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Artiphon drops the hardware requirement for its musical camera app, Orbacam

We’ve been following Artiphon closely over the years. Back in late 2020, I took a liking to the music startup’s latest smart instrument, the Orba. It’s not a complex musical instrument, by any stretch, but as a fun little handheld sample/MIDI interface, it’s a great way to creatively kill some time during a global pandemic.

Last October, the company expanded Orba’s bag of tricks with the addition of Orbacam, an app that utilized the hardware interface to do some creative video editing.

“We believe that music is always a multisensory experience, and we designed Orbacam as an auditory, visual and tactile experience that anyone can play immediately,” the company’s founder and CEO Mike Butera said at the time. “We’ve seen the power of synchronizing music with social content, but almost all of that is just pasting someone else’s song on your video. Now people can create musical videos that are entirely their own.”

This morning, the company dropped the 2.0 version of the app, bringing a number of new upgrades — including, notably, the addition of on-screen playing. It’s a small addition, but one that offers an in-app analog to Orba’s hardware device, removing the $99 barrier of entry for trying out the offering. The on-screen layout mimics Orba’s circular eight-key layout.

Says Butera of the new release, “We want music making to be as immediate and accessible as other forms of media have become. We don’t hesitate to take pictures or videos throughout our day, and now Orbacam lets you create music in seconds, wherever you are. All you need is your phone and a few moments to make something expressive and beautiful.”

With the on-screen interface, users can create quick musical scores for social media in real time on an iOS device. Options also include a number of new effects for video, including the 80s VHS-inspired Glitch filter. Artiphon is no doubt hoping the new interface will offer a gateway to its hardware. And if you’ve got $99 burning a hole in your pocket, it’s a fun one.