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:
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.