Wondercon 2014 at the Anaheim Convention Center, April 18-20, 2014.
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Wondercon 2014 at the Anaheim Convention Center, April 18-20, 2014.
Soloshot is the leader in personal robotic cameraman devices. At NAB 2014, they announced their SOLOSHOT2 Camera Controller accessory. It is a robotic arm that can control your camera and track you from a distance. In other words, it lets you take some really awesome “selfies” in photo or video format.
The SOLOSHOT2 Camera Controller accessory has an automated pan/tilt/zoom platform. It lets you take 4K action content of yourself, by yourself, from up to 2,000 feet away without the aid of an assistant cameraman. To do this, the SOLOSHOT2 tracks the user who is wearing a lightweight, waterproof and shockproof transmitter.
You can pair the SOLOSHOT2 Camera Controller accessory with cameras like the new SONY AX-100 camcorder and their VG line of interchangeable lens camcorders. It can also be used with some other types of camcorders, DSLR’s and smartphones. It is possible to link together a network of multiple SOLOSHOT2 Camera Controller accessories and transmitters to create an entire robotic production crew.
I purchased the Sony NEX-F3K/B camera through Amazon recently and have been using it for a couple of weeks now. The camera comes with a removable 18–55 F3.5–5.6 OSS Zoom lens kit, a battery along with a charging cable, charger and a camera strap. The Sony NEX-F3 is a mirrorless camera with an exchangeable lens. It is small and without the lens it can easily fit into a purse or even a large pocket.
It is easy to hold with a grip on the right hand side. When you hold the camera by the grip you can easily reach the trigger with your first finger. The viewing screen is about 3 inches across and 2 1/2 inches high. It can be tilted up to 180 degrees, making it perfect for taking self portraits. There are two buttons and one wheel to change the controls on the camera to the right of the viewing screen. The top button is the menu button which allows you to make changes to how the camera will work, you can decided whether to use automatic or manual mode, control the aperture, flash, track objects, use face detection, do initial setup and much more. The bottom button seems to let you go in and out of digital Zoom mode. The wheel lets you move through the choices that are available on the screen. I have to admit that there are a lot of controls and possibilities, many which I will probably never use such as a toy filter. I think that sometimes companies try to please everyone and end up just making things confusing. It has a sensor resolution up to 16.2 megapixels. The camera can also be used to record video with a resolution up to 1920 X 1080. On the top of the camera is the built-in flash, next to that is the play button which allows you to play through the pictures you’ve taken. Next to the play button is the record button. I did find how the record button work a little confusing. When you hit it, there is a slight beep and then the recording starts, when you hit the button again the word Recording pops up and the recording stops. I found that very confusing at first I kept on thinking I was recording when I was not and vice a versa. In front of the record button is the power switch. On the left hand side of the camera is the USB dock. The cover for the USB dock feels a little flimsy to me and I can easily see it getting broken over time. There are clips on both sides to connect a camera strap to. As I said before a strap does come with the camera, but I found that strap fairly flimsy and ended up buying a more substantial one. On the bottom of the camera is a tripod connection point. Next to that is the covered slot for an SD card. Right next to that is the battery compartment. The battery is removable and can be replaced. This is not an internet connected camera, so if that is something you are looking for this camera is not for you. You can find a full review of the camera specs. at Digital Photography Review
Overall I am very happy with this camera. The camera feels good in my hand, the grip makes it easy to hold on to while you take a picture. I have included some pictures I took with it just to show some examples. I do this strictly as a hobby but I hope these pictures show the camera off at its best. The camera is available through Amazon for $499.00, I actually purchased it through the Amazon Warehouse for $378.17. If you are not ready for a DSLR but are looking for a camera that has a removable lens and that is above a point and shoot, than I recommend taking a look at the Sony NEX F3.
RebelMouse is an aggregator that organizes your online presence into one place, to make it easier for other people to find the things you post. It can be used for free by individuals (or companies or websites) who want to have it showcase certain things that you have posted on Facebook, Google +, Instagram, or Twitter.
I use it as an individual. As such, I receive their newsletter. The most recent one was sent today, and it suggests that people use RebelMouse to showcase their summer photos.
To do it, you will need to create a new sub-page in RebelMouse for your photos. Next, connect your Instagram, Flickr, or a photo RSS feed to it (through the Content & Feeds tab). There is also a way to add other photos to your RebelMouse by dragging them in.
I thought this was interesting for a couple of reasons. One, it appears that RebelMouse wants to get people thinking about using it as their primary way to show other people the photos that they took for a specific event. (Instead of Flickr, Instagram, your Facebook page, or your personal blog). I had not considered this possibility before I read their newsletter.
Two, it looks as though you can add things to your RebelMouse page that are not from the website that you sign into RebelMouse with. For example, you can sign in via Facebook, Twitter, or Google +. You can’t sign in through Flickr, but you can have RebelMouse put your Flickr photos onto your RebelMouse page.
Flickr looks a lot different today than how it used to. Yahoo! (which owns Flickr) has given Flickr a makeover that includes a brand new design. What once showed you small thumbnails of photos, with a lot of white, empty, space surrounding them, now features the photos much more prominently.
To me, it seems like Flickr’s new look resembles that of Facebook, or perhaps Pinterest. The photos are bigger, filling up the screen. Users now have a homepage that includes an activity feed that combines your friends’ recent uploads with the activity on the photos that you have uploaded. I wasn’t thrilled with the new design at first, because it takes me a long time to “re-learn” how to use social media when it visually changes. Eventually, I figure the new design will grow on me.
In addition to the very obvious design change, Flickr also announced that users will get a free terabyte of space. Their blog says:
At Flickr, we believe you should share all your images in full resolution, so life’s moments can be relived in their original quality. No limited pixels, no cramped formats, no memories that fall flat. We’re giving your photos room to breathe, and you the space to upload a dizzying number of photos and videos, for free. Just how big is a terabyte? Well, you could take a photo every hour for forty years without filling one.
In December of 2012, Flickr released a Flickr iPhone app. Today, it announces the release of the Flickr app for Android users, which can be found at the Google Play store.
There are numerous apps that you can download and install on your computer to allow you to bring together multiple photos into one single image, known as a collage. But why would you want to junk up your computer with yet another app? These days, web apps can do much of what we need, from file conversion to word processing and image editing.
So you want to create a beautiful collage as a gift for grandma? You can do this, as well, without purchasing expensive software or downloading and installing an app that may or may not work. In fact, you do not even need to pay for the privilege of gaining this capability.
There is more than one source for pulling off this fete, but let’s focus on just one that can do almost whatever you wish, does not force you to open your wallet and has plenty of capability. This web app has the cryptic name of piZap.
piZap does more than just create a collage. The online service is also a more than capable photo editor that is designed with real users in mind. In other words, you do not need a computer science degree here because this is made for every user from advanced to beginner.
Let’s get Started
From the homepage, it is rather hard to miss that large green “Start” button – it is an obvious beginning point. Click it and you will be transported to a Flash-based webpage that presents five options, including “Edit a Photo”, “Timeline Covers”, “Backgrounds”, “WebCam Effects” and our choice – “Make a Collage”.
When “Make a collage” is clicked you will be bombarded with options. These are shapes broken down by number of images included and patterns, collages with backgrounds, ones that are framed, even those specially crafted for holidays.
Let’s be rather boring and choose square images. As you can see in the screenshot below, we have numerous options to choose from. Pick a pattern by clicking on the design that suits your tastes.
Add Photos and Effects
Each image space contains an “Add Photo” option, plus there are a number of effects down the right side of the web page. There are also more options presented across the top of the screen, including such gems as text, frames and stickers.
You can upload images from your local computer, or ones stored elsewhere on your network. In addition, the app provides the ability to grab images from Facebook or through your webcam.
As an illustration of just what piZap is capable of, I elected to use the same image in all four areas of my chosen collage pattern. I then applied a different effect to three of those, while leaving the top left in original form.
The results can be seen in the image below, but this gives only a minor idea of all of the options and effects that are available from this free service.
So now that you have perfected your new collage, what’s next? Well, you could go to the top menu and add one of the many frames available, or perhaps include some text.
However, once you are satisfied with your new masterpiece you can click the green “Save” button that appears at the top right. This will provide options to share the image on Facebook, Twitter or your My piZap account (make it public or private), as well as the more traditional option of simply downloading the collage to your computer.
If you choose to download, and I imagine most customers do, then you can always use traditional desktop apps like Photoshop to make additional refinements. You can then make the image your desktop wallpaper, print the collage yourself or use an online service such as Shutterfly for printing. You could also simply email it to grandma or other interested friends and family members.
Taking a photo with Google Glass just got even easier. The hands free device was designed to enable users to take a photo, of whatever they are looking at, by using a simple voice command. “Ok, Glass take a picture.” To me, that sounds pretty easy. That being said, someone has already found a way to improve upon the ease of use for photography through Google Glass.
Mike Giovanni (who works at Roundarch Isobar) has released something called Winky. It allows uses to take a photo through Google Glass by winking. The voice command would no longer be necessary. Just wink, and Google Glass will take a photo. He posted information about Winky on his Google + page, along with the link where you can grab the code.
I haven’t quite decided whether or not I am comfortable with the idea of Google Glass. In some ways, I can see where Google Glass is basically a hands free improvement over what people already can do with a smartphone. People take photos with their smartphones all the time.
My best guess is that the majority of photos taken with smartphones are of whatever people had for lunch or dinner, or possibly of cats. There is an abundance of cat photos on the internet! In other words, I figure that most people are taking harmless photos. Somehow, though, the idea of connecting the act of winking (which people typically use to flirt with someone) to the act of taking a photo, just feels creepy.
To be clear, I do not believe that Mike Giovanni designed Winky as something that would be used in sneaky and ethically questionable ways. His post mentions a “lifelog”, and I can see where Winky would make doing that a bit easier and how it would streamline the process.
My concern is not with him, or his intent. Instead, I am worried about what other, morally challenged, people would use Winky for. Is the person over there who is wearing Google Glass winking because he had something irritating his eye, or because he was secretly taking my photo?
Image Stock Photo Businessman Winking At You by BigStock
BlackMagic is introducing a lot of great products in 2013 including
The two products that has me looking at my finances are the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera and the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K . The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera is extremely small. It is 128mm across, 66mm high and 38mm thick and weighs only 355 grams. It has an extremely high-resolution 3.5″ LCD screen. At the bottom if the screen the camera status is displayed including record status, shutter angle , time-lapse interval and more. Despite its small size this is a true digital film camera. It produces a true film look with high-end television commercials and feature films quality. It has a super 16 size 1080HD sensor with 13 stops of dynamic ranger. It offers various lens mount options including a Micro Four Thirds™ for low-cost lenses and an adapter for Super 16 Cine lenses. By using the Super 16 lens plus the Super 16 sensor size and the 13 stop dynamic range you can shoot like you are shooting Super 16 film. Switch to larger lenses and you are ready for bigger jobs too. It has a built-in 3.5mm stereo mic and headphone jacks. You also get a 2.5 mm jack connection for LANC remote control. The micro HDMI output lets you connect to electronic viewfinders, monitors, external disk recorders and more. The Blackmagic Pocket camera has a built-in SD card that captures stunning ProRes 422 (HQ) and lossless compressed CinemaDNG files to SDXC cards. The solid grip handle holds a removable Nikon EL-EN20 battery. The battery charges within about 1 hour and 15 minutes. The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera supports true open file formats so you can use what ever editing software you want. The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera will be shipping in July for $995.
The Blackmagic Production Camera 4k is the first ultra HD products this year. It has a Super 35 size sensor with global shutter. It offers great shallow depth of field and the ability to shoot fast motion shots. It has an EF compatible lens mount. It records to solid state disk using CinemaDNG RAW and ProRes 422 (HQ) formats. It has built-in Thunderbolt and 6G-SDIoutput allowing Ultra HD video out. It’s sensor features 12 stops of dynamic range. With the Blackmagic Production Camera 4k you can use 6G-SDI output to allows for monitoring on an Ultra HD displays. The user can down convert to regular HD for viewing on a smaller monitor. The Blackmagic Production Camera is great when used with the new ATEM Production Studio 4K. The Blackmagic Production Camera will be available in July for $3,995.
Blackmagic is showing off these and their other products off at NAB and will be releasing them all this year. Allowing independent film makers to produce great quality products.
Anyone who is interested in working with videos or professional still photography has heard of Red Digital Cinema. When the Red camera was first announced many “experts” said it was vapor ware or a scam.
History has proven that this was far from true. Movies such as Thor: The Dark World and series such as House of Cards were made using the Red Camera. Magazine such as Vogue are using it to shoot their still photos. Well Red Digital Cinema is at it again, introducing Red Dragon at NAB. The new Red Dragon sensor shoots 6K resolution at 100 frames per second. It translate at 9 times the resolution of HD at over 19 megapixel. These upgrades are going be available to Red Epic and Scarlett owners. Coming with the upgrade is REDCINE-X PRO a post-production advance coloring toolset, integrated timeline and post effects collections program. This is one area were being an early adopter definitely has its advantages.