One of Snapchat’s more clever ideas was not its disappearing messages, but that the smartphone camera should be a toy. Along those same lines, but on a lesser scale, a new app called OOO is meant to be a fun, little camera toy that lets you play with your video. Instead of trying to help you craft the “perfect” shot, the app lets you rapidly zoom in and out on as quickly or as slowly as you want with just a press of a finger, while you set your mini movie to one of the half-dozen music tracks included with the app.
The end result, explains OOO’s co-creator Brett Bergeron, is something that feels more like a music video.
The app comes across as a bit stupid or silly, but Bergeron insists there’s more going on under the hood, like camera stabilization, audio management that adjusts to whether you’re wearing headphones, AirPods, the regular mic, or if you have hardware mute enabled. And the app uses 3D Touch, which lets you press hard to more rapidly zoom your shot. Its single purpose is to make a certain kind of video, and it’s easier to do this kind of crazy zooming in the app instead of in iOS’s own camera.
OOO – whose name “OOO” is supposed to be “Zooom” minus the “Z” and “M,” and not “out of office,” as you’d think – comes from Brooklyn-based This Also, a design studio Bergeron and Brian Baker set up after leaving Google Creative Lab where they previously worked as designers.
The studio’s clients include startups, Google, Xbox, and Spotify. Most notably, they worked on Google Identity and a redesign of the Google App for iOS.
But OOO is the first app they’ve built for themselves, and is self-funded.
To use the app, it’s best on a iPhone that supports Force Touch. That way, you can just press harder or lighter to control the zooming speed. However, you can also slide up to zoom or set your zoom level, then just hold down the button to have the app smoothly zoom for you.
Tucked away in the settings are tools to enable or disable mute, the flash, stabilize the image, reverse, pick the music, and more. The music tracks are originals created by musicians on the team, and are ideal for the video parodies this app will likely produce.
Bergeron says the app is meant to help fill a void on the market, where there are today too many apps focused on “pro-sumer” photography. OOO is not a professional tool, it’s a toy.
Future releases will include more music and zoom controls, including noise-controlled zoom. But for the time being, OOO is a free download on the iTunes App Store.