JONATHAN JK

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Posts Tagged ‘video

File types in iMovie

Recently I’ve had to make use of iMovie to create a few videos where I’m employed. I’m not really a video guy, all I have ever produced for myself are audio slideshows; putting still images together with audio. It seems however that if you’re a photographer then you’re also a videographer where I work.

Having very recently started from scratch with creating my own workflow and coming across a problems, they are still fresh in my mind and I would like to share them with anybody else interested.

Immediately the biggest problem for me were MOD files. iMovie doesn’t read them and the cameras at my work sometimes create these types of files depending on what quality setting I find them on. Since my employer has a Windows based setup I’m out on my own with regard to gaining help from colleagues. It’s my fault that I bring my Mac into work, but there’s no way I’m using a networked Windows setup that has been setup in Cantonese. The various cameras they employ here are also setup up in Cantonese!

Thankfully I found a free app which converts video files from one format to another. It can be found on the Mac App Store here. It’s a great app and the developer has been kind enough to make it free for download (thank you). It took me a while to find it online because most other software titles are demo versions or cost $30 and all of them are for Windows anyway! So it’s not just Mac users who have to fiddle with these things.

The MTS M2TS Converter says its designed for Sony, Canon, Panasonic and JVC cameras. I can say it does work when it comes to MTS files, so if you’ve had issues with these file types your problems are almost over. The aforementioned cameras seem to change their file type when you change the shooting quality, I was in a situation where some files would work and others didn’t. But as I mentioned earlier, depending on the shooting quality, the file type changes. Here I find good old Handbrake conquers everything and I will get mp4 files from it.

My other problem has more to do with iMovie and how my Macbook Retina work together. I have the current top of the line quad core version with 16GB of Ram. There is plenty of processing power for me to make use of. But, what’s frustrating is how iMovie can’t multitask; allowing the user to import and edit movies at the same time. I checked my CPU usage and it’s nowhere near maxing out my laptop. So it’s frustrating to wait for iMovie because of the way it has been designed.

So it magnifies my next problem. It was only recently that I came across my next problem with iMovie, I was importing a mp4 movie which iMovie had no trouble with in the past. Processing took two hours and then nothing, nothing showed up in my project library, I didn’t realise, went to work, couldn’t find it and imported it again thinking it was an oversight on my part. This time I remembered importing it and nothing showed up! What’s worse than a locked up iMovie taking two hours to process a movie? A movie that doesn’t show up in the library after you’ve processed it!

Another google search brought me to a discussion about the same issue that others were having. It seems not all MP4 files weren’t created equal, those with the H.264 work fine, others without it as I understand it don’t. The next piece of software to download is MPEG Streamclip from http://www.squared5.com. Again it’s a free download and again I want to thank the developer for making it so.

The best bit with this software? You can process your files into MOV format in the background with Streamclip while working with your movies in iMovie. Processing time regardless of which app you use still takes two hours, but the flexibility with separating both time consuming tasks into two is very welcoming. Also once your files have been converted in MOV files, iMovie takes about one minute to process again. So there are other benefits beyond file conversion.

Written by jonathanjk

February 3, 2013 at 02:37

KONY2012

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Help make Kony famous before the end of 2012. More importantly, make a donation showing how amazing we are as human to end this instance of evil. (FIXED LINK)

Stop Kony, make him famous.

UPDATE: A lot of people by now will have heard the creator of STOP KONY has been arrested and it’s been all over Twitter. DuckRabbit has an excellent breakdown on the situation and it serves as a good reminder that news will spread when the facts or direct quotes aren’t present. I invite you to read on here. As usual everything isn’t what it seems at first glance. It turns out Jason Russell wasn’t masturbating.

This is the first comment in the story I’m linking too.

J A Mortram states “… Regardless of whom the fact someone has potentially had some form of mental breakdown and in such a public way is not a scenario for mockery. How fast the world spins from caring for 15 mins for one cause to ridiculing another”.

It’s the same reaction with the actual STOP KONY video, once people found out it wasn’t as ‘accurate’ as they thought, they felt it was an excuse not to donate or to ridicule the effort. (It’s a pity this kind of reaction/awareness is shared and then directed at governments and corporations that lie to us every single day). Jason Russell and Uganda is in this situation because of our collective apathy towards those institutions after all.

In my opinion, the video isn’t inaccurate; it’s describing the situation in a very easy to understand manner. Some would say simplistic, nothing totally wrong with that when people’s attention spans rest briefly on a cause. Especially as the pinnacle of a consumers’ desires; the iPad, is currently breathing life into internet’s news ecosystem. ‘Stop who?’ some might say.

UPDATE 2: This article discussing the video about Jason Russell, note he wasn’t arrested and wasn’t masturbating.

Written by jonathanjk

March 7, 2012 at 13:12

App Review ~ Viewbook

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Viewbook Portfolio 1.0

I’m back after a long delay, but still obsessed as much as I was the last time for iPad photography apps. It was encouraging that one individual emailed me for advice with choosing the right App, thank you. I have one today that is a little different; Viewbook. It hit the App Store back in April with their take on what a digital portfolio service should look like on the iPad.

Now full disclosure here: I am already a Viewbook customer and have been for over a year as I write this. I didn’t know they were going to release their own app when I started these reviews but combining a professional web-based portfolio service with a tablet app seems like a no brainer and can’t be ignored.

This isn’t a review of the web service except where it works with the iPad app. Without further delay, let’s get into the meat.

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Written by jonathanjk

September 12, 2011 at 16:17

App Review ~ Minimal Folio

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Minimal Folio App Review (Version 1.08)

Minimal Folio is a simple way to present images and video on your iPad or iPhone. The app is unbranded so your portfolio can do the talking.

Minimal Homescreen

On First Use/Settings

I adore Modernism as an Architectural style and the idea of Minimalism as a way of life, both are something I’ve been fond of for a number of years. So I didn’t think I would be talking about those schools of art when I started these series of reviews, until I discovered Minimal Folio (via AppShopper). Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is quoted as saying “less is more”, and “god is in the details”, both quotes are appropriate as you begin to get a feel for this app. Simon Hey’s approach with Minimal Folio evokes Mies’s style of Modernist design, who referred to his buildings as “skin and bones” architecture. This is “skin and bones app design”, with the user bringing the meat.

Minimal Folio has an extreme clarity and simplicity of purpose.

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Focusing on the Fuji X100

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There is an interesting discussion in the main Flickr group for the Fuji X100 regarding the focus mechanism employed. Most commentators in the forum hope for a software fix for the focus ring as from what I can read, takes too long to manually focus. Aside from thinking it would be a good read, it’s also a shout out to anybody else who thinks the same and should contact Fuji over this issue in case a software fix can be applied. There’s no point just discussing it on the Flickr board after all. Especially if the issue rests on the software.

Another fairly good review for the Fuji X100. A personal review from Ian Wilkinson, a working photographer from Australia. Ian shot a wedding and described his experience using it. He hates the Silkypix software that comes with the Fuji X100 but didn’t mind the write speeds (must have had a fast card :-)) or surprisingly, the focusing mechanism. He has this to say about it:

I found the best way was to choose manual focus and use the AE/FL button to focus while in MF mode; that’s a very clever feature Fuji has given us there. Doing this the camera fires instantly.

On a side note, I really like his watermark and generally, I don’t like watermarks.

UPDATE: Ian Wilkinson, who I’ve linked to in the past when he has reviewed the Fuji X100, has posted a gallery of wedding photos here. He is certainly showing off what the camera can do in a work environment.

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There is a discussion over on the largest Fuji X100 Flickr group about little tips to using your Fuji X100.

Another discussion, this time from the DPreview forums. It’s about the parallax focus shift in the Fuji X100. www.x100rumors.com comments, that while the discussion is informative because it illustrates how a rangefinder like this works, it also shows the differences present within this camera compared to a P&S or a DSLR and people’s incorrect expectations of using it.

Are you annoyed by the Fuji NP-95 charger, a few X100 owners are, even reviewers have commented on the poor design. Here are a bunch of alternatives (US), here (US) and here (UK).

Ich habe auch einen Test der X100 auf heise.de gefunden. (German website that reviewed the X100. Check out the four way ISO comparison with the Fuji X100 against the Canon 500D, Canon Powershot S95, SONY NEX5 at 3200 ISO and 12,800 ISO). The Fuji X100 does really well, less noise and sharper overall.

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Having trouble with the X100 ISO? This blog post by Patrick la Roque might help. He has a website you should check out, frequently trying to do something different with the X100. Original source, Robert Catto’s blog (also interesting).

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One clever photographer is using his X100 with a Canon 430EX mk2. I’m not sure yet whether it can communicate directly with the flash or it’s entirely manual, most likely the later. Here is his Flick Stream with his latest fashion shoot. Various videos of the behind the scenes shoot are here (also shot with the Fuji X100).

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Looking for more coverage on this camera than what you find on this site? x100rumors.com is one place to go, I’ve mentioned it in the past but it’s worth another pimp since it’s more focused resource than my blog. Another is Brandon Remler’s blog, why? He’s the US Fuji representative. He’s quite upfront about things planned for this camera (the firmware updates), the marketing speak is non-existent, it’s his voice and he is using the camera for himself.

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A followup article by Luminous Landscapes regarding the flaws present in Fuji’s camera of the moment. Luminous Landscapes received an email from a reader, he is largely negative about his shooting experience with the Fuji X100. It’s a continuation from Luminous landscapes previous review of the camera and the issues within the camera’s software.

Accompanying the email, and the discussion to hope Fuji is taking a knife to the software inside the camera (meaning, they will bring out a decent software update soon), there is also a short article about Moire and the AA filter.

On a similar note, here is a discussion about the accessories x100 forum users are purchasing. Plenty of suggestions for furthering your enjoyment of this camera.

Or will you just want the Special Edition X100 Camera case and straps designed by Luigi Crescenzil?

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Another honest review from Heathcliff O’Malley can be found here as well. It doesn’t go into much detail but it does confirm what others are saying about the camera; great ISO abilities, good viewfinder, slow buffer (but as I posted a few days earlier, it depends on the card), fiddly controls. Otherwise its still good to get general impressions from other photographers.

What Digital Camera have published their review for the Fuji X100. One of those review spread out over multiple pages. The last page just lists the specs so save yourself the time if you already know. They are not so down on Silkypix and What Digital Camera didn’t mind the weight of the camera either.

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review by a DPreview member ‘tashley’, lots of nice big images.

Want to pay more than retail price for your Fuji X100 because you can’t wait? Click here. :-)

Photographer Craig Arnold has posted his personal thoughts on his Fuji X100, it’s in four parts:

User ‘Pinphot’ from the rangefinder.com forums has made some really great observations about the Fuji X100 and has been in contact with Fuji, so there is hope the eventual firmware update will address those issues he stated.

If you have specific issues regarding the FujiX100 there is a dedicated email address for this camera.

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Now the fun stuff, the FujiX100 with adapter has a 49mm screw thread. So if you want to shoot at 24mm with this retro joy, then buy this. It’s a Raynox wide angle conversion lens.

Have you read the FujiX100 manual? Pengtoh did, there are interesting little tidbits in there he has read for us.

This is a great personal review I found over at Photo Rumors. It doesn’t cover all the things we’ve already read 10 times over either. It focuses on the important little details that matter to us. Details like the OVF framelines and manual focusing. ‘Dan’ the reviewer goes as far to say two things:

“In the world of single lens premium compact digital cameras, this is the best there is.”

And.

“…after-market prices have now risen to twice official price and at this level many people will balk.  Look at it this way: yes, you could buy a second hand Leica X1 for 25% less but the X100 is far superior a package and for the time being at least, far more exclusive.”

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Not from the Flickr pool of Street Life photographs, but an image that is doing the rounds on Dpreview. I’d suggest checking out the largest image offered. Seems to be the sharpest image shot at f2 with the Fuji X100.

Test of Fujiflim X100 - Full open

Shot by VOFAN.

Largest version can be found here.

VOFAN’s Flickr stream.

Portfolio To Go IPAD App Review

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Sharing your images

A recent winner of Apple’s ‘iPad App of the Week’ award, Portfolio To Go features an elegant and intuitive photo-wall giving users instant access to all of their Flickr photosets: scroll each gallery horizontally to browse thumbs, scroll vertically to traverse through all synced galleries. The main purpose of Portfolio To Go is to enable photographers to present their portfolio offline to clients – perfect for use with iPad wi-fi: just sync and go. Photographers create and edit their photosets on Flickr.com and Portfolio To Go acts as a presentation tool, keeping in sync with all your Flickr changes.

Quick Features

  • Photo Wall:
View all your Flickr photo galleries at once – scroll each gallery horizontally to browse thumbs, scroll vertically to traverse through all synced galleries. Click on any thumbnail to jump into the main image view.
  • Main image view displays gallery thumbnails to enable intuitive gallery navigation. Just click the main image to go full-screen.
  • Flickr Authorization: access to all of your private, friends and family and public photos
  • Multiple cached portfolios: add unlimited Flickr portfolios via your contacts or Flickr IDs to P2G and switch between them.
  • Auto-cache photos: all photos get cached in the background while you browse (you can turn this feature off in settings)
  • Send Portfolio to a Client: Pick and choose which galleries to include and then send your portfolio straight to clients and friends by email from the app. Clients will download the free Portfolio to Go Player app to their iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch and launch your portfolio from the emailed link.
  • Share your photos and Flickr links via Facebook, Twitter or Email
  • Save favourite Photos to your iPad Photo Library

Portfolio To Go

The developer of Portfolio To Go (PTG) has taken a distinguishing approach towards the iPad Portfolio market. PTG assumes your portfolio already exists online on Flickr, and allows you to effortlessly import it onto your iPad with little effort. It also means, creative types don’t need to spend any time creating a portfolio. Flickr IS where you are already showing your work to millions, so it feels like a valid reason to take your photography with you on your iPad.

Importing Images

Upon activation, the first thing you need to do, is sign into your Flickr account. This is mandatory for using PTG; you can’t side load content from iTunes. As with any 3rd party application, you have to authorise a service to work with your Flickr account, nothing unusual there. PTG will then automatically download your galleries from Flickr, it’s quite speedy with images appearing quickly, showing up as thumbnails on your home screen wall. Lot’s of content however creates a cluttered home screen. A prolific photographer would end up having tens of galleries in PTG and it would end of looking very busy like in the image below.

Gallery layout

Notice how caption text runs off the screen, all text is the same weight, everything is shouting for the same amount of attention. Look at the gallery view in iPhoto, much cleaner and easier to navigate. Thumbnails represent entire galleries instead of having all the images as thumbnails, text is reduced to the most important element, Gallery titles.

I would like to see some tweaking with the UI, making it easier to view specific galleries. There is another way to view galleries which is kinder to the eyes, pressing ‘Galleries’ in the top left brings a pop over menu onscreen. It illustrates partially what I’ve just described as an aid for the user. You get a thumbnail of the galleries with some descriptive text, from here you can hide any galleries you don’t want to show and it makes navigating quicker. If this idea was expanded on, PTG wouldn’t be as busy.

You can deselect galleries on the pop over menu.

The pop over menu helps but there still needs to be a redesign on the main screen without needing to tap up a menu screen. Flickr.com has it’s own minimal looking gallery view as well.

Flickr Gallery View

Editing Images

You use Flickr to edit your photography so there is not much to say here. PTG doesn’t allow you to edit anything beyond image scaling, refresh rates and auto-caching photos. Think of PTG as being more of a playback tool rather than an App with a huge array of functions to show off your work. Again this is a boon to creatives who don’t want to edit their portfolio on the iPad, but just concentrate on using PTG to give presentations.

Video Captions

PTG, doesn’t import video, I think it should. PTG does allow for captions. You can’t edit text within PTG, again you’re not supposed to. Captionsthat are longer than two lines are cropped until you push your finger over them to reveal more. I’d have liked to have a bit more space allocated for captions, so I didn’t need to finger them. Better yet, why restrict caption space if there is a button that can hide/show text anyway? Many Apps on the App store do this so, and I’m not sure why it’s so common either (Reuters & Latitude Magazine to quickly name two others).

Branding

Your home screen, consists of all your portfolios from Flickr. PTG has no authoring tools for creating a personalized home screen. If you want to brand yourself, a more novel solution is required in order to present your identity as a creative artist (custom iPad portfolio box maybe)?

Presenting

Presentations are effortless with PTG and the lack of  editing tools does reduce the App’s complexity. In a gallery, a single tap takes you to a shared screen view, main image on top and a thumbnail timeline running along the bottom, further onscreen taps, alternates the view with a full screen mode hiding the timeline. There is no pinch to zoom during slide shows.

Settings

Settings Screen

At the top of the screen are five buttons; top left is the Wall/Gallery switch view, with the remaining four on the right. From left to right they are: a share function (share on Facebook, share on twitter for example), an option to suggest new features/write a review, ‘Settings’ for presenting imagery and a very useful button shaped like a portfolio which allows you to view your contact’s galleries. Let’s be honest, Flickr.com is terribly slow to navigate, this is a great feature to include in the App. Everybody else’s work is just as accessible! During slideshow mode, more buttons appear on the bottom; controls for showing images, info button which hide/shows caption text and another share button

Wrapping Up

The Ugly

  • Doesn’t import flickr video

The Bad

  • No Pinch to Zoom
  • Home screen UI needs redesigning
  • Captions feature needs tweaking
  • You need to have a Flickr account
  • Doesn’t import gallery intro text

The Good

  • Flickr, on your iPad!
  • Automatically imports image captions
  • You can easily view other people’s work
  • Fast and easy to use
  • Install and download content on the go

The Best

  • No need to edit your portfolio, everything is done for you

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There is also an interview with the developer of Portfolio To Go here.

Portfolio To Go can be found at any of the links below:

WebsiteiTunesTwitterFacebook

iOS 4

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I have just downloaded my copy of iOS4 for my 3GS. I can finally have all my apps on the one screen, that means no more swiping.  Tapping takes so much less effort to get in and out of one’s apps. Here is my home screen as it stands and I hope it continues to stand for the future:

I always hated the extra screens.  Yes Mail, Settings, Notes and the iPod App are my most used apps besides the phone’s normal functions.

On a side note, performance is better regarding the camera and the tap to focus during making a video is really a good thing to have.

Written by jonathanjk

June 21, 2010 at 21:48

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