OMG Life Autographer Quick Review
Once you've been out with the Autographer shooting away quietly to itself, you'll find out that you have to handle hundreds, perhaps thousands of images. And in truth, most of those images on their own will be rather dull. Luckily the camera comes with pretty decent software to help manage your files. You can use either a desktop app (that you can install from the camera itself), or a free smartphone app - overall the two have an admirably consistent look and feel, and pretty intuitive interfaces.
The apps allow you to delete images, mark them as favourites and attach keyword tags, or share them via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or Autographer's own site. Perhaps most interestingly, it allows you to assemble your images into movies or animated gifs, with an impressively intuitive interface and the option of multiple framerates.
When you first install and run the desktop app, it takes you through a basic setup process, inviting you to sign up Autographer's own web portal (where you can share your stills and movies). It then prompts you to import your images (with the option of deleting them from the device itself). Once this is done, you can start browsing.
The app opens up in thumbnail (or 'Stream') view, and first you select which day's images you want to view. You'll then get a thumbnail view, and a somewhat basic GPS track of where you've been. The lower right panel shows all of the data from the camera's environmental sensors for the selected thumbnail. Images that form part of a manually-activated sequence are marked with yellow icons on the top corner of the thumbnail. Double-clicking a thumbnail enters an enlarged image view, called 'Cinema'.
Here you can see an enlarged view of your selected image, alongside the same metadata on the right. You can browse through images using the bottom thumbnail strip, and even run through them as an animation by clicking the 'play' button on the selected thumbnail (hence 'Cinema' view). This replays an unexpectedly compelling chronicle of your day, although it may not necessarily interest anyone else.
If you select multiple thumbnails in the opening view, then click on the 'Create' button (overlapping squares at the lower right of the window), you can build an animation. You can remove frames, and select your movie size and framerate (from 1/4 to 12 fps). You can also add music from your collection - just beware of copyright restrictions.
The smartphone app behaves broadly similarly to the desktop version, but with a slightly reduced range of features. For example the video editor is less sophisticated, and only outputs movies at 640x480 resolution.
|Autographer's app is currently only available for iOS users, but Android support is supposedly on its way. It connects to the camera using Bluetooth.
After a simple initial pairing process, the app will recognise your Autographer automatically from then on. Press the big yellow button to connect.
|The opening thumbnail view is a bit different than the desktop app - it's divided into date and 'Chapters'.
Tap on a chapter to enter your main 'Stream'. Here you'll see all of your images - those which form part of a manual sequence have a blue square on the top corner.
|Tapping a thumbnail pulls up a larger view, and the location the image was shot. You can't see it in this screenshot, but the GPS mapping in the mobile app is far more detailed than the desktop app.
The blue square in the top corner indicates that this image was part of a manually-activated sequence; images marked as Favourites get a yellow square.
|Tap the image and it flips over to show a metadata panel, with the camera's sensor data. A lot of this is presented in an obscure fashion, with only the GPS coordinates and temperature obviously interpretable.|
|In Stream view, tap a thumbnail for a second or two to select it. You can then add frames to your selection, in preparation for generating a movie. Simply tap thumbnails to add them to the selection, tap again to remove. Multiple frames can be added by dragging your finger across the screen.||To create a movie, tap the 'share' button (lower left) then 'create'. You'll then see this screen, on which you can select your output settings, and add music from your library. Press 'Save' and the movie will be saved to your camera roll.|
It may seem odd for the Autographer to use Bluetooth rather than Wi-Fi, which has higher bandwidth and is used by most other cameras. But in practice it works OK - the camera initially only transfers small thumbnails to your phone, so the amount of data being moved is rather small. The phone app also only generates VGA movies, with a maximum of 100 frames, so they're not huge either. One big advantage of using Bluetooth is that you can easily browse through images and create movies without disrupting your phone's existing Wi-Fi connection (for example to your home network).