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by Cara - -

Easily create dynamic slideshow presentations of photos pulled straight from any Facebook account

PhotoPresenter | Comments

by Cara - -

AppRecap reviews You Gotta See This! and gives it a thumbs up for its extreme creativity.Overall, See This! is an app worth paying for, because it provides a useful feature to the camera that isn't built in, and allows you to edit and upload on the spot. Thumbs up!

YouGottaSeeThis | Comments

by Cara - -

MacAppStorm's Henry Bennett reviews FotoMagico Pro's ability to create stunning slideshows. Highlighting key FotoMagico features such as the ability to quickly and easily animate images and apply and adjust ease in/ease out, he calls is a superb application for creating slideshows.

FotoMagico | Comments

by Oliver - -

I always wanted my own TV studio. Ever since the first days of blogging, I thought that, eventually, everyone would have their own TV channel and instead of writing so much, it would be much easier to get up in front of a camera and say what you have to say.

One of the principles that drive Boinx Software is that we make software that we would want use ourselves, so when we decided to develop BoinxTV, we also built a studio at our offices in Puchheim with a green screen for recording video podcasts. We use it regularly to produce the popular shows Digital Upgrade, Bittnapping.tv, webinars and virtual press conferences.

By the end of 2010 I decided to make my life long dream of becoming my own TV show host come true and start an official Boinx Software video podcast.

I recruited Bastian, our resident podcasting expert and co-host of the above mentioned Digital Upgrade and Bitnapping.tv, told him to come up with a great intro and set up a BoinxTV template we could use to demonstrate how a corporate executive could use BoinxTV to create a branded video in no time at all.

So, one fateful friday afternoon in January, he summoned me into the studio to record the first episode. We had purposefully chosen a time that put us under a bit of pressure to get it done so that we could leave for the weekend.

I had a rough plan for the first episode which I sketched in an email to Bastian.

Being quite good at giving interviews, I thought I would simply get up in front of the camera and just start talking about the things on the agenda, while Bastian was pressing the buttons that would make the episode look great. The second part did work out quite well, but I miserably failed at my part. After 4 or 5 takes, I decided that I needed to script my talk and use a teleprompter.

We chose Bodelin's ProPrompter iPad app. The iPad was going to be the teleprompter, positioned right below the camera. That is not perfect, but we did not have time to get a proper mount with semi-transparent mirror. I was using a second copy of ProPrompter on my iPhone to remote control the ProPrompter app running on the iPad. This setup worked quite well, even though the way you get your text onto the ProPrompter needs a bit getting used to.


Image © Bodelin - borrowed from ProPrompter web site.

Having solved the technical problems, the next challenge was to write the text the way you would talk and not the way you would write. I was using much too complicated sentences that were too long. If you are using a teleprompter you want to make it sound like you are not reading a prewritten script. The script needed some tweaking and I am sure that over time I will get better and better at this, but, in the end, it was the right choice. After we had done the setup for the teleprompter and the script was ready, it took us only one more try to finish the first episode.

So, why have we not published the first episode? The world doesn't stop over the weekend. When we were ready to post it the following monday afternoon, a couple of the facts I had mentioned were already out of date. Additionally, the members of the team we showed it too thought I wasn't smiling enough. Eventually, we decided to not post that first episode but use it as a study case for this making of post. So, with great fanfare, here it is. Enjoy.


PS. I am looking forward to your comments.

VideoChronicles | Comments

by Oliver - -

To avoid a trademark conflict, PhotoBox has been renamed to LightLoupe. A new version has been submitted to the App Store and is waiting for approval.

LightLoupe | Comments

by Oliver - -

Phew.

It is done!

All our Mac Apps are now approved for the Mac App Store.

Shortly after Apple announced the Mac App Store back on October 20th, 2010 we decided that there was little choice but bringing our products to this new distribution channel. But we also decided that we would not go all-in but keep our existing channels and keep the prices in the App Store at the same level as in our other channels.

Unsure about what the published "Submission Guidelines" would mean exactly for our apps, we also decided to try it on one app first before investing the time and money to bring the rest of the apps to the table.

We quickly discovered that the work that needed to be done was primarily factored into our base frameworks, the part of the code that is shared between our apps and that it would be easy to transfer this across our apps. The product causing us most headaches was FotoMagico Pro.

There were two issues with FotoMagico Pro that seemed very difficult to resolve:

PhotoPresenter and FotoMagico

Outside the app store it comes bundled with PhotoPresenter. The reason for this is dated a couple of years back. We have 3 products that focus on slideshows: PhotoPresenter, which is a template based slide show app, FotoMagico Home which gives users the freedom to design the flow or story of the slide show for birthdays or other family events and FotoMagico Pro which helps professional photographers to create additional revenue from the photos they've already sold. In 2008, customers had come to see the products in a linear order based on their pricing: PhotoPresenter -> FotoMagico Home -> FotoMagico Pro.

To drive home the point that PhotoPresenter and FotoMagico Home are equal products and both useful to the same user, we adjusted the pricing so that PhotoPresenter and FotoMagico Home were priced the same and included PhotoPresenter with FotoMagico Pro.

Since then, the market has changed and the Mac App Store does not allow bundles, so we decided to change strategies and make PhotoPresenter independent again. So, beginning next monday, PhotoPresenter 4.1 will be available at the Mac App Store for just US$9.99. FotoMagico Pro on the app store will not be bundled with PhotoPresenter and sell for US$139.99.

Our non-Mac App Store channels will continue to bundle FotoMagico Pro with PhotoPresenter at the current price of US$149.

FotoMagico Pro Plugins

The other major issue are the two plugins we ship with FotoMagico Pro. The plugin for Aperture allows you to collect images in Aperture and open a pre-populated slideshow in FotoMagico. You can then fine tune the story in FotoMagico. The plugin for Final Cut Pro, Final Cut Express, After Effects and Motion allows you to more easily use a FotoMagico slideshow in those host applications.

The thing preventing FotoMagico Pro from getting approved was, that, on the first application launch, FotoMagico Pro would look for Aperture and Final Cut and install the plugins at the appropriate places. In order for FotoMagico Pro to get approved, we changed this: FotoMagico Pro users can now download a separate installer for the plugins from a webpage. This solution, while being a less pleasant experience, works for now.

FotoMagico Pro was the last app approved on Feb. 22nd, 2011, almost 4 months after we started to work on the Mac App Store project.

How did the Mac App Store perform?

Interestingly, the very first app to be approved and for sale was FotoMagico Home. It was featured on the Mac App Store at launch and occupied the top right spot in "New and noteworthy":

This lead to massive sales on the launch weekend (Jan 6.th through 8th.). In fact, in the first 5 days we sold half as many licenses of FotoMagico Home as we had in all of 2010.

The other interesting thing was, that our existing sales channels also seemed to get a boost in sales during that time. In fact, the sales through Kagi and our other partners are as strong or better than the same period in 2010.

While the sales on the Mac App Store initially were additional sales, I fully expect this to slowly change over the course of the next couple of months due to a couple of factors.

What did we learn so far?

Keeping the channels in sync is a massive endeavor. Differences in licensing models, release cycles, user experience and more are bound to cause confusion among customers. For example, many people expected to be able to update a FotoMagico Home they purchased on the Mac App Store to FotoMagico Pro by buying an update through Kagi.

There are also problems with pricing. The App Store does not allow for arbitrary pricing but ties a developer to "tiers". This means you can not have "$49" but need to go for "$49.99". The tiers space out more the more expensive an app is, so you can't have "$152" or "$319". Luckily, there are tiers that match our current pricing very closely. We always maintained that having "xxx.99" was kind of silly, but the guy who decided the pricing tiers at the app store obviously thinks it is a great idea. Over time, we will adapt our other channels to match the prices exactly.

The more serious pricing issue, however, is the fact that Apple has different fixed pricing tiers for some currencies like the Euro and that those tiers have deviated quite substantially from the currency exchange rates in the time that has passed since they have been fixed. This is the reason why our products on the Mac App Store are substantially cheaper in Europe compared to Kagi and substantially more expensive in Japan. Action on our part will also be required here since it is unlikely that Apple will fix it.

We also learned that in the app store, having different application "levels" like Home, Express and Pro is more confusing to the customer. Since they can not easily upgrade from Home to Express, the decision of what flavor to go for is actually a barrier to purchase rather than making the purchase decision easier by offering a lower point of entry. I hope that Apple is going to introduce in-app purchase soon. Then, we might be able to change the model and have only one product on the store with add-ons to purchase that take the user to the next level.

I think these factors, combined with the marketing drive from Apple will make the App Store more and more attractive to customers, eventually drawing them away from our traditional distribution channels.

Bottom Line

The review process was (and still is) very inefficient. What took almost 4 months could have been accomplished in just one if the reviewers, instead of looking for the first reason to reject an app on every app we submitted, had done a thorough review with us on one app pointing out all the issues at once.

But, so far, the Mac App Store has been good to us. FotoMagico Home was featured at the launch which brought a big spike in sales, I was quoted in the official press release and we found out that the Mac App Store reviewers are real people who give their best. Apple has done a tremendous job getting the App Store up and running in less than 3 months after the announcement.

BTW, if you are interested in how we manage the build process with all the different products for the various sales channels, our engineering is preparing an article which is about to be published soon.

FotoMagico | Boinx | PhotoPresenter | Comments

by Cara - -

Wired Educator review iStopMotion and gives it an A+ in the classroom! It is the single best piece of software for helping students becoming content creators and publishers we have ever reviewed. Period. Wired Educator finds the possibilities for iStopMotion and student creation endless. The review explores the easy-to-use interface for students and the multitude of creative features that keep students interested and wanting to explore more. It's a must-have software!

iStopMotion | Comments

by Cara - -

SoftwareLatest calls iStopMotion extremely addictive in its perfect 5 out of 5 star rating review. This program really puts animation at your fingertips...your results can be seem immediately. I really recommend this program if you have ever wanted to try animation but thought it was too complicated and time consuming.

iStopMotion | Comments

by Oliver - -

I am still blown away by how insanely great this app is.

Jim Hillhouse

Customer

Mac App Store

BoinxTV | Comments

by Cara - -

Same Hayat from AppRecap reviews iStopMotion Pro and gives it an excellent 9 out of 10 for its ease of use, nifty user interface and variety of advanced features. Overall, I really liked this app: it is stable, had a great interface, and boasts a ton of great features, which is why it gets 9 out of 10 from me. It adds a real fun effect to movies, and you don't need a whole set or crew to create one. A great app!

iStopMotion | Comments


 

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