A&E Television Networks wanted an iPhone app to cross-promote the launch of the new season of their series Paranormal State in January 2009. The show is about real-life paranormal investigators (ghost hunters), and the app is a fake EMF Device (the electromagnetic field detector used to find ghosts).
The needle on the EMF Device moves in relationship to the iPhone’s accelerometer, and sound is synchronized to make it seem more realistic. Users can use the “Auto” mode (which relies upon the accelerometer), or they can flip the switch to enter “Manual” mode (allowing users to run their finger along the bottom of the device to manually control the needle and fake-out their friends).
The app also has a “postcard” feature, where users can send a digital postcard to friends telling them about the app.
If you’re a bit confused about how the app works, have a look at the video I created:
How it was done:
Photoshop & Illustrator–I was challenged to create an EMF device that looked like a real hand-held object, and ended up getting really creative with Photoshop and a ton of photos I took. The device’s screen is made up of several photos of CD jewel cases, plus a few Photoshop “glow” effects to mimic the feel of a light bulb embedded inside. The silver body is actually the casing of a digital piano I have, and the switch comes from an antique bakelite metronome that belonged to my great grandmother. What, did you think I took a photo of a real EMF device or something?
collaboration–I came up with an approach I thought would work for creating the needle and layering components, and the engineers agreed that yes, it would work. (Kudos to them for making the app actually work… it is a bit creepy in the dark.)
design–I created all graphical elements and components that make up the app, including taking digital photos for components to create the EMF device
UI design–I worked with the Product Manager and Engineering team to create the UI
digital video–I created a demo video (filmed, edited, storyboarded and directed)