Category: Media


FitBit

When I started this blog I wanted to do something fun. I somehow lost interest over time and I sure that happens to everyone. But I want to do something that I can maintain. I like new gadgets and love testing them. I doubt I ever get picked to be a real reviewer or get those free items to review them but that should not stop me.simple.b-dis-png.h4621896b75431a4c9499334fb64c3247.pack

I found a new gadget I really like… No a group of object. So I am making a new run at keeping this blog going. I am not just going to review the product but my progress using it. So I purchased a FitBit Flex and FitBit WiFi scale.

First I wan to talk about the FitBit Flex activity band. I found it easy to use. It comes with a USB charger, 2 bands and the USB wireless dongle. You simply chard the device, install the sync software and then create your online profile. The flex is easy to use because you jus put it on and you are ready to go. Tap it twice to get your current status. Tap it quickly for about 2 seconds to put it in and out of sleep mode. You can at any time sync it to your PC/MAC using the wireless sync adapter or your smart phone.

The software sends your info to the online profile you create and give you the current stats. It tracks these daily so you can see where you are. It tracks your steps, distance and sleep. I have to say it is not always accurate just typing this I am most likely getting some steps in according to my flex but I think overall it will motivate the user to get up and move. It should also be noted that you can get different color bands for your flex.simple.b-dis-png.h90165c3211e4edcba5f3ffc6f98427ad.pack

The FitBit scale is the second gadget. It links through your WiFi Network and transmits your weight and body fat to your online profile. It will allow up to 8 different users. The operation is simple and is a great addition to your flex band. The scale is sleek and clean looking in black or white.

The online profile allows you to add friends and share info with them. You can share the number of steps, sleep, weight ect. The system has a dashboard that you can customize with different

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tiles. You set goals and you are awarded badges for meeting and exceeding your goals. In addition to the dashboard you have a log for food, sleep, activities, blood pressure, glucose levels and journal entries. This allows you to track your entire fitness goals in one simple program.

One thing many people want is a support system or a buddy to workout with. This is like a social media app and allows you to invite friends. You can congratulate your friends when the get badges or taunt them as you beat their goals. It creates a completive buddy system online or support system depending on how you use it. There are also groups you can join on this site so there are a lot of support systems in place to help you be more successful in your goals. The software is very user friendly overall.

So….no I am not a fitness person. In fact I have been told by my doc to loose weight, exercise and eat better. As a diabetic I struggle with this so I bought this to help me. So far in the month I have had this device I’ve kept on track. In fact I have gotten several badges for exceeding my goals. So this device is helping me a lot. I have decided to share some results this next year to help me keep going and may to get me to use my blog a bit more. So if you get a fitbit friend me and help me do better!

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DXG-5F9VK HD 1080p 3D Camcorder

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A 3D camcorder for under $200 US, are you kidding? Yes this is a sub $200 3D camcorder. I first saw this when I was looking for a pro model camcorder to do stock videos with. I dismissed it as I really needed a camera with a high quality lens and sound recording ability. Later I decided to revisit the possibility of 3D video just for fun. The price was right so knowing it was just a fun toy I took a chance on it.

The camera is light weight and I’m sure for most this will be a good thing. I like my cameras to be a bit heavier as the weight helps to steady the camera. The controls are simple as is the menu. It stores video on SD media, I used a class 10 16gig scandisk for my testing. It has an almost instant on. Just flip the lens then open the view screen. The view screen is in 3D, no need for 3D glasses. The only issue is when the lens is open you can’t tilt the screen too much.

The camera has really good image quality. It may be a bit awkward at first because of the stereo lens but that isn’t too bad. Video is sharp and crisp with very nice color and contrast. I was shocked to see what this camera could do. The only real issue I had was a choppy zoom. I really wish the zoom was smooth but for the price and the image quality I can deal with the slightly jerky zoom.

The microphone is stereo and located in the front part of the monitor door. This does well as long as the sound that is right in front of the user. If there was one thing that would really make this camera sell better that would be the addition of an external microphone, but they did not add the plug. Since I did buy this camera to just play around, for me that missing feature was not a big deal.

So here are the pros
· Good image quality
· Light Weight
· Simple Operation
· Live 3D viewer
· Good Color

Here are the Cons
· Choppy Zoom
· No external Microphone jack
· Limited viewer tilt
· Average to poor images in low light

Conclusion – If you want a fun little camera to create 3D video with this is the camera for you. It has a low price and great image quality. I really enjoy using this camera. If you need features like an external microphone and smooth zooming then you may want to look at some other cameras. Again I would recommend this to users who want a fun camera or those who want to dabble in 3D. It would be hard to beat the quality at the price of this camera.

Review – Nikon AW100 water-proof sports camera

A while back I wrote about the GoPro camera. I have used my GoPro for many things and intended to use it for some underwater shots while on vacation. After reading reviews I found it was limited on quality underwater. Further research lead me to the Nikon Coolpix AW100. Water proof up to 33ft and shock proof up to 5 feet. This camera was made for mild sports action yet still remains stylish.

The camera looks like a simple point and shoot. Many of the features you would find on most with a couple differences. First the button for the shutter and video are separate. Each has a unique texture so you can feel what is what. Next the batter and memory card door had a rubber seal but also uses a double lock to be more secure from accidental opening. Next the camera has a built in GPS allowing you to GEO tag your images or use it as a functional ground GPS. Finally you will find a underwater setting in the presets for diving.

Dolphin Flight - Discovery Cove, Orlando FL

Going through the presets and doing some tests I found the “simple” mode to be annoying. I switch it over to “auto” for playing. During vacation I used several presets like “underwater”, “Beach” and “Night Portrait”. These are easy to change using the scene mode button on the back of the camera. All in all I found the scenes to be quite adequate for most of my images. Remember this is a point and shoot. The zoom range work well for most situations. The one drawback was the speed between shots. The manual boasts 2.5 frames per second but even with my extreme 30MB/s SD card I could not get shots that quickly.

The image quality during daylight was above average to outstanding in the point and shoot category. I think the color and contrast in the daylight images were spot on. I also could not see any real issues with noise in these images. I was a little disappointed in the night images. They seemed to have a lot of noise and took time to fix in photoshop. I would say a 5X7 would be the largest you could get a usable print from using night settings. Overall for a point and shoot the camera performance was above average. ** note I tested the zoom lens but did not use the digital zoom feature.

Video was also handled very well with this little camera. It takes 1080p HD video with great color and contrast. I also took several night videos and amazingly the quality of night video was much better than the photos. I was able to snorkel taking video and stills again with great results. The camera was easy to manage underwater. I did notice one difference here that should be noted. Using the underwater mode the still images look nice, corrected color but to me look a bit dull. The video looks great, especially compared to the GoPro but the color looks off a bit. I have included a video shot entirely using the AW100. (stills and video use the Coolpix AW100, Edited in Final Cut X Pro)

My overall opinion of the Nikon AW100: If you need a camera that can take some light abuse and for all weather situations I would recommend you check this camera out. The image and video quality are excellent in most situations. The controls are simple to use and it has safety locks keeping the camera weather tight. The drawbacks are minimal unless you plan to do lots of low-light images. For under $300 (USD) this camera is well worth a look.

Thanks for reading!

ToonCamera – Cartoon Filming with your iPhone 4GS

If you have seen those TV commercials that have cartoon like people and wondered how they created those realistic looking toons then this is your lucky day! There’s an app for that! The ToonCamera app for your iPhone does a good job creating cartoon like images or video without the need for expensive editing programs. There are several modes from color to line (pen & ink) style. This app is easy to use then import into your iMovie for editing. This fun little app has many possibilities and turns the everyday into a bit more fun and exciting. This app has simple controls and does have its limits but for less than $1 (USD) you really can’t go wrong. Go ahead you know you want to be a cartoon character!!
Thanks for reading!

The following movie was shot using ToonCamera and iMovie both on the iPhone 4S

iStopMotion – Still Images in Motion

I embark now on a new bit of photographic fun. Not only photo’s but video as well. I decided to play with iStopMotion. This was a very fun tool to use. The interface is simple and takes very little time to learn. Like those Claymation holiday movies this program creates a video from still frames. You position your character/object then snap an image. The program imports the file (if you have a web Camera/live view video camera you can see the image preview) then you move your character/object a little and take a picture. Repeat this process and your character comes to life.

The program has several tools to assist you like color correction and tilt shift controls. You can use a grid layout to help track motion. The program can also be use to capture time lapse photography. Additional tools like onion skin lets you overlay the current image over the previous on to insure you movement is fluid and not off. One of the other useful tools is the robo sync. You can for instance record an actor then use the footage to mimic the actors motion with the character/object. The program also comes with some preset foregrounds and backgrounds. Over all I say if you enjoy those old Claymation movies and want to create your own then you need to try iStopMotion.

Below is my first sample movie. I used iStopMotion then imported the project in After Effects to give it that night look and create the ghost. It was fun to make, hope to make another one soon! Thanks for reading!

iPhone 4S – My circle is now complete!

IT has arrived!!

Yes, that’s right, today (Oct 14th 2011) I was #1 in line at my local carrier. I got the store’s FIRST iPhone. I’ve only play a little but SIRI seems to work very well. I asked to add some appointments to my calendar…done. It was just as simple as they said. As for speed my 3G android and my 3G iPhone side by side. By the time android loaded the carrier home page the iPhone was 3 screens in. So far speed is A+ compared to android. Next I looked at signal. Inside the carrier store you would expect full bars, iPhone yes……android 2 bars(fail!)

All my apps from my iPad for iPhone were as expected simple and quick to sync. I had already setup iCloud so once I logged in, BAM!!, all my contacts were ready to go. I still have to sync up my iTunes but I have to say so far the device has been a breeze to setup and almost seamless to transfer my information over to. The only thing I really need to do now is get my main apps reloaded if there are versions of them for the iPhone.

Tonight I’ll play a little with the video camera and iMovie (iPhone edition) and see if I can get something together and posted back on this page. So far I have to say I do not regret getting rid of that P.O.S. android phone. I will never go back to android, too many issues and no resolutions! My circle is now complete (for now), iMAC, MACBook Pro, iPad, iPhone… Update – iPhone video posted below taken indoor with nothing but window lighting.


Lucy Loo Talks Back – Shot with iPhone 4s and no additional lighting

iPad, iMAC, iTunes, iPhone, MACBook, iCloud,iMovie, SIRI are all registered trademarks of Apple inc - This post is from my MAC blog

GoPro Fun With Dobie at Woof Stock 2011

Each year the Kansas Humane Society puts on an event called Woof Stock.  I thought what better than to have Dobie put on the GoPro and make a new addition to Dobie Cam.  You don’t get the most stable footage when you attach the camera like a collar but it is all in fun….right??

 

Now you do have to change some settings.  I use the upside down mode for recording and since you never know what Dobie will get into I also use the full back so the camera is waterproof.

 

Now, just remember the footage will be unstable so you may have to run it through a filter like I did.  I also used a movie trailer mode like in the iMove demo http://classmact.com/?p=32  Hope you enjoy the video, remember to have fun and if you don’t shoot something you get nothing.

 

Thanks for Reading!

Week 1 – MAC Post 1 – Reading, Copyrights and You

As a visual artist I understand what it’s like to have your work taken without permission. Taking an image even one that has been watermarked and using it without paying the artist is wrong. If found the artist has the right to request you take down the image. Just because you change the image or remix music doesn’t mean the original artist should not get some sort of compensation for their work. I think in the case of modifying an image it depends on the how the modification is use. Was it paid for or was it used without permission? Is the artist who made the change profiting from the modified image?

I believe if the artist purchased the image for the intent of reuse and it was sold as such then the original artist has no say. If the image was taken without permission, even from news media then the original artist should have the right to collect compensation. Music, video, imagery and print media should not be used (even snips) without permission from the original artist. The entire remix controversy is simple in the fact that creating art for profit off of someone else’s work without permission is copyright infringement. It really is that simple. There is no doubt that it is creative but it is taking their hard work and profit and claiming it as your own.

Now there are alternatives that people should consider. Most agencies that sell images, video clips and audio clips offer “free media”. You still need to read and understand how you can use this media but it is out there. Then we have other sites that are built on user content and many of these offer shared content, again with restrictions. When these site find copyrighted materials the take them down. YouTube for instance will send notification to users and explain why they removed a video and how to contact the copyright holder. The “Fair Use” of media has some merit only if the guidelines are followed and enforced. If you think about it we have done this for years in the form of critic reviews, the releases of movies, videos and music.

The other source people should consider is creative commons. The sharing of many forms of media and art. Depending on the license you can use, distribute or even remix these items. It has opened a world of possibility for the remix community. Think about a gathering of artists from around the world with the purpose of sharing and blending their ideas to create new unique artistic expressions. I have personally used music from this site. I have also added to free images at several stock photography agencies. The free content is out there we just have to find it the legal way. Respect artist by respecting their copyrights. If you do use someone’s work remember to give credit where credit is due!

Thanks for reading!

GoPro Go FUN!!

I decided to get a GoPro camera.  If you have not heard of these it may be due to the fact the main purpose of this camera is for extreme sports.  I myself don’t do crazy sports or stunts but still I though I could have some fun with the camera.

Lets start with the basic stuff.  You want to have good light.  So far the performance has not been too great in low light.  In daylight the color and quality are top notch.  I like the widest view as it give a semi-fisheye effect to the video.  I also like to use the 60 frames so I can slow down my video and not loose quality.  The drawback is only shooting in 720 not 1080.  If you don’t plan to use slow-motion effects then I say go all out and use the 1080p mode.

I have the helmet kit so it came with a lot of different mounts and a headband mount.  I also purchased the roll-bar mount and the wrist mounts.  The camera case has 2 backs.  One is open allowing better sound while the solid back is better suited for high-speeds and rated up to 160’ under water.  Did I mention this is a sports camera?  Other mounts for surf boards, skateboards, suction cup, and different adhesives are available as well.

I have posted a couple quick videos I put together.  1 is using a helmet mount and attaching it to my dog’s collar  and the other I used different mounts on my motorcycle.