Upgrade your iPhone Camera Lens

789_iphone_t_mobile_g1_htc_phone_wide_angle_lens_1USBfever is selling 2x telephoto, 0.7x wide-angle macro, and fish-eye lenses for the iPhone. They attach with a magnetic ring with a self-adhesive backing. Now, it’s no secret that the iPhone camera sucks, but they are so prevalent that some have managed to get better-than-mediocre pictures.. At US$16.99 each ($19.99 for the fish-eye), it might be with it to pick one up. Throw in Camera Bag (App Store), and you have a nifty little toy camera!

[via core77]

Zacuto Camera Shoot-Out 08

Zacuto recently held a camera shoot-out (video also embeded after the break) to compare image quality. Actually, it’s more of a format comparison. The cameras/formats compared:

  • 35mm Film
  • Red One
  • Sony EX3
  • Panasonic HVX200 (w/ Letus & Redrock Micro adapters)
  • Panasonic HPX170
  • Panasonic HPX300
  • Canon XH-A1
  • Canon 5D MkII
  • Nikon D90

You can probably skip through the first six minutes or so to get to the footage comparison. Copied & pasted from my IM with Dembro, here are my impressions:

  • Film: Awesome.
  • Red: I know for a fact Red footage looks great, what did they do ((Not to knock Filmworkers, but some Red footage we had color graded there & down-converted to SD also looked a little off as well. But I’m sure they, like the rest of us, are still working out our Red workflows.))?
  • HPX300: DOF is terrible, color is nice.
  • HVX200 (Letus Ultimate): Noisy, soft.
  • HVX200 (Letus Elite): Same.
  • HVX200 (Redrock): Same.
  • EX3: Not bad, but something seems strange with the focus.
  • HPX170: Okay, but a bit dull.
  • XH-A1: Blah.
  • 5D MkII: What did they do? That camera is praised for its low light capabilities, but the blacks are completely crushed.
  • D90: Flat.

Dembro & I both came to the same conclusions: 1.) Film looks pristine and b.) It looks like Zacuto is really trying to push their low end cameras to people who otherwise wouldn’t have even thought of renting one to begin with.

In all honesty, though, the closing statement is spot on: Any of these cameras in the hands of a skilled professional can produce great results.

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AE CS4: Leopard vs Vista

Being a Mac guy who works with After Effects, this news really bothers me. Keven Schmidt at Creative Mac benchmarked renders in After Effects CS4 on Mac OS X and Windows. The result? AE still renders faster in Windows, by roughly 1.2x. Now, AE has traditionally rendered faster in Windows, but now that we’re on v9 and OS X has been around for 8 years, you’d think there would be significant improvements. Kevin about sums it up:

Either Adobe isn’t tuning After Effects on the Mac at all, or tuning the buhjeezus out of the Windows versions. Hell, even single process rendering on Vista generally spanks multiple processes on Leopard, for the love of Pete.

This, coupled with the continued sub-par performance of Flash on the Mac really makes me doubt Adobe’s commitment to the Mac platform.  Are they still bitter about Final Cut Pro eating into Premiere sales back in 1998 & 1999?

As a side note, the other takeaway from the post is that enabling multiprocessing in AE doesn’t save much time in either platform. For longer renders, it may help, but for those intermediate small batches, you may be better of sticking to single processes. This is something I’ve suspected for a long time, and I’m glad to see some numbers on this.

Nearly True 3D Projection

The ICT Graphics Lab at USC has developed a 3D projection system. This is not your run-of-the-mill, 3D  glasses required projection. Rather, it uses a rotating mirror and specially designed circuitry with an off-the-shelf projector. The result is a projection which you can actually move around and view in 3D. You really have to watch the video on their page to get the full effect, or rather, partial effect. To get the full effect, I’d imagine you’d need to see it in person.

[via PromoMotion]

Take Your Own Advise

Recently, I bagan the migration to a different invoicing system. One of the apps that caught my eye was Billings 3. While perusing their Anatomy of an Invoice page, I noticed something interesting. One of the bullet points:

5. It is best to use alternating row colors for the line items area. Make it easy for the client to follow each line item from left to right.

That’s good advice. But this is the image that accompanies the page:


Hmm… Well, it’s a little light, maybe we just can’t see the alternating row colors. Let’s darken it and up the contrast:

line item

Maybe they should take their own advise?

(As an aside, it also seems this functionality is lacking from the software itself, not just the example image.)

Sea Kittens

No. Fish are not, nor will they ever be referred to as “Sea Kittens.” Actually, don’t clikc on that link. Peta doesn’t need the page hits. Here’s what it says:

People don’t seem to like fish. They’re slithery and slimy, and they have eyes on either side of their pointy little heads—which is weird, to say the least. Plus, the small ones nibble at your feet when you’re swimming, and the big ones—well, the big ones will bite your face off if Jaws is anything to go by.

Of course, if you look at it another way, what all this really means is that fish need to fire their PR guy—stat. Whoever was in charge of creating a positive image for fish needs to go right back to working on the Britney Spears account and leave our scaly little friends alone. You’ve done enough damage, buddy. We’ve got it from here. And we’re going to start by retiring the old name for good. When your name can also be used as a verb that means driving a hook through your head, it’s time for a serious image makeover. And who could possibly want to put a hook through a sea kitten?

What’s even better are their “facts” such as “Contrary to popular belief, the technical term for sea kitten offspring is ‘baby sea kitties,’ not ‘caviar.'”

Eyeballing Game

eyeballtestA fun waste of a few minutes, The Eyeballing Game measures your ability to, well, eyeball shapes, distances, and other geometric attributes. I know, I know… “Math is hard!” But don’t worry, all you have to do is click and move a box.

My scores tend to be in the 3.5 range. For come reason convergence and triangle center seem to be my weak points. I can get them right, but when I’m wrong, they’re wrong!

[via metafilter, nod to core77]