Posts Published in May 2010

Homemade Wooden DSLR Shoulder Rig

Jonathan Berqvist needed a shoulder rig for stabilizing his Canon 7D when filming, and his father Erik is quite good with woodworking, so they built a do-it-yourself a wooden shoulder rig using a a single tree branch. What’s awesome about the shoulder rig is that it has follow focus built into one of the two handles used to hold it.

Berqvist also created a neat video showing the construction of the shoulder rig, starting from tree branch stage. After watching this, I found myself with a strong desire to learn woodworking:

(via Engadget)

UK Government Funds Public Photo Project Covering General Election

The British government recently commissioned photographer Simon Roberts to create a public photo collaboration called The Election Project. In short, Roberts is creating documentary-style photography that follows the 2010 UK General election, and he is organizing a website to which people all over the UK can submit their own photographs of local political activities.

Roberts will also be traveling the country for three weeks in a motor home to document the election on the local level, with emphasis on the relationship between politicians and voters.

Community involvement is key to the project. Visitors can submit photos and “vote” (add favorites) for photos via the project’s Flickr photostream. Roberts wrote on the project site:

The General Election is, by definition, a democratic process. Your contributions will add a vital collaborative and democratic dimension to the project. This will undoubtedly be the most photographed election in British history.

Many of the posted public photos have a charmingly amateurish quality to them, a rawness that Roberts says he prefers: “The public’s images will also help to provide an antidote to the more stage-managed photographs increasingly seen of the campaign trail,” the photographer wrote.

It’s a fairly interesting glimpse of the elections thus far. You can see the batch in The Election Project’s gallery – which might take a while to load, since all the photos are currently posted on a single page. Pagination, much? Maybe it’s all in the name of equal representation.

(via The Photoletariat)

Google Shows Off Chrome’s Speed at 2700 Frames per Second

Google just released the latest beta version of its Chrome browser, and created a pretty amazing video to demonstrate how fast pages load. Using a Phantom v640 high speed camera, they film the browser racing random Rube Goldberg-style contraptions at up to 2700 frames per second. For example, in one test Chrome races a potato gun. Sweet.

They also have a cool behind-the-scenes video showing how the tests were done. I can’t believe it took 51 takes to get the potato gun shot to come out right.

Google puts out some of the most creative ads I’ve seen. Check out this one for Google Translate, or this one for Chrome Extensions.

New Canon Scanner is Film-Friendly

The freshly announced Canon CanoScan 9000F is designed with film-faithful photographers in mind.

Canon boasts that the new scanner has the highest resolution yet in its line, putting out film scans of 9600×9600 dpi in 48-bit color with its CCD sensor. The scanner can process mounted 35mm slides, 35mm filmstrips, and 120 formats.

In addition to improvements to standard scanner capabilities, the scanner comes loaded with FARE 3 technology, which Canon says provides automatic dust and scratch removal, as well as correction for fading, grain and backlight.

The CanoScan 9000F comes at a fairly reasonable price too, $250.

Impossible Project Not Happy with Polaroid

Polaroid stopped making instant cameras back in 2007, and ceased production of instant film two years later. Before Polaroid pulled out completely, the Dutch-based Impossible Project purchased Polaroid’s old equipment and factory in the Netherlands in an attempt to save Polaroid film from going extinct.

The company successfully re-engineered the film, and launched the new line of instant films a couple months ago. Recently they even opened up a storefront in New York City.

In the meantime, Polaroid found a new owner, and recruited Lady Gaga as the Creative Director and face of the company. Last week Polaroid announced a new instant film camera, the Polaroid 300, which looks remarkably similar to the Fujifilm Instax Mini 7.

According to Amateur Photographer, The Impossible Project isn’t very happy with the new camera, since they were expecting Polaroid to announce a new camera that would accept their 600-type film. Polaroid had showcased such a camera back at CES 2010 earlier this year.

A spokesperson for the company was quoted as saying,

The management of the Impossible Project finds this confusing and clearly wants to state that the Polaroid 300 is not the camera that has been announced in Polaroid’s press release from January 7 2010.

My guess is that we’ll be seeing Polaroid’s real announcement coming soon. If you’re a fan of Polaroid photography, hold your horses — good things come to those who wait.

On a semi-related note, Wikipedia has a pretty interesting summary of how The Impossible Project came to be:

Austrian photographer Florian Kaps, the owner of the largest online vendor for SX-70 films and organizer of the web-based instant photo gallery, had bought the approximately 500,000 film packages that were on stock. He teamed with André Bosman, a former head of film production in the large Polaroid film factory at Enschede, designed a plan to redesign the SX-70/600 film system in collaboration with Ilford Photo, and convinced the Polaroid owners to participate. Plans for a relaunch under the Impossible label were announced in January 2009. Buildings in the Enschede plant, which had produced 30 million film packs in 2007 and 24 million in the first half of 2008, were leased to the company created by Kaps, who by May 2009 had raised $2.6 million from friends and family for what he had named The Impossible Project.

500,000 film packages? Wow…

“Eye Candy” by Superfad is a Mindblowing Display of Creativity and Imagination

Sony recently hired Superfad to create a video for its global “make.believe” campaign, and got its money’s worth. This jaw-dropping video was created with a Phantom HD cinema camera shooting at 1,000 frames per second, and blends live action and CGI into ethereal scenes that are sure to leave you take your breath away.

An extra treat is a short behind-the-scenes video of how certain scenes were created. We are in awe.

(via Chase Jarvis)

Concept Camera with Built-In Balloon

Forget complicated kite photography kits that actually require skill. UK-based industrial designer Matthew Clark has a fun solution for taking photographs from high up: the Aeriel Capture camera.

This concept camera has a 3 foot balloon built into the back of the camera itself, and has a 20 meter chord that doubles as the shutter release. Photographs are taken by simply flipping a switch in the hand reel.

The idea is great in that it would allow anyone to easily take some aerial shots of an event without wind or fancy aerial vehicles. The downside to the idea is that you need to have helium on hand to get it floating.

If this was on the market for a low enough price (i.e. $20), do you think it’d be a useful camera to have around?

Aerial Capture (via Wired)

P.S. For those of you technically inclined, here’s a tutorial for how to actually build a balloon cam.

Mopho Trying to Make Photos Mo Social

Mopho is a new photo sharing service with a strange name — until you realize it’s a domain hack using Tonga’s ccTLD, making it

The idea is similar to more established location based services such as Foursquare or Gowalla, but rather than sharing your locations via check-ins and then adding photos, you share a geotagged photograph through the iPhone application. You can download the free application here.

Once you capture a photo, geotag its location, and publish it through the app, your friends will be notified through their apps, the Mopho website, or Facebook.

The photo and location service spaces are both extremely crowded with 800-pound gorillas in each. I don’t think Mopho offers enough to rise above its competition, but it might succeed in developing a small, enthusiastic community of users like all the other services in the long tail of these spaces.

Uber Flexible Tripod Heads by Induro

There’s a video demonstration of a Chinese military shovel that’s becoming quite popular on YouTube. Induro’s PHQ-Series tripod heads are similar in that they seem to do a little of everything. These are a cross between flexible ball-heads and accurate pan-heads, offer five directions of precise control (quintaxial positioning), and are equipped with five different bubble levels to help you adjust. Want to take 3D photographs? There’s a feature for that.

The PHQ1 for smaller cameras will cost $230, while the PHQ3 will sell for $290.

(via Wired)

Olympus Launches Online PEN Magazine

Olympus just launched a new online publication called “PEN – The Magazine“. It’s available through a Flash viewer online (sorry iPad users), or as a PDF you can download. The first issue features six users of the Micro Four Thirds PEN system, and also an advertisement for why you should be using the system too (gasp!). Now all the other camera companies need to release free online magazines for their camera systems as well.

By the way, yesterday Olympus launched the “PEN your story competition“. All you have to do is submit a proposal through YouTube for what you would do with a PEN camera and a $5,000 budget. Judges will select 6 videos from the top 20 most “thumbs uped” by the community, and those individuals will receive the camera and money to bring their vision to life.