‘Protobooth’: Digital Kitchen’s new twist on the photobooth

The three-camera setup for capturing the animated GIFs. (Digital Kitchen image)

For decades, people have been crowding their friends into photobooths for snapshots, but the team at the Digital Kitchen digital agency and production company in Seattle has put a new spin on the tradition, literally, with something they call the “Protobooth.”

In short, this thing is going to be in high demand at parties. The automated Protobooth uses three cameras to snap the same scene simultaneously from three angles, then stitches the images together into an animated GIF that can be projected for everyone to see.

Here’s one of our favorite examples.

Via email, Digital Kitchen senior creative Dave Mikula explains how it works: “A button linked to the MAKE controller triggers a MaxMSP patch across 3 MacBook Pros that fires 3 cameras simultaneously. The images are saved to a networked HDD, stitched together using Automator, and a photoshop action droplet runs a filter and saves a GIF.”

The set was made to be destructible, using materials including carboard, cotton and tape.

But why the Protobooth? Is this something Digital Kitchen could use in its business?

“It was something we did for fun and also to brush up on our prototyping and craft skills,” Mikula explains. “As for the business side, we generally build prototypes/models of our interactive projects, but this experiment gave us some new working knowledge and we’re excited to put it to use for a client.”

More examples on this Digital Kitchen site, and behind-the-scenes images here.