Reviews, Trends

Put Distorted Reality at Your Fingertips with Hyperspektiv


Apps like Hipstamatic, Instagram, and VSCO have set a new standard in mobile-device photography. I hardly let a photo leave my phone without adjusting the brightness, cropping, and adding a filter. And now, as tech and photo communities await the arrival of mainstream virtual reality, photo-app connoisseurs are exploring a new breed of photo and video filters that’s one step closer.

Meet Hyperspektiv, the incredibly addictive and easy-to-use distorted-reality app from a team consisting of Justin Boreta (The Glitch Mob), Allan Lavell (Glitch Wizard), and Dean Grenier (Art Director for the Glitch Mob). The app comes with 27 pre-programmed filters, all of which can be modified in real time or before you start rolling. Want to create a creepy promo video for your next album? Try the “Spore” or “Dark Passage” filters. Want to elevate your selfie game? My favorite is the “Festi” filter. See the world through rose (or blue or green) colored glasses? The “Gel” filter should be good for that.

Chilling on the roof in Festi. Music: “Ooh Delight” by ClackSFX and “Lounge Loop” by Graalmusic)

“The team felt it was important to be able to hand the app to someone with no experience in graphics who could immediately start having fun using it” says Lavell, the team’s only programmer. Indeed, Hyperspektiv can be used to pimp out your Instagram feed, add quick effects to your mobile videos, or even enhance your live show if you’re a DJ or performer. It’s release was well-timed, too, with interest in the intersection of music, art, and technology continually deepening — as proven by the increasing success of events like Moogfest, Convergence, Art Basel, and III Points.

Sneaking up a ladder in Ghost. Music: “Female Voice with Bass” by GuitarPro

“I started drawing when I was 5, and programming when I was 11, and I’m really interested in the convergence of art and science,” says Lavell. “I think programming is a great way of expressing yourself creatively, which a lot of people don’t realize. A lot of my projects have harped on that theme.”

Hyperspektiv works like some other image-filter apps, but with a few key differences.

The similarities begin and end here:

  • When you open the app, your camera is active and you have a number of filter choices beneath the viewfinder.
  • You can shoot photo or video, save to your camera roll, and use the results elsewhere.

Taking a dance break in Afterparty. Music: “Analog Ambient Pop” by Soniquest

Here’s where it gets different (and fun):

  • The preset filters are more tech/hack/glitch-based than they are about enhancing your skin tone or making it seem like you shot your images in 1970.
  • You can adjust the parameters of the filter either ahead of time or in real time, by sliding your finger around the screen.
  • If you have a force touch screen, you can press down to get a ripple effect.

Enjoying the view in Bender.

Hyperspektiv has some exciting product updates on the horizon, too: Soon you’ll have the option to import existing photos and videos from your camera roll, and (as though this weren’t already perfect for musicians), the team plans to add an audio-reactive feature so that the movement of the image will reflect the sound.

Running up the stairs in Terminator. Music: “Sonic Shots” by LudwigAmadeus

“A lot of decisions have been made creatively to make sure that everything that comes out of Hyperspektiv is really cool, because there are other apps out there that are basically huge suites of effects and it can be overwhelming,” says Boreta. “The fun part about this for us is not making something that’s complex or has a steep learning curve, but doing something that lowers the barrier to entry to making stuff like this.”

Walking on a high beam in Spore and Mirror. Music: “Ambient Spirit” by Edward_Keys and “Tiny Circus Act” by JimChappell

Hyperspektiv is currently only available for iOS ($1.99), but stay tuned for releases on other platforms. For more great examples of what you can do with the app, check out the Hyperspektiv Facebook page and website.