Expo Notes: The intersection between photography and video

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Crossing the divide between photo and video is Echograph, a new application that uses video as a basis for animated still images. The software is currently under development by Clear-Media.

"Echograph lets you preserve a moment in time in order to tell a story," said Jennifer Domash vice president of Clear-Media. "Combining a video and a still image lets users create a unique piece of artwork."

Domash envisions Echograph expanding the creative process for all levels of users from casual to pro, as many people now tote around a creative tool in their pocket, whether it be an iPhone, iPod touch, or compact camera.

More than a photo and less than a complete video, Echograph lets you start with a video—either one that you shoot within the program, or one that is already in your library. Because the program automatically loops all video, you can trim the footage down to just a small clip, whose loop will showcase the visual animation.

To combine the still with the video, you use the app's simple controls to create a mask that covers the entire frame, and then, with your fingertip, brush away parts of the mask to expose the underlying video.

For example, a roaring fire within an otherwise static scene will provide the animation for the image. When you're happy with the result, save your composition.

An Echograph image can be exported to a number of different file formats, depending on the intended distribution outlet. The developer is concentrating on export to Facebook, Tumblr, personal Websites, and email, as well as the ability to embed the image inside another video. While there are few specifics regarding output capabilities, Domash says that the program will save in both high and low resolution versions and will work with most existing video source files. The files are compatible with AirPort and Apple TV, as well.

Echograph will be coming to the Mac, the iPad, and the iPhone/iPod touch. While in prototype now, it will be available in the spring.

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