Blending Cameras – From Point & Shoot to DSLR

July 31, 2009 at 5:06 pm (Design, News, photography) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Like the compactness of a point-and-shoot camera, but want the visual punch of a DSLR? In the past we’ve seen point-and-shoots with various attachment options – for example the Sony Cyber-shot  series of point-and-shoot cameras has been offering attachments like a wide angle lens, telephoto lens, photo filter set, and underwater camera case for years – but none have offered the true versatility of a real DSLR.

The gap between these two realms is shrinking fast. Some define the new kid on the digital photo block as a “hybrid camera,” while others call it a “power point-and-shoot”. So what makes this new category of camera so special? Compared to traditional P&S cameras these new cameras allow for better ISO (light sensitivity), smaller lens aperture (the amount of light allowed into the lens), and some even boast compatibility with the Micro Four Thirds System (allowing for changeable lenses). Olympus recently released a statement about the E-P1 camera saying it is: “…The world’s smallest 12.3-megapixel interchangeable lens system camera that blends the high-quality still images of a DSLR with HD video, stereo Linear PCM audio recording and In-Camera Creativity within an ultra-portable body.”

These cameras are smaller and lighter than their DSLR counterparts, mainly due to the camera’s lack of a mirror box in favor of an ultra-precise electronic viewfinder. The cameras are expected to provide point-and-shoot enthusiasts with control over depth of field and other areas lacking from the P&S platform while maintaining the flexibility of a small camera. In fact the CEO of Samsung Digital Imaging Company, Sang-jin Park, said: “We estimate that the hybrid digital camera market will be over 20 percent of the global digital still-camera market by 2012.”

We’ll see some versions of the new high-end point-and-shoots on the market later this year and they are expected to be in the $600+ price range. Companies planning to be in the first wave of power point-and-shoot manufacturers include: Panasonic, Samsung, Olympus, Leica, and Sigma. It will be interesting to see where this new genre takes us.

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Don’t Quit – Have Mario do it For You!

July 30, 2009 at 10:10 pm (Design, economy, News, Video Game) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

I-Quit2So you want to quit your job? Do it in style! Back in April Jarrad Farbs decided it was time for a company switch, but instead of typing a boring letter of resignation he decided to make a game out of it, literally.

After 3½ years at 2K Australia the game developer has, for various reasons, decided to move on. In order to inform the company of his resignation he developed a game by combining one of his own creations with the Nintendo game Super Mario Bros. The game involves four levels, finally ending with: “Thank you 2K Australia! You gave me a paycheck, an incredible project and a world-class team to learn from. But my princess is in another castle. My last day is June 5, so I can still probably sign-off with … ”

When that time comes and you’re ready to make your next career move, I hope you remember this and try to do something just as fun. The game is available on his website

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Fine Arts & Fantasy Gallery Opening

July 28, 2009 at 11:48 pm (Art, Art Event, Florida, Fort Lauderdale, free, Gallery Opening, Graphic Design, Illustration, social event, Social Events & Networking, South Florida) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Radford_hunt

This evening heralded the opening of the much overdue and deserved gallery exhibit for two of the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale’s most respected and talented faculty, Jon Hunt and Jim Radford.

The two masters are displaying their recent works in various media including oil, watercolor, ink, graphite, digital, and sculpture. This show does not disappoint. Though the two have very different styles, the pieces illustrate each artist’s strengths and talents in a cohesive and awe inspiring way.

Jon Hunt concentrates more on digital media, producing art for image comics, book illustrations, and collectible card games. Jim Radford has a more traditional style reminiscent of some of the great portraiture artists of the past.

During my time at AIFL I had the privilege of being under Jim Radford’s tutelage for a short time. He retired in 2006 after 28 years at the college. I will never forget that we described him as the Bob Ross of anatomy to those not in his classes. He would utter things like “Happy little occipital protuberance” while whipping out an image of a human back and head with such ease it would make an anthropologist jealous.

These two artists are amazing in their craft. If you have a chance to visit the Mark K. Wheeler Gallery at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale I would highly recommend it. The exhibit is up through August 31.

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Augmented Reality – The Birth of a New Age

July 27, 2009 at 1:44 pm (Branding, Design, marketing, News, package design, print media, Video Game) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Today we can augment ourselves, use augmentation ideals in math, and augment pharmaceuticals – but augment reality? Augmented reality (AR) is a field of computer research that combines the real-world and a computer-generated world into one. We’ve seen the technology through Hollywood’s eyes for years – think of the holodeck from Star Trek: The Next Generation, the display in Ironman’s helmet, or the singing and dancing graphics on the cereal box in Minority Report.

AR has been around for years and in the past was mostly used by techies for fun and entertainment, but now augmented reality is becoming a tangible, fiscal reality for the consumer-based market. At the forefront of this new frontier is a company named Total Immersion, who has been developing the field since 1999, and publicly showing the technology since at least 2004. Total Immersion has adapted the concept of AR into several markets including: amusement parks, digital marketing, event and exhibits, and retail environments.

The yellow “first down” lines seen in recent televised NFL seasons are the result of AR. Companies like Doritos are cashing in on the idea, too. They recently launched a campaign by placing AR symbols on the back of Doritos Late Night bags. By visiting their website you unlock video concerts by Blink 182 and Big Boi.

Doritos

Even the everyday designer is getting in on the action. James Alliban created a business card with an augmented reality symbol on the back. When you visit his website you can hold the symbol up to your web cam and watch a short video – the symbol can also be printed out from your computer.

The possibilities are endless, and exciting, with this technology. Virtual onsite walk-throughs for architectural projects, self-guided walking tours with customizable points of interest, information and visitor tracking at exhibitions – could it even save print newspapers and magazines? I can’t wait to see what this technology holds in the future! I know I plan on using it, if I can find the right project.

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Crying Indian – Why Do We Remember?

July 26, 2009 at 1:29 pm (advertising, Branding, commercials, Education, marketing, TV advertising) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

The other day myself and some other instructors were preparing for a presentation to kids covering First Aid for the Environment. Jokingly I said, “Why don’t we show the crying Indian ad.” That got me thinking; what makes this ad memorable?

The ad I was referring to was actually a Public Service Announcement  (PSA) that first aired more than 10 years before I was born; yet I remember it to this day. That is a testament to how long the ad ran, and how memorable it was. With its “People Start Pollution. People can stop it.” tagline, the PSA arguably kicked off the green movement (though Keep America Beautiful had been running PSAs since the early ‘60s).

Yes, this PSA is memorable, but what did it actually accomplish? According to the Ad Council “By the end of the campaign, Keep America Beautiful local teams had helped to reduce litter by as much as 88% in 300 communities, 38 states, and several countries.”

So what makes this and other ads so memorable and effective? Do we connect with it emotionally – responding to the Indian crying? Did it bring to the surface something we hadn’t thought of before – what litter does to the environment? Was it just provocative enough to get us thinking? I believe it was a combination of these factors, along with the simple clear message that it put in front of the viewer.

Ironically an Italian played the Indian, and there were a few more Keep America Beautiful PSAs of similar style and content made, but none as successful as the crying Indian in the canoe. Regardless, it remains one of the most memorable and impactful ads almost 40 years after it first aired.

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Cat in a Box!

July 25, 2009 at 4:45 pm (Art, Design, package design, print media) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

b861_cat_play_house_comboCats love cardboard; people love cats doing cute and funny things. Combine these two principles and you have a creation like the Cat Playhouse Tank, Plane, and Fire Engine from SuckUK.

That’s right, you can order cardboard military vehicles and a fire apparatus for your favorite feline. It ships flat, so there is some assembly required – think of it as a bonding experience between the two of you.

Having three cats, we understand the mesmerizing and nearly magnetic draw that cardboard has on cats. Also having three cats we know how long cardboard lasts in an excited barrage of claws, teeth, and playfulness…usually not long.

The idea for these structures is great, and the designs are fun and entertaining. Best of all they used non-toxic ink, so your cat won’t look like he has a milk mustache of printed metal – and of course they are recyclable.

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Red Eye @ArtServe

July 24, 2009 at 11:39 pm (Art, Art Event, Design, Design Events, Florida, Fort Lauderdale, free, Gallery Opening, networking, photography, social event, Social Events & Networking, social media, South Florida) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Art_Serve_Red_EyeTonight was the opening of the 4th Annual The Red Eye at ArtServe (@ArtServeFlorida) in Fort Lauderdale – a multi-media event sponsored by City Link and Metromix.com. The affair showcased a wide variety of artistic expressions including an open mic, Zen area, short film room, fashion show, and artistic expressions in music and dance. Traditional media artwork was also on tap.

The gallery opening occurred from 6 to 9 this evening with food and beverages sponsored by Café Vico and Orzel Vodka. The Red Eye is a self-proclaimed “innovative and exciting event aimed at promoting fresh underground art that serves as a conversation piece.” The event did not disappoint. I thought that was comparable to a miniature Art Basel, while I heard others refer to it as “better than 2nd Saturdays” (Art + Design Night in the Miami Design District).

The event was good. The overall quality of the artwork varied, but there were definitely some quality pieces that deserve attention. I hope you have a chance to visit ArtServe during this show, I believe many of the pieces will be available for viewing through August. Special thanks to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Chris Tiedje for tweeting about the event!

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United Breaks Guitars – Dave Carroll Breaks United

July 23, 2009 at 10:35 pm (economy, News) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I ended my last post regarding the United Breaks Guitars video with: “I guess an important lesson for companies to learn is that the consumer is no longer helpless to retaliate. It will be interesting to see if any of these videos affect United’s bottom line.”

Well, guess what? It has affected the company. This morning many news outlets across the globe are reporting on the financial fallout from Dave Carroll’s YouTube video, United Breaks Guitars. The Times reporter Mike Harvey from San Francisco noted, “Consumer revenge, it seems, is best served with a video camera and three-part harmonies.”

In the past disgruntled customers could only threaten physical harm on company representatives who they felt had wronged them (this usually did not end well), but could not threaten fiscal harm to an entire company. This video has caused a 10% drop in airline stock price resulting in a loss of $180 million dollars to shareholders. “Which, incidentally, would have bought Carroll more than 51,000 replacement guitars” as reported by Chris Ayres of The Times.

For updates on the Dave Carroll saga you can follow him on Twitter: @DaveCarroll or Curve Productions: @curveprod

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Creative Truths

July 22, 2009 at 10:10 pm (advertising, Art, Branding, commercials, Design, marketing, News) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

The Vendor Client Relationship Video is a fantastic representation of what designers go through every day. Most transactions that people face day to day are non-negotiable, or partially negotiable. As designers we deal with perceived value in a much different way. People say “why would I pay you that much when my [insert friend or family’s name and relation here] can build a website” or “knows Photoshop.” Many people do not understand that an attitude like that is like saying: “my friend can give you stitches just as good as a medical professional and at a deep discount” just because she know how to cross stitch.

The video presents this disproportioned view of the design business in a comical and uncomfortably true way. On top of the comedic genius of the final product itself, the video is an example of viral video done well. The creative force behind this video is Scofield Editorial – creator of videos, web spots, documentaries, and the like. They did a great job of creating a successful, humorous, and non-sophomoric viral video. Now if they can only figure out how to use proper kerning on their logo!

The video reminds me of the Designing a Stop Sign video that featured Al Samuels and Katie Nahnsen from Chicago area improv theaters and the NBC show Sports Action Team.

Both these videos are a must see for anyone in the creative arts!

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Online Identity – How We Use Social Media

July 21, 2009 at 5:42 pm (marketing, networking, social media) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Social_media_superhero

The other day I was sitting in a conference and heard a continuous and steady ticking noise – the sounds of twitter and facebook being updated, text messages flying, and emails sending. Isn’t it funny how social norms have changed? In the past it would have been rude to be completely enthralled in something other than what the speaker was talking about. Now, at least in some arenas, it is not only accepted, but expected, that people will be using social media throughout the entire presentation. The job of stenographer has been passed to anyone with a cell phone, laptop, or other portable uploading device.

Many of us are fully connected to each other through social media. We can get a minute-by-minute update of conferences or events through the use of hashtags, podcasts, and micoblogs. Not only are these forms of social media developing their own unique set of rules and personalities, but they are reshaping social norms in the real world.

Some of the personalities I have witnessed in social media are as follows:

  • Class President – Organizer of social media meetups, tweetups, mashups, etc. Usually just known locally by the social media groups in their own region.
  • Professional –  Social media is their job. They produce content to drive people to their company’s site, promote their products, etc, but still provide relevant and current information and news.
  • Networker – They are involved in meetups, online conversations, sharing information, and the like. They don’t always create their own content, but can find something relevant to any topic. These people are constantly connected.
  • Reply and Retweet Informant – This person has no original content. Their sole purpose in social media is to regurgitate what someone else said, or comment on what others have posted.
  • Comedian – Their updates are just to get a smile out of readers.
  • Business – Click here and buy, endorse, or promote my crap.
  • Diary Keeper – They let us know every little detail about their meals, workday, bodily functions, or whatever other monotonous thing is happening.
  • Porn – The people that for an unsolicited reason friend, connect, post, and pursue you because they have an army of 22-year-olds who match you perfectly based on God knows what.

I have also noticed that social media is used in different ways:

  • Retribution – To get back at those who physically or mentally harmed you in the past by showing how great you life is now
  • Self-esteem – The people whose online persona looks like they are living the highlife and loving every minute of it. In reality none of it is true, but it makes them feel better.
  • Therapy – These people share their problems with the world; everything is drama.
  • Bragging – Their life is going well, and they want everyone to know it.
  • Reconnect and Friend –  They really do want to know what happened to everyone, and how they are doing.

I think it’s funny how we all hide behind our personally constructed online identities. Like superheroes in masks and colorful costumes, it’s usually not that hard to tell that Clark Kent is Superman with glasses. I’m sure there are more personality types and reasons people use social media than I listed here, these were just the ones I see the most. There’s a great presentation by Social Interaction Design specialist Adrian Chan that describes social media personality types in a more detailed and professional way. It will be interesting to see how social media psychology and etiquette develop over the next few years, and how it will interact and influence our traditional social norms.

What kind of online personality am I? Find out: @IamBartleby

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