Snapthread 1.5

Snapthread 1.5 is now available! This update brings support for videos and Live Photos taken in landscape orientation. It also features a new icon and a number of small improvements designed to make the movie-creating process as fast, flexible, and simple as possible:

  • You can now square-crop your videos and adjust the cropping area of individual clips.
  • Your final video can be exported in any of the following aspect ratios: 3:4, 4:3, 9:16, 16:9, 1:1.
  • Video clips in the opposite orientation of the one you selected will be letterboxed or pillarboxed by default. You can change this behavior on the new Settings screen.
  • There is now an option to automatically save your video to your Photo Library when you tap the Share button.
  • You can now 3D Touch a photo or video on the video selection screen to preview it before selecting it.
  • You can now mute all of the clips at once from the music selection screen.

With this update, Snapthread becomes the best app for combining and sharing Live Photos. Personally, it has completely changed the way I think about and take Live Photos. I’m much more likely to keep a subpar photo now if the underlying video is good. And since Live Photos also capture the moment before I take the picture, I find myself mashing the shutter button while Charlie is saying something cute, knowing that I likely captured most, if not all of it.

Anyway, I hope you like the update and I’m looking forward to getting started on the iPad version in March!

Snapthread Roadmap

Landscape support is coming to Snapthread on Monday. It seems like such an obvious thing, and I’m sure anyone who hasn’t been following Snapthread’s development is wondering why on earth I didn’t support landscape videos to begin with. The truth is, this app seems to have taken on a life of its own, and has whisked me far away from the path of my original intentions. What started as an app to merge Snapchat videos is now on its way to becoming a complete video studio for Live Photos.

I didn’t anticipate that, but I’m excited. Really excited. To me, Snapthread 1.5 is really Snapthread 1.0. The beginning of a new app.

I have so many ideas for the future, but for the next point release I’m waffling between these two priorities: revamping the title card system, and making the app universal.

Currently, title cards are extremely boring and limited. However, they’re also not an essential feature, and the app still does something really useful without them. So, I’m leaning towards focusing on the iPad version for the time being. I’m also really hoping that I’ll generate enough revenue over the next few months to hire a designer to help me with some fun backgrounds for titles. Perhaps making the app universal would also boost sales and help fund that.

Anyway, here’s a list of features I think might be cool additions to Snapthread:

Planned before 2.0

  • iPad support
  • New and improved title cards (multiple title cards that can be rearranged, have fun backgrounds and fonts, etc.)
  • For the initial view for video selection to be similar to Photos’ “Moments” tab, to make it easier to find what you’re looking for

Wishlist for the future

  • Video filters
  • Stickers maybe?
  • Localization
  • Ability to select a particular time range of background music
  • A way to either manually auto-generate or perhaps have the app surprise you with a video based on a “moment” in your photo library. Similar to Photos’ “Memories” feature.

I’m committed to improving Snapthread as it’s become one of my own most frequently-used apps. I love making compilations of Live Photos and videos of Charlie to post on Instagram or send to my parents, who only get to see him in person a handful of times per year. I hope others will get as much enjoyment from it as I do, and will consider it $2 well spent.

I think I’m going to take the month of February off from programming, and focus on blogging, taking care of myself, and spending more quality time with my family. I’m looking forward to relaxing, writing, and chatting with you all via Twitter, e-mail, or Micro.blog.

Snapthread 1.5 Beta Test

I’m going to do something I’ve never done before: ask people to beta test my app! If you’re interested in being a part of my very first beta test, please either send an email to feedback@beckyhansmeyer.com or DM me on Twitter (@bhansmeyer). All I need to know is what email address you’d like me to send a TestFlight invite to.

I’m hoping to have a build ready for testing sometime this weekend. In the meantime, here’s some more info about this version of Snapthread!

What’s New in Snapthread 1.5 (Build 26…probably):

  • New icon and slightly tweaked design
  • Support for landscape Live Photos and videos
  • Now you can change your final video’s aspect ratio  to any one of the following: 4:3, 3:4, 16:9, 9:16, 1:1 (and you can switch between them and preview them on the fly)
  • A new settings screen allows you to turn on auto-saving (which saves your video automatically when you hit “Export”) and letterboxing
  • Trim videos

What Still Needs Work

  • If you’ve already trimmed a video and go back to change it, the trimming handles don’t reflect your previous trimmed portion.
  • You can’t adjust the crop rectangle of a video yet. So if you select a 1:1 ratio, important things will probably be cut off.

I’m really looking forward to getting version 1.5 out in the world, but I want to make sure I get some of the kinks worked out first. Thanks in advance to all my beta testers!

SnapThread 1.1 with Live Photo Support

I have a confession to make: I released SnapThread too early. I thought it was a good MVP (minimum viable product), but I was wrong. It was a little too buggy, and didn’t have a real “killer” feature.

The good news is, SnapThread 1.1 is now available, and it’s what I should have waited to release in the first place. I’m hoping that with the addition of Live Photo support, SnapThread can now be people’s go-to app for quick, easy portrait video compilations.

New features:

  • Live Photo support! SnapThread will strip the 3 second videos from your Live Photos and allows you to stitch them together.
  • The app now presents the native iOS share sheet upon successful export.
  • New duration limits. Filter your photo library by videos under 10, 15, 30, or 60 seconds.

Improvements/Bug fixes:

  • Faster exporting, and fixed a bug where the exporting would fail when trying to merge over 16 videos at once.
  • Better progress reporting. Downloading lots of videos from iCloud can take awhile, and now the app more accurately reflects the download’s current progress.
  • Smart aspect ratio: since Live Photos are 3:4 and regular videos are 9:16, SnapThread chooses the final video’s aspect ratio based on what you have more of. So if you have 45 Live Photos and 1 video you want to merge, the final video will be 3:4. Likewise, if you have lots of widescreen videos and only a few Live Photos, the final video will be 9:16. (you should see the tangled if-else statements that determine the video clips’ scaling and translation values…it’s terrifying).

Since “the proof of the pudding is in the eating,” here’s a video of Charlie’s day at the pumpkin patch that I stitched together from Live Photos (and one video):

Future plans/ideas for the app:

  • Photo library album picker (so you can find clips more easily)
  • Scaling improvements and fixes (I’m sure there’s some edge cases I missed!!
  • Ability to mute individual clips?
  • Ability to add a very simple title to beginning of video?
  • New localizations
  • Accessibility improvements
  • iPad version??

SnapThread Now Available

SnapThread icon

My new app, SnapThread, is now available on the App Store! SnapThread is a simple, no-frills utility for merging portrait videos from apps like Snapchat and Instagram Stories.

I am hoping to add support for Live Photos in the next version. In the future, I may also add the ability to include a title for a few seconds at the beginning of the video, or add a single background music track. However, I don’t want to complicate the app too much, so those features aren’t guaranteed to make the cut.

Let me know if you run into any trouble (errors and such) using the app, and if you like it, please consider leaving a rating or review. Thanks!

Please, Don’t Write About My App

Please, don’t write about my app. It’s not that good. In fact, it probably crashes sometimes. Also, I don’t really know what I’m doing.

Please, don’t tell your friends about my app. They probably won’t like it. I mean, the art assets aren’t good enough. It’s too simple. And it only really appeals to a tiny niche anyway.

Thus goes my inner monologue every time I prepare to ship an app. It’s not because I’m humble: trust me, I’m not. It’s just…fear of failure, I guess?

For indie developers, marketing is especially important. You gotta get the word out about your stuff. You gotta build your audience, refine your #brand, hack all dat growth, and so on and so forth. It feels gross. It isn’t, though—at least not for the most part. I struggle with it though, as I’m sure many of you do as well.

Look, my app isn’t special. It’s not Apple Design Award material. Does that mean it shouldn’t exist? No, it doesn’t mean that at all. I created something that’s useful to me, and now I’m going to share it with others. If they don’t find it useful, that’s fine. But if I want to give it its best chance at success, it’s still my job to tell its story.

But if you do…

Look, if you’re going to write about my app, say this: it’s a simple utility for merging short, portrait videos. It’s called SnapThread. It’s currently waiting for review.

It’s for parents who have a bajillion Snapchat videos of their kids with Marilyn Monroe hair or with a hot dog dancing on their head or what-have-you and all they want to do is create a sweet supercut of them all. No fancy filters or overlays or stickers or cropping. No dumb letter-boxing that forces it into landscape. Just stitch ’em all together and get on with your day.

It’s for travelers who have 30 Instagram Stories videos from their trip to Disney World spread over several days, and want to mash them all into one movie.

It was created by a mom who wanted to visualize how her son has grown.

SnapThread does what it says on the tin: it let’s you select portrait videos from your photo library that are 15 seconds or less, re-arrange them to your liking, merge them together, and save them to your photo library. Sometimes it takes a long time. Sometimes the videos have to be downloaded from iCloud. Sometimes their rotation has to be fixed before the merge can finish.

This isn’t an app for your home screen. This is an app you throw in your “Photo/Video Editing” folder and use once in awhile when you need it. It’s like “Clips,” but simpler.

SnapThread will be out soon. In the meantime, you can check out this page about it (the App Store link doesn’t work yet obviously).

Tell your friends! Or don’t, maybe. I don’t know.