60Hz Shutting Down

Hi Everyone,

As of 31st December, 60Hz will cease to exist. We pulled 60Hz from the app store few weeks ago. Our services that power the app will officially stop working 31st December.

We’ve developed 60Hz for more than 5 years and it is time to move on. 60Hz has had many ups and downs and both of us, who represent M2D2, learned a lot about apps and businesses during this period. For all who stuck with the app this long, thank you. We’ve truly treasured so countless hours of effort we poured into this.

Biggest reason for this change is that we simply haven’t had the time we used to — life has gotten in the way, with new additions to the both our families. Also, with Netflix and other streaming services doing such a good job, there is less of a need for a tool like ours. Personally, we found that our use of the app has diminished significantly since Australia got Netflix. Our sales and usage also reflect that.

So hope you enjoyed using the app. We sure did. Maybe there will be something more relevant in the future. Till then, this is goodbye.

If you are looking for something to replace 60Hz with, check out Serist (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/serist-your-personal-tv-show/id1081877377?mt=8, you may find this app has a very familiar flow) or https://trakt.tv/apps for more apps.

Thank you.

Suneth & Dineth

Let’s talk about issues

We have been tracking several issues with 60Hz 4.1 for the past few weeks. We would like to give you a quick update what we are doing to fix it (and what’s taking long!).

60Hz app has a data related issue where some users experience frequent crashes within the app. There are 3 issues here:

  1. CoreData is our data backend within the app. It seems that as users step through multiple schema migrations (the way data is formatted when saved), there are rare occasions which has caused data corruption. There seems to be other apps that has suffered from similar issues with CoreData migrations too.

    We have had 1 user who lost all his data during a migration so far.
     
  2. There is an issue with iOS 9.0.2 for some users where the app freezes on startup and cannot recover. We test extensively on all versions and we had not seen this before. Unfortunately, this is not something our beta testers picked up.

    We have gotten 6 complaints about this so far.
     
  3. There is a concurrency issue that causes minor scale crashes for about 8% of 60% users. That’s a very very bad stat for us. This is, again, due to constant changing dataset within the app along with some good ol’ CoreData concurrency issues.
     

What are we doing about it?

  1. In the last few weeks, we migrated our app backend to a much more reliable framework. We are completely moving away from CoreData to avoid further hiccups on both uncontrollable data corruptions and any concurrency related issues.
     
  2. Building the app against iOS9 SDK and Swift 2.0.
     
  3. Writing a migrator to gracefully ferry everyone across to the new database framework.


These are very large changes. We have been working on it for few weeks despite having added new family members recently! This is why the update hasn’t come straight away.

We will start beta testing very soon. We also have UI updates to the app in the pipeline, including a brand new Show Synopsis / season view page.

Thank you for using 60Hz!

60Hz Pricing

We started talking about 60hz 4.0 a while back now. One of the biggest concerns from a small number of you was that you bought the app last year (very few of you bought it this year) and it will be unacceptable to pay for the same functionality twice. We will try to address your concerns here.
 

The Details

We are debuting 60Hz 4.0 as a brand new universal app.

60Hz will set you back 99 cents if you buy it on the launch day. After that, the price will go up to 3.99. If you bought 3.0 previously, you are paying the difference, i.e. 2.99 (old price) + 0.99 = 3.99.

We’ve discontinued our iPad version of the app and you may have realised that it was pulled from the App Store a while back. Since the new app is universal, we don’t have an upgrade path.
 

Why should I pay?

There are many many reasons why you should fork out at least 99 cents. Here are a few:

Our goal is to work on great apps full time. If users aren’t willing to pay, then we cannot keep building these apps. There has been a great deal of discussions around sustainable pricing for apps. One off, low price points on apps makes it extremely hard to sustain the level commitment required to make and maintain great apps. This is a big challenge for small time indie developers like us. 

Your sacrifice of a single coffee (or less if you purchase the app on the launch day) will go a long way in supporting us.

We completely rewrote the app in Swift. We took all the learnings from the previous versions of the app and re-engineered the new version. Architecturally, it allows us to provide good updates in the future too. We already have a few turned off features in the app like the Today Widget, which will be released soon after, once we get it perfect.

We redesigned the user experience of the app all over again. We believe it has a much better flow. We took a lot of feedback onboard from our previous releases.

We took the opportunity to address some of the server issues 60Hz suffered from time to time. Trakt is an awesome service. They spend a lot of time and money supporting a FREE API for the community to build apps with. We are doing our part by hosting a bunch of services through a middle-man server of our own. 60Hz server will aggressively cache information about shows etc and save Trakt from 1000s of API calls.

Overtime, we hope to move more traffic through us, giving us much better capabilities to fallback to other means of providing you with functionality that has a hard reliance on Trakt or any other 3rd party service. We are also able to build more awesome value-add services with our own backend as well. Featured Lists will be the first of those items.

Servers, of course, aren't free. We will use your contributions to power the services.


Why should I pay again?

In an ideal world, users should continue to pay for maintenance and upkeep of any product they buy. This is generally the case with all software. Otherwise, there is no incentive to improve the product in any way.

This philosophy is quite different when it comes to buying a physical product like an iPhone, which eventually becomes obsolete and you have to fork out another ~$1000 to get the latest and greatest.

With any product, you pay to buy what is available now. You don't really pay for anything in the future. I'm sure if you dig up Office 97, it still works. However, things get a lot more complicated with service driven software because there is a hard reliance on a backend. This gets even more complicated when the service that backs the software is not provisioned by the same company. And this keeps getting more complicated as outages happen and 3rd parties stop supporting services that were just kept up without a real service-level agreement.

It is definitely harder to conceive the value of software due to its intangible nature. However, the work involved to make software is, by no means, any less. Creating great apps takes time and effort.

Lastly, it should be noted that acquiring new users is hard unless you are a large organisation with a large marketing budget. App makers rely on a constant stream of new acquisitions to go on paying the bills. If there is an app that you regularly engage with, consider making a yearly donation.
 

So…

We hope this gives you some clarity on pricing and why you should purchase 60Hz.

Thank you for reading.

Redesigning 60Hz for iOS7

60Hz is a fun little utility app that allows people to keep track of their TV shows. With the introduction of iOS7, we felt that it was time for an UI upgrade. Here’s a little bit of behind the scenes look at the thinking that’s gone into this iteration of the app...


A good app design is one that understand its context well. It has to blend in well with its surroundings as well as understand the frame of mind of its user is in while being used. This is what makes a useful, relevant app that forms a lasting relationship with the user.

We started by trying to understand the new environment. iOS7 is very different. It is more than Jony’s attempt at flattening out its predecessor. At the core of it, it has some interesting concepts:

  • iOS7 has a fresh perspective on its users: users now understand the digital canvas. There’s no longer a need to pretend behind leather covers or oversimplified gestures and UI. It’s maturing with its user base.

  • iOS7 is moving away from the traditional page to page navigation and embracing a more fluid approach. It tries to use a number of interesting animations, transitions and effects to enhance the users’ sense of place.

We got our hands dirty and came up with number of mockups and concepts for the app.


Working with Layers

As I mentioned earlier, layers are a great way to orient the user in the app. So we looked into a few concepts to work with. The most obvious one we wanted go for was a map-esque design where a user funnels from shows to his library to more streamlined views of his library:

1-u4UB6haJY52bMgUdJiXKgg.png

Great idea in theory; bad in practice. Most of our users spend extremely short periods of time with the app each session. This is just the nature of its utility and we’ve always designed 60Hz to work that way. Quick glance of the app tells you what to watch next and another quick session lets you mark it off!

So we ended up opting for a simpler layer structure, one which allowed our users to work with a very simple set of functionality, and dig deeper if they wanted to spend more time exploring.

While this isn’t like the native Calendar application, the design fit the usage a lot better.

While this isn’t like the native Calendar application, the design fit the usage a lot better.

We used effects and transitions to effectively tell the story of these layers.

AnimationLibrary.gif
AnimationSearch.gif



Trust in Our Users’ Ability

60Hz previously used a large number of dialogs to pick and confirm actions, especially when an episode is marked off. It’s all changed now: we use gestures throughout the app to let users perform advance functionality. We’re trusting in our users’ ability to work with the basics like swiping on views etc.

SwipesYellow.gif
SwipesBlue.gif

In some places, we’ve opted to hide shortcuts users can discover for themselves as they become more familiar with the app.

Most importantly, we’ve kept things very consistent so that experience acquired can be reapplied over and over to do similar things.

 

Basics Hang Around

No matter how much the UI get revised, basics have to remain.

For the iPad, we introduced both portrait and landscape views. However, all our interactions can be reached with your thumbs while you hold your device. Microsoft has a great heat map of comfortable thumb reach for tablet users in their Windows 8 blog:

Transient

You will find that most things in our iPad app leans to either side so you don’t have to keep shifting weight of your iPad to do something.

IMG_0018.png

Likewise, with the iPhone app, we’ve hidden away little easy shortcuts that allow you to navigate the app with just your thumb! We left them as little easter eggs for our users to discover…

 

Concluding Thoughts

There’s a lot of work that goes into building an app. We spent a lot of time designing and building 60Hz 3.0 for iOS7. This is all our passion in a little app for you to enjoy. We hope you love it!

Read more about 60Hz for iOS7

@dineth
Co-founder & Designer @M2D2Apps

 

Press Release: 60Hz 3.0 for iPhone & iPad, rewritten to be the best TV tracker on iOS7

Brisbane, Australia — January 17th 2014 — M2D2 today releasing 60Hz 3.0 for iPhone® and iPad®. 60Hz is a TV companion app that lets users keep track of what they’ve been watching, do social check-ins, take part in discussions with trakt.tv community and discover new shows!

With the 3rd iteration of the app, we’ve added powerful discovery features along with a complete rewrite of the app for iOS7! It is the best TV tracker available in the App Store.

Highlight of Features in 3.0

  • Discover new TV shows and movies through recommendations and what’s currently trending in the community.

  • Users can collect shows and movies they’d like to watch in the future.

  • Integrates well with trakt.tv for community features and check-ins. Sync across multiple devices through trakt.tv.

  • Extremely refined user experience with a new user interface. Designed specifically for iPhone and iPad.

Pricing and Availability

60Hz is available on the App Store for just $1.99 on the iPhone and $3.99 on the iPad. 60Hz is designed specifically for both iPhone and iPad. 60Hz 3.0 requires OS 7.0 or newer.App Store Links

iPhone: http://trakt.tv/a/60hz/iphone
iPad: http://trakt.tv/a/60hz/ipad

Additional Information

A limited number of Promotional Codes are available to members of the media. Journalists interested in receiving one should contact Dineth Mendis, Cofounder of M2D2 - dineth@m2d2apps.com.

Screenshots, icons and other related media are available for download from here: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B9QV0xhni9hEaG5WRjVKUk1IcFU&usp=sharing

Please visit the following URL for all the information regarding the app: http://m2d2apps.com/60hz-for-ios7

We also have a YouTube highlighting the features of the app: http://youtu.be/nuqJudp0J_4

About M2D2

M2D2 is a 2-man indie tech startup, all the way from Brisbane, Australia. We’re dedicated to building great, relevant, useful products with simple and refined experiences.

 

60Hz turns 2.3

We have been working very hard for the last few weeks designing and building the next iteration of 60Hz. Here’s a quick overview of the highlights of this release...

DOWNLOAD: 60Hz for iPhone // 60Hz for iPad

We have a Wishlist

(aka watchlist for trakt folks)

Wishlist is something you can use alongside your 60Hz TV and Movie libraries. Next time you get a recommendation from a friend or read a review and want to check out a movie or a TV show, simply search and add it to your wishlist!

When we designed the wishlist, we wanted it to be a unique user experience.

On the iPhone, you get beautiful fanart for each show and movie. As you scroll, the posters exert gravity to give the feeling of each item on your list "competing for your attention" as they go in and out of view.

Please excuse my lousy emulator screen capture with jerky animations. Your experience will be buttery smooth ;)

On the iPad, we have a completely different experience. Your wishlist is transformed to a beautiful magazine layout for you to browse!

iOS Simulator Screen shot 22.08.2013 9.16.00 PM.png

60Hz is a little more social

For trakt users, you always could check-in to trakt, which in turn checked-in on Twitter and Facebook. However, real social interaction happens when your friends hear your opinion on what you just saw. Did you love the movie? Why you were outraged at that Game of Thrones episode? -- these are the things that gets the conversations going. When you mark an item, now you can choose to start a conversation on Facebook or Twitter. We will even attach a beautiful show summary link from trakt.tv to give your thoughts some context. We only ask that you keep our #60HzApp on to give us a little exposure ;).

iOS Simulator Screen shot 23.08.2013 7.08.49 AM.png
iOS Simulator Screen shot 23.08.2013 7.08.53 AM.png
iOS Simulator Screen shot 23.08.2013 7.09.30 AM.png
Screen Shot 2013-08-23 at 7.17.58 AM.png

Faster than ever!

We ripped out our image caching system to substituted a new one. In fact, it is the same caching system used on your Facebook app. You will notice a huge performance boost in the app while scrolling graphics heavy pages like the library and faster load times on the images. As an added bonus, the new system keeps storage use to a minimum, while will allow you to squeeze in a few more apps on your phone!

New toolbar for the iPhone

Yep, we ran out of space for more icons! We tried many different things and finally settled on a design where you can swipe down on the toolbar to reveal more features. In the settings menu, you can change the order of these icons so you can keep your favourite features on top.


Designing #60Hz toolbar for the new version out on Friday! #60HzApp by @darkvaderdin

No longer vanilla Big Bang

We added a whole lot of fanart to take over our regular Big Bang Theory poster. Why have one when you can have… more! Now the big poster on the mainlist automatically rotates between shows in your library. Makes things more fun!

Re-check-in watched episodes

Because a second, third, fourth viewing of Community is… normal. Trakt only.


Hold down on posters in the library view for show settings

There’s a cool slide to delete feature too!!

 

iOS7 support

Mostly fixing things Apple broke… Note how 60Hz fit right in with the new iOS7 designs :).

 

Lots of little big fixes and improvements all around. So enjoy and we hope you are totally getting your money’s worth!! We hope to be the best TV companion app on the store. So join our community pages on Facebook / Google+ or follow us on Twitter to stay up to date and influence future directions. Go to UserVoice to voice out opinions and tell us about what you enjoy and hate. Finally, leave us an updated review on the App Store. More people buying the app will allow us to spend more time improving it!

#60HzApp

iOS Simulator Screen shot 22.08.2013 9.13.08 PM.png

Enjoy ;)

DOWNLOAD: 60Hz for iPhone // 60Hz for iPad

 

Sneak Peeks of Version 2.3

Hi All, we've been posting a series of Instagram videos to showcase some of the upcoming features. We'll write about some of these in more length over time. Here are the clips posted so far:  


Designing #60Hz toolbar for the new version out on Friday! #60HzApp by @darkvaderdin

Wishlists come to #60HzApp by @darkvaderdin

#60HzApp for #iPad gets a big update on Friday! You might even get it a little cheaper just for the weekend... by @darkvaderdin

60Hz 2.2 hits the app store with lots of improvements and library filters!

Screen Shot 2013-06-25 at 10.06.13 PM.png

Boys and girls, 60Hz just got to 2.2! This release is all about addressing feedback from our awesome 60Hz users. We’ve received over 50 emails since launch, asking for features and pointing out parts of the app that didn’t quite behaved properly. We’ve tried to fix most of these issues and added a few nifty features to go along with them.

Here are some of the new things we added:

- When you add a show, you can now start marking off episodes you've watched straight away. No more going back back back and then forward forward... Yes, we made it very easy.

- We added a few filters to the library! Pull down to reveal the header on your library view. You can pick from 3 views now:

  • All... see everything,
  • Active gets rid of shows that have been cancelled,
  • Catchup mode is shows that you still have episodes that need catching up.
  • Trakt users, we are hoping to add support for collections soon.

- When you are looking at an episode synopsis you can easily hop back and forth to other episodes with the new next and previous buttons. 

- We also fixed up a number of issues including the notorious “43 years ago” message on some episodes that haven’t aired yet. We’ve worked with the great developers at trakt to fix up the issues.

 

If you have been dying for watchlist, we have started work on it. We’re working on some beautiful designs for it. Stay tuned for updates in 2.3.

Join our Facebook Page, Google+ or UserVoice community to get involved.

 

60Hz Settings

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You've probably have noticed that the new 60Hz App has a handful of settings which lets you customise your notifications, main list episode listings and order of episodes. Its a comprehensive list of settings, which may bamboozle you. Well the good news is, that the App will work just fine with the default settings the App ships with. But you can modify these settings to really fine tune the experience you desire with 60Hz.

 

NOTIFICATIONS

Time of the day to receive notifications about shows

As the name suggests, this setting controls the hour of the day you will receive notifications about your shows. You can simply press the plus (+) or the minus (-) buttons to adjust the time. I usually set it to 8pm, so that I don't get disturbed by notifications during the day.

Number of days before or after the air date to receive notifications about shows

You can simply set this to delay or expedite your notification about an episode airing on a certain date.

MAIN LIST GLOBAL SETTINGS

Before we move on to next section, I should perhaps mention this very important point. The main list is designed to show you what you need to watch next from all the shows you have in your library. This is the basis of all your settings in the sections below.

Hide next episodes on the main list which are older than (x) weeks

Say you have a show  that has been airing for a while and its airing its 5th season, but you lost interest in the show after the 3rd season. The main list should say that you need to watch season-4 episode-1 of this show which was aired 11 months ago. But you honestly don’t care about this show anymore, but you have a glimmer of hope that it will get better and still like to know when a new episode airs. Adjust the weeks to ignore anything older than X weeks, so your main list will stop telling you that you need to watch this show.

Hide next episodes on the main list which are (x) weeks in the future

This is plain and simple. If you don’t want to know about an episode airing in 4 months, simply change this value. For example, new season of Homeland is scheduled to be aired in 4 months but I don’t really care about that right now. However, I would like to know about it in 3 months time. So toggle the value to 4 weeks, and Homeland Season 3 episode 1 will disappear from your list for the next 3 months and will pop back in month away from the actual airdate! How sweet is that?

Main list sorting (Alphabetical or Time based)

If you like your next episodes sorted by show name alphabetical order, turn this ON. If not, your main list will be sorted by the date differences of the next episodes air date from today.

MAIN LIST SHOW SPECIFIC SETTINGS

You will find that every show you ever watched listed under this section with 3 icons next to them. A clock winding back, a bell and a trash can.

settingOrderEnabled@2x.png

What if you have absolutely no time to watch all the episodes ever aired with Doctor Who, but you like to keep up with the new ones. Turn this mode ON and 60Hz will never nag you about past episodes from Doctor Who. However, it will show any upcoming    episodes and any episode scheduled to be aired today.

settingNotificationEnabled@2x.png

Toggle this ON if you like to get notifications about the episodes airing. The notifications will fire on the date and time you specified in the above setting.

 

settingRemoveEnabled@2x.png

Toggle this ON if don’t wish know anything about this show. 60Hz will not delete this show from your library, but it will hide it from every list, so its as good as gone.

We changed looks. Now we change names. Your favourite TV tracker is now running at 60Hz.

We had a great launch for our latest TV tracking app about a week ago. It's a new app rewritten with all your feedback from 1.0, with a fresh take on TV and movie tracking and of course, a fresh new icon with a sleek new user interface. Now it's time for a new name too!

What are we in essence?

We are all about your TV experience. At the end of a hard day's work (or play...) you sit down in front of your TV for a pause, to escape to another world. Our app is your assistant and your guide on this journey to other wonderful worlds of imagination. The television is the center of this experience and believe it or not, it flips the frames 60 times every second to immerse you deep in this experience. Our app, helps you stay in sync with your TV experiences at all times, which means we're running at 60 frames a second too. So we called the app, simply, 60Hz.

60Hz

We, here at M2D2, want to keep pushing 60Hz in this direction of helping you to get the most out of your television time. We'll be adding new features to make your TV experience more entertaining.

When 2.1 launches, we'll officially change names. When it does, tell your friends. Your recommendation is important to us. We depend on it heavily to keep the app moving forward. We've been prompt to answer all your feedback. We've gotten over 30 emails on the first few days alone! We have a good idea of where we can improve and what we can do in future releases. So keep the feedback flowing...

And spread the word about 60Hz!

Designing 60Hz 2.0

I love watching TV shows. I spend about an hour a day on it at least. It’s not just TV, I love movies too. I love the stories in them. It is another world of imagination where there are no limits. I gravitate towards shows which have a long running story, like Game of Thrones. I appreciate the sense of continuity they have. These shows offer a way for me to escape my busy work day when I get home.

In the December break of 2011, Suneth and I were geeking it out trying to solve a very small problem we had with TV: I find it hard to keep up with the story. Often, the episodes aren’t in order. Even if they are, you tend to forget it a little here and there. Busy life gets in the way of tracking these things. So we decided to make a little iPhone app, called tvQ, to keep track of where you’ve watched something to.

So tvQ 1.0 came out. We drew inspiration from apps like Series Guide for Android, which I had been using on my Nexus One. We got some traction after Justin from Trakt.TV approached us for an integration. 50% of our users are from trakt, the last time we estimated the numbers, which is a huge deal.

tvQ v1 is slow. It suffers from slowness brought on by Core Data Framework. We probably didn’t know the right way to go about it, to be honest. It is designed with stock standard iOS controls, which look dated now. We wanted to give it some love and write it in the architecture some of the bigger enterprise grade apps are written in. We wanted it to be fast and focus on the user experience a lot more this time. Other apps for trakt were copying our front page so we thought... let’s make something better! (Haha)

Coming from Momento Jar app, we had sharpened our iOS + Design skills. We started sketching out some of the early designs as you can see here (and some early photoshop mocks):

These screens represent some of the thinking gone behind the new design. Initially we wanted to take the 1.0 experience across where we focused heavily on just a single list of shows with their next episode. A lot of the times, this design didn’t always perform well. We realised the main page was more about episodes and less about each series. So we spent time crafting the front page to be episode centric.

Now, episodes from each show are put into 3 buckets.

  • We always show you what’s on today. They don’t have to be next in line. It is to say... hey these shows are on today, which might spark your interest to catch up or just see where it’s at now.

  • Next is upcoming, which is what I look forward to in the coming week. I get some of these stuff online so I keep an eye on these. Sometimes I like to read in advance and see what’s in store for the following week (I skip ads on TV so I don’t see the previews). I can limit this section by saying don’t show me if the next episode is 6 weeks away or more. When Suits is returning in a few weeks time, it will start appearing on the list again... which is exciting!

  • Same goes to past episodes. The thresholds you set for yourself allows shows you neglect to fall off the ledge and stay out of your way. Make sure to set these up in your settings when you get the app.

We added a proper library for you to collect shows. Made it so that you can ignore missed episodes for shows like CSI where you don’t care about watching every single episode. We made comments part of the synopsis page to see immediate reactions from other community users (trakt only).

One big change this time around is artwork. We put fanart and posters in the center of everything. This doesn’t mean we compromised on design at all. They elegantly fit in and add color to our app. You will realise the app is white for most part, with neon styled icons. The rest of the colors are really added in by the great artwork, giving color to every page. Our experience with Momento Jar really helped out here. There’s a bit more technical knowledge involved in caching, cropping and animating images to get the most out of them. If you get the iPad version, you will see that the obsession with great artwork continues. We hope you love it!

We did a lot of work in the backend too. It is a brand new codebase. We threw out everything we had before and made everything super fast. We used the Command & Engines architecture (future blogpost...?) to organize everything properly.

In the end, we’re very pleased with the result. I think this is a world class app, for both iPhone and iPad. It is made with love by Suneth and I, who uses the app on a daily basis. We hope our effort will convert to a large number of downloads. Tell everyone about it! It’s available 10th of May. Our app experience puts us firmly in front of the TV tracking apps out there. We intend to be creative with our features in the future releases. If you have awesome ideas of your own, head on down to our 60Hz page and start a discussion about it. We love hearing everyone's take on the app and the community support.

Thank you for reading. Here’s the end result (we felt serious about the app that we made a video about it!!!). Tell your friends... iPhone app is FREE on the 10th!!! :)

Making 60Hz App Demo Video

Product demo video can go a long way in promoting your product. However, getting a video done is quite difficult. Usually an app developer isn’t equipped with video skills. External sources can quote for a video anywhere from $5k to $20k, which is quite steep!

With the launch of 60Hz 2.0, we wanted a video to tell our story. We have excellent UI and it is dead simple to use. So here’s how I created a video for 60Hz with the help of my trustees Suneth (other half of M2D2) and Dilani. If you want something similar done, approach me or follow these steps!

First, the end result:

 

1. Thinking...

This is my first ever video creation. I do watch a significant number of TV shows and movies so I understand a little bit about what makes a good video: It is a good storyline, coherently captured in a series of sequences, and stitched together with an uplifting track.

A lot of product demos come with a narration to help the story aspect. However, it was obvious that there wasn’t enough time for that; I had to get this done in 2 weekends to kick off marketing.

2. Writing the Script

Every good movies and shorts start with a script. Ever heard of “failing to plan is planning to fail”? Same goes with a movie script. This is where planning starts.

I came up with a tagline / theme for this video: ”tvQ: keeping up with the story”. This proved to be an important part of making the movie. Everytime I had to make a decision, I asked myself, does it help me get to my theme?

This theme is exactly what 60Hz (formerly tvQ) does; it helps me keep up with all the great stories on the telly. Being in the country where back to back episodes are almost never from the same season, it makes me less frustrated too!

I wrote down how I would tell someone about 60Hz; a little pitch. I presented the problem I was having keeping up with times, downloads, repeats and how 60Hz just lets me consume everything in order. I took the script to Google Docs and had a shared editing session with Suneth (other half of M2D2) and Dilani (trustee M2D2 sidekick advisor, aka Suneth’s wife).

3. Storyboarding

All good videos need to be storyboarded. We did the same with 60Hz video. This is a very important step. I don't quite have a pretty storyboard so here’s a substitute from Momento Jar (a video that never got made):

This was important because between the storyboards and the script, I could write down a list of sequences and estimate length of the sequences I required to complete the video. I wrote down a long list of shots, including zoom levels, to shoot. The list also had things like still shots I made in Photoshop afterwards.

It looked something like this:

Required Scenes

  • Pressing on icon ( < 1s )
  • Start screen up, scrolling down ( 2s )
  • Pressing community episode on the main list, reading the synopsis
  • (Zoomed In) new show being added (probably do a few and make it a cool sequence)
  • ...

4. Quick Hack

Then I did something silly and unexpected: I shot a quick video!! I was impatient and just wanted to learn iMovie (never used it before). So I spent the next 4 hours on making a self shot quick video around my script. I cannot post it here due to copyright restrictions on the music I used (Change of Seasons by Sweet Thing). Message me privately for a link.

Something great came out of this exercise: Lots of feedback!!! I figured out everything good and bad witch what I did and carried on to shooting it all properly.

5. Lights, Camera, Action!

Equipped with a list of sequences, we got shooting. Interesting lessons learnt:

  • Mid morning shoots are the best for the right kind of light. iPhones screen causes havoc on contrast balance on them point and shoots. I wish I owned a DSLR.

  • Tripod is a must.

  • Little details matter, like arrangement of icons on the iPhone home screen.

  • Let the video start and run off for 5 to 10s at least. Helps during editing.


6. Editing

With my newly acquired iMovie skills, editing the video wasn’t a problem. Just have to play around with transitions, cuts, speeds, sounds etc.

Music is the one big problem. Most music is out of bounds due to copyright restrictions. YouTube automatically detects and flags your video if you misuse stuff, which is why YouTube is full of covers. EMI Music was asking what our payment was going to be so we looked to royalty free music. Here’s a great site: www.premiumbeat.com - $40 for a full track.

Conclusion

In the end, the video looks great. It gets the point across and shows off our apps. I think it’ll make a big impact on our way to the 60Hz launch on 10th of May. I hope people will appreciate the effort spent. It’s just as fun to make a video as it is to make the app itself. If you need help with your video, send me a message ;).

Remember to get your free copy of the iPhone app for FREE on launch day. 

https://www.facebook.com/tvQapp

Trouble with Time Zones and Day Light Savings in iOS

As you all know, Suneth and I are working on 60Hz 2.0 and we had the weirdest date related problem yesterday. We have a weekly calendar which tells you when your library shows air and what are the premiering (returning or new series) airing on any particular day.

Yesterday, our calendar looked like this!!

Huh??

After a lot of digging around the problem was this: yesterday, Sydney timezone rolled back an hour due to day light savings.

We calculate each day by dropping its time component from [NSDate date]. We use a special category which gives us today [NSDate today] and work our way back to calculate the week and all the other relative days. For the first cell, which is correct, we have April 7th, Midnight. When it comes to Monday, Sydney rolled an hour backwards. Instead of getting April 8 Midnight, we're getting April 7th, 11PM. This accounts for the second 7th of April! After looking for bugs in all over the code, we finally figured it out.

The fix was to simply take midday for today calculations. Adding 12 hours to today fixes and stays away from all kinds of DST issues (I hope).

Coming up with a fresh icon for 60Hz app

We've been working hard to get tvQ 2.0 out on the App Store (currently doing some beta testing). We really needed a new icon that captured the essence of our new UI and still kept a somewhat familiar vibe. Needed it to be cleaner, more modern and still very much recognisable on the iPhone dashboard.

Here's the old design and icon:

So we began by looking some existing icons that reflected somewhat of the vibe that we needed our icon to give out to the users. Here are some icon designs that really inspired us...

Of course, there was some dribbble.com surfing as usual and Suneth found this fantastic pinterest collection: http://pinterest.com/johnsonyung/app-icon/.

I think it is important to look at what else is out there. Creativity is really a fusion of a collection of ideas put together in a very personal way. And all these ideas don't have to be original. As a part time designer, it isn't so easy to come up with a completely original design either.

So here's the look and feel of our rewritten tvQ app:

And here's the new icon... I think we've managed to do an icon that reflected the new design but kept a little bit of the old feel. Love it!