So, late last june, I decided to take the plunge into the world of iPhone App development? Why? Why not! Everyone seems to be making an app these days, and I figured it would be a really interesting experience…
The hardest part about making an iPhone app is coming up with an idea. There’s plenty of crappy apps on the App store, so if I was going to do this, I wanted to make something worthwhile, and have it be something I would actually use. If in the end I made zero sales, at least in the end, i’d have an app that I would use on a daily basis. So here’s how CineCrop came to be…
I’ve been using Nick Campbell’s Cross Process app to capture and colour correct all the pictures I take with my iPhone 3GS. It’s a fantastic app, and I highly recommend it. The only problem is, that all the photos the phone takes are shot with a 4:3 aspect ratio. It’s not a fault of the app, since it’s the default ratio of pictures taken with the iPhone.
4:3 is a really ugly aspect ratio (IMO), and is a hold over from the native size of 35mm film. After working in visual effects for so long, and becoming accustomed to working in other aspect ratios, I generally try and crop my images to something other than 4:3 to give them a bit more of a cinematic quality. I really like the look of 16:9 and 2.35:1.
It’s really trivial to crop your photos in photoshop to any of these aspect ratios, but I wanted to be able to do this on the phone, so I could upload the photos through posterous wherever I happened to be. So, I set out on my search to find an app that would do precisely that…
After spending close to $10 on apps, I found a few that came close, but nothing that suit my needs exactly the way I wanted… I settled with Cropulator for a while, manually entering pixel dimensions for the various aspect ratios. It was a really bad and kludgy solution.
I was talking about this with a friend of mine, and he mentioned that he thought it would make a really good app, and might try and build it with one of his other friends… Well, I’m not one to let a good idea go to waste, so I thought, “Well, shit, this can’t be that hard to do.” It’ll probably take a developer a few days of coding to get this off the ground. So I decided to make the app on the spot, rather than having the idea swooped out from under me!
I spoke with a local developer, but he didn’t have time to make the app in the timeframe I wanted, so I looked for a few other options… I signed up for a free account on Freelancer.com, and posted my project. Within 24 hours, I had 7 people contact me looking to build the app. Now, most of them were from overseas, and having recently worked with India on a few projects, I know what a clusterf*ck outsourcing can turn into… I really wanted to work with someone in North America, if possible. Fortunately, one of the bidders was from the east coast in the US, so I hired him pretty much immediately
I only had two real qualifications for this app: 1) I wanted to be finished it in about a month, and 2) The quality had to be high enough so it was something that I would actually use. Why try and blow through it in a month? Well, two reasons… One, if you don’t set a deadline for a project, it’ll never get done. Secondly, fall is approaching, and New Media Manitoba is going to keep me VERY busy through the winter. I also didn’t want to spend a ton of money making this app, and the longer it would take, the more it would cost… I know there’s other people out there that would use CineCrop, but I didn’t want to invest more than $1000 into an app that might never make a return on that investment… I figure I could throw around $500 at this project, and if it fails miserably, I’m not out a ton of cash.
I worked with my developer for about a month, and the final product is absolutely awesome! I’m super pumped that people are finally able to get their hands on it. We had to drop 2 main features at the last minute (taking pictures with the camera with an aspect ratio overlay, and uploading to all the different social media sites (twitter, facebook etc..). We’re going to be using ShareKit to get the sharing aspect into version 1.1)
Once the app has been for sale for a few weeks, i’ll post some info on how well sales are going, and whatever else happens to be going on with CineCrop. I’m hoping we’ll be able to get v1.1 out in about a month, but we’ll see how it goes.
I already have ideas for two more iPhone apps, so if this one breaks even or makes a profit, i’ll be sure to pour whatever profit I make from this app into the next one
In the mean time, here’s the links to the CineCrop site and iTunes link, along with the promo video I put together.
If you have any thoughts, comments or questions, please let me know! If you buy the app and like it, PLEASE write a review and rate the app!