Tag Archive: images


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!

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.