VANCOUVER-Take 1 Technologies and its sister company, Memory Maker Technologies, are rolling out their digital still and motion imaging and recording system designed to offer patrons and operators a wide range of attractive options. The company, a seven-year-old Canadian corporation, first showed its automated imaging technology at the 2002 International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions trade show.
In concept, the system allows patrons to make self-portraits, using a built-in Canon "PowerShot" 3.2-megapixel camera, or to upload images that they have taken with their own digital cameras or camera-equipped cellular telephones , even add a voice message. Image files can be loaded up with standard IrDA (infrared) or "Bluetooth" wireless links, or from standard memory cards (the seven standard formats plus "MicroDrive").
The Take 1 Technologies platform incorporates an Intel "Celeron" 2.4-GHz. processor on an Advantech industrial motherboard and a 40-GB hard disk drive. The streamlined ISA system runs Microsoft "Windows 2000 Professional" and includes onboard VGA graphics, audio, USB2 and RS232c interfaces, and a 10/100Base-T local area network connector. The user interface is provided by a 15-in. touchscreen LCD monitor, and the sound system includes an omnidirectional microphone and two 3W. stereo speakers.
The result is recorded on a miniature video compact disk. The operator and/or client can embed a custom message on the miniature CD, reminding the patron of the pleasant occasion and of the service.
The "Take 1" system also can send high-quality "video mail" at the customer's direction, and output a variety of print options including stickers and digital photographs by means of a high-resolution color inkjet printer and 4x6 thermal (dye sublimation) photo printer.
Take 1 Technologies' propriety compression software can load 30 seconds of high-resolution video into 4 MB mpeg or 400K avi files. The smaller audio-visual interleaved format is ideal for sending a movie by e-mail at the time of capture. The video recording and vend cycle is completed in less than four minutes.
Primarily designed for field use at festive events like wedding receptions, corporate parties, bar mitzvahs, graduation ceremonies and proms, the "Take 1" is housed in a durable slimline steel case, and is easily transported in a minivan, station wagon or pickup truck. It can accommodate up to 40 video compact disks in jewel box cases, and is equipped to accommodate $1, $5, $10 and $20 notes.
"My Memory Maker" is an implementation of this concept as a fully self-service photo booth. It can accept the same "PowerShot" 3.2-MP camera or one of higher resolution, and it adds the option of superimposing the patron's still image on one of a number of available prerecorded video tracks, creating a memorable souvenir.
As part of the rollout, the Canadian photo booth company has created a bulked-up version of the "Take 1" terminal. Called "Take 2," the new machine is enhanced with a robotic vending mechanism to automate delivery of the CD and jewel case. "My Memory Maker" also is built in the feature.
"I believe that today's casual photo booth patron prefers regular photos and may not be comfortable with posing for a 30-second movie," said Take 1 president Wilson Cheng, "but I'm convinced that multi-media is the future.
"My Memory Maker" creates and vends an audio-visual CD without video recording by capturing four still poses in placing them in a 60-second prerecorded movie themes with soundtracks. Patrons will be able to see themselves in an animated environment. Future applications will allow patrons to load their images from memory stick.
Print formats include the "fun photo" (a 4x6-in. high-resolution dye sub print) or "classic ID photo," two columns of 4 vertical headshots, as well as photo stickers. Patrons can send "picture-mail" or "video-mail" (with the video track), and receive a video CD and photo sticker. Its sound system includes a condenser microphone and a pair of stereo speakers delivering 5W. per channel.
"My Memory Maker" also permits the operator and/or location to embed a 30-second message on each CD dispensed. This allows the system to be customized easily to match seasons, events or moods, or as an advertising medium. It can hold up to 120 of the VCD media in their jewel boxes.
Pricing options include banknote and coin systems for U.S., euro and other major currencies. "My Memory Maker" will run on 110/220VAC at 50 or 60 Hz., drawing about 500W.
Information on both systems can be had from Take 1 Technologies, 601 W. Broadway, Ste. 400, Vancouver, BC, Canada, V5Z 4C2, tel. (877) 871-4341.