My buddy Jeremy asked me to post some instructions on how to make a photobooth like our “Selfie Sickness” smartphone. When you hit the button, it takes a series of photos and prints them out like a photo booth at a mall and saves them in a folder. If you have wifi, it will also upload the photos to social media and can email them. These are great for youth group, church events, and especially weddings! We’ve had our photobooth for several years and used it for a lot of occasions, such as holidays, volunteer appreciation, and also to get photos of church members/students for our database. Here’s what you need:
Basic: a spare computer (hopefully free if you have one laying around), really good webcam ($100) or spare Canon DSLR, a photo quality printer ($150), SparkBooth Photobooth Software ($55-200)
Wanna get crazy?: A MakeyMakey (I’ll explain later, $50), a large TV or Monitor (hopefully you have one laying around), stage lighting tree ($75), a cart to hide it all($50), and enough foam/paint/hardware to make whatever it looks like in your mind.
Instructions: The SparkBooth software turns your computer into a kiosk that people can only use as a photobooth. So, obviously, the first step is to setup the computer, install the SparkBooth app, install the webcam and printer, and make it all look attractive and hopefully portable. We used a rolling cart for ours, strapped everything down and then tried to dress it up with clear plastic panels. Here’s what it looks like:
We then cut pink Menards foam to make the smartphone bezel and painted it white. I cut out the hole at the top to put the webcam into. The upgraded software now allows for a DSLR control, which would be primo for a wedding. But for teens, the HD webcam is just fine. This one is the $100 Logitech from Best Buy. I installed the TV as the monitor and set the video card to portrait or vertical orientation.
The SparkBooth will take a series of photos when you hit the spacebar by default. That’s where the MakeyMakey comes in. The MakeyMakey is DIY device that mimics keyboard strokes by allowing you to complete a circuit with what ever device you create. The button on the cart is simply a plunger I engineered to touch two pieces of metal when the button is hit. The MakeyMakey sends a signal to the computer that mimics the spacebar (and a bunch of other) key stroke. You can make a ton of really cool games like these out of a MakeyMakey.
I really intended to turn the button on the smartphone into the photobooth button, but I didn’t think foam would withstand jr highers punching it all weekend.