App Watch: Flixel


Today we have apps for everything, from recording the sounds of a mother’s womb, to learning a foreign language. However, some apps are raising the bar, and Flixel is definitely one of them. This extremely creative living photo app is free, and is one that you should download this holiday season. With Flixel, people take photos to capture a living moment. By snapping a living, moving photo, Flixel takes that memory to another level.

I spoke with Mark Homza, Flixel Co-Founder, and asked him a few questions.  What is the history behind flixel? And how did you get involved with apps?
Mark Homza:  At some point in the summer of 2011, we were brainstorming all sorts of ideas. We wanted to get into the app space, because it was evident that people were spending hours on their smartphone devices, more so than on laptops. We felt apps were thus naturally and easily accessible to a mass audience. Scaling would not be a problem – what we needed was a worthy idea.

So we began thinking: “Fashion app? Wellness app?” We ran through the whole gamut of potential opportunities that would stick with people. And then one day, completely by accident, our CEO Phil LeBlanc stumbled upon the works of fashion photography duo Kevin Burg and Jamie Beck. What we saw there were hauntingly beautiful living images. We thought: “Can we do this with an iPhone or any other mobile device?” At the time there were no apps of this nature, so we decided to take the leap. We said, “Let’s try and translate this truly new and original perspective onto a mobile platform, and push the boundaries of mobile photography.”

Beck and Burg have legitimized the artistic integrity of the highly stylized animated GIF. Their cinema graphs embody more of a living photo aesthetic, rather than a “video feel”. It’s an important distinction that we wanted preserved and emulated on Flixel. In other words, we wanted to embrace the GIF format, and in the process, become the Beck and Burg of mobile flixography.

BnR:  What is your favorite Flixel?
MH:  This is difficult to answer. There have been so many beautiful creations since we’ve launched our platform. Lots of people have really enjoyed this one:

BnR:  Who is your target audience?
MH:  Anyone who has a penchant for mobile photography and art, anyone wanting to express themselves and unleash their inner artist, anyone with an imagination and passion for film and photography. And anyone who wants to do a little more than simply add a filter to their photo!

BnR:  When did you launch and why should people download Flixel?
MH:  Flixel was launched in late March of 2011 and it quickly amassed an enthusiastic, loyal, and engaged community. If you want to be part of the future, you should definitely download it!

BnR:  What is the future of Flixel?
MH:  The future is looking very promising, as we are revamping our platform. Our Flixel 3.0 will change the way we create, consume, and discover living photos.

BnR:  What are some of your favorite features?
MH:  I love how our team has simplified the creation flow for generating beautiful cinema graphs, which is a process that originally took hours with other software programs. By “live – painting” the area you wish to animate, you can instantly bring your photo to life. It’s that simple and easy – almost magical. Our co-founding developers, Mark Pavlidis and Bretton Maclean, are like wizards! It’s as if they walk around the office with magic wands, and speak in code.

BnR:  How did you come up with the logo?

MH:  My graphic designer, Jean-François Poliquin, had a dream in which he was playing chess with a larger-than-life hummingbird, while they both enjoyed the psychedelic musings of Jimi Hendrix. In the dream, he asked the animal how he was able to flap his wings so fast, while being so bloody still. It’s a true story. His dream inspired us.

BnR:  In your opinion, what is the future of apps in general?
MH:  I believe a range of new technologies will continue to transform more industries, and mobile will continue to play a big role. Apps will continue to shape the way people interact with the offline world, consume products, and communicate with one another. For example, apps like RoboShopper are changing the way people shop, allowing shoppers to scan barcodes and look for the best deals.

BnR:  I loved your promo video! How did you come up with the idea?

MH:  Our objective was to tell a tale of love entirely in living photos – a first of its kind. The shooting took place in Toronto, Canada, and our close collaboration with cinematographers Adam Zivo and Randy Cole was instrumental in bringing the vision to life. 

BnR:  Are you working on any other projects we should keep our eyes out for?
MH:  Ideas for new projects are always running through our heads, but Flixel is our primary focus for the time being.

So this New Years, when you’re snapping your family pictures of the kids holding sparklers, friends drinking champagne or couples kissing, remember that living photos are the future of photography. Download this free app and start taking those memorable photos!


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