Posts Published in September 2010

Google Wants to Speed Up the Web by Killing the JPEG

Google unveiled a new image format today called WebP that it hopes will make the web faster by cutting files sizes of images without affecting quality. According to a blog post they published earlier today, photos and images account for 65% of the bytes transmitted by websites. In their tests done using 1 million randomly selected images from the web, re-encoding images as WebP resulted in an average file size reduction of 39%. Here’s a gallery with image and file size comparisons.
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Facebook Increases Maximum Photo Size to 2048px, Adds Lightbox

Just earlier this year Facebook upped their maximum photo size to 720px, an increase of 20%. Today, they’ve announced that the maximum size is increasing to 2048px, about eight times larger than the previous maximum size. A download link will be included with photos allowing people to download the high resolution versions.
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Cute Hand-Stitched Felt Camera Cases

Hine Mizushima creates unique camera cases for point-and-shoots and sells them through her Etsy store. Each felt case is unique and hand-stitched by Mizushima, and looks like a toy camera. Check out this Flickr set for all the different designs that have been created in the past.
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GoPro Goes Entry Level with the Cheaper HD Hero 960

We’ve seen GoPro cameras in quite a few stories as of late, with people using them for things ranging from making friends with Great White sharks to capturing amazing home videos of space. Good news if you’ve been thinking of getting one for action footage — they’ve just released the cheaper HD Hero 960. You get 960p instead of 1080p, and you lose an expansion port for external displays and batteries, but you pay $180 instead of the $300 it costs for an HD Hero.

HD HERO 960 Camera (via Engadget)

Light Trails of a Floor Cleaning Robot

No, these aren’t movie stills from the upcoming Tron movie. Evan Ackerman over at BotJunkie wanted to know exactly how the Evolution Robotics’ Mint went about cleaning an open space, so he shot long exposure photographs of the robot sweeping and then mopping. Yay for automated light painting!

BotJunkie Review: Evolution Robotics Mint (via Wired)

What Makes a Great Photo, According to National Geographic

A great way to learn and become inspired is to look at great photographs. Even better is listening to experts discuss those images as you’re looking at them. The above video shows National Geographic editors picking their favorite photographs from their ongoing Your Shot contest and discussing why they feel the photo is so great.

The great pictures just stop time. They capture something that did not continue. It just was then, and that was the perfect moment. It wasn’t the moment before. It wasn’t the moment after. It was that moment.

Apologies if this video doesn’t load because you’re outside the US. If anyone knows a way around it for YouTube, feel free to share it with us in the comments.

(via Photoxels)

Camera Body Caps as Pinhole Lenses

Did you know you can turn your DSLR into a pinhole camera by using a body cap with a tiny hole in it? Photojojo just started selling body caps converted for this purpose in their store, but if you don’t want to pay $50 for them to bust a hole in a cap for you, there’s a neat tutorial over at Photocritic teaching you how to make your own.

My, What Big Canons You Have

We received a tip from someone in the future the other day. Canon becomes Skynet.

The Dark Side of Wildlife Filmmaking

Remember the controversy last year surrounding the use of a captive wolf in an award-winning wildlife photograph? Turns out this kind of deception might be common practice in the world of wildlife filmmaking.

Chris Palmer — the producer and director of quite a few notable wildlife films — has written a new book titled Shooting in the Wild in which he exposes many of the “dirty secrets” of nature documentaries.

The above video is an ABC Nightline segment in which Palmer discusses many of the tricks used in the business, including using trained animals, dragging dead animal carcasses to locations, digging fake dens, and even telling outright lies in the narration. One shocking example is found in the Academy Award winning documentary White Wilderness: a scene that seems to show lemming suicide was actually created by pushing lemmings off a cliff using a rotating platform.

Palmer also reflects on the question: does the positive good these faked scenes do justify the dishonest tricks used to create them? What do you think?

Update: Seems like the Hulu video above isn’t accessible to those outside the US. Here are a couple more links you can try: ABC News and Link TV.

Canon 5D Mark II Used for Iron Man 2

Back in 2009 there were rumors that the upcoming Iron Man 2 would make use of Canon’s 5D Mark II DSLR for certain scenes, and now details are emerging as to how exactly the the camera was used.

Cinematographer Matthew Libatique used 5D Mark II DSLRs to shoot parts of the Monaco Grand Prix scene in the movie in which Tony Stark is attacked by Ivan Vanko (AKA Whiplash) at the historic race. 5D Mark IIs were mounted to all four sides of a moving vehicle to capture moving background plate footage that was later combined with race car footage shot in Hollywood.
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