Lifeprint’s Harry Potter printer adds motion magic to photos

Unlike the static photos of the Muggle world, in Harry Potter’s, photos come to life. For anyone who has seen the fantasy films or read the books, moving photos are one of those fun elements of the Wizarding World, the universe first introduced by J.K. Rowling in the book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, 20 years ago (technically, the book was released in the U.K. in 1997, and released in the U.S. in 1998).

But thanks to augmented reality, smartphones, and the Lifeprint instant printer, moving photos are now a thing (sort of) via the Harry Potter Magic Photo and Video Printer and App.

The printer is a partnership between Lifeprint and Warner Brothers. It uses Lifeprint’s instant printer technology (based around Zink), but adds features from Harry Potter that make it more than a standard Lifeprint device. Available in black or white, gold trim and graphics make it look like a magical gadget from the Wizarding World (or a prop from the movie set, however you want to view it). Each printer can be customized to its owner, and this includes adhesive medallions that show which Hogwarts House he or she identifies with (wand and robe not included).

But the neat trick of this printer is the AR function. Lifeprint devices themselves are a bit magical, in that they don’t use any ink (with Zink, the ink is embedded into the paper, and colors of the image are revealed when heat is applied). And while the printed photos (called HyperPhotos) will always be 2D images, they “come to life” when you scan them with the Lifeprint app (iOS and Android), revealing a video related to the photo or a special message from a friend.

The AR function is created within the app: Simply take a photo or choose one from your camera roll, add the AR elements, and then share either by printing it and giving it to a friend, sending a digital copy, or uploading to the Lifeprint community’s “Explore” tab.

Of course, Harry Potter printer owners can unlock additional features that are exclusive to them. Once the printer is paired (it uses Bluetooth, and setup is straightforward and easy), you’ll find Snapchat-like AR facial filters (Mad-Eye Moody, anyone?) and stickers (Snitch, owls, the Dark Mark, etc.). According to Lifeprint co-founder Robert Macauley, there will be additional content in the future. And through the app, fellow Harry Potter fans can mingle and share their moving photos — creating a sort of Harry Potter fan community within Lifeprint.

lifeprint harry potter printer adds fun elements from the wizzarding world 1

Although we’ve been playing with a unit for a week, the Harry Potter-themed elements weren’t available at the time of writing. We have been using it as a standard Lifeprint printer, and found it to be easy to use. We will update this page with more impressions when the updated app is available.

Other than the Harry Potter features, the printer functions like a regular Lifeprint device. It prints onto 2 x 3-inch Zink with a sticky back, and the printer is lightweight and compact, and recharges over USB. Macauley said the print engine in the Harry Potter printer is different from the original Lifeprint printer, and is actually improved.

Zink, admittedly, isn’t a favorite instant photo technology here at Digital Trends, as we usually find the color saturation to be off and unpleasing to look at. The color reproduction has improved in the Harry Potter printer, but we still don’t find it “perfect.” Still, it’s the fun AR function that’s the selling point.

While a professed Harry Potter fanatic (he can’t wait to send one to author Rowling), Macauley told Digital Trends that the idea for the partnership actually stemmed from users who commented on social media, comparing the AR feature to moving photos from Harry Potter. When Macauley and his team read those comments, it was a no-brainer. Non-Harry Potter fans may sideline this as another marketing gimmick, but they would be underestimating the community that loves the books and films.

The printer is available for pre-order at Amazon, for $150 — a $20 premium over the standard Lifeprint 2 x 3 printer. It will go on sale on October 22 at select retailers. Harry Potter fans can add it to their holiday wishlist now.

Product Review

Google cares, so it made sure the Home Hub doesn’t scare

Google’s newest smart home device has a screen, but it avoids the other feature that usually accompanies one — a camera. In an effort to make the Home Hub more friendly and attractive to the privacy-minded, it shutters a shutter and…
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix in October, from 'Mindhunter’ to ‘The Good Place’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.

This battery-free ‘printer’ turns your smartphone pics into film

A mobile printer that doesn't require batteries? The Hola Printer is an oddly cool printer that snaps an instant film photo of your smartphone screen to convert your favorite shots into physical prints.
Product Review

With an out-of-this-world 125x zoom, the Nikon P1000 shoots for the moon

On paper, the Nikon Coolpix P1000’s 125x zoom makes other superzoom cameras pale in comparison. But with such an extreme zoom, can you actually get good photos or even use the camera handheld?

Bullet time on a budget: Insta360’s $400 One X camera is ready for action

Insta360 launched the Insta360 One X, a follow-up to the original One 360-degree camera. This time it shoots at a higher resolution and has a new design that doesn't see the camera attach directly to your phone.

Apple acquisition points to possibility of easy background removal in photos

According to a Danish newspaper, Apple now owns a company that uses machine learning to remove or replace the background on photos and videos. Spektral's website says it is working to bring the A.I. background removal to smartphones.
Product Review

Equal parts fresh and familiar, Canon's EOS R gives pros the best of both

While the EOS R is Canon’s first foray into full-frame mirrorless cameras, the EOS R feels like anything but a first-generation product.

Incredible images reveal the eye of a weevil and other microscopic wonders

You can't see it, but that doesn't mean it's not stunning. The winners of the 2018 Nikon Small World competition are a mix of science and art. The winning entry captures the eye of a weevil and the jewelry-like scales surrounding the eye.

Luminar (re)touches the sky with a simple A.I.-powered slider

Tired of making complex masks to bring out the sky in a photograph? A.I. can do some of that enhancement for you with a new A.I. Sky Enhancer inside Skylum Luminar. The tool uses A.I. to apply the adjustment to only the sky.
Social Media

3D Facebook photos jump out of the newsfeed, no glasses needed

You're not seeing things -- that photo in your Facebook newsfeed is 3D. Launching today, 3D Facebook Photos use the depth maps from dual-lens smartphones to add dimension to an image as you move your phone.

These point-and-shoot cameras make your smartphone pics look like cave paintings

If your smartphone camera just isn't giving you the results you're looking for, maybe it's time to step up your game. The latest and greatest point-and-shoot cameras offer large sensors, tough bodies, and long lenses - something no phone…
Social Media

Instagram is testing a new way for you to look through your feed

Instagram is constantly tweaking its app to help give its users the best experience possible, so how do you like the sound of tapping — instead of swiping — to look through your feed?

When you're ready to shoot seriously, these are the best DSLRs you can buy

For many photographers the DSLR is the go-to camera. With large selection of lenses, great low-light performance, and battery endurance, these DSLRs deliver terrific image quality for stills and videos.

Photography News: Raw edits on iPad and an A.I. research lab for PicsArt

In this week's photography news, Canon launched an iPad app that allows for RAW edits on the go. Popular mobile editing app PicsArt now has a research lab dedicated entirely to A.I.-powered tools.