A Beautiful End To My Day

As I was going to bed last night, I checked my Moto X for one last time before heading upstairs. To my surprise, a small blue ballerina twirled across the icon dock at the bottom of the screen before rolling into a round blue ball in the corner. How could I resist? I tapped on the ball….

…and was gifted a love story brought to life through a beautiful line drawn animation called “Duet”. Delivered from Motorola’s pre-installed Spotlight app it’s the third one to be shown on the platform, using elements of augmented reality to enhance the story-telling. The short is only a few minutes long but the timing was perfect and brought the day to a peaceful and thoughtful end. Thank you.

Motorola Duet
Motorola Duet
Motorola Duet
Motorola Duet

Does “Seeds” Change Your View of Google Glass?

Google Glass logoWhat is your first thought when someone mentions Google Glass? It might bring up the antics of a few well known people who have behaved badly (or strangely) while using Google Glass. Or, you may be among those who have concerns about glass wearers recording you or taking your photo. In short, there are many who don’t necessarily view Google Glass through “rose colored glasses”, so to speak.

Google itself is aware of the negative perception that some people have of Google Glass. It put together a guide or Glass Explorers earlier this year. One of the suggestions included began with “Don’t be creepy or rude”.

Would a heartwarming film, that was shot entirely on Glass, change your view of Google’s innovative, wearable, product? “Seeds” (video below) was created by alumni and students from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts as part of the Glass Creative Collective. This short film was shot entirely on Google Glass.

You see the film through the eyes of the main character, a man who is traveling far from home to visit with his mother. The filmmakers note that “Seeds” is their way of saying “Thank you, Mom”. It was released on YouTube shortly before Mother’s Day of this year.

I won’t give away the ending of the film in this blog. What I can say is that film is one that is designed to pull at the viewer’s heartstrings. It evokes strong, positive, emotions from the viewer. Could this “feel-good” film make people reconsider their view of Google Glass? I suspect that it might (even though the film was not intended to do so). It is a vivid example of someone who is out in public and using Google Glass in a way that doesn’t seem the least bit harassing to the people around him.

Blackmagic Rolls Out a New Range of Ultra HD Products

Blackmagic Design logoBlackmagic Design brought a whole new range of Ultra HD products to NAB 2014. It includes converters, routers, DeckLink cards and much more. Here is a quick look at some of the new products from Blackmagic.

Blackmagic URSA Camera is the world’s first user upgradable 4K digital film camera. Its DOP station has a 10 inch fold out on set monitor and separate 5 inch screen for settings, camera status, and scopes. It includes an upgradable Super 35 4K image sensor with global shutter, 12G-SDI connections, XLR audio inputs with phantom power and dual Cfast based RAW and ProRes recorders.

DaVinci Resolve has had over 70 new editing features upgraded and added. This includes the dual monitor support, dynamic JKL trimming, audio crossfades, and a fully customizable keyboard for faster editing. The color correction features have been upgraded. Apple Final Cut Pro X is part of the enhanced editing features.

Blackmagic Studio Camera features a very large and bright 10 inch viewfinder, built in 4 hour battery, talkback, tally indicators, balanced XLR phantom powered microphone connections and built in optical fiber and SDI connections. There are two models of this camera to choose from: the Blackmagic Studio Camera (which is an HD model) and the Blackmagic Studio Camera 4K.

Blackmagic Cintel Film Scanner supports real time scanning of both 35mm and 16mm negative and positive film and it diffuses the patented Cintel diffuse light source to reduce dust pickup. It features Thunderbolt 2, which allows you to plug it in and run the control software on a Mac.

The Blackmagic Mini Converters are upgrades that replace the old models. The new models are Mini Converter SDI to HDMI 4K, Mini Converter HDMI to SDI 4K, Mini Converter SDI to Analog 4K, and Mini Converter SDI Distribution 4K.

Amazon Fire TV

Amazon Fire TVAfter weeks of speculation, Amazon has finally shown its hand in the set-top box game with the Fire TV. It’s a $99 box with a Bluetooth remote control that connects to your HD TV and shows Amazon content plus media from partners, including Netflix, Hulu, ESPN and Pandora.

Amazon Fire TV

Initially, this doesn’t sound terribly different from the Roku and Apple TV units, but when you get into the feature set, it’s pretty impressive. There’s voice search which helps you find the shows without the laborious letter selection that bedevils remote controls. ASAP is a predictive feature that pre-loads content so that shows start instantly without the buffering delay. WhisperSync synchronises watching and listening across multiple devices so you never lose a second, and X-Ray takes the movie experience further, showing film and character information on your second screen Kindle Fire HDX.

As you’d expect, the Fire TV is seamlessly integrated with Prime Instant Video, Amazon’s subscription streaming service, giving access to tens of thousands of movies and TV episodes. With Dolby Digital Plus, films and music will sound amazing and any media stored in Amazon’s Cloud Drive from photos to personal videos can be played through the Fire TV.

Tiny box, huge specs, tons of content, incredible price—people are going to love Fire TV,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com Founder and CEO. “Voice search that actually works means no more typing on an alphabet grid. Our exclusive new ASAP feature predicts the shows you’ll want to watch and gets them ready to stream instantly. And our open approach gives you not just Amazon Instant Video and Prime Instant Video, but also Netflix, Hulu Plus, and more. On Fire TV you can watch Alpha House and House of Cards.

Amazon are definitely taking the fight to the competition as the Fire TV is a mini powerhouse, with a quad-core processor and 2 GB RAM, which lets the unit double as a gaming unit with over 100 games available at launch. Already available are Minecraft, Monsters University, The Game of Life, The Walking Dead, NBA2K14, Asphalt 8, Riptide GP2, Despicable Me: Minion Rush and Amazon has signed up EA, Disney, Gameloft, Ubisoft, Telltale, Mojang, 2K, and Sega to bring their games to Fire TV.  To complement the gaming, there’s an additional game controller that will set you back a penny shy of $40. The controller connects via Bluetooth too and will run for up to 55 hours on AA batteries.

Simplistically, it’s a desktop version of the Kindle Fire tablets and sure enough, Fire TV runs the latest version of Fire OS “Mojito,” which is based on Android. This means that apps should be easily ported over to the Fire TV (and Kindle Fires).

The Kindle Fire TV is available now in the US. No news on international availability yet.

First Trailer for Jobs – The Story of Steve Jobs and Apple

The first trailer for the anticipated Steve Jobs movie came out today. What they call the “Original Visionary”, the trailer shows Apple from inception to death.

Simply titled “Jobs”, this is a quick two minute look at Apple’s history. Although some people have mentioned it is not entirely correct on the facts. Even Steve Wozniak said in an interview it was “awful and atrocious”. He noted that was not the way he worked with Steve at the beginning.

A better potrayal of Steve Jobs is in the TNT movie “Pirates of Silicon Valley”, which was released 14 years ago yesterday.

Jobs is getting a 43% on Rotten Tomatoes. Jobs stars Ashton Kutcher and Josh Gad, with Matthew Modine as John Sculley. Jobs hits theaters August 16th.

Veho MUVI X-Lapse

The new generation of smartphones and digital SLRs make it very easy to take panoramic photos and time-lapse films that would be inconceivable at the price point a few years ago. But if you want to take the pictures to the next level without investing a fortune in accessories, you need to check out the Veho MUVI X-Lapse. It’s a camera mount that automatically rotates 360 degrees to take really good panoramic shots but it’s priced just under £30.

Muvi X-Lapse with Smartphone

The MUVI X-Lapse takes up to an hour to gradually rotate a full circle or it can be set to only rotate through part of the arc. Mounts for both smartphones and standard cameras (1/4-20) are included, and the X-Lapse itself can also be mounted on a tripod. Fold-out feet ensure a steady platform for heavier SLRs and video cameras

Veho Muvi X-LapseVeho Muvi X-Lapse

The X-Lapse doesn’t come with any app but there are plenty to choose from in the applicable app stores. If there’s a photographer in your life, I’m sure that they’d love one of these for Christmas. On sale from Veho for £29.95.

Made On Earth and Blade Runner

Spanish cinematography Enrique Pacheco has put together a beautiful montage of natural and man-made monuments, Made on Earth. Filmed over two years in far-flung locations including Iceland, Estonia, USA and Spain, it’s breath-taking and is currently one of Vimeo’s Staff Picks.

What set me back was just one part of the film, which powerfully struck me as reminiscent of a scene from Blade Runner. Here are two sample frames, with Blade Runner first and Made on Earth second.

Blade Runner

Made On Earth

Perhaps  it wasn’t Enrique Pacheco’s intention to echo Blade Runner, but it’s there nevertheless and the advancement towards Ridley Scott’s dystopia is striking. In Made on Earth, there’s a second scene immediately after the one above which further references the chimney stacks and flares of Blade Runner. Watch the full video to see how it links in at around 2:09.

Blade Runner image from BladeZone‘s image archive.

 

Enhance the Movie Experience

Movie & Meal DealEver since the motion picture first burst onto the silver screen, people have wanted to enhance the cinematic experience. From 3D and IMAX to Smell-O-vision, just about every trick in the book has been used to make you feel part of the film, rather than an outside observer. To this fine canon of techniques, UK retailer Tesco and on-line movie service blinkbox are adding….food.

For their “Movie & Meal Deal“, Tesco and blinkbox commissioned top neuroscientist, Dr. Jack Lewis, to study the effects of active ingredients on people’s brains and then suggest food types that complement the movie-watching experience. His findings gave Tesco and blinkbox the perfect, if somewhat unusual, combinations for the ultimate movie night in.

Dr. Lewis reckons these foods match the movie genres.

  • Action – Sun-dried tomatoes coated in cocoa powder will raise noradrenaline which is instrumental to sensations of excitement
  • Comedy –  Fresh fish stuffed with beetroot and coleslaw to supplement the nitric oxide system and improve dopamine availability in the pleasure pathways of your brain
  • Drama – Chopped lemon, lime and mint sandwich drizzled with chilli sauce on wholewheat bread to trigger the RAS (reticular activating system) to remain alert and focused.
  • Horror – Chicken marinated in freshly brewed coffee will take you out of your comfort zone and raise levels of anxiety
  • Romance – Curl up with a spicy curry (not chocolate!) to top up your libido-stoking testosterone levels

Everyone knows that certain drugs can change the way you feel, but the chemicals we take into our bodies through our diet can also have an effect on our mood,” says Dr. Jack Lewis “Choosing to eat certain foods, whilst leaving others out, regulates the availability of ‘raw materials’ that the brain’s chemical messengers are created from. This means that you can tailor your meals to create the perfect mood for a movie night in, no matter what the genre.

The “Move & Meal Deal” is a partnership between Tesco and blinkbox: buy a variety of food and drinks from Tesco and then rent a blinkbox new release movie for just £2 instead of the usual price of £3.49.

Me, I think I’ll stick to popcorn.

Superhero RGB Colours

The summer superhero season is in full swing with Spiderman already in theatres and Batman returning shortly. Each superhero has their own outfit, both instantly recognisable yet disguising at the same time.

Art Director Gidi Vigo has matched the key colours from nine superheroes to their respective RGB colours, so the next time you need some superhero duds, you know what to ask for.

Daredevil Hellboy 

Green Lantern The Hulk Green Hornet

Doctor Manhattan Superman Captain America

All images courtesy of Gidi Vigo.

 

Barber Tech SteddiePod

BarberTech SteddiePodThis is the funniest CES interview I’ve seen (which isn’t saying much, to be honest). Jeffrey and Jamie get a hands-on demonstration of BarberTech‘s SteddiePod by Eddie Barber, which actually looks pretty handy, all joking aside.

The Barber Tech SteddiePod is billed as the “world’s most versatile camera support” and it’s a handheld camera stabiliser with extra features designed in, so it can be used as a tripod or with the boom extended to give overhead shots. The setup looks amazingly straightforward – there’s a good video on the Barber Tech website – and with just a few minutes easy work, the SteddiePod can be accurately balanced for a video camera.

The SteddiePod starts at $499 and is available from dealers nationwide. Barber Tech is “Emmy Award Winning” and has other products such as camera booms and teleprompters for the TV and film industry.

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of Geekazine and Jamie Davies of the MedicCast and the Nursing Show.

Support our Show Sponsor:
30% off your new order @ GoDaddy: gnc30
1.49 .com New or Renewal geek149
$1.00 / mo WordPress Hosting with a free domain! Promo Code: press4
$1.00 / mo Economy Hosting with a free domain! Promo Code: geeks12
GoDaddy Promo Codes always save you money, check out my Promo Codes Today