Introducing the iPhone 5S(ame)

Apple may have slowed down in innovation department lately, favoring litigation instead, but one area where the company has excelled is in lending itself to parody. After last year’s countless videos and images of an iPhone that resembled a bean pole, the new 5S is set to be announced and becoming the subject of comedians before even being unveiled.

The latest video purports to be a group of Apple employees discussing the next-generation of the popular mobile device. The actors do an excellent job of playing the parts of the prototypical Apple hipsters. This is a production YouTube’s Matthias, who has previously posted popular and comical pieces in the past.

I will not spoil the fun, you can’t watch the three-minute clip as it truly needs to be seen to be appreciated. You can check out the clip posted below.

Lollapalooza comes to YouTube live this weekend

The Lollapalooza music festival has been around for quite some time, originating with Perry Ferrell and Jane’s Addiction. The concert series persists, and will take place this weekend in Chicago — in fact, starting today at 2:30pm CST, taking place from Grant Park and featuring more than 20 artists.

The entire festival will be broadcast live on YouTube. The Google-owned video site announces “From Friday’s kickoff with Icona Pop (we love it), to Nine Inch Nails’ first U.S. performance since 2009, to Steve Aoki and The Cure closing out the weekend on Sunday, it’s all on YouTube”.

Best of all, those who didn’t, or couldn’t get tickets or travel to the Windy City need not worry. because sitting on the sofa will yield the same live action as the expensive tickets and trip to the city. Now the difficult part is up to you — spending your weekend being lazy! Personally, I plan to utilize my Google TV for the big screen experience.

Wimbledon comes to YouTube

It is the biggest time of the year for tennis fans, as the annual Wimbledon tournament has rolled around once again. This year the showcase of the sport can be watched, not only if pay the money and fly to England, not only on your TV, but also right on you computer — or a set top box with the right app.

Google, through its YouTube subsidiary, has announced that users will be able to “catch the key moments of the tennis, interviews, behind the scenes and press conferences throughout the Wimbledon fortnight. You can also relive all the glory days of Wimbledon’s golden moments, such as one of the greatest matches ever played”.

youtube wimbledon

The action kicks off this Monday, June 24th, and will be free for customers. To pull this of, the video service partnered with Rolex to sponsor the coverage. Catch the action at http://www.youtube.com/user/Wimbledon.

Vine Comes to Android: Get Your Wil Sasso Lemon Skits On…

Vine-on-AndroidVine is the Twitter service that will let you push a six second video to your Twitter and Facebook fans. For a long time you could do that on your iOS devices. This morning, Twitter’s Blog announced Vine will be available for Android devices.

One interesting feature Vine has is the stop-motion option. You only record when your finger is on the record screen. Therefore, a lot of creators have been using the stop-motion capture to move action figures, show the day pass by or what Wil Sasso did – Spit out lemons.

Vine is absolutely free and available by Twitter – who bought the company in October 2012 (only a couple months after launch). On April 9th, 2013 Vine became the #1 most downloaded app on the iOS store.

YouTube Adds Slow Motion Feature

youtube logoDo you want to get a slow motion video of cars passing by but don’t have the special camera to do that? YouTube is helping you out on that one.

Today YouTube released Slow Motion – a new enhancement to slow a video down 50%, 25% or 12.5%. The only caveat – Your video cannot go over 10 minutes in slow motion.

As we start to use our YouTube Live Events accounts, we will need editing tools to clean up the picture and round the edges. YouTube has already added a Stabilizer, Instagram-type effects to add Sepia, vignettes, pixelation, cartoon looks and more. You can white balance, add fill light, reduce saturation and more.

It doesn’t replace video with a 240 or 500 frame per second high-speed camera – like the Slo-Mo guys use. It will smooth out the slower video so it doesn’t look jittery. YouTube needs to blend frames to make this happen. Even a GoPro Hero 3 might be better if you record at 120 fps.

Before – After using Slow Motion Enhancement tool on YouTube

First video – me playing drums, then slowed to 25%. Next video – a shot of Madison WI Capital, then slowed to 25%. All edited using YouTube editor.

Hulu Plus doubles subscriptions

Hulu continues to surprise me — the service never seems quite mainstream, but continues to thrive. This time the TV service is announcing record gains in subscriptions to its Plus service, the paid subscription plan that it introduced back in 2010.

“Overall, Hulu continues to grow very quickly. In Q1 of this year, we set new records for revenue, and for the first time ever, Hulu viewers streamed more than 1 billion content videos in a single quarter” states Hulu’s acting CEO Andy Forssell. In fact, the company has seen continued growth every year that it has existed — in Q1 2013, Hulu Plus surpassed 4 million subscribers—setting new records for subscriber additions.

hulu usage graph

Mobile viewing is also growing, now accounting for 15 percent of Hulu’s consumed videos in 2013-2014. Living room viewing now makes up 29 percent of the viewing audience.

Forssell also points out advertising revenue — “Hulu is also #1 in market share of all premium online video providers, delivering 1 in 3 of all premium video ads in the U.S. Our reasonable ad load drives the highest recall and awareness for brands, which results in higher effectiveness for the video ads”.

Hulu has recently jumped in the game of original content with Quick Draw and East Los High. This brings the service into direct competition with Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Psy to debut new song on YouTube

Psy, the South Korean music star who put Seoul’s Gangnam neighborhood on the map with a video that broke all records, is coming back this weekend. In honor of all of his YouTube success and fans, the star will debut his new song on the video sharing service this coming Saturday.

According to the Google service, “the artist who made K-Pop global is back to debut his second single, ‘Gentleman’. This Saturday at 6:30 p.m. Korean Standard Time (2:30 a.m. PST), PSY will kick off a live streamed performance from the Seoul World Cup Stadium and share his new single with the world”.

YouTube’s Sun Lee, Product Marketing Manager, says that “in the meantime, check out this message from our favorite sunglass-rocking pop star himself and make sure to mark your calendars for this Saturday”.

VUDU had a Break-In – Informs Customers 18 Days Later

VUDU logoThose of you who have been using VUDU to watch movies may have received a rather scary email recently. No, the company didn’t get hacked. Instead, what happened was a physical break-in to their offices. Whoever did it walked away with multiple hard drives that contained important data such as customer names, encrypted passwords, addresses, and phone numbers. In other words, the hard drives had some of the personal information that most people would not want a random stranger to get a hold of.

VUDU says that the passwords that were on the hard drives were encrypted, so there’s that. The company also says that there were no full credit card numbers on the hard drives that were stolen. Even so, VUDU has reset customer’s passwords. They posted a blog about the situation that says:

There was a break-in at the VUDU offices on March 24, 2013, and a number of items were stolen, including hard drives. Our investigation thus far indicates that these hard drives contained customer information, including names, email addresses, postal addresses, phone numbers, account activity, dates of birth, and the last four digits of some credit card numbers. It’s important to note that the drives did NOT contain full credit card numbers, as we do not store that information. If you have never set a password on the VUDU site and have only logged in through another site, your password was not on the hard drives. While stolen drives included VUDU account passwords, those passwords were encrypted. We believe it would be difficult to break the password encryption, but we can’t rule out that possibility given the circumstances of this theft. Therefore, we have reset all customer passwords.

March 24, 2013 was…. let’s see… 18 days ago! That’s a really long time to wait before letting customers know that their personal information may, potentially, be in the hands of whomever broke into the VUDU offices and stole the hard drives! Their blog goes on to say:

We are still in the process of sending email messages.

This means that there could very well be some VUDU customers who have not yet been informed about the break-in. That’s rather shocking! Typically, the sooner a company lets customer’s know that their data may be in the hands of thieves, the better. I feel bad for the people who are going to read a blog about the break-in before VUDU contacts them about it. Why did they wait so long? Again, their blog has an answer:

We notified law enforcement immediately when the break-in was discovered, and have worked closely with them on the investigation. We have also worked to reconstruct the information that was included on the drives to ensure we had an accurate assessment.

Perhaps the company is aware of the potential damage customers may face due to the break-in and the length of time VUDU waited before letting people know about it. They have made arrangements for customers to be automatically eligible to receive identity protection services from AllClear ID. You can find out more about the AllClear service, what it provides, and how to enroll on VUDU’s blog. It doesn’t mention if the service is free or if there will be a charge for using it (only that customers are “eligible”).

Lowel SlimLight Kits Expand Creative Options

Lowel SlimLightKit Rifa Blender 1 KitThe Tiffen Company has some brand new accessories that will open up creative possibilities for image makers who are doing an interview, shooting a video podcast for a client, and more. Two brand new Lowel SlimLight Kits are now shipping. They are portable, flexible, and excellent for small shoots. Each kit comes with a 200W Rifa eX 44, which is a dedicated tungsten-halogen softlight.

The Lowel SlimLight Rifa Blender combines the popular Rifa eX 44 with the Lowel Blender LED. The Lowel Rifa’s smooth, soft, light takes just 60 second to set up. The Lowel Blender’s tungsten & daylight LED’s blend to easily match the mixed light sources in real world environments. They can also be used to create a contrasting color mix. A SlimLight three-light kit draws just 232 watts.

The Lowel SlimLight Rifa Pro Kit includes a Lowel Pro-Light that gives even light with Fresnel-like shadow quality, evenly dispersed flood, and a uniform spot with significant barndoor cut. The light is a compact size, and can be used for low-level key or accent light, fill light (with diffusion) or back-light for interviews and small shooting areas.

Those who are attending the NAB 2013 Exhibition can visit the Tiffen booth (8818) to see the new Lowel SlimLight Kits first hand.

Red Digital Cinema : Red Dragon is Here

Red 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.