Apple's new photo collage app takes great shots but then gets too amateurish for government.
There’s no rush to see “You Gotta See This!”
This $1.99 Apple app for the iPhone 4 or fourth-generation iPod Touch sounds really cool but ultimately lacks the requirements many agency workers might want in a photograph app.
The tool uses gyroscope technology to determine camera orientation while recording a series of still images. It then positions images accordingly on a flat surface to create a collage with an option of five different backgrounds and picture placements.
The problem with You Gotta See This isn’t how it works. The fact that the software combines the gyroscope features of the iPhone with a camera that continuously takes pictures is a great idea and worth exploring for government use.
You Gotta See This! 1.1
Pros: Cheap; easy to use; taps into iPhone gyroscope and camera.
Cons: No control of photo stitching once images are taken; silly collage options.
Ease of Use: A
From reporting to analysis and collaboration, this feature could provide an improvement in the overall unified communication strategy of any agency, especially because the camera on the iPhone 4 provides 5-megapixel quality, and the You Gotta See This tool gives you the option of e-mailing your pictures to any account or posting them on popular social media sites.
The problems occur after the images are rendered. In short, the tool becomes incredibly hokey. Of the five backgrounds available to place your collage in, I would feel comfortable with only one or two settings as professional enough to send to my boss. The rest of the collage templates I would hesitate to send to my manager, unless my boss is either a circus clown or lives in a disco ball — or I want to get fired.
The other collages, like the one titled “Vintage Fabric,” belong in a Restoration Hardware catalog, not a smart phone. And the silliest one, “Magic Light,” will have you hearing the Grateful Dead in your head every time you look at your pictures.
Another major problem with the software is how tiny the images are reproduced. When I took the first couple of pictures and sent them to my e-mail account, I could hardly make out the collage because each individual image is so tiny.
Another shortcoming of the software is the inability to manually move or edit any shot. Given that you’re using a sophisticated piece of hardware such as an iPhone 4, which offers a 3.5-inch screen with multitouch capabilities and 960 x 640 resolution, you would think that you could do more with your pictures once they are taken. But they simply fall into the collages, and you have to live with the results. For whatever reason, Boinx Software, the German developers of You Gotta See This, saw no value in taking advantage of an 800:1 contrast ratio and a fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating touch screen.
Aside from taking the picture and deciding how to share it, the user has no other control. In one of my trial shots, I had almost the perfect collage of scattered images that I wanted to share with a co-worker. But one of the images was randomly placed by the program slightly too far to the right. I kept wishing and looking for a way to move that one pic closer to the main collage of pictures in order to improve the overall aesthetic of the shot and couldn’t.
Despite these issues and frustrations with the software, the intuitive nature of the program, coupled with the inability to do much in the way of customization, make it a perfect tool for anyone to use — even a blindfolded monkey.
To use the tool, simply select the lower-center button on the screen after opening the app, and the tool starts to record a series of images. When you’re done, click the same button to stop recording. Instantly You Gotta See This renders your images, shot by shot. In order to make them into a collage, you then select the bottom right option on the touch screen and select the feature titled Save to Camera Scroll.
The software recommends that for the best results, hold the iPhone out in front of you and rotate your entire arm to get a panoramic shot, while you stand still. The problem we found was that we often moved our arms either too slowly or too quickly. But Version 1.1 now includes a border color that turns red if you are moving too fast. Another nifty advancement is a small bar at the top that indicates how much time you have left in recording before you run out of memory.
The one neat feature surrounding the panoramic recording on this applet is the ability to take images in either a landscape or portrait mode. I found that most of the time the software worked better in a landscape view. Also, the software offers the ability to use the iPhone’s embedded camera light, which we highly recommend because the images that the You Gotta See This program renders are so small.
Although You Gotta See This is only $1.99 and rather fun to play around with, its lack of functionality and small image composition ultimately makes it a poor choice for most government agencies.
You Gotta See This! 1.1; Boinx Software Ltd. www.boinx.com