I think the main difference would be in how we apply time shifting for video, and how we actually execute on that idea...that is what's new and innovative in our opinion. Respectfully, Masud.

The Casio QV-10 had a buffer and allowed you to recover up to 4 shots, I believe, of what happened before you pressed the shutter. I used it for lightning photography. Pretty cool for 1995 tech.

You know what? THIS IS WHAT I WAS WAITING FOR! This app is a dream for action videography. I remember using something like this for just pictures years back . It’s great that we have something for videos now. It’s something I always wanted. I'm not a huge fan of sports but I can see how I can use this for nature videos. the app is well optimized and works as expected. HOW IS THIS APP FREE?? I see its been out for over 2 years on the app store.. why haven't I heard about them?

I like how this app came into being - A father wanting to record his daughter's softball game. That's some wholesome content right there! Since I don't see any reason to believe that any of the processing happens outside the phone, I’m not really concerned about privacy being an issue. To me, this sounds like a great app provided the results are good. I'll test it out outside on my next weekend. I also have a dog who is very camera shy. I'm sure I’ll finally get her crazy antics on video with this! LOL

Clint, this is Masud from SnipBack. Thanks for your positive comments. Truly appreciated.

When the CEO of the company making the app responds to your comments himself! wow! I will tell the world of your amazing app dear sir!

To me the big question is once someone decides to grab one of the previously buffered shots, does it take the previous 10 shots as well and stack them like the Pixel and Apple 11 so you get the benefit of the reduced noise and better dynamic range?

It's not a killer if not, but it would be nice to know. I often use Burst Mode on my iPhone knowing I'm not getting the stacking advantage of a single shot, but I recognize the tradeoff and do it willingly for those occasions.

Hi Paul, this is Masud from the SnipBack team. Sorry, we don't do that yet...but a great idea for the future for sure. Will check with the team on feasibility. Thanks.

This is a great idea for video. I have it on a sony rx0 in the high frame rate mode. You press the button at the end of the action and it gives you the previous 5 seconds of footage.

Hi Adam, this is Masud from the SnipBack team. Thanks for the positive comment on the concept of capturing the past, that you've had some experience with using your sony rx0. As a differentiater, our cyclical buffer is set at 1 minute by default (sufficient for the vast majority of situations), but can be extended up to 10 minutes. Our QuickBack feature, which is like the sony feature, is set to capture the past 5 seconds by default (just swipe left on the screen), but can be changed to any value you'd like. Also, our QuickBack+ feature, which you engage by swiping down, allows you to dynamically capture the past by bringing up a screen where you slide back as far into the past as you'd like. And if you swipe right, you get the same ability but with photos. Also, if you just record normally, you still have access to that buffer in case you started recording late. Hope that provides a little more insight on our execution on this concept.