Posts Published in March 2010

Sumo Wrestling in Tilt-Shift and Time-Lapse

Here’s a fun little tilt-shift, time-lapse video by The Bitter*Girls showing a sumo wrestling match in Japan. The two techniques make the video look almost like a clay animation, with little-big people trying to toss each other out of the ring.

(via Laughing Squid)

Sweet Canon 5D Mark II Cake

This Canon 5D Mark II-shaped cake is by Studio Cake based in Menlo Park, CA. We’re not sure what the back looks like, but it’s amazing how much detail they were able to add to the cake. If a photographer in your life has a special occasion coming up, check out your local cake shop — they might be able to create a similar masterpiece for you!

(via PDNPulse)

ViaU Offers Madison Avenue Photography for a Low Flat Fee

ViaU is a new photography service by Mariano Pastor, a 25-year veteran of the Madison Avenue photography industry whose clients include L’Oreal and Lancome.

What sets it apart from other services is the flat rate it charges for photography regardless of who the client is or what the photograph is used for. Clients simply create a layout for the photo via ViaU’s web interface and ship the product to the studio. The photographs are created within 24 hours, and the product is shipped back free of charge.

Now here’s the kicker: the photography is free, and you only pay the flat fee of $224 if you decide to buy unlimited rights to the photograph. On the website Pastor states,

The truth is that great photography doesn’t really have to cost that much. It’s a simple idea, but also a big idea.

Simple enough, that is, to create your layout online and escape all negotiations. You know what you’ll get before you start. Great original photography, to use as you wish, at an affordable price. After twenty-five years of shooting for Madison Ave. I believe Via U! is my most creative accomplishment.

Rob Haggart over at A Photo Editor thinks this model is a bad idea:

Can’t say I’m complete surprised by this. I know product photography was one of the categories hit hard early on when companies started doing the shots internally so maybe this is just the natural progression of a photographer competing for the bottom dollar there, except something doesn’t feel right to me. Doing this kind of thing for small companies seems like a smart play, delivering the same price to billion dollar companies seems rotten.

What do you think about this business model for photography?

(via A Photo Editor)

Camera Failure Versus Price and Brand

SquareTrade is a company that provides warranties for consumer electronics. As such, it has a good deal of data on digital cameras and, more specifically, how often they fail. After a three year study of over 60,000 new digital cameras, they’ve published a report with their findings.

Here’s a graph comparing failure rate with camera price:

Surprise! Cheaper cameras have a higher failure rate than more expensive ones.

When comparing failure rate with camera brands, the results are a little more surprising:

The study found that Panasonic cameras are the most reliable for both value and premium point-and-shoots. Canon cameras are more reliable than Nikons for cheaper compacts, but for premium models Canon’s reliability does not improve, while Nikon’s improves drastically. Keep in mind this report is only about reliability, not performance or image quality.

Finally, why do cameras fail? The report has a nice graph for that question too:

Both curves seem to decrease in steepness after the first year, suggesting that if you have a well built camera and aren’t clumsy or reckless, you’ll probably take care of your camera for a good amount of time.

Finally, here’s an interesting highlight from the report:

For DSLR Cameras, Nikon and Canon were equally reliable.

Whew! Glad that’s settled…

We’d be interested in seeing a graph comparing actual life span of specific camera models compared with their price. This could provide a ranking of cameras in terms of price per year (of average life).

Digital Camera Failure Rates (via Wired)

Unofficial Flickr App Approved for the iPad

An unofficial iPad Flickr app called “Flickr Photos” has been approved for the iPad app store. The $2.99 app, created by Garlic Dumpling, allows you to do download and view both your own photos and your contacts’ photos in a minimalistic interface. There’s no word on whether the official Flickr application will be ready for the iPad when the store launches, but the iTunes preview page for the official Flickr app already states “Flickr for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store”.

The official app has an average rating of only 3.5 stars, so if a third party app can come along and offer a better experience for using Flickr, it might just take off and strike big in this upcoming “gold rush”.

(via MacStories)

NBA Jam for Wii Incorporates Photos into Game Graphics

Boom shaka laka! If you’re familiar with 90s arcade games, you might recall NBA Jam, the over-the-top basketball sim. EA Sports is developing a remixed, updated version of the classic for the Nintendo Wii, to be released this fall. As a major part of their art design, the game uses real photographs of NBA players’ heads, attached to digitized bodies.

Instead of conventional animation, the developers chose to use larger scaled photos of the players’ heads which change depending on their performance and experiences.

These digital Frankensteins are a clever way to update the game’s artwork while retaining the larger-than-life, old school feel that continues to endear so many fans 17 years after the original game was released.

(via 1up)

Photoshop Content Aware Fill Parody

Last week the web was abuzz with excitement over a demo Adobe created for their upcoming “Content Aware Fill” feature. Well, it didn’t take long for parody videos to spring up, mocking how easily Photoshop will soon be able to completely create new “realities”. The above video is one such parody, ending with this gem:

There you go. A wonderful tool, and Adobe Photoshop again proving that everything you see is probably a lie.

Reminds me of the PhotoSketch technology that we covered last year.

Actor Aaron Eckhart Loves Photography

It’s fairly common for actors to try their hand at directing or producing films, but Aaron Eckhart has created a bit of a buzz by shooting his own photos. The self-described “photo geek” completed a commercial shoot for Molly Sim’s jewelery line. Eckhart hopes to go pro soon and have his own exhibitions.

“I’m obsessed with it–it’s all I do,” he told People “That’s really the only thing I think about.” He also cites Peter Lindbergh and Bruce Weber, as well as French and Italian Vogue as his inspiration.

The actor, most recognized for his performances in Thank You for Smoking and The Dark Knight, went on to describe his shooting style:

Straight-up fashion photography in the studio–that’s not what I necessarily aspire to, you know? I like to be outside, on location, making up stories… That’s where my acting comes in.

(via People)

Image Credit: Aaron Eckhart by Shelby White

Facity Documents the Faces of Cities

Facity is an online photo project in which photographers from cities around the world submit portraits documenting faces found within their respective cities. The project, which started at the end of 2008 in Berlin, has grown to 88 photographers in 58 different cities, and currently publishes 10-15 new portraits per day.

Facity attempts to ensure a similar look across each submitted portrait by publishing aesthetic guidelines they call the FACITY manifest. These rules govern everything from lighting (indoor natural light) to equipment (50mm lens at f/2.8), and seem to be quite effective at standardizing the style of submitted portraits.

One thing we noticed was that Facity photographers have quite a knack for capturing brilliant expressions on the faces of babies:

If you’d like to participate, you can volunteer to be either a model or a photographer. The only requirement for being a model is that you need to live in a city that has a photographer, while volunteering as a photographer requires that you create at least one portrait per week for six months.

Plastic Half-Size Format 35mm Cameras

The Golden Half is a plastic half-size format 35mm camera by Brooklyn 5 and 10, an online shop specializing in “whimsical gifts”. The fact that it’s half-size (aka half-frame) means each exposure only uses half of the film’s intended frame. A 36-exposure roll of film will therefore allow you to shoot 72 different exposures. Here’s what the resulting frames look like when you get them developed:

You can either cut the frames up into individual photos, or leave them as a diptych if you feel so inclined.

Golden Half cameras are available in three flavors (Zebra, Telegraphy, and plain) and cost $50.

Image credit: Saint-Sky by madmolecule