Commissioned by Australian media and marketing website, AdNews, a slightly edited version of my piece can be found on their website here.
Before you read this, I’m going to assume you’re already using Snapchat in both personal and professional capacities. Your score is probably in the five digits and you know what kind of Snaps resonate with your followers so they always view your story.
You would also know a bit about Spectacles; you’ve read about the epic journey to acquire a pair that would even rival Frodo’s journey; you’ve probably even watched unboxing videos and read reviews of the sunglasses.
It probably goes without saying that Spectacles has achieved the highest level of consumer hype. This has been achieved through a combination of an appealing price tag, hard-to-acquire allure, the popularity of Snapchat, and removing the #glasshole stigma.
Snap Inc has shown the world that its 26-year-old founder and CEO fully understands how Millennials think and act. More importantly, the company has demonstrated that its first hardware product is a hit and brings in another revenue stream. This comes at a crucial time as Snap Inc is set to raise as much as $4 billion in its impending IPO later this year.
I’ve been playing with a pair of Spectacles over the last two weeks and it’s been an enlightening experience learning how to create interesting Snaps for my friends and family. Here are five tips that I think will make you better utilise Spectacles:
1. Think about what’s in the frame
The unique advantage of Spectacles is that it allows the viewer to experience a different point of view. If you’re simply looking around your surroundings then it’s really not that interesting or different than how you would capture normally. Try to also demonstrate that you’re not recording from your smartphone — point at things, look at the ground, show your hands, etc. This additional POV will give some good life to your Snapchat story!
If you’re recording someone doing an activity, why not also let them record from their POV? This could be a skater nailing a halfpipe, the bartender making some delicious cocktails, the model that’s getting their makeup touched done before the show, or even a puppy that’s being playful.
2. Don’t forget the audio
While you can’t see the grill, Spectacles’ microphone is decent enough to capture audio clearly, so use this to your advantage. During videos, narrate what you and the viewers are seeing; introduce them to the next snaps they’ll see; ask a question and get your viewers to send you answers. Just remember that not all Snaps need audio and make sure there’s no ambient loud nose breathing in the video (lol)
3. Snapchat becomes horizontal
Spectacles owners will need to learn how to shoot video for the specific medium as well as its distribution method. When Snapchat first became popular, content creators had to step back and think about specifically producing vertically-orientated content for the platform. Those that were smarter knew that it wasn’t a simple matter of cropping the already-produced horizontal content, rather, vertical images and video had to be specifically shot in that way. This mantra has changed again with Spectacles’ 115-degree-angle lens which allows an extra wide capture in the form of a circle. When watching a Snap that’s been created by Spectacles, viewers can rotate their phone left or right to see a wider perspective than just the originally-presented one.
This allows the content creator to add in extra scenes if its viewers know to rotate their smartphone (just tell them using the text input or simply via voice). Make sure there’s a reason for the rotation and before you know it, they’ll keep turning their phone every time they watch your Story. Additionally, Snap Inc might even open up its advertising to allow advertisers to embrace the circular format (most likely at a premium).
4. Think about the timing
Spectacles doesn’t automatically upload captured content into your Story (a mixed blessing), so this means you’ll need to think ahead about when to post Snaps from Spectacles and the smartphone to ensure the resulting Story isn’t too fragmented. Interestingly, once uploaded, Spectacles’ videos are ordered chronologically and not when it was uploaded. This means you can still tell a sequential and interesting story even if you can’t upload the Spectacles content till a few hours later!
However, if you want to reveal all the content at once (as there may be spoilers or you want to surprise your viewers), put your smartphone on ‘Flight Mode’ and continue snapping and uploading from the phone as normal (it will appear in your Story but it won’t be uploaded). Then, once you process and upload Spectacles’ videos to your Story in ‘Offline Mode’, turn off Flight Mode, go into My Story and click “Tap to retry” on all the failed uploads!
Ultimately, Snapchat and your Story is about creating a flowing narrative and you want the majority of your viewers will be viewing it as a whole (and not in fragments).
5. Keep experimenting with Spectacles
No one’s mastered the art of Spectacles yet (the talented Karen X. Cheng is probably the closest I’ve seen) so if you’re lucky enough to get a pair, take them out every day — even if you have nothing eventful planned! You never know what interesting shot ideas and angles come from wandering around. Also, experiment with Snapchat’s filters (the rewind filter is a really underexploited one) as they can provide interesting effects to Spectacles’ videos.
The above tips are a culmination of self-experimentation with the Spectacles and a background in photography and storytelling (my day job is helping tech companies tell its stories, aka Tech PR). I honestly can’t wait for Snap Inc’s sunnies to be made available in Australia (so more people can keep pushing the boundaries). I hope you learnt something today and let me know if there’s anything I missed!