ELK GROVE VILLAGE, IL -- For Team Play, return on investment, operator profitability and value drive engineering priorities. The company's Fun Stop Photos is a collection of design enhancements, some obvious and others subtle, which illustrates the amusement manufacturer's attention to vending equipment design.
Fun Stop Photos' most obvious feature is an oversized camera adornment, perched on top of the cabinet, which gives the photobooth a distinct look. Then there are the two 26" high-definition LCD monitors for the booth's interior and exterior. They're used for location advertising, user instructions and random snapshots captured by an exterior camera to attract the attention of passersby.
PHOTO: Fun Stop Photo is built with industrial-grade electronics and full-metal frame with heavy-duty wheels and leg levelers. The cabinet uses LED lighting and is crowned with giant camera replica (a trademarked feature of Team Play) that has strobe capabilities.
Another palpable enhancement is Fun Stop Photos' curtain. It's made with ripstop nylon, the same material used for parachutes and hot-air balloons, and so sturdy an adult person can actually hang on it.
But when you look at Fun Stop Photos more closely, the subtle features become more impressive than the obvious ones. First, the photobooth is equipped with two Mitsubishi dye-sublimation printers, each capable of producing 600 4x6" sheets per roll for a total of 1,200 prints.
The second printer, Team Play's Geno Giuntoli explained, is a backup. "Suppose you're heading into the weekend with just 50 or so shots left on the roll," he said. "You don't have to sacrifice profits by throwing out media to put in a new roll. And the operator doesn't have to make a service call because the machine ran out of media. Once the paper runs out, the second printer with a full roll is automatically enabled."
There are also two bill acceptors. Redundancy, said Giuntoli, translates into reliability, which means greater profits. "We used a redundancy strategy on certain parts, specifically those that have mechanical attributes and thereby are more prone to failure." Giuntoli explained.
PHOTOS: Main components to Fun Stop Photos are accessible through three service doors. At left and above, Frank Pellegrini shows access to internal monitor, controller boards and main camera. Two other doors access payment systems and printers. Super-strong curtain on photobooth is made with ripstop nylon that can easily support the weight of an average adult male, who is Geno Giuntoli in photo below.
The printer and bill validators are the main components with mechanical functionality; all other functions are handled by software. "As any operator will tell you, fewer service calls and greater reliability make huge impacts on bottom lines," the Team Play executive said.
In the photobooth business, manufacturers typically are the only source of film supplies for their equipment and they safeguard this market by encrypting their media. Team Play's booth does not lock out other media sources, although the company does sell media. The company's objective is to compete on film price, which it says is the lowest in the industry, and to create an open market for operators.
"Sure, we much prefer operators buy their media from us," Giuntoli said, "but in order to make our photobooth business model more attractive to them, we need to keep sources open and not force them to buy from only us." On average, Team Play says Fun Stop Photos' media cost per vend is 20¢.
Fun Stop Photos is made in the United States, with electronic components coming from overseas. The machine has a footprint of 30.5" by 43"and stands 78" tall, without the camera replica topper. Two versions, for the vending and events markets, are available. The operator's model can be outfitted with a card reader for credit card acceptance. The special events unit has a more subdued color scheme.
The coin-op version vends two 2x6" nostalgic-style strips with four frames on each; recommended price is $3. The rental version also dispenses strips, but can also offer two larger frames on the 4x6 sheet.
Team Play employs graphic designers and artists for its photobooth content. Fun Stop Photos has 80 border choices for holidays, special events and other applications. Custom borders can be created for and added to a booth for an additional charge.
Graphics can be designed for location promotions. One particular operator of Fun Stop Photos has been successful in using the fourth frame of a photo strip as a coupon that's redeemable at its location for discounts on food and drinks.
"Couponing can work for any operator in movie theaters, bars, restaurants, FECs and many other locations looking to promote sales for their goods and services," Giuntoli observed. "And you can easily change out coupon content weekly."
According to Giuntoli, there's an even greater opportunity for adjunct advertising. He says an increasing number of operators are putting to work the photobooth's LCDs to run advertisements, and this can be a major selling tool for placing equipment on location and keeping it there.
"The booth's external monitor is perfect for advertisements for locations, and can be employed to promote pool and dart leagues, events like Super Bowl parties and a location's food menu," Giuntoli explained. The photobooth system can store and run video ads when the machine is in attract mode.
While Fun Stop Photos is only a few years old, it has a long history of industry knowledge behind it. Team Play boasts one of the most experienced management teams in coin-op. The company was founded by brothers Ed and Frank Pellegrini, who have had a string of hit games that go back to Capcom Bowler, Police Trainer and Star Trek Voyager. Ed Pellegrini also owns Dandy Amusements, a national amusement machine operation. Ken Fedesna, who became a principal of Team Play in 2009, was general manager and vice-president of former pinball and videogame giant Williams/Bally/Midway. Giuntoli joined the company in early 2012 after several years of service with jukebox maker NSM Music.
"The response has really been tremendous since we came to market with the photobooth," Giuntoli said. "But what surprises me most -- and I actually doubted it until I saw it for myself -- was how well Fun Stop Photos performs alongside competing booths."