We’re very pleased to share with you NeuralCam, the Night Photo camera app built for your iPhone. As the latest product made by our Halcyon Products team, in collaboration with Halcyon Mobile, we wanted to step up and build a product just as fun as NeuralDraw. Our inspiration for NeuralCam have been all the various Night Modes available on Android phones. The kind of tech that helps people make brighter and nicer photos in low natural or artificial light settings. We wanted to make the best out of the iPhone’s hardware and give it the software spin needed to get its own Night Mode photography update.
NeuralCam works on all iPhones released in the past 5 years, which means over 700 million people might get a camera update without a hardware update. We hope you and all the iPhone users out there will be as happy about this as we are. Get NeuralCam in the App Store for a discounted price set especially for the launch and tag your photos with #NeuralCam to share what you’re shooting with us.
NeuralCam is great for photos in dark or low light settings
We built NeuralCam especially for the settings where your default iPhone camera can’t capture anything of value anymore. Here’s just a list of the ways we’ve tried it out.
1. Capture landscape and cityscape photos
NeuralCam is great for taking photos in those moments when the default iPhone camera app is lacking. It performs well around dawn, dusk, as well as in low artificial light settings, with the occasional light source in and around the shoot. So go take those neat trekking photos or document your night out during city breaks. You can even get to go home with the digital equivalent of a postcard of a sightworthy building everyone knows, without the professional photography know-how or gear.
2. Take brighter selfies at night with your friends
Hanging out with friends and loved ones is always fun, and there’s something special about taking a snapshot to remember the night by. So whether it’s a cosy night out or a party night, pull out your phone when it’s selfie time without worrying that it’s dark, you’ll need the flash, or everyone’s going to look weird. It gets even better: if you want to take a photo in pitch black, the app has some inbuilt selfie lighting. The app lightens parts of the app UI to illuminate your face in a much more pleasant face than a flash would do.
3. Shoot those neat macros you always wanted in low light settings
Whether someone’s spoiling you with a great dinner or you just want to catch a certain plant or animal, NeuralCam performs well in mid- and close-range shooting. We’ve also enjoyed documenting all kinds of textures, from clothes to buildings to woodwork, and we hope you’ll enjoy capturing the details as much as the big pictures.
How do you use NeuralCam
NeuralCam is as straightforward to use as any smartphone camera. You point and shoot, and hold still a couple of seconds until the app stops capturing and tells you it started processing the image. This can take a couple of seconds, after which the app will provide the enhanced image. You can share it instantly with your friends or on social channels or enjoy it later from your image gallery.
That’s all there is to it. You don’t need an account, and all processing happens on your device. Yet the simple process of shooting with NeuralCam is just the tip of the iceberg of how the app works. The heavy lifting is done by the technology supporting the app.
Computational photography and machine learning are what make NeuralCam great
NeuralCam does a really long list of heavy image processing and machine learning steps to build one beautiful night photo. When you’re shooting with NeuralCam, the app captures a dozen different frames with the right exposure.
Then our smart merging algorithm takes the frames and creates one high-quality image out of it. This image is still dark, similar to the individual frames, but it has much more information and less noise in the dark parts of the image. The merging algorithm also compensates for moving parts of the image, so that moving objects stay as sharp and at the same quality as they are in one single frame.
This dark image is then fed to our machine learning-based brightening model which selectively brightens different parts of the image, bringing out beautiful colours not visible otherwise and keeping shadows dark so that the image still has the look of a night photo. Finally, we apply some classic image processing to make the night photo look even better. The result is a beautiful, brighter night photo, unlike anything you’ve seen on an iPhone.
NeuralCam works on your iPhone too (most likely)
We wanted to make NeuralCam accessible for all iPhone users, to the best of our abilities. That’s why NeuralCam is supported on all iPhones starting iPhone 6, running iOS 12. And while NeuralCam works with both front and back-facing cameras, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus’ front-facing camera isn’t supported.
It’s also true that older models, like the iPhone 6 or iPhone 7, due to the smaller processing powers, might take a few seconds longer to process the photos and may show different results in different settings. While most photos will end up brighter and clearer than the default iOS camera photos taken at night, you’ll discover with your own testing where you’re happiest with NeuralCam’s performance.
Ready, set, shoot! (and help us improve NeuralCam for you)
You can download NeuralCam from the App Store, at $4.99. It’s a one-time payment that will give you a lifetime’s worth of access to future improvements we make to the app.
We’d love to get your feedback! You can send your comments, suggestions and images at firstname.lastname@example.org or simply tag any photos you post publicly with #NeuralCam. The more you tell us what works and doesn’t work for you, and what more you’d like to see from NeuralCam, the more you’ll help us build a better technology. Help us focus our efforts to make this a better product for you.