Polaroid Swing comes to you from the minds behind Instagram and Twitter; two companies that understand the power of photography and short videos. The app essentially is another one of those Live Photo apps including Seene, Moju, Mindie and Vine that allow the recording of one-second videos.
Polaroid Swing allows you to record one second long videos without sound, essentially allowing you to create your own GIF. The app allows you to share the videos via Facebook and Twitter or via email (links that redirect you to the app site) but is really minimalistic in its design. It doesn’t even allow comments on pictures yet and has a very clean look.
The app allows you to watch the short videos either by running your finger or mouse over them from left to right and back again or by tilting your phone or tablet the same way (hence the “Swing” in the name). The video is really smooth, being recorded at 60 frames per second and smoothed out by the company’s own algorithms that don’t skip a single beat.
They do this by adding more frames in post processing thereby adding depth and realism to it. You can also add one of four filters to your videos (Polavision, Ansel, Land, Santa Fe).
As GIFs and videos become more and more popular on social networks and apps like Snapchat continue to gain ground, the market is ripe for short video apps. Polaroid Swing is backed by the co-founder of Twitter, Biz Stone, who is taking over as chairman and has the likes of Cole Rise (the person who designed Instagram’s early filters), Matthew Rothenberg (one of the early people behind Flickr) and former employees of Apple, Google and Airbnb behind it. The company’s founders are British Entrepreneurs, Tommy Stadlen and Frederick Blackford. They grew up together on the same street in Notting Hill.
They named the app after the famous camera for the history and reverence behind it; how it still manages to capture the imagination of the public. Those who have never even seen or held a polaroid camera before still associate with the romanticism of the faded colours and the instant memories it used to capture. Blackford and Stadlen say that they have a “unique partnership” with the rights holders of the Polaroid brand for an exchange of shares in the Parent Company. They even have vintage polaroid cameras sitting inside a glass case at their main offices in San Francisco.
The founders also talked about the 200 or so artists to whom the company seeded the app to explore what they could do with it. They came up with the 3-D selfie and many other features that helped create “digital eye candy” in the app.
Whether Polaroid will become as huge as Instagram or Snapchat remains to be seen. Who knows? Maybe they’ll be bought up by Facebook just like they tried to buy Snapchat and succeeded in buying Instagram. But for now, they don’t have the critical mass and user base to aspire to either one.
The app is currently only available on iOS with an Android version coming soon.