I was lucky enough to be one of a select few guys who had the opportunity to be part of the initial software testing for the Selfie Wizard, which was long before its majorly popular release to the market earlier this year. The man behind this innovative product is Toni Cavallo, who has over 30 years’ experience within the photography and photo booth market. He owns a hugely successful photo booth company based in Hampshire, with many bespoke designed booths he’s built himself.
While attending the countless events at which Toni provides booths, he had the idea to create a product that could utilize the photography gadget that most people already have in their pockets at an event: a smartphone. The idea was to give people the opportunity to share their own phone ‘selfie’ photos to be displayed in a slideshow format on large TV screens and projectors, with the added option to produce instant prints for guests to take away as a memento from the event if they wished. The concept is basically a modern alternative to having disposable cameras on tables, however this was just the start of what the Selfie Wizard has now become.
The Selfie Wizard is essentially a mini computer pre-loaded with software that allows party guests to upload their snaps and arranges them in a constantly growing slideshow that can be output to screens or projectors. The unit features its own built-in DHCP Router for its Wi-Fi network, a HDMI port (for output to screens), four USB ports (to enable easy connection of printers and storage devices), an RJ45 network port and a power port. It requires minimal set up and equipment, offering a virtually ‘plug and play’ system.
The software automatically detects screen resolutions from its HDMI port to allow easy connection to any kind of display, including TV screens, projectors or even LED video walls. It supports up to 200 concurrent connections with mobile devices, which is ideal for most weddings and events that we find ourselves at as mobile DJs. It also offers a wide wireless connection range of up to 50 metres, this can of course be extended using a standard Wi-Fi repeater, however I’ve never experienced a problem simply using the in-built router for the many events I’ve used it on so far.
The unit works with any smartphone, with no apps or special software required. This makes it simple, intuitive and quick to use, which is hugely appealing to both clients and guests. The user simply opens their phone Wi-Fi settings and selects the Selfie Wizard network (SSID) [this can be changed to your own brand if you wish within the Event Manager section of the software]. Once the device is connected, they launch their web browser (i.e. Safari on an iPhone). [It’s important to note here that this cannot be via a third party app such as Google, it must be the device’s dedicated web browser.] The guest then types ‘selfiewizard/’ into the address bar [this can be changed to your brand name e.g. ‘a1disco/’ or the clients’ name e.g. ‘adamandeve/’]. The Selfie Wizard upload screen will then open, which will prompt them to take or upload a photo. Once they choose their photo and hit Upload, it will automatically be transferred to the Selfie Wizard and added to the slideshow on the screen. It’s as easy as that! Following a recent update, the Selfie Wizard also allows guests to send short messages and comments directly from their phones to the screens, which further adds to the fun!
Most Selfie Wizard owners display printed User Instructions on card or in small free-standing photo frames distributed around the tables. This explains to the guests how to use the system and, in my experience, the more tech-savvy individuals usually help those that struggle which gets everyone talking and using the system.
You, as the DJ / event host, can have access to the Selfie Wizard’s Admin page. It is loaded the same way, once connected to the network, by typing ‘admin/’ within your phone’s browser. From this page you can change all the Selfie Wizard settings with ease. For example, you can change its slideshows orientation from landscape to portrait [should you wish to spin your screens], alter slideshow speed and limit the number of pictures. Most importantly, you can also remove any naughty photos that will inevitably get uploaded from time to time! If you, or your client, are particularly worried about what may be uploaded, you can configure the system to require manual approval of every photo via the Admin screen. However, I normally just set the images to be automatically approved and then keep an eye on the screen and remove anything inappropriate as soon as I spot it.
You can also use the Admin screen to add in adverts to the slideshow. This could be used to incorporate your company branding or, if you’re working for a corporate client or hotel, you can include their logo, which is great for adding that all-important extra personalised touch.
It’s also easy to connect up a photo printer, adding further to the entertainment value for the guests and/or providing an extra source of treasured memories for the client. The Selfie Wizard is fully optimised to accept most photo printers, it has been tested with over 2000 models and the only one that isn’t compatible at the moment is the Mitsubishi CP-D90DW (although a revised driver to correct this is currently being developed). The number of prints can be amended from the Admin page and you can add a personalised frame too. Each photo is also automatically stored to a memory stick, that can be given to the client as a keep sake of their event so they can have use of all their guests’ photos. This is definitely a real selling point of this system!
When you buy a Selfie Wizard, here’s what you’ll find included in the kit:
• Selfie Wizard mini-computer
• Power Supply (5v 2.5A)
• HDMI Lead
• RJ45 Data Cable
• USB Memory Stick
• Operating Instructions
• 12 Month Warranty
Once you become a Selfie Wizard owner, you get lifetime support from Toni. The system’s software is also constantly being updated with new features, which are provided to existing owners by way of free updates. You’re also added to the Owner’s Community Group on social media so that you can chat with other users about best practices as well as share hints and tips with one another, and also seek help should you need it.
If you’d like to see the Selfie Wizard in action for yourself before committing to buy, Toni has produced a demo video which can be found at selfiewizard.com along with more information on the product.
To summarise, the Selfie Wizard really is a simple but effective self-contained unit that’s great fun for everyone. It’s a perfect added ‘upsell’ extra that you can add with ease to your current DJ or photo booth packages. I’ve used it at countless events and it has always proven extremely stable and clients – along with their guests – have absolutely loved it! I personally know many owners and they all think it’s great. At its current sales price, it allows for a fast return on your investment. In fact it’s possible to cover the cost from just two events, depending on how you market it and package it with other services, of course.
Happy selfie taking and viewing!
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The full review can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 93, Pages 76-78.