Posts Published in April 2010

Cupcakes Exploding on Faces at 700 Frames per Second

Slow motion videos have a way of making most things (that move) fascinating. Cupcakes being shot at faces are no exception.

Portland’s Kamp Grizzly developed a steam-punk style pneumatic cupcake cannon and set the stage for eating frosty delights at 120psi. The blasting buffet was documented in at 700fps coming off the Phantom HD Gold.

Besides cupcakes exploding on faces, sprinkles shooting out the mouth are pretty awesome as well. You’ll find that at 1:14.

(via Boing Boing)

Avatar Director James Cameron Helping to Bring 3D Camera to Mars

In 2007 NASA scrapped plans to include a 3D camera on the Curiosity Mars rover, which is scheduled to leave for the red planet in 2011. However, Avatar director James Cameron was able to convince NASA administrator Charles Bolden to include the 3D cam again, and is now helping to build the camera with San Diego-based Malin Space Science Systems.

Maybe some of this footage will end up as “Mars: The 3D IMAX Documentary”.

(via CNET)

Image source: Artist concept drawing by NASA

Upcoming BenQ E1260 Camera Supposedly Does HDR

Taiwanese electronics company BenQ isn’t a very big name in the digicam world, but its latest camera has something others don’t: “HDR” in the name. The BenQ E1260 HDR, slated to be released May 2010, captures photographs at 12 megapixels, shoots video at 720p, and has a 2.7 inch LCD. What we find most interesting is that they’re trying to market it as an HDR-capable camera. In their press release, the company states:

BenQ’s HDR image enhancement technology is designed bring out the finest details in the darkest and brightest parts of an image – allowing you to generate stunningly faithful photos under even the highest contrast lighting conditions. It is built to be more than just a backlight solution, and is the perfect tool to overcome high contrast lighting condition challenges.

However, this feature isn’t what most people think of when they hear HDR, which is bracketing multiple exposures and combining the resulting images. Instead, the camera offers some sort of processing feature that handles the light from high contrast scenes differently. Here’s a visual explanation provided on their product page:

A single line on the product page makes it clear that the feature doesn’t have anything to do with combining multiple exposures:

By ingeniously adjusting the way the camera handles light under high contrast conditions, the HDR image enhancement technology allows subtle details in the darkest and brightest parts of an image to stand out like never before.

The ambiguity behind how the technology actually works has confused news sources and gadget blogs, whose writers presumably saw HDR and assumed it meant multiple exposures. SlashGear is one that gets it wrong:

[…] the company’s HDR image enhancement technology […] combines multiple frames to work around high contrast images having reduced visibility

Since the technology is still technically HDR, it’s not really BenQ’s fault for taking advantage of this recent fad by sticking it in the camera’s name. However, we still think the company should be clear enough about how it works to not fool people reporting on it.

Forgotten Beatles Photos Found After Nearly Half a Century

37 previously unseen photographs of the Beatles have been found after being forgotten for nearly half a century. Photographer Paul Berriff captured the photographs during a Beatles tour in 1963 and 1964 when he was just 16 years old, but the negatives ended up being forgotten for over 45 years along with 850 other negatives.

The photographs were created using two film cameras: a Rolleiflex and a 35mm Nikon, the latter of which he still uses to this day. Berriff went on to photograph many of the most recognizable artists and groups in the music industry (i.e. The Rolling Stones and Queen), and won a BAFTA award as a documentary filmmaker.

Berriff has set up a website called The Beatles Hidden Gallery where he is selling prints of the photographs. Only 49 prints of each photograph will be made.

(via Amateur Photographer)

Image credits: Photographs by Paul Berriff and used with permission

One Photoshop Fan’s Quest for CS5

It’s nice to see that Adobe’s corporate culture allows for some “self-deprecating fun“. Yesterday Photoshop product manager John Nack posted the above video, in which a “Photoshop fan” starts an Apple-esque waiting line outside what appears to be a Best Buy.

Guess who makes an appearance in the video? None other than Bryan O’Neil Hughes, the product manager whose voice narrates the now famous Content Aware Fill demo video.

“Unicorn into a meteor sho-weer!”

Photoshop CS5 Free Trial Now Available

For those of you who have been itching to try the new Content Aware Fill and Puppet Warp features in Adobe Photoshop CS5, today’s your lucky day. CS5 became available for purchase through the Adobe website, and you can now download a 30-day free trial of the software just to play around with the amazing new features if you’re not sure yet you want to upgrade.

If you’ve tried it out already, do you think the new features live up to the hype?

Beautiful Glimpse of San Francisco in HD

This video wasn’t filmed with a DSLR, but it’s so beautiful we just had to share it with you. Patrick Lawler filmed some of his favorite locations in San Francisco using a RED ONE camera at 4K 16:9 resolution, creating a breathtaking glimpse of this wonderful city. In case you’re wondering, the music is from the solo album of Jonsi, the lead singer of Sigur Rós.

(via Laughing Squid)

Picwing Takes the Pain Out of Mailing Photos to Family

Y Combinator-funded photo startup Picwing started out in 2008 as a typical photo-sharing service that also beamed your photos to a fancy, $249 digital picture frame that you could use to easily share photos (i.e. baby pictures with your parents). Turns out people weren’t willing to drop that much cash on a digital frame when similar products were bigger, cheaper, and similar in functionality.

Picwing then decided to focus on printing photographs, and realized that many people would like to share more physical prints than they actually do. For example, people might want to share photos of their young children with relatives, but don’t have the time to have photos printed and mailed.

Using the Picwing app for iPhone application or Android, you can send full-res photos directly to the service from your phone. Picwing then automatically prints and mails the photos to up to 6 recipients for a subscription fee starting at around $5 a month for each recipient. Photos can also be added to accounts from your computer or through email, and you can choose to have 15 photos mailed up to twice a month (for a slightly higher fee).

We like the business model, and think there’s definitely a need that Picwing meets. Is this a service you would use?

(via TechCrunch)

Sneak Peek at Nokia’s HD-Capable Phone

Last week we reported that one of Nokia’s top execs made the prediction that cameraphones would soon make DSLRs obsolete, and that HD-video recording would be coming to mobile phones in the next 12 months. This video shows off the HD-video capabilities of the upcoming Nokia N8, captured at 720p. While we still don’t think cameraphones will win over DSLR users, this is pretty amazing footage, considering it was captured on a cell phone.

(via Gizmodo)

Polaroid Returns to Instant Film Game Looking Like Fujifilm

Instant film is trying to make a comeback, and Polaroid wants in. Two years after calling it quits on instant film, the company has just announced the Polaroid 300 camera, which uses real self-developing film rather than the printer-in-the-camera thing they’ve been trying lately.

Polaroid’s Creative Director Lady Gaga supposedly helped with the design of this “next generation” Polaroid camera. However, we couldn’t help but notice the camera’s striking resemblance to the Fujifilm Instax Mini 7… How similar are the two cameras? Judge for yourself:

So basically, it looks like the new Polaroid 300 is simply the Fujifilm Instax Mini 7 rebranded. What’s interesting is that you can purchase the Instax Mini 7 for $69 on Amazon, while the new Polaroid camera costs $90. Film is roughly the same price for both cameras, at around $1 an exposure.

Now we know: the Polaroid brand name is worth $21 more than Fujifilm’s on an instant camera.