Polaroid may be known for instant film photography, but they have also been working to incorporate digital elements into their analog products in recent years. For instance, did you know you can embed and play videos (especially stop motion clips!) within Polaroid images using Polaroid Lab?
We'll teach you how it works and how you can use Polaroid Lab's augmented reality features to embed stop motion clips in Polaroid photos!
What is Polaroid Lab?
Polaroid Lab looks a bit like a strange futuristic device. But in essence, it's a simple analog printer that projects an image from your phone onto a sheet of Polaroid film using a series of lenses.
How can an analog printer like the Polaroid Lab embed video clips within the film?
Polaroid Lab needs the Polaroid app to operate. When you choose an image you want to print, the app creates a square version of that picture on the phone screen for printing.
The Polaroid app generates a code inside the square image you see on your phone. Once you place that phone on the Polaroid Lab and start printing, that code gets baked into the physical Polaroid photo.
The Polaroid app's code works much like a QR code (although not readily visible to the naked eye) that your phone can easily read. When you open your app, it automatically scans and plays the video clip you embedded in the physical Polaroid photo.
Here's How to Embed a Stop Motion Clip in a Polaroid Photo:
Using the Polaroid Lab is intuitive, especially if you're familiar with analog devices. You can think of it as a film enlarger, except that it uses the light from your phone screen to develop the film.
Step 1: Create Your Stop Motion Clip
Technically, you can embed any video in a Polaroid film. But it would be best if you're more intentional with what kind of content you decide to create.
We suggest you create a short stop motion animation that ends within 10 seconds. Remember that your audience will need to hold the phone to view the video playing in the Polaroid frame. So don't make your footage too long.
It will also help if you create a loopable animation. The Polaroid app automatically loops any video it plays on the screen. But it would be nice if the clip that's playing transitions smoothly to make the AR magic appear even more enjoyable.
Step 2: Save a Frame from Your Stop Motion Animation
Choose a single frame from your animated clip you want to print as a Polaroid picture. You can think of it as a thumbnail that helps people recognize what the image/video clip is all about.
Use the clip's first frame if possible because that's where your animation starts. But if the first frame doesn't look like a good thumbnail, feel free to choose one that you think would grab people's attention more.
In our case, we didn't choose the first frame of our animation because it wasn't showing much except the model's (Daphne) face. Instead, we selected the one where she is posing with a Polaroid camera.
Step 3: Transfer Your Files to Your Mobile Device
Since you'll be using a phone app, you'll need to transfer your animated clip and thumbnail to your mobile device. You'll have to access those files later to print the image and embed the video clip.
Step 4: Open Your Polaroid App
When you open the Polaroid app, select Polaroid Lab (the other options include the Polaroid Now+ and Polaroid OneStep+).
Tap Choose Photo and select the frame (the image file!) from the animated clip you saved earlier. At the top of the clip, you can choose Single or divide the image into Double, Triple, Four, Six, and Nine frames. To keep everything simple, we'll select Single Frame.
Then, there's the Color Film tab at the top of the screen. Click it to choose the film you want to use for the printing.
Next, tap the adjustments icon if you want to make minor adjustments to your exposure settings, such as Exposure and Color Correction.
Now, tap the icon that shows a frame with a plus sign. Tap the Create tab, allowing you to embed the video into your photo. Look for your clip, select it, and tap Next.
At this point, you have the option to trim your animated clip. You must move the sliders left or right to choose the section you want to keep. Once you finish cutting your video, tap Done.
When you're ready to print, tap the icon with the large arrow. The app will remind you to turn off the Night Light before you continue. If you don't deactivate it, you'll have a dim image.
Step 5: Turn on The Polaroid Lab
Set your phone aside for a moment and turn on your Polaroid Lab. To do this, press the black button on the side of the device to make the platform to rise.
Remove the rubber cover on top of the device to expose the lens. Once your Polaroid Lab is ready, grab your phone to finish the printing process.
Step 6: Print Your Photo
After you go through all the steps we mentioned above, Polaroid app will now give you the following prompts:
Once the Polaroid Lab prints the image, keep it under the black hood for fifteen minutes to let it develop properly.
Step 7: Play Your Animated Polaroid Clip!
Once the print has fully developed, open your app again and select Polaroid Lab.
At the bottom left side of the screen, you'll see an icon of a frame with a play button on top of it. Tap the icon and point your phone to the Polaroid image.
Once the Polaroid app recognizes the Polaroid frame, it will automatically play your animated clip!
Polaroid isn't the only instant film company that uses Augmented Reality technology in their products. Brands like Fujifilm and Kodak also has the same features in some of their instant film printers. So there are tons of options for you to try embedding stop motion animation in instant film!