Video is beautiful but tough. Photos are easy but boring. Everlapse is something new in between. Built by the former CoTweet team, Everlapse launches today so you can compile photos into digital flipbooks, let friends add their own shots, and view the evolving creation as a rapid-fire slideshow. The free iOS app combines the visual communication of Snapchat with the stop-motion of Vine.
What can you make with Everlapse? The exciting part is its flexibility. Stitch together a few photos of a landscape or skyline from the same spot to make a time lapse. Create a “current status” flipbook by asking friends what they’re reading, eating, or doing right now. Start with your own book, meal, or activity, and your followers will fill the slideshow with their own perspectives. Tell a tale with stop-motion photography or a story board. Or just take a bunch of photos from a night out to create an album that moves on its own.
“People will come up with totally new ways to use it that we can’t predict”, says Aaron Gotwalt who’s the CEO of Seesaw, the studio behind Everlapse. Gotwalt and his team launched CoTweet for scheduling Twitter blasts back in 2009. They sold it to ExactTarget, which was later bought by Salesforce for $2.5 billion. CoTweet stagnated and the team drifted away from the acquirers. Gotwalt tells me he eventually “got the band back together” to build out Seesaw, which lets people loop their friends in to make decisions
They created Everlapse as a hackweek project to blow off some steam. Gotwalt, husband of VentureBeat writer Jolie O’Dell, says “It started out as a silly experiment. If it goes well we’ll keep building on it”. Luckily they’ve got some help. Back in November Seesaw raised a little over a million dollars in a round led by Freestyle Capital, and joined by Baseline, First Round, Joe Fernandez, Hunter Walk, and Desiree Gruber. Seesaw is also in the BetaWorks accelerator, and will use their 5,000 strong beta testers email list today to pull in the first users for Everlapse.
The app is pretty straightforward, but it has some brilliant flourishes. It’s built on Twitter’s login and social graph. To get you started, you’ll automatically be following anyone you follow on Twitter who joins Everlapse. The flipbooks they produce called clips will show up in your Everlapse home feed along with the clips you’ve made or modified. The globe icon shows off a featured set of the best Everlapses.
To start a new clip, press the + button in the top right and then pick photos from your camera roll or shoot some new frames. It’s easy to shoot stop-motion or keep your Everlapses from looking jerky thanks to the ghost feature. It shows a faint outline silhouette of your last frame so you can line up the next one. Give your clip a name and share it on Everlapse and Twitter to get the ball rolling.
Clips automatically play as slideshows with each photo shown for a quarter second, or drag your finger back and forth on them to control the flow. Anyone you’re following can then instantly tack their own frames onto the end of your clip. In fact, friends don’t even have to join Everlapse to participate. They can just reply to your tweet of a clip with a photo and the #everlapse hashtag and that shot will be added as a frame. Settings let you demand to approve any frames added to your clips, or mute notifications if your Everlapse goes viral.
I think that’s a distinct possibility because Everlapses aren’t static things you make alone. They’re inspiring collaborations that evolve with time. One employee is taking a photo of his daughter every morning and adding it to a clip to watch her grow up. Like Snapchat, it’s a way to communicate with images rather than words. Why asks friends what they’re doing with text when they can show you with Everlapse while creating something?
Gotwalt and crew view Everlapse as a side-project, but it could become a lot more. The explosive growth of apps like Vine and Instagram shows that we’re craving new ways to share. Everlapse is an open sandbox just waiting to be explored. What will you create?
Why I’m Curious
I really like the wave of visual storytelling that has emerged and this next-gen Instagram has really cool features that I’ve been playing with this week. It’s still early days for this app, but it’s interesting to think how how brands could leverage this platform.