Softjourn

Cinewav: A/V sync solution for outdoor film-viewing experience

An immersive, one-of-a-kind movie experience that works in venues of all kinds—and supports the social distancing needed to create safe events during the pandemic
Cinewav
Cinewav

Cinewav, a Singapore-based startup, allows users to watch a movie on a big public screen and listen to the audio on their own mobile phones and earbuds/headphones (perfectly in sync). This replaces speakers and eliminates noise pollution.

The Background

Cinewav, a Singapore-based startup, approached Softjourn with a unique idea—to deliver a new, immersive approach to outdoor group movie-watching events.

Their idea involved separating the video and audio sources of the same film: projected video needed to align perfectly with audio delivered through a patron’s personal earphones or headphones, using a mobile application on their smartphone.

Cinewav believes their idea could create the largest outdoor cinema and gather sizable audiences without creating noise pollution. 

Their idea works incredibly well for live events during the pandemic, where there is a need to provide a safe, healthy environment is paramount for patrons and staff alike. Empowering patrons to listen from any distance supports social distancing.

We believe our business idea is going to be game changing for event film screenings, especially outdoor movies,” said Jason Chan, Cinewav Co-Founder and Director. “We believe it will create a whole new market for film screenings. With Softjourn’s assistance, we are able to ideate, prototype and build a polished product to enter the market."

The Need

Cinewav faced an issue with syncing audio and video for every patron using a smartphone while watching the film. This issue was multi-layered, since it was difficult to say what kind of environment Cinewav’s system would end up in, let alone what kinds of devices or headphones patrons might choose. 

Our client faced a number of challenges,” said Lyubomyr Nykyforuk, Softjourn Ticketing Solutions Architect. “The fact that the environment can vastly change depending on the venue—or lack of venue, if we’re talking about a building—chosen for an event presents a lot of variables. Inside a movie theater is a controlled environment. When you’re out of doors, there’s a lot more to account for.

To ensure stability for any event, our client needed a solution that would automatically correct any synchronization issues to create a fantastic customer experience. The solution needed to work with intermittent connectivity and variable network latency.

It’s a complicated, difficult-to-solve problem,” Chan said. “But Softjourn’s team always exhibited a ‘never-say-never’ attitude and remained optimistic. We loved the energy—even when the result of trying something was, ‘we didn’t get it,’ they would rally and find another way to fix or approach the issue.

“Softjourn included us as part of the team, not just as clients,” he added, speaking of how Softjourn’s developers explained complex topics to ensure understanding on both client and developer fronts. “Which we loved. We wanted to know what was happening on a technical level and work it out as part of the team.”

Softjourn’s ability to explain the technical aspect of the platform helped Cinewav’s founders to explain to potential clients the challenges conquered and the uniqueness of their product.

"The biggest benefit was that we were able to outsource technical expertise and development while assuring that Softjourn would protect Cinewav's IP," Chan said. 

The Solution

Phase 1: Proof of Concept

We started by developing a proof of concept (POC) to validate our recommended solution.

“We needed to build the algorithm, outlining how the solution could work, then validate it with a POC,” Nykyforuk said. “Then we started building other features on top of that.”

Softjourn’s developers and solution architects specialize in taking on complex challenges and creating simple, straightforward solutions that deliver high value.

“We enjoyed the transparency and honesty from Softjourn’s side,” Chan said. “Even though they couldn’t promise that they could achieve the POC’s objectives because of the technical difficulty, it instilled confidence in the relationship.”

“They understood the realistic parts of taking an idea from just an idea to a material thing,” said Christian Lee, Cinewav Co-founder. “I really enjoyed that. They embraced an idea, rather than squashing it down. Even if there were realistic challenges, they outlined them but always kept the ball up.”

After an initial version of the mobile app was devised in a controlled, stable environment, we tackled a number of other challenges: 

  • Variable network connectivity, 
  • What kind of mobile devices patrons might use, 
  • And what kind of earphones or headsets patrons might bring to an event.

The latter was especially challenging with Bluetooth headsets, since each version has a different latency. 

“We added a button so that patrons could manually adjust the timing for a Bluetooth headset,” Nykyforuk said. 

The beta version of Cinewav’s mobile app was also outfitted with a feedback feature. This is displayed as a button, available throughout or appearing at the end of an event. After tapping the button, patrons fill out a form to submit information about their experience. They can also consent to having data about their mobile device’s hardware, OS, and other data recorded for deeper investigation into possible issues. 

“It’s good to get feedback from early adopters to analyze what you have, and what needs to be improved,” Nykyforuk said. “Such data allows entrepreneurs and established businesses alike to be proactive about bug resolution and also in understanding what missing features their audience might want or benefit from.”

Phase 2: Creating the System 

Once it was clear that our POC had proven a nearly perfect synchronization of video and audio, Cinewav engaged us to build the actual system for their business idea.

The next step in our collaboration was to fully flesh out their needs with product definition, describing the complete solution in detail. As a result, the platform we built for them includes a video player desktop application, the patron-facing mobile application for both Android and iOS, a website, and a web portal for event holders and administrators.

Cinewav was so happy with the work we’d completed for them that they’re looking into patenting the solution.

“Because of Softjourn’s help, we’ve had a ton of interest in our business from potential clients and investors,” Chan said. “We’re really satisfied with Softjourn’s work. The tech development was fantastic. Our business wouldn’t be anywhere if Softjourn had not resolved this challenge for us.”

 While waiting for events to return to normal due to the pandemic, Cinewav and Softjourn have worked to build the perfect platform for the events envisioned by Cinewav’s founders. 

“We’ve spent the last year and a half building the platform we thought would be perfect for post-COVID events,” Chan said. “Even still, people think that it would work well for COVID events, because people can be socially distanced while watching an outdoor movie but have high quality audio perfectly in sync with the visuals."

“Beyond the social distancing factor, we’ve had a lot of interest from the US and the UK, because different companies have tried different technologies. They’ve used Wi-Fi, they’ve used radio, they’ve used Bluetooth solutions, and they've not been very happy with any of them.

“So we went ahead and just built what we thought would be best,” Chan added. “And the [Softjourn] team did it with us, and we’re continuing to do that. I think when it’s ready, it will really change events for a lot of people.”

Conclusion

Cinewav has already successfully tested the technology at more than 30 events. They are on the verge of launching their new technology to more companies around the world.

“The best thing about working with Softjourn is the passion of their developers and everyone involved on the team,” Chan said. “Everyone provided clear communication and dedication to our idea.”

Looking for ways to prepare your business for the return of live events? Softjourn can help! Our solutions include our VMT with a built-in social distancing algorithm, an automated refund alternative add-on, and more.

Partnership & Recognition

Top 100
Intix
Microsoft Gold Partner
Xamarin
Monax
Inc 5000

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