Moving Pictures – Looking Back With Rush And Ahead With PictureU

RUSH Atlanta 38

(Our CEO Walt Geer standing next to Rush frontman Geddy Lee – R40 show in Alpharetta, GA)

In 1981 one of the most impressionable rock albums of all time was released by the Canadian power trio Rush.  They had been around for years and had achieved commercial success but Moving Pictures changed everything.  It hit the charts with a bullet and propelled the band into arena rock folklore.  And now, well over thirty years later, Rush are still going strong with a loyal following that’s oft described as cultish.  I can proudly say, I’m one of their loyalist.  I’ve seen every show they’ve performed in Atlanta since 1981 and intend to be there for their last, whenever that is.  Finally, after all these years, thanks to our friends at Verizon Wireless, I got to meet the band in April!

Back in 1981 I was in high school and had never heard anything like it.  I was blown away.  The lead track Tom Sawyer was played by local rock jockess Kaedy Kiely on 96 Rock during our lunch hour.  As Tom Sawyer was pumped into the cafeteria each day I became more and more intrigued.  The synth intro was really unlike anything on the airwaves at the time.  The mysterious, almost eery vocals of Geddy Lee and underlying tracks by Lifeson & Peart really resonated with me.  By weeks end I owned the vinyl and had worked my way through all of the tracks.  That album was so compelling, so mesmerizing to me.  I wanted to share it with everyone I knew and apparently I wasn’t alone.  Within a matter of weeks, it was everywhere reaching platinum status in no time flat.

The thing about that time of life is you really can’t see very far ahead.  As a freshman in high school, it’s almost impossible to imagine yourself 4 years into the future, say as a graduating senior.  Reaching the legal drinking age, getting married, having children of your own, starting a career, no chance!  You’ll never get there.  That’s what happens when you’re old and at 14 or 15 we really can’t see ourselves as ever being old.

But here I am all these years later and wouldn’t you know it, a little history has repeated itself.  Once again Moving Pictures is central to my life. Only this time it’s not an album title but rather a product strategy by PictureU.  You see, a couple of years back, we took notice of a new technology known as Cinemagraphs.  If you’re not familiar, the idea is to take a live video clip and through some creative post-production editing freeze a certain component within the scene.  Done right, the results are really mesmerizing.  When Netflix released the second season of House of Cards they used cinemagraphs to stir up the blogosphere and really created some great press.  There is just something about combing still imagery with motion that tricks the eye and makes us do a double take.

At PictureU we help brands and our host partners grow awareness by giving their fans/guests/consumers compelling images that they in turn share on their social networks.  Social is all about imagery and the more compelling it is the more likely it is to get shared.  According to research by Nielsen, the most trusted form of advertising is a recommendation by a family or friend.  That’s how we connect the dots.  A social share on a friends Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram feed is a de facto recommendation of the brand / event and that’s why Moving Pictures matters.  People are more likely to share content that catches the eye.

In 2015 we have incorporated motion into just about everything we do.  Our proprietary technologies merge still shots with some kind of motion creating really cool, captivating, yes compelling imagery that people want to share.

  1. LINC Motion – LINC is our proprietary native app, first released in 2011, that incorporates all kinds of cool data capture and photo technology.  At any given time we have hundreds of ’em deployed at events all across the USA.  We can even do green screens using the app and of course now add some fun motion.  Animated gifs, MP4’s, motion overlays that come alive when viewed digitally and shared on Social. Check out our example from San Diego ComicCon for the new Fox show Scream Queens.
  2. Digital FlipBook – What’s old is new again.  The flip book reinvented for the digital era.  It’s cool and a fan favorite! You’ll find an example on our home page for Boston Is Strong at the Boston Marathon.
  3. Imagination Station Cinemagraphs – We shoot a still image in front of a green screen and then our software inserts a real cinemagraph into the background.  Notice the ferris wheel in the background of this example at Centennial Park in Atlanta.  We also applied a filter to give it that Instagram look!
  4. 3D Photo- Want to really wow your audience?  Try the world’s only bullet time, multi-camera array green screen technology for events.  We’ve deployed this technology all over the world this past year from helping BMW launch a new car in Tokyo to creating huge lines at the TriBeCa Film Festival for AT&T.  We have a couple examples on our home page.
  5. Video Jumbotron – Of all the things we’ve used motion for in 2015 this is one of the coolest and most successful.  We designed a custom video solution for Powerade at the NCAA Final Four.  Our technology captured a short video clip at the Powerade footprint, sound included, and auto-inserted a lead-out Powerade commercial.  The final clip was broadcast on a 40 foot jumbotron at the event while simultaneously uploading to the cloud so each guests could share in real time.  The result – over 1.6 million hashtag impressions generated from 300 guest experiences.

PictureU may have been around since 1998, and I may have first become intrigued with Moving Pictures way back in 1981, but it sure feels a lot like a startup around here these days.  We’re reinventing and challenging ourselves, developing new technologies, and working with some awesome partners on our mission to create and capture meaningful experiences for people everywhere.  And, we’re making sure our users get some really cool moving pictures of themselves, in the moment, delivered to their mobile devices, and ready to be shared with the world.

Walt Geer

PictureU CEO and a bit crazed Rush fan.


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