For my wedding in August 2012, I wanted something geeky, yet easy enough for everyone to take part. As I always liked the idea of putting disposable cameras on tables, but hated the turnaround times for films to be developed, I decided to bring that part to the 21st century.
The plan was a projection screen, that displayed photos, just seconds after they were shot. And to cut the right to the conclusion: It worked absolutely great. To do the same on your party or wedding you need the following ingredients:
- As many Eye-Fi Cards as you can afford/acquire
- (optional) cheap point & shoot cameras
- A Mac
- A projector
- A wireless base station, that can handle a lot of Wifi Clients and covers the entire area your guests will be in (an Apple Airport Extreme will do just fine)
- RemoteSnap on as many guest iPhones as possible
- RemoteSnap Server on your Mac
- Eye-Fi Center2 on your Mac
- A slideshow app with “hot folder” capabilities like Toucan
At first you want to configure your Wifi. I recommend setting up a WPA2 protected Wifi, even though you know all the people that are around. You never know if some douche stumbles by, joins the Wifi, figures out what’s going on and takes pictures of his tiny wiener to be displayed on your projector right away. If you are into that kind of stuff, omit the password ;)
Now configure your Eye-Fi Cards to join this Wifi and set up Eye-Fi Center so it saves the pictures to the same folder. To make sure, people never run out of space, configure the card to delete successfully transmitted photos if running low on space (not all cards have this feature). Note: With the latest firmware Eye-Fi cards don’t require an Internet connection any more and transmit directly to the Eye-Fi center application on the same Wifi.
What I did, asking attendees in advance if they plan to bring a camera with an SD-Card slot or rather bring an iPhone as their camera. Like this I was able to hand pre-configured Eye-Fi Cards to guests with cameras, and also bought a few cheap point & shoot cameras to place on desks without cameras.
Now install RemoteSnap Server on the Mac and configure it to save images to the same folder as Eye-Fi Center. It is very important, that all images end up in the same folder.
For the “hot folder” slideshow, the bad news first: You can’t have the fancy eye-candy-ish software that I used, as it was specifically built for me by my colleague Achim at Boinx Software. But there is other software that does the same thing, just not as pretty. For example Toucan. Set the application to monitor the folder, where all the images end up. Make sure you have at least one image in there from the beginning, as for example Toucan might get upset otherwise.
Install RemoteSnap on your iPhone and have your guests install it as well. If on the same Wifi, the app will find the server automatically and the moment you snap a picture in the app, it will be transmitted in the background. Make sure to use the paid version of the app, and request the same thing from your guests. If you use this for a wedding or other important event, you might want to consider gifting the app to the guests. You don’t want cheapskates to use the free version to save 2 bucks and end up with images that have irremovable watermarks in them.
Keep in mind: This setup doesn’t only create an instant slideshow but also collects all the photos made at the event without you having to run around collecting them afterwards, so investing a few euros here is worth it.
So if everything is set up correctly, taking a picture with either RemoteSnap or an Eye-Fi Camera will transmit it to the Mac and a few seconds later it will show up in the slideshow.
I have found nothing like RemoteSnap for Android phones. But as Android users are used to a bit of pain, they could install the Eye-Fi Android app and then transmit photos they took with it. If anyone has an alternative, please let me know.
That’s how I did it and if you follow the instructions, you should be able to make it work as well.