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Party Party Review: Share Your Moments the Hippest way possible

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I know what you’re thinking—another photo app with filters and editing features—is there anything our iPhones need less? Party Party is an app brought to us by the women behind an apparently-super-popular blog called A Beautiful Mess, and it enters a category of the App Store that has been thoroughly played out over the last few years… Or so we thought. Judging from the app’s quick rise to the top of the paid charts in its first week (it’s now hovering around #10). So, what’s the secret driving users to make room for Party Party in their photography folders? For developer Red Velvet Art and sisters Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman (of A Beautiful Mess), it’s all in the stop-motion.

screen568x568 (8)Up until now, both photo and video sharing have been pretty well covered by some big name apps and social networks (we’re talking Instagram, Vine, and Facebook), so who would have thought there was room for yet another way to capture the funny, cute, unbelievable stuff we go through? It turns out that while the likes of big-name apps like Instagram and Vine attract us with the capturing/networking combo, there are times when all we need is a fun way to catch what’s happening—and we’re happy to handle the rest ourselves later on.

While stop-motion GIFs aren’t all there is to Party Party, they definitely end up being the feature that makes the app worth it’s 99-cent price tag. Once inside the app, you’ll meet a now-familiar interface that automatically launches your iPhone’s camera and invites you to snap a photo to get things rolling… But wait, look in the bottom right corner of the screen and you’ll see a number (1,4,9, or 16). This is the number of snaps that will be taken when you hit the capture button, and as you’ll see in future screens, the number you pick ends up determining a lot about the end result.

Once the countdown takes places and your photos are taken, it’s onto the layout process (provided you opted for more than one photo to be taken). Here’s where we enter into the functionality that makes Party Party stand out from the pack of photography apps that have come before. Your photos (let’s say there are 4) will automatically flip by in stop-motion/GIF form, and all it takes is adjustment of the on-screen slider to make the animation happen faster or slower. It’s far more fun than you’d imagine to watch your life in stop-motion. Something about the glitchy, interrupted moments makes everything… Well, a Party.

screen568x568 (11)However, let’s say you don’t like the stop-motion form of your capture at any speed, you can always opt to save the collection as stills in a few different, static layouts.

Whichever direction you decide to go, the next step is to apply a filter, if any, and also make manual tweaks to things like brightness, saturation, and frames. In essence, the editing prowess of Party Party is the truly useful stuff from apps like Afterlight, with all the nonessential extras stripped out.

What’s next? It’s time to share your product with the world, but unlike many other apps, this does NOT mean making an account, finding friends, and getting established. Instead, Party Party merely presents you with options that include Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, text, and email sharing. Your photo/video will automatically be saved to the camera roll, as well.

screen568x568 (10)We’ve talked through all the main functionality of Party Party, and if it doesn’t sound like much, know that what makes it all work is the fiercely enjoyable, yet hard-to-describe qualities that result from the combination of stop-motion and GIF-replayability… Party Party isn’t perfect, however, as I have to agree with many App Store commenters who have lamented about the restriction of capturing your photos no quicker than 0.5 seconds apart. This makes for some unavoidable, glitchy stop-motion captures, and when these happens, a lot of the fun that drives the app is lost. I also wouldn’t encourage anyone to buy this app for the photo filters/editing on their own. There’s not much new in that vein, and if that’s your main reason for purchase, you might regret laying down the dollar.

screen568x568 (9)Slight room for improvement aside, Party Party comes highly recommended for anyone who isn’t way tired of trying new ways to take a picture and show it to friends and family. There really is some magic at play in the seamless, fast creation of stop-motion videos, and I wouldn’t be waiting around for some other developer to do it better than what we find here. Tip of the hat to Red Velvet and these sisters (seriously, who are they?) for their choice to forego trying to be the next big network, and instead giving us a light-weight, fun tool for capturing moments with what has to be one of the last unique techniques remaining.


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