The Syrp Genie and Genie Mini Are Perfect for Food Photographers and More

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of reviewing Syrp's awesome, affordable, perfectly executed Genie Mini time-lapse device. However, time-lapse photography and videography barely covers the beginning of what can be done with the New Zealand company's awesome devices. The Slanted Lens' Jay P. Morgan not only shares his entire lighting setup for a classic food shot, but also proposes some clever and welcomed case studies for how to use Syrp's devices to create better shots, not only around stars, but also around close-range subjects.

For those that read the review, my experience with Syrp's Genie Mini was beyond pleasurable - and Morgan's has apparently been no different. Being able to use the app to easily calculate your shot angles and timing takes the fuss out of what used to be rather complicated movements that you'd have to reshoot several times to get perfect. But with the right combination of Syrp's devices, Morgan shares how we can easily set up more captivating shots for our clients with extreme ease. His implementation is a perfect example how using the original Genie in concert with the Genie Mini can add high-production-value shots to your films.

Meanwhile, Morgan shares how and why he adds so many separate backlights (to separate his subjects and add bottle glow) while throwing in suggestions for what to watch when lighting from behind.

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I wouldn't call the mini perfectly executed, they ignored the Windows platform which it useless to me and other users. It's great for Android/iOS users, but for there's nothing for the UWP platform. Yes I'm nitpicking but you'd think they'd at least support the three major platforms in the market.

They didn't just ignore Windows, they ignored all traditional Desktop OSs (OSX, Linux and Windows). Syrp did what any good business does, they did their market analysis and determined where to spend their R&D dollars for the best return. They choose support the two dominant mobile platforms Android and iOS, Windows mobile isn't even on the radar, and UMP is probably just too new for them (just turned one year old last month). I would guess that if there's sufficient money in it for them, they'll get around to developing a UWP app. Perhaps they're working on it right now(?), or perhaps they're waiting for the UWP APIs and dev tools to mature a bit more, maybe after the next major release.

Windows 10 has around 270 million users in less than a year. UWP is not about desktop, UWP is available where ever Win 10 is, tablet, desktop, mobile, HoloLens and so on. UWP is mature enough platform for the major corporations such as banks, hotels and the likes of Twitter,Facebook, etc. to use. The old paradigm for Win 10 being a desktop OS is gone, Windows is a PaaS, Platform as a Service, meaning it's become agnostic to the underlying hardware.

However they've lost a sale from me for that kind of kit, and whilst in the grand scheme of things they'll won't care about that but how many other people who have a Windows based workflow they've lost?

Doing a device agnostic platform for coding isn't that hard unless you're doing something very complicated or using obscure API's, from what I've seen all this apps is doing is using the underlying Bluetooth Stack to communicate settings. In any case its relatively easy to port using something like Xamarin or using the beta of Microft's Bridge (AKA Islandwood) for iOS which has been available since last year for developers.

Windows 10 has been successful in that it has established a viable install base in a very short period of time. iOS has over 800 million users, Android has significantly more than this (albeit highly fragmented across different versions).

Syrp is a small company, it could still be considered a 'startup' so they don't have the resources of Twitter or Facebook or any other major corporation. Major software development corporations (Adobe, Facebook, Autodesk, etc, etc) are incentivized by the various platform publishers (Microsoft, Apple, Google) to develop applications for their latest and greatest products. Basically the platform publishers are, in one form or another, buying a marketing piece. E.G. "To see what is possible with our latest APIs in UWP, here's Jeff from Adobe to demonstrate their latest creation." It sounds great but that example, Adobe would have spent months hammering away at building an app using emerging still in flux APIs with a team of dev's on loan from Microsoft to assist them. No small development house, like Syrp would ever benefit from having access to that kind of support. They would be like another commercial software publisher, get a paid level subscription from Microsoft, and when they run into an issue they submit their ticket to Microsoft and wait for a response.

Device agnostic code must go through a interpolator at some point, Microsoft says, "Anything you can do in Objective-C, Swift, or Java you can do in C#". That may very well be true but interpolation can equal a hot mess, and dev's know that while this may work for simple apps (e.g. text editor, basic one trick utilities, etc) for major applications (Photoshop, AutoCAD, etc) nothing beats the code optimizations that native coding provides. Interpolation at the compiler or at the run-time all have a cost. UWP seeks to be the panacea under which all apps are developed, that was tried once before (Java) and it largely failed (certainly on the client side). Software as a Service (SaaS) may be the exception to this but there are still layers of abstraction there too (penalties in the form of performance, user interaction, etc.). All do respect, no one wants to release a commercial application (or risk their business using) dependent upon software like Microsoft Bridge — it's too soon for small houses like Syrp.

I noticed when he is showing the grid of 4 shots simultaneously talking about parallax, the footage is extremely choppy. Any ideas on if that was an export issue, or if the slider is doing discrete degree transitions rather than a continuous pan? It looks like the footage might have been slowed down too, which could be contributing.

Adam Ottke's picture

I noticed that, too. And while I could be wrong, it really looks like it was an export or rendering issue for whatever computer was handling those simultaneous streams. Looked like standard choppiness from "not being able to catch up," if you know what I mean. So I gave it a "pass," if you will.

I think they just had 24p footage and slowed it down past their export frame-rate. I noticed it too.