We believe that our customers should be GNARBOX experts.  That's why we wrote this extended first release coverage - to get everyone up to speed on how to get the most out of the GNARBOX experience.

For our product's debut, we wanted to be sure that we had all of our core use cases covered, but with significant depth where it was required.  As you tour the app, you'll notice that the basics are all there - viewing files on cards, importing quickly, connecting drives, trimming/stitching videos, color correcting photos, etc.

In this introduction, we break the GNARBOX software down into a few categories and describe how we've approached each.  You will be able to learn exactly where the functionality stands today, and a bit about how we plan to improve in the future.

Backup files at 4 GB/min

There is no such thing as "too fast" of a transfer speed when it comes to securing a second copy of a treasured memory. That's why we designed GNARBOX to accommodate high-speed transfers from your cameras to internal storage and external hard drives.

We have achieved the following transfer speeds:

UHS SD Card to GNARBOX -> 4 GB/min

UHS SD Card to USB3.0 HDD -> 4 GB/min

GNARBOX to USB3.0 HDD -> 6-8 GB/min

This involved detailed work from both the hardware and software teams - ranging from ensuring our high-frequency clocks were clean on our SDIO and eMMC data lines to setting up device drivers to tune SD card connections to the highest speeds possible.

In our app, you can view connected devices by tapping the 'Devices' button in the top left corner of the home screen. You can view, favorite, and edit files while they are on a device, but you don't have access to our full suite of tools. To backup your card, simply 'Select All' the files that are categorized as "Not yet backed up" and tap copy. You can also copy to the GNARBOX and USB drives simultaneously. We have given you as much flexibility as possible so that you can store your files in the way that best fits your process.

Edit Full-Resolution Video, up to 4k

The first step to creating a video editing suite capable of editing full-res content from a variety of cameras was customizing our transcoder and player to properly playback a variety of different filetypes.  This was no easy task - we spent nearly 3 months in software development time tuning a one of a kind system for live streaming UHD video files while they are being transcoded.  Using this playback system, we were able to deliver most of our target files to the App and give the user scrubbing, fine scrubbing, and even frame-by-frame control over playback.

With this feature implemented, we were able to move into the basics of creating engaging video content.  The initial focus was on precisely trimming clips.  To make this as simple as possible on a small screen, we used a basic Trim Bar with draggable edges.  For added precision, users can also pause videos, frame advance or fine scrub, and swipe down on the video frame to create a marker.  Trim points can be snapped to these markers.

Trimmed clips can be Exported directly to the GNARBOX or your camera roll.  Users can also capture moments from videos in high-res by using the Frame Grab feature.  Just tap the icon that appears on the editing screen when videos are paused and choose the a photo.

The Highlight Reel

When it comes to creating engaging videos and telling stories, nothing is more powerful than the ability to piece together clips into a Highlight Reel.  While the video trimming tools are designed to make it fast and easy to create clips, the Highlight Reel feature is specifically oriented at making an awesome series of clips.  Once you have a video trimmed to your liking, just swipe up from the video frame to add it to your reel.  Clips in the reel can be deleted or moved with a quick hold and drag gesture.  

One of the challenges all creators face is syncing music with the action in a reel.  We often spent hours at our computer playing with the clips in our projects only to feel we were no better off than we were before the effort.  To make the process of creating an awesome short video easier, we built the Hitpoint feature for the highlight reel.  

To get started, just tap the Music icon on the Highlight Reel screen.  Our workflow will take you through the steps - from choosing an exciting part of your video, to choosing a song, and finding the most exciting part of that song using audio waveform.  Your end product will be a video with a music track that feels perfectly synced to the action taking place on the screen.  

With the Highlight Reel complete, sharing it is simple.  Tap the Export icon on the bottom toolbar, choose an export resolution (up to 4k), and save it to the GNARBOX or your phone's Camera Roll/Gallery.

RAW Photo Editing

To a certain extent, creating a RAW editor for the GNARBOX began in a similar fashion to the implementation for video - with a deep dive on how to best support a wide array of files and cameras.  Ultimately, we built a custom implementation on top of a library called dcraw that extracts full-resolution intermediary files from RAW photos.  This is similar to the strategy used by classic editing softwares such as Adobe's Lightroom.  From here, we hooked up a custom OpenGL shader to apply color corrections and light adjustments.

Color correction tools in the app are straightforward and simple, just use the dials to adjust effects and tap the photo to preview Original vs. Edited.  We wanted to make sure that users would feel that exports are precise and high-quality.  To accomplish this, our app is edits a slightly smaller proxy image with the exact same OpenGL shader that is used on the full resolution file, which keeps integration tight between what you see in the editing view and how your photo looks on Instagram.

In the future, we plan to tightly integrate our tools with other platforms and create a mechanism for preserving your work as you move from editor to editor.

Automatic Organization, Recents, Favorites

When you shoot a lot, starting your edit project can be a challenge just because it's not easy to find the files you need.  To make it easy to access your files, we built the GNARBOX with a few organizational features that are designed to go a long way.

When you import files to your GNARBOX, they will automatically be placed in our chronological collection view on the home screen.  You can also directly access files imported over the last 24 hours using the Recents tab on the bottom toolbar.  Recents view is a great way to find files if the date on your camera is behind or the files are from a previous day, causing them to be pushed away from the top of the chronological list.

To make it easier to sift through large numbers of files, we added the option to tag Favorites.  Favorites will be grouped at the top of any Connected Device page.  The tag will also carry over to the GNARBOX if you import those files.  Favorites can be added in batches or simply by swiping up when viewing a file, which will Favorite the file and send you to the next one in the collection for review.

Exporting and Managing Space

The GNARBOX is equipped with 128 GB of internal storage, which is often enough space to edit and manage media over a weekend trip.  However, as camera users, we tend to accumulate GBs and even TBs of footage fairly quickly, so learning to Export and Manage Space using the GNARBOX is important.

We've set up our system so that files can be archived on USB Hard Drives quickly and easily.  Simply connect your drive, select files from your GNARBOX, and use the Share icon on the bottom toolbar to export them.  Once they are backed up, make sure you have completed all of your editing projects, especially Highlight Reels, before batch deleting them to clear space for the next round of files.

We wanted our users to be able to tightly integrate the GNARBOX with their existing workflow - so we built functionality that allows it to be connected to a computer as a hard drive.  To do this, use the USB Mode setting in the Settings Menu to toggle into Mass Storage mode.  You won't be able to access the main parts of the app in this mode, but you will be able to connect the GNARBOX to your computer for USB3.0 speed file transfers, up to 6 GB/min.

This concludes our briefing on Version 1.0.0.  Please check out our notes for each upcoming release - they'll be full of information about the latest and greatest software.

 

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