News

I am a contrarian, or so it seems.

I am a contrarian…. That’s what a good friend just told me.  Why? Well, according to him because:

• I use an Android phone and Tablet. LG and Samsung are good, Lenovo is garbage. I actually got a Nexus 4, a Chromecast and a Nexus 5X the day they were announced. That apparently also makes me an “early adopter.”

Google Nexus 5X

• I purchased a 60D the week AFTER the 5D Mark III was made available and shot for several years with a 7D. I also used (and publicly highlighted) the  Panasonic Lumix GH3 WAY before the GH4 was hot (which I also added to my arsenal). I don’t have a Blackmagic camera, mostly because I love shooting with the Canon C100.

• I have been using Adobe Premiere Pro well before Apple released Final Cut X, and before David Fincher made the Creative Cloud cool.

• I dropped my monthly “all you can talk” cell plan for a “prepaid plan.” It has been saving me at least $1,200 per year. I haven’t used Skype for years, Google Hangouts is the way to go.

• I choose not to own a lot of gear. I believe renting equipment is the best way to provide clients with the best tools for each job, and it also helps to keep my overhead low.

And the cherry on top? We are seriously considering getting an HP workstation for video editing (yes, a PC computer) instead of new iMac or even a Mac Pro.

Well, perhaps my buddy is right….I am a contrarian!

Lego Lucius Malfoy with Cape Wand

But here’s the thing, as a technology consultant I spend a lot of time thinking about what will come next in terms of trends and features. I bet on Adobe Premiere Pro about a year before the flood gates opened. I also have the privilege to see many products, hardware and software, as prototypes or in their beta phases, so even though I generally can’t talk about them, I can wait until they are commercially available or I can get something cheaper temporarily.

LEGO Minifigure Collection Series 4 : Sailor

But perhaps the main reason to be a “contrarian” is that I don’t really care about the name of the brand. What I do care about is performance, reliability, and support. The faster I work, the more time I have to build my business, and the more discretionary time I get to enjoy life offline, and out of the office.

I’m obviously not the only one, check this Fast Company article “5 Contrarian Lessons From Successful Entrepreneurs” and David Ogilvy’s (one of my heroes) “Contrarian Management Advice.”

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Google Chromecast Review.

 
chromecast

Google just announced a $35 HDMI dongle that pushes movies, TV shows, and music from Netflix, YouTube, Google Play, and Chrome to your TV from smartphones, tablets and the Chrome browser. According to Google, Chromecast can switch control from one device to another without skipping a beat.

Chromecast 3

Unlike the more expensive Apple Airplay, which sends video to a TV set via streaming right from an iPhone or iPad, Chromecast makes its own connection to the Internet from home wifi networks making it more reliable. UPDATES (more…)

Photography

Video

Shooting with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3. Field report and impressions.

The friendly waiter at the Turkish restaurant in Sohar, Oman, saw the camera on the table and asked “Nikon? Canon? Which one is better?” To which I replied, “actually, this is the Panasonic GH3.” He stared at me, his expression turned from excited to perplexed to confused to annoyed within seconds. After an uncomfortable silence he finally asked, “Are you ready to order?”

EduardoAngel_Panasonic_Lumix_DMC_GH3_SampleImages _001

That was pretty much my reaction when, a few weeks ago, just two days before I started teaching a “Digital Cinema for Photographers” event in Dubai, I found out that Panasonic, a major sponsor of the event, REALLY wanted me and my students to use a couple of GH3s and several lenses in my hands-on workshop.

Panasonic is one of the largest consumer electronics companies, and the GH3 is the third generation of their very successful Micro Fourth Thirds DSLM (Digital Single Lens Mirrorless) system. For a while I have been aware of the low-budget-filmmaking community’s devotion to the hacked DMC-GH2 and its ALL-I codec. I saw the DMC-GH3 at Photokina last year, but I had never before shot a single frame with a Panasonic camera. The bodies that I was given were running Firmware v0.5. Add to this a nine-hour time zone difference and jet lag, and you can begin to imagine my pain.

While I’ll be using some geeky terms, this is not an in-depth technical review, nor a scientific analysis of the GH3. You can dig into tech specs and MTF charts somewhere else. My goal is simply to share my honest and independent impressions, go over the things I liked and didn’t like, and communicate my wish list for future features. I want to emphasize that all the conclusions in this article are subjective and strictly based on my own personal experience.

“I have to warn you, I’ve heard relationships based on intense experiences never work.”
-Keanu Reeves in “Speed”

I have to respectfully disagree with Keanu on this one. Much to my surprise, the camera was much more intuitive than Sony’s NEX system, and several video features got my full attention right away.

FEATURES
• Full HD 1920×1080 60p/50p (NTSC/PAL) with 30p/25p/24p options.
• Ultra-high bit rate video recorded at 72 Mbps (ALL-I) or 50 Mbps (IPB).
• Capable of recording continuously for an unlimited time for NTSC and 29 min 59 sec for PAL.
• Native support for MOV (h.264), MP4, and AVCHD formats.
• Time Code support in the MOV and AVCHD formats.
• Extremely fast and accurate contrast-detection Autofocus.
• A 3.5mm mic input AND a headphone jack AND the option to manually adjust the sound recording levels via touchscreen controls.
• Full-time AF, AF Tracking, and Face Recognition AF are available for VIDEO. The Touch AF mimics rack focusing.

THE WORKSHOP STORY
Not having enough time to field test the Panasonic systems before the Workshop, I shot dummy clips in my hotel room and made sure that the footage would work in Adobe Premiere Pro CS6. The test went surprisingly smoothly. I then set both GH3 cameras to the same video settings: MOV at 1920×1080, 24p, 72 Mbps ALL-I, Standard Photo Style, White Balance at 5500K, got ND filters for all the lenses, extra batteries, and a few Class 10 SD cards. And then I prayed.

GH3_1-1

SD 16GB class10

You must use a Class 10 SDHC card when recording Ultra-high bit rate video at 72 Mbps (ALL-I).

Note: It’s extremely important to point out that full HD on this camera requires memory cards with the fastest speed available. My “older” memory cards didn’t work, giving me only four seconds of recording time.

VIDEO
We spent the first day of my three-day Digital Cinema Workshop  covering all the technical similarities and differences between stills and video. On the second day, we planned a location shoot with a Capoeira team and spent a couple hours shooting in the afternoon. On the third and last day we covered the different hardware and software requirements for post production and spent three hours editing the footage. I am especially proud of the short clip my students put together in such a limited amount of time and with newly acquired knowledge (and using brand new gear!).

Capoeira in Dubai. Student Project. from Eduardo Angel on Vimeo.

We could obviously use a few more days sweetening the audio, fine tuning transitions, and grading, but for a two-hour shoot and a three-hour edit, I believe this is a good example of what can be accomplished with great teamwork, interesting subjects, and the GH3’s many customizable options.

SAMPLE CLIPS
Below you will see a few additional sample clips, all shot as H.264, 1920 x 1080, 23.976 72Mbps ALL-I, using the GH3’s “Standard” profile (Contrats = 0, Sharpness = 0,  Saturation = 0, Noise Reduction = 0). The Exposure and White Balance were set manually. The lens was the Lumix GX Vario 12-35mm F2.8 set on AF Tracking mode, which worked very well most of the time. Despite the lens having “environmental sealing,” as you can see the fine desert’s sand inevitably found its way to the sensor. I put the clips together on Adobe Premiere Pro CS6, and have NOT done any grading nor sharpening. These short clips are intended to show you what the GH3 is capable of, not to tell a specific story.

SOMETHING INTERESTING
So, mission accomplished, right? Not so fast. A couple of days later, as I was wrapping up my day, a friend asked “Are you busy? I wanna show you something interesting.” With only the GH3, the 12-35mm 2.8 lens, a 4GB card and a low battery I jumped into his car. The “something interesting” happened to be access to the Royal Suite at the 7-star Hotel Burj Al Arab—a notoriously difficult area to access. With limited amount of storage space and battery life I managed to capture a few keepers.

EduardoAngel_Panasonic_Lumix_DMC_GH3_SampleImages _008

The 7-star Burj Al Arab hotel resembles a giant sail rising over the Gulf, with changing colors visible for miles at night.

EduardoAngel_Panasonic_Lumix_DMC_GH3_SampleImages _002

The very next morning (on my “day off”), I headed out to meet an old friend for brunch at the Atlantis. Should you ever find yourself in this neck of the woods, I strongly recommend that you pay the Atlantis a visit. As we enjoyed the seemingly endless food, my friend received a call to drive to Abu Dhabi right away to pick someone up and then drive back to Dubai. Would I like to come? Guess what I had hanging on my shoulder? This time I had a full battery and a 16GB card, but nothing else to shoot the magnificent mosque and the impossibly opulent Emirates Palace. Once again, the GH3 did a fantastic job.

EduardoAngel_Panasonic_Lumix_DMC_GH3_SampleImages _003

A nice view from a 25th floor overlooking the magnificent Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi.

MORE FEATURES
These are some of the GH3’s features that are not obvious to the naked eye, but are interesting once you are aware of them:

• A magnesium alloy camera body that Panasonic describes as “splash proof and dust proof.”
• The Panasonic RAW files (RW2) work fine in Adobe Lightroom [add link to LR workshop] but the most current version (4.3 as of this writing) is needed. Unfortunately there are no Panasonic lens profiles available as of this writing.
• All the video formats worked seamlessly on Adobe Premiere Pro CS6. Even the video recorded at 72 Mbps was easy to preview and edit on a two-year old MacBook Pro (with 8GB of RAM and an external 7200 RPM Hard Drive as a Scratch Disk).
• HDMI monitor output can be sent with or without information overlays.
• I had a DMW-MS2 Stereo Shotgun Mic with me, but was happy to learn that the camera’s built-in internal microphones provide stereo audio.
• The GH3’s sensor has a 4:3 aspect ratio.
• Built-in Time Lapse, and HDR but unfortunately it works only for JPGs not RAW.
• Five physical function buttons, and two touch-screen function buttons, all customizable with close to 40 options to choose from.
• Virtually all the key shooting controls are within the right hand’s reach. This frees up the left hand to hold the camera or focus manually.
• Excellent battery life, lasting a full day under normal operation. For extended video sessions I’d consider getting the DMW-BGGH3 Battery Grip.
• Apparently (I have not tested this) the GH3 is also capable of real-time image output to the LVF or the rear monitor AND to an external monitor via HDMI.

GH3_shotgun

DMW-MS2 Stereo Shotgun Mic

LENSES
I shot extensively (more than 2,000 images in 18 days) with the Lumix GX Vario 12-35mm F2.8. The lens is tiny. And fast. And awesome. It has the equivalent focal length to a 24-70mm F2.8 on a 35mm system but it is a fraction of the size and weight. As you already know, this is a very good start when dealing with packing issues.

12-35mm lens

Lumix GX Vario 12-35mm F2.8

In terms of depth of field, the lens behaves like a 16-45mm F3.5 lens on an APS-C sensor, or a 24-70mm F5.6 lens on a Full Frame sensor. It is hard to get used to this, especially when shooting another system simultaneously, but it is not a disadvantage per se.

Click to keep reading (more…)

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Photography Trends, according to Google.

 
The “interest over time” in photography for the past eight years has remained pretty much constant. The interest for “digital photography” went from a 100 to a current 20. The term HDSLR only started by the end of 2009, with a peak in early 2001. Smartphone photography is showing a wild uptrend.

Google Trends - Web Search Interest_ photography - Worldwide, 2004 - present
Google Trends - Web Search Interest_ digital photography - Worldwide, 2004 - present-1
Google Trends - Web Search Interest_ hdslr - Worldwide, 2004 - present
Google Trends - Web Search Interest_ smartphone photography - Worldwide, 2004 - present

This is interesting, but hardly surprising. 700 million smartphones were shipped in 2012, up from 490 million in 2011. Samsung owns a 30 percent share (213 million devices) of the global mobile market, Apple follows with 19 percent (135 million devices) and Nokia is third with 5 percent global market share. The 2012 numbers are even more meaningful when you know that they represent almost TWICE the expect amount of laptop shipments for this year. It gets even more interesting when Intel announces that it will stop producing desktop motherboards in three years.  Apple’s highly expected announcement for a new Mac Pro tower, might be the last one we see from Cupertino.

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Blogging With Video, Hoping to Go Viral. Really?

 
Ay ay ay! I might have more than a few issues with this New York Times article “Blogging With Video, Hoping to Go Viral.”

“You want to have a decent camera. A hand-held video camera is nice and offers more features and flexibility, but your smartphone is fine… The only additional equipment you might consider is a separate lavaliere or lapel microphone. And if there isn’t enough ambient light to illuminate your face, spring for a clamp lamp that you can find at most hardware stores… “

Here’s the complete article.

Is “good enough,” good enough? What’s your take?

Photography

Visual Serendipity.

 
VisualSerendipity_0056
Even the North White Plains Metro North station has a Wikipedia page! This is the view from the South tunnel, while running to catch my train. Visual Serendipity is our weekly series of images captured on an Android Nexus 4 smartphone.

Photography

Visual Serendipity. The Silence of the Lambs.

 
VisualSerendipity_0055

To create the physical world of The Silence of the Lambs (1991), production designer Kristi Zea drew on descriptions in the book by Thomas Harris on which the film was based.  She was also inspired by a variety of images, including paintings by Francis Bacon, newspaper and magazine clippings, and historical photographs.

Photography

Adobe Lightroom Tips and Tricks 002. Exporting directly to Dropbox.

Here’s our second Lightroom Tip & Trick: How to quickly export images from Lightroom to Dropbox and share the link with your clients. Unless you LOVE burning CDs and DVDs you can really use this one. If you don’t have a Dropbox account, you can get one with 2GB of storage for FREE. Yes, you read that correctly. Now, you and I can get an additional 500MB of bonus space each if you choose to use this link which is also free.

This is one way of doing it. Another way is to set up your Dropbox folder as a Hard Drive in Lightroom under your “Publish Services” (see image below).

Click to keep reading (more…)

Photography

Visual Serendipity. NYC Subway.

 

 

By now, New York City’s subway system has been restored to “limited service”, as efforts continue to dry out flooded tubes, track, signals and other components damaged in last week’s “Sandy” storm. Below is the condition of the subway map after the hurricane:

Map of New York City MTA Subway Lines During Hurricane Sandy

Video

How NOT to announce new products. Google Nexus.

 
UPDATE: 20121123 Google’s Nexus 4 Smartphone and Nexus 10 Tablet sold out 20 minutes after the Google Play store opened. http://ow.ly/fg1mo

By now it is pretty clear that we love Google (most of the time). But the company can learn a thing or two from Apple, especially when it comes to important product announcements. On Monday, while Hurricane Sandy was hitting the East Coast ,and 7.5 million people in 16 states have lost power, Apple announced that the company’s senior vice president of iOS was getting fired for (apparently) refusing to apologize publicly for the Apple Maps mess. The timing was impeccable, since nobody noticed nor cared. Well, at the very same time, Google was announcing three new Nexus devices; a smartphone, a 7-inch tablet, and a 10-inch tablet. Guess what happened? Nobody noticed nor cared. They sold out.

All three devices run Android 4.2, which Google describes as “a new flavor of Jelly Bean.” The Nexus 4 is Google’s latest 4.7-inch, quad-core Nexus smartphone, developed with LG, and priced well below analysts expectations. It will be available for $299 (8GB) and $349 (16GB) for unlocked, contract-free units. However, the best deal seems to be the 16GB unit on T-Mobile for $199. We can’t really predict how sales will perform, but what is certain is that the Nexus 4 will make a strong impact on the smartphone market.

Based on the promo video, it seems that Google is focusing the tablets on education. We have written extensively about technology and education here, here, and here.

Although we are more excited with Samsung’s Galaxy Camera, one of our favorite features of the new Nexus smartphone is Photo Sphere, a camera app/Google Maps hybrid that allows users to create and share 360-degree panoramas.

Click to keep reading  (more…)

Photography

Video

Life after Photokina: Samsung’s Galaxy Camera.

 
News from Photokina are like Fall leaves. They are everywhere and it is hard to know where to start taking care of them. Because of that, we are doing two things: a few blog posts highlighting the most interesting and influential products, and a paid Google Hangout on Monday October 15 at 1pm EST, where we will discuss what we saw and learned, and how it will affect your business in 2013.

Photokina is a huge show. There are nine giant exhibition halls and most of them are two stories high. Every corner of these buildings is filled with everything having to do with the photo industry.  Canon, Leica, Nikon, and Sony introduced full-frame 35mm-sized sensor cameras, ranging from compact (Sony) to low-cost DSLRs (Canon, Nikon) to high-end pro rangefinders (Leica). Almost everybody claimed significant reductions in shutter lag and focusing speed, and many manufacturers added some form of Wi-Fi connectivity. If you think the iPhone 5 blurs the lines between cameras and smartphones you haven’t seen Samsung’s Galaxy Camera, by far the most original product we saw at Photokina.

As we saw before with Nikon’s Coolpix S800c, Android is rapidly becoming the OS of choice for smart phones.

(more…)

Photography

Photography

Visual Serendipity.

 

Over the past six years I have been collecting the corks from every wine bottle we drink. We have well over 700 corks at this point. I also try to write tasting notes for most wines. Since 2007 I’ve written 606 notes with an average score of 87.43 points, and tasted 77 varietals from 218 regions in 147 countries.  I do love good wine.

Photography

Visual Serendipity.

 

After spending a very hot and humid Sunday afternoon in Central Park we were looking for a restroom, and this is what we found instead. Gotta love this city.

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2012: A Communique of technology trends.

 
Recently, we have been thinking about the most popular technology trends seen worldwide.  Here is our top-ten list of tech trends we have witnessed in the last year in no particular order:

1. Tablets and Touch-Screen Mania

Android Tablets and iPads are dominating 2012.  People are now using these devices more than laptops and desktop computers in some cases. Are they making our lives easier? Yes and no. But, we think that this is the future for all computing. Just as CD’s replaced records and cassette tapes, we believe that eventually, touch computing will replace desktop and laptop computers altogether!

There are already a lot of signs that convince us of this already.  For instance, Mac OS X Lion and Windows 8, the latest desktop operating systems borrow a lot from Android Tablets and the iPad, their mobile counterparts. These new operating systems essentially introduce a touchscreen-inspired interface. Most new cars are now even integrating touch screens to operate multiple functions in a vehicle.

Future of touch screens

Over time, mice will be obsolete, and mobile/touch operating systems will dominate.

2. Automatic Social Actions

People now expect to be able to share media effortlessly on their computers, smart phones, and tablets.  This is now being innovated in 2012, not only through cloud computing, but through social media. Social gestures appear to be one of the leading trends of 2012. For those of you who may not know what I am referring to, you may recognize this on your Facebook news feed, with apps such as Spotify. Social gestures, or the “frictionless sharing” functionality, replaces the need to click a button to share media with your friends. Instead, applications are installed and allowed to share the media you listen to, watch, or read automatically with your social networks. Most apps are even allowed to share your location on a map automatically.  Scary?  Yes, Indeed.Example of how apps share what you do automatically

If sharing becomes fully automatic, the volume of content on social networks will grow at an exponential rate.  Our guess is that people will become more suspicious and conscious of the apps they use on social networking sites.

3. Cloud Computing

The technologies we use are increasingly cloud-based and delivered over many different networks.  Photos, Videos, documents and other rich media are rapidly uploaded to different cloud-based storage such as Google Drive and Dropbox.  Eventually, we believe that all cloud-based computing will have infinite capacity and be nearly free of charge.

(more…)

Photography

Photography

Visual Serendipity.

 

Woody Allen’s, Manhattan, is about a divorced New Yorker dating a high-schooler, and looking for love in the mistress of his best friend. Quite a dark story there. I’m sure the city has changed a lot since the movie was released in 1979.

Photography

Visual Serendipity.

 

A different view of “The Highline” a beautiful urban project in New York City that has become a major tourist destination. The picture was taken from an elevator, through the tinted glass.

Photography

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Google Nexus 7 Tablet is out.

 
UPDATE: 0723 Awesome marketing effort. Very well done.

 
Google’s Nexus 7 Android Tablet is here. The tablet is built by ASUS, which really makes me wonder what Google plans to do with Motorola Mobility.

google nexus 7 tablet

The Nexus comes fully packed with goodies:

• It runs the latest Android OS 4.1 Jelly Bean, which is optimized for smaller tablet screens, magazines and movies.
• 1280×800 IPS display coated in “scratch-resistant glass.”
• Front-facing, 1.2-megapixel camera.
• 198.5 x 120 x 10.45mm case
• Two flavors 8GB ($199) or 16GB ($249) of storage, plus 1GB of RAM, and NVIDIA’s quad-core Tegra 3 SoC processor. Don’t worry about the Russian-like specs, it simply means it is fast, really fast.
• GPS and Bluetooth and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, and Micro USB, plus NFC.
• The 7 stands for the tablet’s size, 7 inches, which as I have said many times, it is the perfect size for a truly portable device.
• Accelerometer, magnetometer, and a gyroscope.

The Nexus 7 seems, at least on paper, the ultimate Kindle Fire killer if it ever ships! Lenovo, with its incredibly terrible customer service and tech support doesn’t need a competitor to kill itself. I believe the iPad will remain the global tablet leader through the next 3-5 years, but it will start losing some significant market share. Apple’s biggest advantage has been the App Store which now has more than 650,000 downloadable applications that include games, news and travel tools for the iPhone and iPad. Google has been catching up and Google Play (previously known as Android Market) currently offers more than 500,000 apps.

We just updated our wildly popular chart to include Google’s brand new system. Here are the side-by-side specs (click on it twice to see it full-res):

Google Nexus 7 side by side specs

UPDATE: July 9, Is Google selling the Nexus 7 at a loss?

Photography

Photography

Visual Serendipity.

 
Sea Gate Brooklyn

Sea Gate is a private, gated community at the far western end of Coney Island at the southwestern tip of of Brooklyn. It contains mostly single-family homes, some directly on Gravesend Bay. According to Wikipedia, “residents refer to Sea Gate as “the gate,” and venturing into adjoining Coney Island as going “out the gate.” There is no universally recognized demonym for residents of the community: “Sea Gatians” and “Sea Gaters” are sometimes heard.

I was completely unimpressed by the neighborhood, but it was fun, as always, to discover hidden gems nearby.

Photography

Visual Serendipity.

 

A very quick shot at the lobby of the famous New Yorker Hotel while attending a BlackMagic event last week. According to the hotel’s website “from Muhammad Ali to Nikola Tesla, late President John F. Kennedy to Jennifer Hudson” have slept there.

Photography

Visual Serendipity.

 
Serendip­ity: noun; the occur­rence and devel­op­ment of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.

A random walk in Manhattan on weekends often produces truly unexpected images like this one, which was captured at Madison Square Park during an Indian meeting.

Video

Hello Google Drive, bye bye Dropbox?

UPDATED 20141027: Dropbox fights back. Starting now, Dropbox has  considerably dropped the monthly price, effectively matching the best offer in town, Google. Now both services cost only $10/month for 1TB (1,000GB). wow….

 

Plans - Dropbox

Dropbox Pro – $10/month

2014-10-27 13.06.30

Google Drive – $10/month

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why is Google Drive so cool, you might ask. Well, so it happens that you get 5GB for free and you can get up to 100GB. Dropbox offers only 2GB for free. Is that enough to switch? Let’s see what Google has to say about the new service:

Create and collaborate. Google Docs is built right into Google Drive, so you can work with others in real-time on documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Once you choose to share content with others, you can add and reply to comments on anything (PDF, image, video file, etc.) and receive notifications when other people comment on shared items.

Store everything safely and access it anywhere (especially while on the go). All your stuff is just… there. You can access your stuff from anywhere—on the web, in your home, at the office, while running errands and from all of your devices.

Search everything. Search by keyword and filter by file type, owner and more. Drive can even recognize text in scanned documents using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. Let’s say you upload a scanned image of an old newspaper clipping. You can search for a word from the text of the actual article. We also use image recognition so that if you drag and drop photos from your Grand Canyon trip into Drive, you can later search for [grand canyon] and photos of its gorges should pop up. This technology is still in its early stages, and we expect it to get better over time.

I use Google Drive on Mac, my Android tablet and my Android phone and everything is working REALLY smoothly. A PC version is already available, and Google says that the iOS version will be “coming soon.” You can download the app here and here.

I have been using Dropbox for a long time and I’ve been pretty happy. But it only gets you 2GB for free, the system is confusing for most people who move the file thinking that they are copying it, the notification system (when someone adds or removes an item) sucks and does not have OCR technology.

click here to keep reading (more…)

Photography

Visual Serendipity.

 
Serendip­ity: noun; the occur­rence and devel­op­ment of events by chance in a happy or ben­e­fi­cial way.

Feeling Blue Image

“Feeling blue” doesn’t always have to mean something sad or negative. We just moved to a new place, and since we haven’t installed the curtains, I’ve been waking up every morning with this view. The new place is full of light, peace, silence, and positive energy. That’s the new meaning of “feeling blue” to me.

Photography

Visual Serendipity.

 
Serendip­ity: noun; the occur­rence and devel­op­ment of events by chance in a happy or ben­e­fi­cial way.

New York City Flatiron Building Chelsea

Storefront decorations, Flatiron Building, Chelsea, New York.

The Flatiron Building was designed by Chicago’s Daniel Burnham as a steel-frame skyscraper in white terracotta, and intended as the headquarters of the Fuller Construction Company. The building was soon dubbed “Flatiron” after its unusual shape, caused by a triangular plot.

The building inspired unforgettable photographs by Edward Steichen and Alfred Stieglitz, and it is now one of the most photographed and recognizable landmarks in New York.  It is also frequently used on television commercials and documentaries, in the opening credits of the “David Letterman Show”, during scene transitions in “Friends”, and as the headquarters of the “Daily Bugle Newspaper” in Spider-Man.

 

Photography

Visual Serendipity.

 
Serendip­ity: noun; the occur­rence and devel­op­ment of events by chance in a happy or ben­e­fi­cial way.

Interior image of the Radio City Music Hall in New York City

The Radio City Music Hall, designed by architect Edward Durell Stone, and interior designer Donald Deskey in the Art Deco style, opened to the public on December 27, 1932.

Some people say that with a stage almost 150 feet wide, and 5,933 seats, it is the largest indoor theater in the world. The Hall includes the “Mighty Wurlitzer” that also happens to be, small wonder, the largest theater pipe organ built for a movie theater.

Radio City is part of the 12-acre (49,000 m²) commercial complex known as Rockefeller Center. Interesting fact: the complex was developed on land leased from Columbia University, and it is currently leased to and managed by Madison Square Garden, Inc.

Check this awesome “Popular Mechanics” article from August 1932 about the Music Hall and “the importance of chance in progress.”

I took this picture while attending a recent Cirque du Soleil performance.

Video

Adobe Lightroom 4 HDSLR video support explained.

 
UPDATE March 6, 2012. The full version of Lightroom 4 is available now and Adobe cut the price in half: The full version (which used to cost $299) will now be $149. The upgrade version will only cost $79. The beta version (which was downloaded more than 250,000 times) will expire on March 31, 2012.

My birthday was yesterday, and the present arrived this morning. Lightroom 4.0 (public beta) FULL VERSION is now available as a free download from Adobe’s website.

Important things to consider:

• You do not need a serial number and the beta version will not update your current Lightroom 3 (or earlier) catalog.
• The public beta comes in three flavors: Mac (OS X v10.6.8 Snow Leopard) or v10.7 Lion), Windows 32-bit, and Windows 64-bit. Make sure you download the correct version. Each compressed download is about 400MB.
• File support for Lightroom 4 beta, is exactly the same as in Lightroom 3.6 and Camera Raw 6.6.
• The public beta will expire on March 31, 2012, when the final Version 4 becomes available.
Adobe Lightroom 4 Video Support

Here are the new features, organized from super awesome to awesome:

• HDSLR video support (full details below)
• Soft proofing (found under the Develop Module, not the Print Module as one would expect)
• Photo book layout
• Email directly from Lightroom (works with Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, and AOL)
• Publish videos directly to Facebook or Flickr
• Geo location (via GPS metadata) with the Map Module
• Enhanced DNG workflows
• Adobe Revel (Carousel) export workflow
• Additional local adjustments including Noise Reduction and White Balance
• Powerful new Shadow and Highlight controls
• Simplified basic adjustments

Adobe Lightroom 4 Soft Proofing

 

Video

Regarding Video Support this is what Adobe has to say:

“Lightroom 3 added the ability to import, manage and tag video files but as the popularity of video capture increases it’s important to provide a single, robust workflow solution that can support all of your imaging needs regardless if they’re still images or video captures. Lightroom 4 adds native playback for a wide variety of formats from mobile phones to high end DSLRs.”

Here’s what I have to say: In version 3, we were able to import video files along with our still images, but to see the clips Lightroom needed to access Quicktime. Now we can play the files inside of LR. Also, by using similar shortcuts from well established NLE (non linear editing) software applications like Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro, now we can set In and Out points directly in Lightroom. Shift+I (In) and Shift+O (Out).

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Video

5 free mobile Vimeo Apps to edit HD Video.

 
I recently got a Tablet to more efficiently maintain this blog by using the very good WordPress app, among other apps for photography and digital cinema.

Today my life got a free upgrade with Vimeo’s new apps for iPad, Android, Kindle Fire and Windows Phone. I have been waiting for almost a year since the iPhone app was released, but it was worth the wait. Now I’ll be able to upload, manage and watch my videos right from my phone (highly unlikely since the battery sucks), and Tablet.

HD Editing on Android

The Android app requires Android version 2.3 (Gingerbread) or later. Some of the features include:

Upload raw or edited footage in HD or SD
• Pause/Resume videos and uploads
• Replace existing videos
• Edit tags, titles, credits, descriptions and privacy info
• Share on Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, WordPress, email or SMS
• Add your clips to Groups, Channels and Albums
• Download your Vimeo videos to your Camera roll
• Watch videos from the Vimeo Inbox and Watch Later queue
• Stats on daily plays, likes and comments

Slow Motion apps for cinematographers

According to Vimeo, 15% of its traffic now comes from mobile devices. 18% of this blog’s visits are from mobile devices and 30% of those devices are iPhones.

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Video

Conversations with Friends.

 
Today we start with Episode 001 of our bi-weekly series “Conversations with Friends.”

The goal is to meet with different people we find interesting (and opinionated) and simply chat about trending topics, recent developments in technology, new toys that we like or hate and simply have a good time while enjoying a glass of wine.  On today’s episode I talk with Justin Katz about the Eye-Fi Pro X2 8GB Wireless Memory Card. Did we like it? Watch to find out.

If you want to participate on our conversations or would like us to cover a specific topic just post a comment or shoot me an email.

Next week I’ll add the link with step-by-step instructions on how to set up the Eye-Fi Card on an iPad, an Android Tablet, and a Mac Book Pro. Here are the card’s features.

The wine we tasted was the 2009 Casarena Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina. It was very good and a great buy for $14.

Video

Google Android OS is bad, and Apple iOS is awesome. Really? Read this first and then let’s talk.

 
UPDATED: Jan 07, 2012. According to The Daily Beast (via Engadget) Apple’s co-founder Steve Wozniak prefers “many aspects of Android’s fussier-but-deeper UI to iOS’ one size fits all, simplified approach.” Citing improvements in voice command software, navigation and consistent performance, “Woz” seems to believe Apple has a lot to learn from Google’s mobile platform. See?

Android OS vs Apple iOS fight

For the past several days I’ve seen different articles criticizing the Android platform because it is “too open,” “too messy,” and that it is “uncontrolled.”
I completely disagree. Let’s stop for a second and consider the other option: Apple’s iOS.

A few days ago, I was testing the Eye-Fi Pro X2 Wireless Card on several different Canon EOS systems (I will link the article here when it is available) to shoot remotely to an Android Tablet and an iPad.

To install the Eye-Fi App on the Android, I opened the Android Market, searched for “Eye-Fi,” downloaded the app, confirmed the download and clicked open. The entire process took less than 45 seconds.

Then I wanted to do the same for the iPad; I went to the App store, searched for “Eye-Fi,” and suddenly I get a message saying that I needed the latest iPad Firmware to download the App.

The nightmare begins: I connected the iPad to my laptop and immediately got a second message saying that I needed to download the latest version of iTunes to download the latest version of the iPad firmware (to download the Eye-Fi app.)

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Video

Hands On Review: The Lenovo IdeaPad Tablet.

 
Exactly a month ago I wrote about the “7 reasons not to buy the Kindle Fire.” Best Buy took all this time to deliver my Thanksgiving purchase, which became a Christmas present to myself.

I am one of the lucky ones since Best Buy is scrambling to fulfill many online orders. About two weeks ago I got an email from them basically saying that it was OK to change my mind and get something else. I didn’t. After a few days playing with the Lenovo IdeaPad A1, I am ready to go over the main features (from the manufacturer’s website) and share my impressions:

Lenovo IdeaPad A1 Features

• Android 2.3 operating system.
My tablet is running Android 2.3.4, my HTC Incredible (first generation) is running Android 2.3. For some reason, several applications from the Android Market will install on my phone, but NOT on the tablet. It says that my device is incompatible.

• ARM Cortex A8 processor that features a 1.0GHz processor speed for staying connected and productive on the go.
The tablet is relatively quick and responsive, but is has crashed four times in about 48 hours of use.

• Built-in 802.11b/g/n wireless LAN. Connect to the Internet without wires.
Yeah, last time I checked that’s the definition of wireless. Someone at the marketing departing was having a slow day.

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