Collaborative slideshow and Spotify for your party

During one of my recent events (my wedding, actually) I wanted to do some fancy techie stuff.

First to my mind came simple live slideshow - we've had a beamer at the location so I wanted to show the photos people take during the event immediately on the big screen. Well, almost immediately - I'll accept 1-2 minutes of delay.

Second thing was having some kind of live fair collaborative playlist where guests can add tracks directly from their phone.

Collaborative live slideshow

I didn't want to ask the guests to install any kind of app to send the picture to the beamer. But hey - everyone can send an email with a photo from their phone. Nice and simple.

So, two problems - get the photos from the email and synchronize it somehow with my Macbook Air running live slideshow. Oh, and have a software which runs the slideshow and watches certain folder for modification.

Create dedicated Gmail account

... Or use an existing one. You will need to have Google Drive desktop app installed on your desktop which will sync the photos.

Extract photos from email to Google Drive

Simple and free solution: Google Sheets script! It's faster than ITTT or Zappier. And cheaper. It runs every 5 mins but you can modify the script to run more frequent.

Copy the sheet to Google account created in the previous step. Open it and follow the instructions (basically, authorize it and run it). Photos will be uploaded to the folder configured in the sheet.

Live slideshow app

For all environments (Mac, Win, Linux) you can use Photolive (Adobe Air application). Works like a charm. Point it to the Google Drive folder which you configured in the Google sheet.

Party collaborative playlist with Spotify

Instead of having a DJ why not giving possibility for anyone to add or upvote a song in a playlist queue. Luckily, there's an app for that - Festify.us (Mac and Win).

All is neat and simple - download it, login with your Spotify account (I've created a temporary premium account for 30 days for free).

In Festify, you should create a new party and specify a backing playlist (make it rather long) so if nobody is adding songs, music still plays.

Your clients should use the url/QR generated by Festify from their mobile and search/add/upvote songs.

Last tips

Some battle tested notes:

  • Make a test run, preferably at the venue - check wifi speed, if you can reliably stream from Spotify etc
  • Use service like tr.im to make short url for the playlist so you can change it in case something doesn't work
  • Printout small notes got guests with wifi password, email where to send photos and link to the playlist
  • Enjoy!
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