Snapchat's new Spectacles line of eyewear is a fascinating bit of technology. Using the built in camera, Spectacles users can now take a hands-free approach to recording memories with relative ease thanks to the sunglasses, which are now available in several areas via Snapbot vending machines for $130.
The sunglasses record circular video that can be viewed without issue inside the Snapchat app. But videos published outside of Snapchat on the likes of Instagram and Twitter end up looking like this—and you also lose the ability to rotate your smartphone to pan around. That's where Tim Johnsen's new iOS app called Spectator comes into play.
Using it couldn't be easier. You merely copy the link to the Spectacles video posted on Instagram or Twitter, then paste the link into the app. Spectator will then play the video as if you were watching from inside Snapchat itself, including giving you the ability to rotate your smartphone. The above animated GIF shows Spectator in action.
"I saw a gap where Spectacles videos were being posted outside of Snapchat but they wouldn't play nicely like they do in Snapchat, and though it would be fun to try to bridge the two," Johnsen told Motherboard. "I've worked with the Instagram and Twitter APIs before, as well as with some motion stuff, so it seemed doable."
Johnsen's app so far hasn't gained a ton of traction, but momentum is shifting upward. "Since the app launched [on November 30] I've gotten around 150 downloads, which isn't very much, but the numbers are trending up a bit. 100 of the 150 downloads occurred [on day three]."
Ultimately, Johnsen wants to aim his new app towards a "geekier" audience - those who aren't into Spectacles' default video format that want to mess around beyond what the device provides.
"I should say it was also for me, because I wanted to see if it was possible, and it was partially for Snapchat to try to convince them to send some Specs my way."