Halifax programmer and L.A. band The Glitch Mob develop iPhone app

A Halifax app developer who's now in business with an internationally-known electronic band from Los Angeles hopes their new app will fuse emerging iPhone video technology with music and visual design.

HYPERSPEKTIV allows the user to apply effects in real-time as video is being recorded on an iPhone

Halifax programmer Allan Lavell and L.A. band The Glitch Mob have created a new iPhone app. 2:01

A Halifax app developer who's now in business with an internationally-known electronic band from Los Angeles hopes their new app will fuse emerging iPhone video technology with music and visual design.

Allan Lavell, 26, is already known for his app, Glitch Wizard — which was downloaded 4,000 times in its first month on the iTunes store.

When he downloaded one of the band's tour photos and "glitched it out" using Glitch Wizard, he was able to get in touch with band The Glitch Mob. 

The finished result gave the image a complex effect — like being processed by a faulty television signal, Lavell said — that resembles much of the band's album artwork.

After he tweeted the reworked image to the band, The Glitch Mob then retweeted it to their millions of followers.

Lavell's creation helped him connect with the band on Twitter, then by phone. Eventually, he ended up at a conference in San Francisco with Glitch Mob member Justin Boreta.

The pair added Dean Grenier, the band's art director, to the mix soon after. The three formed the company Phantom Force.

On Jan. 19, they'll officially release a new app, called HYPERSPEKTIV, through iTunes.

Born to glitch

Lavell has been programming apps since he was 11 years old. 

He graduated from Dalhousie University last year with a major in computer science and a minor in math. 

Lavell says HYPERSPEKTIV allows the user to apply effects in real time as video is being recorded on an iPhone.

There are about 26 different effects the user can add, "each of those filters is combined with mirrors and effects inside of them, such as saturation or hue shifts," he said.

"You can also make the whole screen start swirling, you can also create ripples that move through your video, or morph the image into something that mimics a kaleidoscope."

As far as apps go, Lavell describes some as utilitarian and others that would fall on the "tripped-out and psychedelic" or "goofy and intense" end of the spectrum. 

He says HYPERSPEKTIV is somewhere in the middle.

"You can do these basic adjustments and make your videos look better or you can really get outlandish with them and create something that's completely out of this world with it."

Great potential

Lavell says the app will come in handy for video jockeys and visual artists who are projecting to big crowds.

He says the band isn't the only one using it. He's seen it used by a fashion photographer, in music videos and by a beatboxer during a performance

Though happy with the app, Boreta says it's hard to say how the app will perform in sales.

"We're kind of off in uncharted waters right now. Video technology on the iPhone is in a really exciting time and you can do things with HYPERSPEKTIV and a lot of other apps out there right now that were unimaginable a couple of years ago."

Boreta imagines the "techno-kaleidoscope" visuals the app creates will have great potential — including for use in the band's own performances.

Speaking from Joshua Tree, California, Boreta told CBC News he thinks HYPERSPEKTIV will resonate with The Glitch Mob's fan base — many of whom work in creative industries, such as graphic design.

Boreta says they've sent beta versions of HYPERSPEKTIV to some fans and he says "people seem to be really excited about it."

About the Author

Phlis McGregor


Phlis McGregor is a journalist with Information Morning in Halifax.


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