Offering flip books as part of your photo booth experience is something that you can use to differentiate yourself from the competition as not that many people in the business, including myself, offer flip books at the moment. I plan to soon, but have not done it yet.

Just to give you some background, with a flip book, guests record a short animation using video capabilities of photo booth software, and then can play back the animation by quickly flipping through the pages of a printed flip book that you create for them.

As with photo booths, flip books are cross-generational. Very old people may remember kineographs, which eventually became the inspiration for motion pictures. It was basically a very short movie in a flip book.

Flip books themselves were first patented in the United States by Henry Van Hovenbergh in 1882. They became very popular in the early 1900s when the Cracker Jack Company gave them away as their in-pack prizes. It didn’t take long for other snack food and cereal companies to jump on board and by the mid 1990’s many other marketers had followed suit, including companies such as Disney and McDonald’s.

Many science centers that I remember going to over the years have displays that show how movies work using a circular-style flip book. The faster you turn it, the faster the motion. They are featuring the work of Herman Casler, who in 1894 invented the Mutoscope. This is essentially a mechanized form of the flip book which mounts the individual slides on a rotating cylinder then in a book. Even after the coming of motion pictures, the mutoscope remained popular through much of the early and mid 20th century in penny arcades and amusement parks as a coin-operated machine.

Of course, fast forwarding to today, once DSLR cameras has video capability, software manufacturers were able to create flip book software.

If you are thinking of adding flip books to your repertoire, the good news is that, other than buying the software, if you already have a photo booth, chances are you have much of what you need to create flip books without investing a whole lot of more money.

Your dye sub printer must be one that cuts 4X6 sheets in half into 2X6 segments. Printers currently on the market in 2014 that allows this include the Mitsubishi CP-D707DW, Mitsubishi CP-D70DW, DNP DS-RX1 and HiTi P510L. In addition to this, you will need to buy a Trimfast RE3943 ream cutter with quick release paper clamp, or its functional equivalent. These units appear to be selling on the internet in the range of about 600 dollars. I am not sure if there are ones you can get for less money.

Flip book software is available at a reasonable price from Breeze systems and I am sure a number of other places as well. I have played around with a demo version of the software but as of yet have not coughed up the money to actually offer it. I may be buying the Breeze flip book software soon as I just learned the new version now supports Green Screen which is something I like doing. It is not on the top of my priority list, but I am sure you will see me doing it sooner or later.