Update on the Kelby Training Online App Release
First, thanks to everyone who downloaded the long-awaited (and incredibly way overdue) Kelby Training App for the iPad and iPhone (nearly 10,000 of you already since it’s release on the iTunes Store on Friday). If you haven’t downloaded it yet (and you’re a Kelby Training Online subscriber), here’s the link.
It was so exciting to get this puppy out the door, and even more so to see such great comments from people who downloaded it and were totally loving it! (I watched two classes on it myself this weekend, from Frank Doorhof and Jack Reznicki). Of course, with something new like this, there were lots of questions, so I thought I’d tackle a few here today.
Q. Have you fixed that bug where the screen goes black if you change apps and then relaunch?
A. Yup. In fact, we’ve already submitted a fix to the iTunes store, and as soon as they approve the updated version, it’ll be available for download. Thanks to everyone who let us know about the problem, which primarily happened if you were watching videos at full screen size, then you left the app to do something else, then came back to the app and the screen was just black.
In the meantime (until Apple approves the update), you can do either of these two things:
(1) try to avoid switching apps while in full screen mode (I know, lame, but hey…it’s only a bandaid until the fix is approved), or
(2) you can force quit the app by holding down the Power Button and when the Red slider appears, just hold the “Home” button down for a few seconds until the app force quits and you return to the Home Screen. Now you can relaunch the app and it works. Unfortunately it doesn’t remember where you left off, so you have to manually go back to the video you were at last. I know, that stinks, but at least a fix is already on the way (thanks to the amazing Shawn for getting on this so quickly).
Q. Are you planning to offer offline viewing?
A. It wasn’t in the initial plan, but it’s certainly something we’ll be talking about in the coming weeks. I can totally see the benefits of this for people who are on the move, and I’m going to do some research and find out what’s involved, and what it would take (I always think these things are going to be easy, and then I find out shortly thereafter when it comes to engineering, I have a fantasy world timeline) but at this point, I’ll give it a qualified “maybe.”
Q. How come it won’t work on a Verizon iPhone? (in other words, why does it requires IOS 4.3?)
A. Here’s what Shawn told me about this:
“We had to make a decision between allowing AirPlay to an Apple TV or supporting Verizon iPhones. Up until about 3 weeks ago, the App was planned as “iPad only” (so the Verizon thing wasn’t an issue). We decided to go with requiring iOS 4.3 so that AirPlay would work. [Note; we're getting lots of love for including the Airplay feature]. However, Apple’s big developer conference [WWDC] is June 5th, and I suspect you will see new iOS versions announced there.”
So, in short; we were just making an iPad App, but at the last minute we were able to expand it so most iPhone users can use it, too. Hopefully, shortly, this won’t be an issue as Apple releases the next ISO update.
Q. Will there be an Android version?
A. We had to release a specialized App for iPad users because iPad’s don’t support Adobe Flash (the format our videos at Kelby Training are currently served up in). However, the Android platform does support Flash so Android users can already watch these videos right on their Browsers. So, at this point, we’re not planning to create an App for Android that just duplicates what their web browser already does.
Q. OK, now that we have the App, where’s “Another Day With Jay Maisel?”
A. I’ll have an announcement about that possibly by tomorrow (I hope), but the announcement isn’t that his class is going live tomorrow. It’s cooler than that!
Q. Did I see you in New York City on Friday?
A. Yup. I was there, on location, filming “A Day with Joe McNally.”
A. Really! It was amazing. We started at Joe’s house/studio, and did a behind the scenes tour of his studio, and the cameras were rolling as he chose the equipment for the next day’s assignment (lots of great tips here), he and his assistants loaded up the trucks, and then we drove into the city, to an incredibly cool location for two shoots, using usually just one or two Speedlights, and I gotta tell you—it was amazing.
We even interviewed Joe’s studio manager Lynn, who shared how she finds locations, sets-up shoots, and manages Joe’s crew for success on location. There’s LOTS of behind the scenes stuff, including candid interviews as we’re driving to New York, and honestly it’s the best, most revealing, and most insightful project we’ve done with Joe to date. You will learn an amazing amount about off-camera flash, but also, you’ll learn a lot about the man behind the lens. Seriously, an amazing experience, and I can’t wait to share it with you.
Q. So….when will we get to see it?
A. These classes, which are also very much like a documentary in their production values and complexity (a traveling three camera location shoot), take a long time to put together in editing and post production, and a lot of thought and planning goes into them (ask anyone who saw the original “A day with Jay Maisel”), so I imagine it’ll be two months before it’s done (heck, the camera gear isn’t even back from New York yet). I wish it was sooner, because I learned a lot from Joe that day (seeing what Joe can get out of just one SB-900 off camera flash was nothing short of inspirational), and I want to watch the whole thing myself, but I won’t get to watch it a day earlier than you do (well, maybe a day, but not more). I’ll let you know as soon as it’s ready, but just remember, after waiting a year for the iPad app to ship, 60 or so days for Joe’s class seems like nuthin’
Q. Scott, why did it take so long for the App to be released?
A. It was our own fault. Totally (and mostly mine for jumping the gun on mentioning it in the first place). It was our first time doing something like this—-we’re fairly new to the App game (my other Apps, like Photo Recipes, were produced by Peachpit Press—not by us), so it was a HUGE learning curve setting up a streaming video app that is along the lines and scope of a Hulu-type App.
The biggest roadblock was that we had to have thousands of individual lessons converted into six different formats (there was no way around this), but after we had converted more than half of them, only then we did learn that we had done them all wrong. Uggh! Back to square one.
It was really one thing after another (none of it Shawn’s fault—he was a champ!), but it was one of those things where we thought we were so close, but then we’d find a major problem, and we’d have to go back to the drawing board. It was way, way, harder and took WAY longer than we ever imagined, but at the end of the day, it came down to us, and our inexperience with something of this complexity (it had to tie into our Web back end, our databases, we had to be able to upload new classes and have them go live, and so on).
The good news is: although we took a lot of bumps and bruises along the way, we’ve learned a lot, and it will help us big time moving forward. In fact, we have some really cool announcements coming soon, but I’m not breathing a word of it, or even hinting when, what, or where about it until I know they are 100% ready and complete.
Q. So this was your fault?
A. Well…yes. I promised something we weren’t ready to deliver, and it made a lot of people really upset who wanted to watch Kelby Training online on their iPads, and I’m truly sorry. It wasn’t intentional—each time I mentioned it was close to being ready, I really thought it was, but nevertheless, I shouldn’t have jumped the gun and said anything until I was certain, and that’s 100% my fault.
I want to offer my humble apologies to everyone who waited so patiently for us to get our “stuff” together (and stuff is not the word I wanted to use), and I want to apologize to Shawn Welch, our App developer, who took lots of slings and arrows too, even though it was totally out of his hands. He did an awesome job, and he’s committed to taking this app to the next level (and I know he will). So, I’m sorry to everyone we let down in getting this App out so late, and my thanks to everyone who wrote on Friday, or emailed me personally, to say “it was worth the wait.”
Q. So what’s the next big thing and when is it coming out?
A. Why, I have no idea. ;-)