Kickstarter has given birth to many styluses last year and Hand was one of the most successful ones bagging $313,490 from their original $25,000 goal. Created by Steve King, this stylus is inspired by the design of the mechanical pen and pencils. Featuring one of the smallest tips at 4mm diameters, it does look and feel great and the retracting pen is a nice touch although not necessary. It comes with an optional pack of 6 back up nibs all nicely presented in beautifully aluminium cases.
Unfortunately Hand doesn’t perform as good as it looks and its main feature remains the design. The smaller tip means you need to press it harder on the screen to register, something that becomes rather tiring especially when you are drawing. The body made of anodized aluminium is durable enough but the nib tends to wear out easily feeling a little dry explaining the need for the additional ones! So if you are planning to get one you should get the nip pack too. I wish they had been more careful with the design of the nib as there’s no point making it smaller since it’s not possible to obtain more accuracy. Wacom’s Bamboo Stylus has the best size with 6 mm and the majority has 8mm in dime meter to ensure an easy and effortless interaction with the screen. I’m hoping they’ll improve it in the next generation as Hand has one of the best designs out there. Let’s see it in action!:
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra had a special performance of John Williams’s music to celebrate his 80th birthday (a few months in advanced!) in London Royal Albert Hall. The winner of 5 Oscars, Williams is a legend amongst film music composers whose work has contributed towards the success of countless motion pictures; from Star Wars to Harry Potter, E.T to Indiana Jones, did I mention Jurassic Park? Let’s not forget the Schindler’s List!
He is the reason why I love film’s soundtracks and I used to listen to his music all day on my Sony cassette player. His theme songs are an important part of my childhood memories and I was always fascinated by how powerful his work is. I hope he’ll go on composing forever! I think he will …
*Updated: Lomography’s Diana Lens
I don’t know what is it about old-fashioned things that attracts us, maybe it’s the history, the richness … or maybe we just want to look cool!
One of the very popular old looks are photos; vintage, lomo or the effects produced by an analogue camera is almost considered an art form these days! With digital cameras completely pushing away traditional photography, re-creating the photos with that style has a very large fan base. From actions in photoshop, apps on your phone and using an actual analogue camera (Lomo cameras), anyone tries to have a go at this, but what if you could do the same with your digital camera?
Holga camera, initially designed in 1980s, is a low cost camera mainly made from plastic.” It usea a single-piece plastic meniscus lens with a focal length of 60 millimeters and utilize a zone-focus system that can adjust from about 1 meter (3 feet) to infinity – wikipedia“. The typical characteristic of Holga is vignetting and more blur around the frame. Holga camera can still be bought and used, but what you can do now is to buy the Holga lens and attach it to your digital camera!
The result is actually very interesting and your photos look as if they were taken with a classic analogue camera (look at the three photos on the top right side). The only difficulty with Holga lens is its appetite for light! in other words, it’s only useful on a sunny day and preferably before the sunset! At the fixed aperture of 8 there’s not much can be done with this lens other than satisfying your lomo desires! which should be met with the very pleasing result. It’s very cheap as well so definitely worth checking out; I’m certainly very happy with my experience!
The Holga lens for Canon (and Nikon) is available for about £20 from eBay or similar sites. It’s compatible with some of the accessories such as the Fisheye and Wide lens converters.
The Crop Factor
On a camera with a crop sensor (most Canon and Nikon mid-range DSLRs) this lens will actually become 96mm which in practise is a telephoto lens! This makes framing very limited, and taking photos of closer objects very difficult if not impossible (focus is limited too, about ~90cm to infinity) . This also means accessories like the Fisheye won’t give you the fisheye look but it will act as a wide lens converter which is actually a good thing! You can see from the image below that using a fisheye converter will give you a wider range (it transforms 96mm to something like 50mm) and make Holga lens easier to use.
The effect of the Fisheye; Not Fisheye! but a good wide converter
And here is one comparing a photo taken with a normal 18-55mm Lens to Holga so you can see the effect of the lens.
But what about video? Let’s have a look at some sample clips shot on Holga plus the fisheye converter recorderde yesterday in London.
Lomography also has a Canon EOS mount for Diana F+ range of plastic lenses which is somewhat disappointing. Taking the crop factor into consideration (sensor size) most of the lenses will become telephoto and practically a little useless! The only lens that can actually get you some result is the 20mm Fisheye. The other problem is the hole in the mount is too big making most of the photos too blurred, so I had to make it a bit smaller otherwise most photos won’t be usable.
The photos right off the camera even with the smaller EOS mount hole still look a little blurry and flat and will require retouching. Below is a test videousing Diana F+ 20mm Fisheye lens, there’s a nice look to it and it does get better with a little grading which you can see in the same video after the raw version.
When I was in Beijing I decided to do a photo diary every day and post in on my weblog. I knew I’m never going to have enough time once I return to do this and it was a good way of remembering what I did too. Me being me! I shot a lot of videos as well which I didn’t get around to upload and it has taken me two month to slowly start reviewing them. First I was gonna edit them all together in a 5-6 minutes clips but after looking at a few I realized that may need another month or two! So I decided to start uploading shorter clips and write a little about them.
If I had to choose my favourite way to commute it would be tube without a doubt! I just love the environment! It’s like a little underground society and the platforms and cartridges always fascinate me. London and Paris are best examples I’ve seen so far as they’ve keep the old look and when you are there you feel as if you have travelled a couple of decades in time!
Beijing’s subway as they call it, was very polished and modern and very similar to Tehran. It has its own unique features of course like the animations on the wall when the train was is the move (displayed on monitors) and the online supermarkets with items displaced on the walls or pillars. To get them you needed to download an app and scan the QR code and it will be delivered.
Here is a short clip showing a few of Beijing’s Subway stations with a peek inside the tube!
I shot this video back in September last year and just for my own amusement! It was a bit random and I was just looking at these old men enjoying themselves, it was nice. I was going through my files tonight and came across this, thought you might find this interesting too.
Of course that’s not all that happened! There was an interesting intro to stereoscopic, the theory and setup at the beginning followed quickly by A breakdown of a shot in The Hole from the VFX Supervisor (John Gajdecki) which revealed some interesting aspect of setting up a 3d rig and the production and post production issues that you might face. You can listen to his presentation below.
John Gajdecki – The Hole.
Next, and rest of presentations in some ways, were promoting OCULA; the stereoscopic post production plug-ins dealing specially with polarizing effect happening when shooting stereo and vertical alignment of the footages.OCULA was apparently heavily used and developed alongside Tron. This was followed by MARI, the 3D texture painting package which is actually a very good tool and it’s new abilities to work with animated geometry and camera to do projection work; not that impressive at it’s current stage for projection since all this can be done inside Nuke in a similar fashion.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the presentation was the stereo conversions methods in Nuke which you can watch below.This highly anticipated part was rather very short and you could see some people, a small group, leaving afterwards. Apologies for the shaky camera! it was all hand held.
There was also a sneak peak of the Nuke 6.3 showing some pretty cool new features such as 3D particle system and planar tracking. Watch it below.
The event was concluded by a short breakdown of a Tron’s shot. It was alright, not as great as they were teasing us for it the entire day! especially with so many breakdowns of the show already available online. A better presentation was expected from a successful company such as The Foundry. I understand they need to do marketing for their product, but when you call it a Master Class you don’t expect to hear a sale pitch(for the lack of a better word) which was the first impression of many of the audiences. I think they can hold promotional events and keep the master classes technical and for the professionals. Overall it was ok. It’s important to say that expectations are very high from the Foundry. Maybe if this presentation was from any other company I wouldn’t have been this critical, but Nuke has been a sensational tool and it has changed the industry in many ways and people have high regards and respect for the Foundry. Besides,I got my Nuke badge and T-shirt .. so… can’t complain really!
*The videos are intended only for public use,
Although this was a public event, the foundry has the rights to ask for removal or alterations should they find it necessary.
**This article is only reflecting a personal opinion. It was revised on 11/02/2011
Last week I went to cut&paste London event which is yearly design competition held throughout the world to find the new talents to attend the global championship in New York. The trial rounds were poorly organized (I saw the 2D trial rounds) but the final round was alright held in a fairly good venue. Unfortunately, like many other competitions there was a gap between what the audience liked and what was chosen as the winner which usually indicates a hidden agenda for what should be sent out to the next round, but overall it was an interesting night. Find out more about this at www.cutandpaste.com. There’s a short video of the event below.