first_imgRelated Posts Image from Microsoft. Tags:#Microsoft#web markhachman Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Microsoft said Thursday that it will invest about $500 million over three years to fund YouthSpark, a program designed to give 300 million kids around the world opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have.Closing The “Opportunity Divide”Brad Smith, Microsoft’s executive vice president for legal and corporate affairs, said in a webcast that YouthSpark was designed to close the “opportunity divide” between First World and Third World countries, where youth either doesn’t have the resources they need to succeed, or lack the jobs or training to make the jump from schools into the working world.Microsoft also said that it would change its philanthropic strategy to align with Non-Govermental-Organizations (NGOs) and other nonprofits that themselves were focused on “opportunities for education, employment, and entrepreneurship for young people,“ according to chief executive Steve Ballmer.Examples include the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and nonprofits like Take IT Global. Microsoft also launched the YouthSpark Hub, an online repository of training and resources, and said it would launch Give for Youth a global microgiving marketplace for NGOs; and Innovate for Good, a global online community where those young people could engage and collaborate with each other.Big, Bold Bets – On Philanthropy“Lately we’ve talked a lot at Microsoft about big, bold bets we’re making: Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, our new Office products, and a number of other flagship product releases,” Ballmer said via Webcast. “Today I also want to talk about a big bold bet we’re making – a different kind of bet, a bet to close this opportunity divide we’ve discussed for a target of 300 million young people around the world.”Ballmer said that Microsoft was prepared to use its connections with partners around the world to effect real change. “We’re committed to using our technology, our talent, our time and our resources to help actual issues facing young people around the world,” he said.In-Kind ContributionsFinally, Microsoft said that it would align YouthSpark with other educational initiatives, including Partners in Learning, Office 365 for Education, Skype in the Classroom, DreamSpark, its Imagine Cup, and BizSpark. The half-billion-dollars Microsoft will contribute includes in-kind help such as Office 365 subscriptions and Skype for the classroom, allowing one classroom to talk to another. “In effect, this allows for a multibillion-dollar contribution,” Smith said.Mary Mwende, who grew up in what she described as a “slum” in Kenya and gained an education at the American University in Dubai through President Clinton’s Clinton Scholars program, said not enough was being done to let the ideas of young people bloom.“One of the things I’ve learned is that we need resources, we need all kind of skills, we need… things to engage us,” Mwende said. “We have so many ideas we want put out to the world and we don’t know how to do that.”Support For InnovationJennifer Corriero, the founder of TakingITGlobal, said that one teen in Latin American had developed a mobile app to encourage others to donate blood. “Young people are bursting with ideas, and they just need support,” she said.Microsoft’s initiative also complements the goals of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, founded by Microsoft co-founder and executive chairman Bill Gates.Although the Foundation works worldwide, one of its goals is to improve the quality of education within the United States by “making sure that all students graduate from high school ready to succeed in college and that young adults who want to get a postsecondary degree have a way to do so,” according to the Foundation’s annual letter.The solution, according to the Foundation, is using a combination of peer review and technology to improve the quality of teaching. A spokesman for the Foundation could not be reached at press time for comment, and a spokesman for Gates himself also said that Gates had no comment.last_img read more

first_img8) Geek & SundryOut of all the non-musical celebrity vehicles included in Google’s original investment, Felicia Day’s channel has been the best performing, even beating out Chris Hardwick’s Nerdist’s channel in terms of views (24 million to Harwick’s 18 million)  and subscribers (376,000 to Hardwick’s 206,000). Day has always been more of an Internet celebrity than a mainstream one, and her status as nerd queen ensures her channel funding for Google’s second round of investments. Like the Nerdist, Geek & Sundry airs different shows for different days of the week, with my favorite being The Flog.    9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… (Shut Up! Cartoons, an animated channel by the YouTube celebrity duo Smosh rivals Mondo in success, so it will probably get funding next year as well. Shut Up! has averaged 2 million views a week since it began in April.) 5) Red BullRed Bull has been on YouTube since 2006, and in that time, it has amassed more than 474 million views and 900,000 subscribers on its extreme-sports videos, interviews and commentary. The Red Bull YouTube channel made headlines last month when Red Bull-sponsored Felix Baumgartner fell through the stratosphere to set a Guiness World Record last month. Baumgartner’s livestream lured a record number of viewers. With success like that for a branded content channel, Google would be a fool to not invest again.  10) The OnionDo I really need to explain why The Onion is doing well on YouTube? It’s the freakin’ Onion, a staple of American satire. The print-based publication’s seemingly effortless transition to the digital world of video makes other outlets attempts look pitiful.  (Vice’s music channel Noisey, which consistantly ranks in the top 15, will also probably get funding next year given the general popularity of music channels on YouTube.)  3) Machinima PrimeMachinima is already ranked as the fourth most-popular YouTube channel, and is one of the oldest and largest YouTube networks. So for them to start another channel and for it to not do well would be inconceivable.The Machinima Prime channel began July 1, and has racked up 53 million views and more than 600,000 subscribers: a jaw-droppingly impressive feat for being only four months old.  Machinima Prime includes original shows featuring top YouTube gamers like the gun-toting FPS Russia (pictured below), and the anticipated prequel to Battlestar Galactica.  Tags:#funding#Google#YouTube 6) WWE Fan Nation and MotorTrendBoth channels were founded well before last November (WWE in 2007, MotorTrend in 2008 according to Deadline), so both channels have had a long time to build up their specific, niche audiences. MotorTrend has collected 262 million views with its 465,000 subscribers, while WWE Fan Nation has 395 million with 731,000 subscribers. The content both channels provide is better suited to older audiences, though WWE Fan Nation is easily more testosterone-driven than MotorTrend. MotorTrend’s content on average gets almost 3 times the views of an average WWE Fan Nation video, but WWE Fan Nation uploads anywhere from 3 to 20 videos a day.  7)  Jay Z Life & TimesWho knew people were still into Jay-Z and his music? I kid. His celebrity-powered channel has collected more than 300 million views, mostly on his music videos and promos. The channel also has a variety of music-centric shows, like “The Truth With Elliot Wilson,” “Decoded,” and “Road to Brooklyn.” The channel could get cut, but given YouTube’s love of music and music-related content, the channel could just as easily receive additional funding.  5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe Appcenter_img It’s been a whole year since the online creative world gasped at Google’s $100 million-plus investment in 100 or so “Original Channels” on YouTube. Shows were pitched, celebrities were called in, and the mainstream media finally portrayed YouTube as the entertainment powerhouse it’s been for years.Now, Google is taking stock. Channels that didn’t take off are being left to their own devices. Some will go quietly into that digital night.  The Original Channels initiative was “scattershot,” according to Ad Age, but it found success in programming for younger viewers. Not surprisingly, Original Channels also showed that the best content came from YouTubers themselves, as they already know the territory.Google could have asked me or any top YouTuber what would work on the video sharing site and found this out without spending huge money on random channels and has-been celebrities. Regardless, Google is cutting the funding of all but the top 30% to 40% of its Original Channels. Survivors will receive additional funding, with YouTube carefully monitoring watch time for each as Google tries to sell more ads.  Here now are the 10 best YouTube Original Channels — which will definitely be around next year.  1) SourceFedSourceFed was the earliest clear winner among premium channels back in August when it was the first to get 500,000 subscribers. Sourcefed’s audience is very active and loyal precisely because of the YouTube celebrity behind it: Philip DeFranco has been on YouTube since 2006.The pop-culture and news-commentary show is YouTube entrepreneur DeFranco’s latest digital baby. The 26-year-old DeFranco has killed on YouTube for years. Anything he touches on YouTube is magic at this point, and various YouTubers owe their celebrity status to his guiding hand.(To: illustrate: During the election, DeFranco’s talk show outperformed any other show on the YouTube-backed political initiative known as the Election Hub, and TV viewers may have seen him this year hosting Discovery Channel’s Shark Week.) SourceFed is a bit like DeFranco’s signature show, The Philip DeFranco Show, except he doesn’t star in it. He has found hosts like Lee Newton and Joe Bereta to do the commentary. It’s a safe bet that SourceFed will be around next year. The reasons for SourceFed’s success — DeFranco has been builing his million-strong audience for years — is also why the education focused Sci Show and the Asian-focused entertainment network YOMYOMF, created by top YouTubers as well, are also safe.  2) The Warner SoundMusic has always been a huge driver of YouTube views, so it’s not shocking that The Warner Sound — Warner Music Group’s official YouTube channel — will still be around. Just this August, Nielsen found YouTube is the method of choice for teens discovering new music.The Warner Sound does things a little differently, with the introduction of talk shows and original content beyond music videos. One example, pictured below, is the staged music talk show The Gorburger Show, done in conjunction with Will Ferrell’s Funny or Die.  It’s bizarre and slightly offensive (and not in a good way), and if you do watch it, don’t say I didn’t warn you.   Related Posts fruzsina eordogh Machinima is a Google investment favorite: The video-game entertainment network was included in Original Channels, and Google invested another $35 million in May.4) Mondo MediaFounded in 1988 by John Evershed, Mondo Media distributes animated shorts and series via the Web. Mondo Media’s hit show, Happy Tree Friends, has had a cultish following since first airing in 2006, and the company was getting 40 million views a month as early as 2010. YouTube’s younger audience has always loved Mondo, so Google’s investment in the channel last November was a no-brainer.  Mondo averages at least 1.5 million views a week, according to data given to Deadline Hollywood, and to date, has generated more than 1 billion views on its main channel.   9) ENTVWho would have thought a traditional entertainment news show would do well on the web? I didn’t, but ENTV is entertainment news done right for YouTube, pulling in news from Variety, Deadline, HollywoodLife, TVLine and Movieline.  While their subscriber numbers are low, at 50,000, 104 million views since launching this January is not bad, considering all the other well-established pop culture DIY news shows on YouTube with million-strong fan bases like The What the Buck Show by Michael Buckley.   12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People…last_img read more

first_img5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout taylor hatmaker Tags:#Gadgets#holidays If the term “holiday spirit” has more to do with spiked eggnog than seasonal cheer, you aren’t alone. This is our list of essential gadgets for making it through the travel, stress and awkward socialization of the holidays psychologically intact. And if you missed it the first time around, check out the Apps Edition of our Holiday Survival Guide for more tips to combat the various unique horrors of the holiday season – let’s be honest, you’re gonna need them. Be Your Own Internet With A MiFi Or Mobile HotspotHell hath no fury like a geek without Wi-Fi. Holiday travel presents plenty of scenarios in which reliable wireless Internet can prove scarce. If your relatives are still stuck in the dial-up era or you refuse to fork over an airport’s ridiculous day-use Internet fee, you’ll count your blessings if you BYO-Wi-Fi. The methods of becoming your own nexus of sweet, sweet wireless Internet vary, and they each have strengths and weaknesses. If money is no object and you’d be happy to pay for peace of mind, pick up a MiFi device on your carrier of choice. If you’d like a balance between thrift and utility, add a mobile hotspot to your carrier plan for around $20 a month – but keep a close eye on your smartphone’s battery life. On a shoestring budget or don’t feel like paying for what can be had for free? Jailbreak or root your smartphone to circumvent carrier greed while cruising on your own personal network.  External Battery Pack = Ultimate Gadget Life-SaverThe only thing worse than fighting a losing battle for Wi-Fi is a near-dead device. If outlets are scarce, battery life is the Achille’s heel of even our most trusted electronic companions. Forgo the anxious ritual of watching the battery gauge slowly flat-line and carry around an external battery pack. Sure, it’s frustrating to haul around yet another thing, but once you see that sweet symbolic lightning bolt spring to life in your smartphone’s status bar you’ll be a believer.These things are perfect for travel, extended coffee shop sessions and just about any other scenario that might leave your devices high and dry. We like Mophie’s Power Station line for its quick-charging ability, respectable capacity (4000 or 6000 mAh) and thoughtful design. With both a USB and micro-USB port, you’ll be able to charge just about any mobile device you can throw at it.Seek Sonic Solitude With A Good Pair Of HeadphonesOdds are that you may need to drown out some ambient noise. Flights are noisy. In-laws are noisy. And holiday cheer? Noisier yet. Switching up your sonic landscape is the easiest ticket to an instant zen-like state, so you might as well invest in some good sound. Skip the earbuds and go for a bigger over-ear style. Sennheiser offers a good balance of solid sound and good looks. If you’re on the (very) cheap, the HD 201’s can’t be beat. If you’ve got a little more to spend, you can get a pair of the HD 280’s for around $100. For serious noise cancelation and a considerably more serious price tag, look into the PXC 450’s. This could be you.Little Tablet + Portable Keyboard = Just Like The Real ThingSmall, affordable tablets have arrived, and they’re perfectly suited for all of the travel and jostling around that holiday gatherings often necessitate. If you can’t set up a full-scale entertainment station wherever you spend the holidays, the low profile of a little tablet like the iPad Mini or the Nexus 7 will serve you well. Battling notebook or desktop computing withdrawals? Pack a Bluetooth keyboard or a keyboard case – it’s the next best thing. 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People… Find A Full-Scale Entertainment HavenIf you have the luxury of reliable Internet and a TV, your holiday escape hatch is just around the corner. Whether you’re a gamer, a movie lover or a TV junkie, it’s hard to beat the Xbox 360 when it comes to entertainment value. The 360’s wide support of streaming services like Netflix and Hulu Plus, coupled with its obvious gaming chops, make for a great all-in-one ticket to seasonal sanity. It’s the perfect time to strike up season one of a hit show (pick one with a multi-year run) or to immerse yourself in an expansive virtual world of some kind.Good luck fending off nieces and nephews – and don’t forget to come up for air.Images of holiday ornament and woman with headphones courtesy of Shutterstock. Related Posts last_img read more

first_imgdarrell benatar Tags:#app development#Mobile First Guest author Darrell Benatar is CEO of UserTesting.com.It seems so obvious: you have a successful desktop app or website and users are asking for mobile access to it. So you rewrite your current product for mobile. You take out the Flash graphics, rearrange the interface elements, change the font sizes and you’re done. This sort of “porting” approach rarely succeeds. Most desktop apps and websites are carefully balanced products that have been optimized for years to fit the conditions found on a computer: high-speed continuous network connections, large screen, powerful local processing, keyboard, and mouse.Mobile has none of those features. What it does have are many features not found in most computers including location awareness and a touchscreen interface. Porting an existing product or site to mobile almost always produces an awkward hybrid that doesn’t work as well as the desktop version. Two Traps When Porting To Mobile1. Nothing ChangesHave you ever used a mobile-optimized website only to be dumped back onto a desktop-optimized website? That happens a lot. These old-style Web pages force the users to pinch and zoom constantly and require a lot of horizontal scrolling. Users are often intolerant of these half-mobile sites.2.  Trying To Recreate Your Desktop User ExperienceFailure to create a real mobile experience is the kiss of death, so by now, even the most stalwart desktop software companies have done at least some mobile development. Yet that exposes them to the next big temptation: trying to faithfully recreate your software for mobile. It’s almost always a mistake.Your users, of course, will tell you they want the full functionality of your website or app transferred to their mobile devices. In reality, though, mobile device can rarely handle the same features and controls without making things way too complicated. The absence of things like Flash and a pointing device like a mouse make it virtually impossible to replicate a traditional desktop experience in mobile.Rethink For Mobile, Don’t PortWe’ve learned a lot from previous software evolutions. From DOS to Windows, and from Windows to the Web, our digital history is filled with companies that couldn’t rethink their strategies for the new paradigm.The lesson from these industry transitions is clear: Don’t just reformat your app or website, rethink it. Mobile isn’t just a different set of technologies; it’s a different set of user behaviors and expectations. Desktop computers are generally used in long immersive sessions focused on productivity or entertainment. The user expects to dedicate some time to the session and is relatively tolerant of complexity and involved processes. In mobile, users expect immediate gratification. The user may have only a minute available so they need to get in, accomplish something and get out. That means the basic workflow of an app or website — its purpose and structure — needs to be redesigned with that foremost in mind.In some cases, it’s best to break your product or site into several distinct apps or mobile sites. (Facebook has been done some of this with Messages and Camera.) In other cases, the right approach may be to focus on only one area of functionality and completely ignore other features of the computer version. Or you can choose a mixed approach, with one app or website that’s feature-rich and another app that’s rifle-shot focused on a single important mobile feature.5 Tips to Avoid The Mobile TrapUnderstand what problems users have: Users often can’t do this sort of thinking for themselves. Skilled product managers need to focus on understanding the users so thoroughly that they can think on their behalf.Design for the mainstream 80% of mobile users: Don’t design for the technophile. You’ll add too many features and make your app and site too complex for anyone else.Decide which user problems to tackle first — and dump the rest: In mobile, it’s better to start with an app or that does a few things well, then gradually add more functionality. Evernote does this particularly well.Functionality is key: Make sure the app or site works properly and is easy to navigate. Then make that design as beautiful as possible.Test for engagement, not just usability: Use all the testing tools available to you to make sure that your users will actually engage with the product you release.If this sounds like a lot of work, it is. Ideally, a company should set up a separate team to focus full-time on mobile issues. That is not always affordable. At minimum, you should have a mobile-focused product manager who spends full time rethinking what you need to do to succeed in mobile.The transition to mobile is dangerous. By relying on traditional assumptions about what makes an app or website effective, companies leave themselves vulnerable to new competitors who design for mobile first. However, by rethinking — instead of merely porting — their mobile apps and sites, companies can avoid falling into mobile traps and gain a competitive advantage for years to come. Related Posts What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech …center_img Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

first_imgTags:#Android#Google#Google Glass#Google IO13#io13 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market A year ago, I left Google’s annual I/O developers conference convinced it was making a major strategic shift into being a hardware company.As this year’s I/O wraps up, I’m left questioning that conclusion.The message Google is putting forward in 2013 is very different: It’s all about what developers can do with the software tools it provides, whether that means broad digital platforms like the Chrome Web browser and the Android mobile operating system, or fungible, ubiquitous services like Google+, YouTube and Google Maps.A Retreat From HardwareIn 2012, the keynote offered a drumbeat of new hardware: The Nexus 7 tablet! Skydiving Google Glass stuntmen! The confounding, mysterious, ill-fated Nexus Q media device!(See also: What Google Didn’t Announce At I/O)The overall effect was to show how Google was pushing the boundaries of industrial design and taking control of the complete user experience, from hardware and software to the services that run on top of them.Call it a strategic retreat, but we heard almost nothing about hardware this year. The closest Google got was unveiling an unlocked Samsung Galaxy S4 running Google’s preferred version of Android, which it plans to sell directly to consumers online. Contrast that to Google’s past unveilings of Nexus devices, manufactured by partners but branded with the Google logo.Even Glass, the face-mounted, Internet-connected headset now hitting the market, got sidelined in the keynote. While present at I/O, it wasn’t the emphasis.Learning A Hard LessonPerhaps the disastrous Q—never formally cancelled, merely “postponed”—was the comeuppance Google needed, the failure that brought Larry Page and company to their senses. There’s also the ongoing agonies of Motorola Mobility, the handset manufacturer Google bought last year but continues to hold at arm’s length. That, more than anything, may have taught Google just how hard it is to crack the hardware business.(See also: The Epic Battle Between Apple And Google Is All But Over)At recent Google I/O events, the company has handed out hardware to attendees (or units on loan for review to reporters). This year’s giveaway, a Chromebook Pixel, was a little sad: It was hardly new, having been announced in February rather than at this year’s show.While the Pixel arguably showed off Google’s ChromeOS, a stripped-down operating system focused on apps that run on the built-in Web browser, it’s ultimately just a nicely built laptop—a very familiar category of gadget, hardly the kind of game-changing innovation Google CEO Larry Page talked up at this year’s keynote.I suspect that Google will retreat further from hardware—perhaps spinning off or selling Motorola, after stripping it of the most essential code and patents it needs for Android.(See also: Now Google Wants To Kill The Mobile Web (Good Riddance))Google won’t hesitate to build tools that serve its business, like the custom-designed servers and switches that run its giant empire of data centers, or the Trekker backpack cameras it uses to capture the offroad world for Google Maps. And we’ll likely see hardware from the Google[x] skunk works, like self-driving cars and Google Glass, where there’s nothing off-the-shelf for Google to put its cutting-edge software into.But smartphones? Tablets? Living-room gadgets? Those are no longer the future of Google. Silicon, Page pointed out, is cheap. It’s software where Google will continue to seek its riches. owen thomas A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…center_img Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Related Posts last_img read more

first_imgDeveloped by publishing juggernaut Ubisoft, maker of the Assassin’s Creed and Tom Clancy series, Watch Dogs features Aiden Pierce, an antihero hacker who finds his way into the networking infrastructure of an alternate version of Chicago in which every piece of tech is wed to a system called CtOS, or Central Operating System. This access lets Pierce hack smartphones, control traffic patterns, and basically leverage any form of digital connectivity as weapon while he navigates a world wrought with information warfare. Watch Dogs is coming to Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii U on November 19 and then the next-gen consoles when they launch. 3. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain After last week’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, the console war drums are now beginning to beat in a frenzy. Microsoft and Sony have unveiled details of their next-generation video-game consoles, the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4.Which one should you buy? We have a radical proposal: neither.Gamers can save themselves both money and mental anguish by taking note: The leading current-generation consoles, the Xbox 360 and PS3, are going to stick around for a while, and they’re still getting nearly every huge game release for this year and next. How long? Well, consider this: Sony didn’t discontinue the PS2 until January of this year—nearly 13 years after its release.Games Of Future PastThe new console generation is less of a leap than the shift to high-definition video was seven years ago. In unveiling their new game machines, Sony and Microsoft were forced to play down advancements in graphical realism and hardware punch. Instead, they trumpeted features game players don’t care about, like television and social media.The flip side of that: The latest games will be available for older consoles—and they won’t be much of a downgrade. Game developers know this full well: The vast ranks of current console owners are a far more compelling market than people shelling out for new machines, and likely will be for years to come.So what’s the end result? Five of the biggest, most highly-anticipated titles at E3 were launched as cross-generation titles. That means your battle-battered Xbox 360 or PS3 can play them just fine, no new machine required.The bottom line: If you have to have the latest-and-greatest console, more power to you. If what you want are the latest-and-greatest games, you don’t have to wait.Will these games look and feel better on the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One? Of course. Enough to matter? That’s your call.1. Grand Theft Auto V Because it’s not officially confirmed yet for the PS4 or Xbox One, the fifth installment of Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto isn’t technically cross-generation yet. So right now, it’s candy for current console owners. Set in the same universe as 2004’s GTA: San Andreas, which involved recreations of Las Vegas, San Francisco and Los Angeles, this high-definition take on the West Coast crime underworld is slated to be the most ambitious, massive. open-world game to date.One example of its ambition: there are three protagonists you can switch between at any point. It’s almost a given that, at some point in time, this game will make it’s way to the next-generation consoles. Pre-release footage of the title is at a level of graphical fidelity unreachable by current hardware. Recent rumors suggest that these versions might come early in 2014, but you can be sure that Rockstar will be tight-lipped until long after the game launches this fall. With this strategy, Rockstar is expressly targeting late adopters.Given that, GTA V will still be the best reason to own a current-generation console come September 17. It will likely provide years of play. Heck, I still play 2008’s GTA IV regularly on my Xbox 360, and I shelled out the $15 for a PS3 version when I switched consoles earlier this year. Check out the trailer below, which lets you toggle between the narrations of each of the game’s three playable protagonists. 2. Watch DogsWatch Dogs is half open-world action/stealth game, half social commentary on surveillance and connectivity. (The NSA will probably hate it … or maybe love it, depending on how the game’s plot moves forward.) nick statt Destiny is the incredibly ambitious project from Bungie, the studio best known as the creators of the original Halo series. Set in a futuristic Earth, players craft their own character who gets to interact with thousands of others within a environment that is described as “alive,” meaning many aspects of the game will be a dynamic result of people interacting with one another. There’s not much to know right now about the project except that it aims to be a wholly unique mix of first-person shooter and massively multiplayer online game. For instance, how many people can play at once on one server? Will there be a main storyline that players take part in together, or on their own? Will players on the old Xbox or PlayStation get to interact with those on the new consoles? These kinds of questions will fuel Destiny’s popularity in the coming months, though it’s already one of the most talked about titles of E3. Destiny’s release is not yet set, but it is confirmed for both the old and new Xbox and PlayStation consoles for some time in 2014. Here’s a look at the extensive gameplay footage that debuted last week.  4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App From Japanese video game legend Hideo Kojima, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is the tenth installment in one of the gaming world’s most cinematic and plot-heavy series. I really won’t try to explain the plot to people unfamiliar with MGS’s unique brand of alternative world history, because I’d fail. There are occasional clones, some well-placed supernatural elements, and, of course, giant robots capable of launching nuclear missiles. While the Metal Gear series has often stuck to a single console line, most recently Sony’s, those not willing to upgrade to the new systems this holiday season won’t be left out. Even better: Those still cross that 2008’s mind-blowing MGS 4 was exclusive to the PS3 can rejoice: this title is going to be both cross-platform and cross-generation, so Xbox owners can finally join in. Kojima Productions has yet to open up about a release date for MSG V, but here’s a nice lengthy trailer showcasing some of its gameplay. For those interested, there’s also a director’s cut version that features some highly disturbing torture scenes that shed light on some of Kojima’s boundary-pushing plans. 4. Call of Duty: GhostsDespite some of the mounting criticism aimed at publisher Activision for having turned its massively successful Call of Duty series into an annual update, Call of Duty: Ghosts is supposed to break the trend … sort of. Developed by Activision’s Infinity Ward, COD: Ghosts departs from prior storylines and introduces a new world where America is no longer a superpower. Set ten years after some currently-unknown event that shifts the world power balance, a band of soldiers fights for … well, you get the idea. To be fair, Call of Duty story lines have become increasingly more engrossing and philosophically interesting since Modern Warfare 2 and Black Ops began exploring the truly darker sides of global conflict.More importantly, players will get endless hours of highly-competitive multiplayer, the aspect of the series that has gotten it likened to an annual sports game yet still generates mind-boggling profits because players migrate en masse to the new versions every holiday season. A pleasantly refreshed storyline and a massively deep base of players have long since proven the COD games are worth their price tags. Call of Duty: Ghosts will hit PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U, and PC on November 5, and then the next-gen consoles at launch. 5. Destinycenter_img 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout Tags:#gaming#Microsoft#Microsoft Xbox#playstation#PlayStation 3#PlayStation 4#Sony#Sony PlayStation#video games#Xbox#Xbox 360#xbox one Related Posts 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People…last_img read more

first_imgBreak the Mold with Real-World Logistics AI and… 5 Ways IoT can Help to Reduce Automatic Vehicle… For Self-Driving Systems, Infrastructure and In… IT Trends of the Future That Are Worth Paying A… Related Posts Ryan Matthew Pierson Mario Andretti is one of the most recognizable names in motorsports. He has scored victories in Formula One, IndyCar, World Sportscar Championship (WSC), NASCAR, and more. At the age of 77, it would appear his competitive racing days are behind him. That is, until this past Saturday.Mario Andretti took part in a one-on-one race against Sam Schmidt in Indianapolis this past weekend. Schmidt is a successful IndyCar driver that had his own career cut short in 2000 after an accident rendered him a quadriplegic.Schmidt’s driverless comebackSam Schmidt made headlines when he received the first autonomous vehicle restricted driver’s license to be issued in the United States. His semi-autonomous car has also broken speed records on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. All after his unfortunate accident.See also: Could this be the first smart car for quadriplegics?Schmidt’s accident would have ended the career of any driver, but not him. He now owns a team and drives at breakneck speeds in a modified Corvette Z06 that enables him to control the vehicle without his arms or legs. He’s still in full control, but the semi-autonomous vehicle sports some impressive technology that enables him to control his semi-autonomous motorcar (SAM) using subtle movements of his head.After achieving success on paper, Schmidt wanted to get back into racing. What better opponent to take on the first semi-autonomous racer than a legend of the track in Andretti.The battle versus AndrettiTwo semi-autonomous cars traveling at speeds that exceeded 130 mph. wowed fans in Indianapolis. This friendly exhibition gave viewers the opportunity to donate to Schmidt’s nonprofit, Conquer Paralysis Now.The race proved no less competitive than the ones that frequently take place in Indianapolis. There was drama, high-speed shenanigans, burnouts and donuts, and a final pull away on the home stretch.Schmidt said in a statement: “I never had a chance to race against Mario during my driving career. He is a true legend that is world renowned and I appreciate his willingness to participate and showcase the next evolution of this technology.”“This is awesome,” Andretti told IndyCar.com. “It’s a great opportunity to see what (the project) is all about. I feel like I’m really, really going to be struggling. I just asked for 70 more horsepower and they haven’t said anything.As for the outcome of the race…Andretti may have crossed the finish line first, but Schmidt leaves the experience no less victorious.“It was the most normal I’ve felt in 17 years,” Schmidt said.last_img read more

first_imgTags:#Meural How OKR’s Completely Transformed Our Culture China and America want the AI Prize Title: Who … The ReadWrite reviews team provides reviews on the latest and greatest technologies, services, and products.For all review inquiries please email tips@readwrite.com Related Posts What Nobody Teaches You About Getting Your Star… At first all I wanted was to be able to purchase something wonderful and uplifting for my bedroom wall. Then the goal was — if we could just find a piece that was inspirational above the desk in the den — that would be enough.Soon, we realized that we spent much more time in the living-room and to be real — so did our friends. Was I trying to be inspired myself — or show what great taste I had — to the friends? Let’s get real — artwork fills all of these “needs.” I decided to tryout Meural.“Life Imitates Art”– But Do You Want It To?Thomas Merton said, “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” Well, I sure didn’t want the peeps at work losing themselves in art. “Lose yourself in the next tech project, please — this is a tech company.” If you’re a writer, “Lose yourself in getting that article written — or the editing done. Hey devs — get those complaints and fixes finished, and the updates logged — don’t look at the art.”There are many beloved statements about art online and about the huge benefits of including these pieces in our lives. They are wonderful. However, I decided to merely hang up a Meural, and see what happened.The Baby Bum In The Bathtub.If you were one of those kids who “became a person” in the age of the rotating family pictures inside a frame on an end table–you will relate to this feeling. Remember the real trick to these abominations was to come in the door from school and toss your bookbag in front of it quickly. “Please,” you halfway prayed, “don’t let the friends see my two-year-old-butt in the bathtub.”If you were unlucky, you were also terrorized by these frames in the parents room, family room and the pool-table room. It would be very difficult to study and graph the ptsd these little gems may have caused through the years. With the beautiful Meural — you are welcome to help your children become “tough” if you would like — baby-bum and all. But, we found the best place to hang our Meural was in our office setting.A Way To Connect And Embrace Culture In The Office SettingAt the office we all became obsessed with the Meural — but everyone had a different idea of what they wanted to have come-up on the screen. Finally, we said each person could pick five items to add to the frame.Being in “charge” of the office atmosphere, the “correct” thing to have was to have inspiring entrepreneurial sayings, quotes, and pictures. Jack Ma, Jeff Bezos, Mary Grove, Mary Barra, Derek Andersen, Elon Musk, Dave Goldberg and Sheryl Sandberg.  My mind went completely wild — I got the most impressive array of fantastically motivational and stimulating quotes. I can tell you there were more than five. But — I was the boss.The TeamOne team in our co-working office space had uplifting quotes. One of the women added a canvas painting from some art museum she’d found online. Someone else had heard that you could add a selfie to the Meural from your phone — why, yes you can.What About Offensive Pictures, Displays, ItemsOne person was offended by a painting — it was a Degas — some ballerinas, of course. Do ballerinas belong in a tech world? Come to find out — everything belongs in the tech world. Photos by Ansel Adams, Quotes from Shakespeare, Don Quixote, and Buddha. Pictures of fast cars, wrinkled men’s faces, code, computers, a kids soccer game, gamer trappings — especially if that is the game you are currently winning, wood carvings, modern art, not so modern art, sculptures, and I could go on and on.But if you don’t like a piece that is up there on the wall as you pass by — guess what? You can swoosh your hand in front of it and the pic will change, immediately. Soon the Meural will know which pics or painting you personally don’t like and it will change the pic as you are entering the room. Perfect.You Can’t Please EveryoneThe saying that says something about we can’t please everyone, is totally true — except in the case of the Meural. Every person in the office has added many more than five items. I’d say more like 25. I put in 50 quotes and and don’t care if that bothers someone. My quotes are exhilarating, heartening, modern — and some are exclusive to me.It has been shocking and revealing to realize that I didn’t even really know these people I’ve worked with for years. Stories are told that we have never heard before. “Bro, what did you put a pic of a 1950’s toaster up on the Meural for?” “Well, that was sold in my grandfather’s small appliance store in Wyoming,” he said. Then Occ brought one of these beauties (a 1976 toaster with a flag on it, for the bicentennial that year) — into the office for us to use.Let’s Add To ThisThe Meural has lots of software that you can get online to find pretty much anything you would ever want to look at or display. But,the magic is to see how employees have added to this collection of interesting thoughts, pics, and items. Our coworking space friends have added to the art pieces — now THAT is inspiring.Right now, I just looked over there — on a plain bright yellow background — there are the words GET — A POO EMOJI — DONE. Simple, maybe not cute, per se, but hey — that’s coolio. Love it. Russian dancers, fishing in Alaska, and yes, the Degas ballerinas. All of this art is speaking to someone in this room. Frankly, it really does help us get shit done. How to Get Started in China and Have Success ReadWrite Product Reviewslast_img read more

first_imgTags:#education#fixed mindset#growth mindset#learning#skillset How OKR’s Completely Transformed Our Culture Everything starts with your mindset. It’s the foundation to your successful skill set. You can adjust your mindset for success.Let me tell you a story about adjusting your mindset.Back in 2011 I was leaving one of the top Investment Banks in the world (after six solid years). The reason? I was surplus to requirements. No edge. No stack. Goodbye. There were plenty of other developers with the same (cloned) skills as I had. It was probably the lowest point of my career. At the same time, I had a young family, mortgage, car loan and bills. I was completely stressed out. Looking back, it was one of the best things that happened to me. Seriously. It was a kick in the backside that I needed. It started my path towards changing my mindset. It led me to where I am today. And it’s these lessons which I will share with to you.What’s a mindset?According to Carol Dweck, there are two basic mindsets which shape our lives: Fixed vs Growth. A person with a Fixed mindset believes that their skills and abilities are, well, fixed. You are either good at something or not. A person with a Growth mindset believes that they can do anything.I’m not a psychologist, but the point I’m trying to get across is to adjust your mindset towards Growth.Specifically:Skills – Do believe you can develop your skills?Challenges – Can you step up to tough challenges?Obstacles – Can you keep on going even if faced with multiple failures?Effort – Will you graft-in till you become an expert?Mistakes & Feedback – Can you learn from criticism?Success – Are you inspired by the success of others?Focusing on these key areas is the foundation layer of your stack. If you’re stuck in the fixed mindset mode you can’t expect to learn, grow and change. I had (to some extent) a fixed mindset which let to me being surplus in my earlier story. I was too comfortable. I didn’t grasp the opportunities to learn or develop myself further. A growth mindset on the other hand set’s you up for a challenge. Something which you can work towards and see the benefits day after day.How do you adjust your mindset?Let’s start with the below exercise. Read each of the following statements.See which category you tend to fit into. Are you in a fixed mindset or a growth mindset? You can learn how to change your mindset — it is not written in stone. Take some time to think about this. Take your situation and complete the following exercise. Write down your answers.Skills – which key skill are you missing? Just think of one.Challenges – using the key skill identified above, what’s holding you back on learning it? What have you done to try and learn the skill? What can you do differently?Obstacles – Are there any barriers to learning the key skill? What can you do to overcome them?Effort – Why do you feel you have to give up? What’s missing from your approach?Mistakes & Feedback – What can you learn from your mistakes? What will you do differently next time?Success – Find someone with that key skill. Speak to them. Learn from them.Now that you have your answers, take action! Starting from today, how can you adjust your mindset towards achieving that key skill? Related Posts Trends Driving the Loyalty Marketing Industry Usman Ul Haq I’ve worked for some of the top financial institutions in the UK. I started out as an IT analyst (utility man) but quickly moved to software development. It was during this time that I found I had a knack for business analysis and managed to focus on a specific skill set. I’d describe myself as a Technical BA. But as my colleagues say, I’m BA who can code!Recently I’ve had the pleasure of working in the Middle East to deliver client solutions. This is something I could never have done without learning from my mistakes and focusing on the skills that matter to succeed. What Nobody Teaches You About Getting Your Star… How to Make the Most of Your Software Developer…last_img read more

first_imgBy Barbara O’NeillHow can PFMs assist service members who have difficulty agreeing with their spouse on “how much is spent” on specific expenses and develop a spending plan?Disagreement on “how much is spent” on specific items is common. During a financial counseling session, it may be helpful to split the difference of opinion about how much to spend on certain items to get through developing a spending plan. Another tactic is to break down a large dollar amount into a daily or weekly expense or vice versa. Sometimes this clarifies the total amount of spending.After a spending plan has been developed, invite both parties to track expenses in specific areas where there was disagreement. Another suggestion would be to identify an amount that one person agrees on, put that amount of cash into an envelope, and suggest that the couple use the envelope of cash on the targeted expense. This will be a visual way for them to see where the money goes.Browse more military personal finance webinars and articles by experts.Follow Dr. O’Neill on Twitter!This post was published on the Military Families Learning Network Blog on October 14, 2013.last_img read more

first_imgCaregiver’s Final Moments with Service Member & the Advice She has for Professionals Communicating to Families during Grieving Process“Please don’t leave me.”I stood by my service member’s bed; my arms were wrapped tightly around him and my head was on his chest, just as I had done every other day before– but today was different though.His room was quiet, with the exception of the nurse who would occasionally come into the room to monitor his heart rate. There was no talking, no questions, or any of the typical noises. I’m not sure how long I actually stood there, but I would have stood there forever if it meant he would eventually come home with me.Tears quietly fell from my eyes and I squeezed him tighter as the reality of what was happening began to sink in.  The slower his breathing became, the tighter I held on hoping that the love I had for my service member, my husband, was somehow strong enough to miraculously heal his body. I stood there hoping that he would wake up and we would be a family again.  “Please,” I begged him, “Please don’t leave me.”As I was gently pulled away from him I remember looking back over my shoulder to see him one last time, and with a piece of me missing, I walked out of his room for the last time.Advice for Professionals and Family CaregiversWhat happens when a wounded service member succumbs to their injuries?  As professional caregivers does your “job” stop?In many ways I suppose it does, as there are specific agencies and programs in place for the families of our fallen that are filled with people who are willing to go above and beyond for our families during the transitioning and grieving process.However, there are still ways to be part of this new process for the family members, should you have the opportunity.It has been my experience both personally and professionally that families appreciate respect and acknowledgement.  Loosing a loved one is unbelievably hard, as well as exhausting.  In some cases, the mere presence of someone else beside them is all that is needed for an individual to feel comforted.We do not always have to have the “right words” to say.  In fact, it was my experience that many words, or innocent “meant well” phrases made the hurt worse, and some were in fact down right disrespectful and almost unbearable.Below is a list of common sayings that I heard following my service member’s death.  While the reasons I give as to why you should not say a certain phrase comes from my own personal experience and how it felt for me, I have heard many of these said to other families as well.  Admittedly, I too have been guilty of saying a couple of the phrases listed below, however it was not until I lost my service member that I realized how hurtful these comments could feel.We are taught to make meaning through the use of language, and in many instances we rely on language to be the bridge between others and ourselves in creating our “New Normal.” But as most of us know, loosing a loved one is one of the hardest experiences we will ever face and I personally feel that learning to simply sit quietly with someone during their darkest hours of grief can sometimes convey a stronger message than any words could ever express. Silence speaks volumes.The following statements are examples of what NOT to say to caregivers during the grieving process and my own personal response or thoughts to such comments.What NOT to say to Military Caregivers during the Grieving Process“I’m so sorry, is there anything I can do?” Personal Thought: As if my service member could simply be replaced. Regardless of age, loosing a loved one hurts. “You are so young, you will find someone else.” Personal Thought: Hearing this hurts, even now.  My children do remember…a lot actually.  But because my children were so young there were so many firsts that we went through with out him, and so many still yet to be had.  Those words simply remind me of what we will never have. “Thank God your kids are so young, and won’t remember.” Personal Thought: Time healed nothing; I simply learned how to live without my service member. I redefined who I was as a person because every piece of me was forever changed. The wound is still very much there, and I am okay with that. “Time heals all wounds.” Personal Thought: No you do not, because you are not me.  Hearing this completely denies a person of their ability to grieve. Grief is unique and personal to everyone who experiences it. Everyone grieves differently regardless of shared relationships to the loved one who has passed.   Personal Thought: No, because what I wanted no one could give me, which was to have my service member back. “I know exactly how you feel.” Missed the beginning of my series? Go to ‘The Phone Call’ to read the first installment of this caregiver series.Meet Tabitha…The caregiving mini-series, 444 Days in the First Year, was written by Tabitha McCoy. Tabitha is a contributor to the MFLN–Military Caregiving concentration team and is a former military caregiver to her husband, SGT Steve McCoy. In this mini-series, Tabitha shares her personal story of caregiving, loss, grieving, and transitioning, as well as insight and advice for both professionals and family caregivers as she recounts the 444 days following her husband’s injuries and then unfortunately his death in June 2008.Tabitha holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, and is currently a graduate student at Valdosta State University where she is pursuing her Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy.This post was published on the Military Families Learning Network blog on July 29, 2014.last_img read more

first_imgDiscover a quick and easy way to browse Panasonic P2 Footage in Adobe Premiere Pro using the Media Browser.If you’re reading this article you probably already know that the Panasonic P2 folder structure is a little … intense.  For instance, here is how it’s laid out using my Windows Explorer:As you can see you have a list of P2 files but you can’t actually see the footage this way!  Totally not efficient for preview.One option for previewing P2 footage is using Adobe Bridge:However, that takes time, requires you to open another application, navigate to the footage and you can’t hover scrub the clips to get a good look!So, what’s the best way to preview P2 footage in Adobe Premiere Pro?  Adobe gave us the Media Browser which is located as a tab in the same frame as the Project and Effects Panel (at the bottom left of the UI).It’s here that the P2 magic happens. All you need to do is browse to a folder that has the full P2 folder structure and footage in it  (such as our AVC Intra folder).  The, the Media Browser automatically selects to browse P2 footage and you can see the end result.Media Browser Showing P2 FootageIf it didn’t automatically select to browse P2 footage you can always select P2 from the drop-down ‘view as’ directory menu …Media Browser ‘View As’ directory menuNow, by simply browsing to the appropriate folder that had your full P2 folder structure (just as shown in the pics at the start of this blog) Premiere Pro knows what you want and cuts through any folder confusions…giving you access to the footage you want to see quickly and simply.Not only that, but you can even hover scrub the footage to see if you have the right clip. You can’t set in and out points in the Media Browser (as that’s a function reserved for the Project Panel) but at least you can quickly and easily find your footage and view it.  This ends up being a HUGE timesaver!So, now you’ve found the piece of footage you want to use – how do you get it into your Adobe Premiere Pro project?You could double click it to view it in the source monitor if you wished to see a bigger version- but please note that just because it’s open in the source monitor does not add it to the project!  To add it to the project from the source monitor either drag the footage from the source monitor to the project panel or drop the footage on the timeline which will also add it to the project.Footage in Source Monitor BUT NOT ADDED TO PROJECT YETThe other way is simply to right click on the clip you want and choose ‘Import’ or, drag the footage to the Project Panel tab at the top of the frame. While you hover over the tab the Project Panel will come to the fore and you will be able to add it to the Project Panel or any bin in the Project Panel.Footage in Project PanelThen, all you need to do is hover scrub, set in and out points and finally drag the footage to the ‘New Items’ icon and your sequence is automatically created with the footage on the Adobe Premiere Pro timeline, respecting your in and out points.Footage in a sequenceAnd so that’s how Adobe Premiere Pro, with its intelligent Media Browser, makes Panasonic P2 viewing and editing simple!Was this tip helpful for you?  Have a Premiere tip to share?Let us know in the comments!last_img read more

first_imgIn this post we continue our analysis of Smoke ConnectFX, exploring the Burn-In Letterbox, Burn-In Timecode and Bump Displace nodes.In our ongoing coverage of the new Smoke 2013 we take a deeper look at three more ConnectFX nodes.  Let’s dive in….Smoke’s Burn-In LetterboxYou may still be working or exporting SD clips.  Or you may be working in HD or 2K and want to format your final output for more of a film ratio like 1.85:1 or 2.39:1.  You may even just want to be creative and apply a letterbox to your 16×9 HD sequence to give it, that classy film look that editor’s used to give to SD material back in the day.   Whatever your letterboxing needs, use can achieve them with Smoke’s Burn-In Letterbox node. Now you can use this node to simply add a letterbox to a clip or sequence.  The node has all of the common video and film ratios that you would need.  Simply, just select one and choose the color for the letterbox, in case you want something different than classic black.[Click image for larger view] Smoke’s Bump DisplaceThe Bump Displace node is great for adding that little bit of depth to a graphic or text to make it pop, without having to work with 3D geometry. The bump displace in Smoke 2013 creates an effect similar to an emboss effect in Photoshop or After Effects.  The node will use the matte input to generate the bump displace or emboss.  The end result looks odd when you are working within the node, but you have to remember that the output is generally used again with the matte in another node downstream in your CFX schematic.[Click image for larger view]You can set the minimum and maximum values for the matte input, much like in the 2D Histogram, and set the height and softness of the bump displacement. A high softness, will give you a more bubbled or rounded look to the emboss.You have full control over the lighting in the scene to finesse the look of the emboss.  You can adjust the position of the light, as well as the color.   The image texture controls allow you to adjust the shininess, diffuse, and specular highlights.  One nice feature is the ability to add a little chromatic aberration to the bump displace to give it a more realistic feeling.  This is achieved by adjusting the individual RGB channels of the displacement.[Click image for larger view]I like to use Smoke’s Bump Displace Node with a Text node to give the text a little depth in my composite. You can also use the bump displace to create a glassy overlay by using it with simple shape mattes.  Often times an emboss looks cheap, and editors and designers will shy away from it.   But I encourage you to explore the bump displace node.  The depth of the controls can create some very subtle and classy looks that will elevate your final product.  Take a look at some of the example setups in the following images.[Click images for larger view] Smoke’s Burn-In TimecodeEveryone’s workflow and editing is different, but since I moved to a completely file based workflow I have replaced Timecode with Clip Name. However, if you still deal with tape or want to offload a sequence to a DVD, you may want to Burn-In Timecode into a clip for the viewer.  Normally, this would be so that they can log the footage, and then give you the proper frames for reference. If you need to make a burn-in timecode window on your clips or sequence, then you can add the Burn-In Timecode node before the ConnectFX output.Now, as non-exciting as timecode windows are, at least the node is Smoke 2013 has every feature you could possibly want. You can set the font and color of the text as well as the background.  The burn-in info can be placed anywhere you would like on the screen.  You can choose to display the source timecode and the record timecode if you are using it on a sequence. You can even display comments or have the clip count in frames instead of timecode.I may have only exported Burn-In TC for someone about once in the past 3 years…but if you do need it, it’s there.[Click image for larger view]NOTE: Since CFX is frame rate agnostic, the node does not automatically pick up the timecode from the source or edit sequence. I realize that that sounds ridiculous, and in fact it is.  So without a lot of manual work, this node is somewhat useless inside of Smoke’s CFX. But there is a bright side – both the Burn-In Letterbox and Burn-In Timecode are available as tools on the desktop.  In Smoke’s Tools tab it does respect both the sequence timecode and the source timecode.center_img Follow the Premiumbeat blog for continued coverage of Smoke 2013.  In future posts we’ll continue our exploration of each of the Smoke ConnectFX nodes to how to best use them to improve your video edits.last_img read more

first_imgStanley Kubrick’s was the master of the “one point perspective” and this incredible mashup video is evidence of that!If you didn’t go to film school the term “one point perspective” may be unfamiliar.  However, it’s likely you’ve seen it used countless times in photos and films.  The one point refers typically refers to one vanishing point, where the viewers eye is naturally drawn.  No doubt you’ve probably created one point perspective images yourself – drawing an image of a road when you were a kid:Because the one point perspective naturally draws the viewer into the image, it was a shooting choice often used by Hollywood legend Stanley Kubrick.  In the following video Vimeo user kogonada has pulled together a number of iconic shots from Kubrick’s filmography, highlighting just how much this perspective became part of his signature shooting style.  By its nature, one point perspective lends itself to symmetry of the shot – another Kubrick trademark.Filmmakers, video editors and photographers should appreciate this web video mashup.  The song in the mashup is quite overused (from Aronofsky’s “Requiem for a Dream”) but overall its a really engaging edit and interesting character study of one of the greatest directors of all time.Best viewed full-screen:last_img read more

first_imgPro Tools’ Elastic Audio features powerful warping and time flexibility algorithms when editing rhythmic parts, dialogue and ADR.The concept of warping audio is the movement of Transient Event Makers in context to the underlying audio in association. Music editors may conform Event Markers to a grid, consequently “locking” drums into place and producing “solid” time. Dialogue editors may warp ADR to the location dialogue attempting to achieve perfect sync. Whatever your reason for utilizing Elastic Audio, this tutorial focuses on the keyboard symbols, techniques and functions with their relationship to warping techniques in Avid’s Pro Tools.Elastic AudioBefore we begin there are a few things to discuss when it comes to warping audio. Pro Tools offers real-time processing for Elastic Audio (displayed as a plug-in) as well as rendered processing for CPU conscious users. There are five types of Elastic Audio plug-ins to choose from: Polyphonic, Rhythmic, Monophonic, Varispeed, and X-Form (the later features rendered processing only).How you elasticize the audio will vary greatly depending on what type of track you are warping. Percussive tracks with defined transient peaks such as drums or handclaps should use the Rhythmic algorithm. Audio featuring vocals or dialogue works best with the Monophonic algorithm. Choose the correct Elastic Audio option in the Elastic Audio pop-up selector on the track header (for multiple tracks press option to enable):Analysis and WarpingTo begin, we will select the analysis view from the track view selector. Now you will see the Event Transient Markers that Elastic Audio has generated. These markers notate the highest (loudest) transient peaks in your waveform. For dialogue and vocal performances, it’s common for Event Markers to be located at the start of each syllable and one where the last syllable of the vocal phrase ends. To add markers, press control + grabber tool. To delete, press option + grabber tool. Additionally, Warp Markers act as boundaries to the Event Transient Markers. If you have a long audio track it may be advised to split it into several clips, as there are different types of warps that may affect the whole clip.Range WarpRange Warp is typically the most useful from of Elastic Audio, as it will compress the audio on one side of the Event Marker while expanding it on the other side. To perform Range Warp, simply hold shift and use the grabber tool to drag an Event Marker. This forces the adjacent Event Markers on either side of the Range Warp into Warp Markers, acting as the boundaries of the Range Warp. This allows you to change the relative time to each syllable without moving or warping any adjacent audio in the clip.Telescoping WarpUnlike Range Warp, Telescoping Warp applies time compression and expansion across the entire clip, or up until a Warp Marker. To perform the Telescoping Warp, simply click and drag an Event Marker. There should not be any Warp Markers near the Event Marker. When each warp is completed, Elastic Audio will create a Warp Marker at the end of the affected clip.To create a Warp Marker, press option + click + grabber tool. To remove a Warp Marker, double-click, or option + click + grabber tool. To transform a Transient Event Marker into a Warp Marker, simply hovering the grabber tool over the Event Marker until the ‘Telescoping Warp’ cursor appears, then option + click.The Accordion WarpThe Accordion Warp can only be performed when there is one Warp Marker inside the clip. This is important because this type of warp affects the entire clip, compressing/expanding across all regions equally. For this reason, the Accordion Warp is typically not suited for dialogue and vocal audio clips (though you may hear this type of warp during the impossibly fast speaking at the end of a radio spot). To perform the Accordion Warp, drag an Event Marker on either side of the Warp Marker. Observe how the entire region compresses/expands equally.ConclusionWith many different types of Elastic Audio plug-ins to choose from, along with three warping types, experimentation is key when determining which type is best for you. In addition, there are third-party plug-ins such as Synchro Arts’ VocALign PRO that perform this feature both manually and automatically.How do you warp your audio? Share in the comments below.last_img read more

first_imgGoPro embraces the 4K future with the HERO4.Since their initial release in 2004, GoPro has managed to stay head of the curve, often pushing the limits of what can be recorded in such a small device. With each new edition, GoPro has added new features that have increased resolution, usability, and frame rate. Their latest product is scheduled to get awesome upgrades in each of these areas, and then some.The GoPro HERO 4 Black EditionAs you may already know, the last GoPro iteration (the HERO3+) has had the ability to record 4K “video” at 15fps. This is obviously not ideal if you are wanting to use the video for an actual production, but even so, it was a feature ahead of it’s time for such a small device. Now with the release of the HERO4 Black, users will have the ability to record 4K footage at 30fps.In addition to 4K recording, the frame rates at lower resolutions have been increased as follows: 2.7K at 50fps, 1440p at 80 fps, 1080p at 120fps, 960p at 120fps, and 720p at 120fps. This should make for some incredibly smooth slow-motion footage – especially useful if you are into action sports videography.The HERO 4 Black also has the ability to shoot 12 megapixel photos at 30 frames per second. Or if you want to simply grab stills from your 4K footage you can get 8 megapixel footage from that. Users can also now choose their camera angles between three different field-of-views: Ultra Wide, Medium, and Narrow. Manual controls have also been added (ISO, exposure, etc.) making the GoPro a little more geared toward the video pros.The GoPro HERO 4 Silver EditionUnfortunately 4K at 30fps isn’t available for both of the new GoPro camera models. The HERO 4 Silver Edition only features 4K footage at the traditional 15fps, but where it falls behind in frame rate it makes up with a touch screen.With very similar mechanics to a touch screen phone, users have the ability to swipe, squeeze, and select footage using their fingers. This added feature will lead to a much more modern user experience, but we can’t help but wonder how a touch screen will work in an extreme environment.The silver also loses fps at lesser resolutions: 2.7K at 30fps, 1440 at 48fps, 1080p at 60fps, 960p at 100fps, and 720p at 120fps. However, users will still have the ability to shoot 12 megapixel photos at 30 fps.Pricing and AvailabilityUnfortunately there is currently no pricing information available for both the HERO 4 Black or Silver edition. GoPro is scheduled to make an official announcement October 8th, 2014.What’s your opinion on the new GoPro? Share in the comments below.Thanks to PetaPixel for the tip off on the new cams!last_img read more

first_imgAdobe’s sweet new Project Candy app could change the way colorists work. Here’s the scoop!It’s always helpful for colorists to receive reference images from the client. References are traditionally shared as stills or video, leaving the colorist to manually recreate the look. At NAB 2015, Adobe announced an app called Project Candy that will aid in this collaboration.The Project Candy app, compatible with iPhone and iPad, will allow users to bring reference images to the session with a corresponding LUT, which provides a great starting point for further color processing. The LUTs are saved as standard .cube files which work in After Effects, Premiere, SpeedGrade, and Resolve.Check out the video from HDVideoPro Magazine in which Adobe’s Bronwyn Lewis goes over some of Project Candy’s features: The Project Candy app reads the shot’s colors and represents them with colored spheres. Larger bubbles coincide with more intense colors. Rods showing brightness rotate around the space in a 3D histogram. Once you take a picture, you can adjust the tonality on the bottom with a slider. After saving a look, you can apply it to several test pictures or your own image. It will also work with a video clip, so you can test it on footage from your shoot.In post-production work, workflow is king. Adobe has smartly used their existing infrastructure to streamline this collaborative process. The looks are saved in Adobe Creative Cloud for pulling up later in the Adobe suite. Resolve exists in a different ecosystem, but the ubiquitous .cube format ensures that users will be able to read the LUTs into their systems.Adobe has chosen to stay away from the saturated market of look-creation apps to focus on a tool that will benefit many filmmakers and colorists down the road. I’m excited to see where the development of the app will go, and this can be a great starting point for clients to communicate the overall look and feel to their projects for post.For more on Project Candy, check out this post from the fine folks at Mixing Light. Read more from Adobe about their other NAB announcements here. Finally, here’s a post from PremiumBeat that covers a few more updates to the Adobe Creative Cloud.What do you think? Let us know in the comments.last_img read more

first_imgTalking head interviews are a great place to sharpen color grading skills. Let’s take a look at some ways we can push and improve upon this common setup in DaVinci Resolve.Any working colorist will likely encounter their fair share of talking head interviews. It’s a great idea to use these projects as opportunities to up your skills. Here are a few quick and easy tips to consider when applying your magic to interview footage.Pick an Identifying FrameChoose a frame where the subject’s eyes are open and acknowledging the camera or the interviewer off-camera. This will help us engage with the speaker, allowing us to judge exposure and color tints with better acuity. Picking a moment when the talent doesn’t look their best will hinder our ability to color them in the best possible way.It’ll be easier to engage the subject if they’re engaging you.Initially, Focus on a Single CorrectionRather than creating multiple nodes to grab skin tones and other features in the shot right away, try to accomplish as much as possible in a single correction. This will enable us to correct for exposure and color shifts with the simplest, cleanest method before working on other aspects of the shot.Matching Two AnglesMatching close and wide shots is easier if both cameras are identical models and are calibrated with similar settings, but this will be the exception rather than the rule. Many filmmakers will choose their best camera for the wide and a comparatively inferior one for the closeup due to various shooting constraints. This means matching shots may be more difficult since the cameras are not only shot differently but inherently contain different sensors and characteristics.First, perform the best possible grade on the wide shot. When switching to the closeup, grab a still of the wide and put it next to the closeup shot by selecting Play Still. Often, the two angles will frame the interviewee in the same quadrant, so don’t be afraid to move the closeup over using the Sizing tab so you can clearly see the subject in both frames.Here, the close and wide are framed similarly, which isn’t optimal since part of the talent is covered.The Sizing tab allows us to move one angle aside to reveal the pertinent parts of both shots.Now that both images are on screen, use the scopes and parade to get the images as close as possible. The peak in the red channel will denote the subject’s skin tone, so you can dial in just the right amount of luminance and hue to match the angles.It’s not unusual to ping-pong between the two shots to edge them closer to each other. Depending on how the closeup was shot, concessions may need to be made on the wide in service of matching both shots.Skin TonesAs with most jobs, qualifying for the talent’s skin is a good idea. Increase contrast to bring out the talent’s facial features, but tread lightly so you don’t go too far. For female speakers, pay attention to hair color and consider heightening or lessening the makeup as needed.It’s Not All About the SubjectNow that we’ve got a base grade, use the two angles to evaluate the background. This could be the tone of the white in a window or the color of a background wall. Getting these elements closer together gets us even closer to a seamless match. When watching a program we tend to focus on the speaker, but the environment often takes up more of the frame. Just focusing on the subject will only get you part of the way to matching both angles.I’ve got a decent match on the subject, but the background is off. Matching the background will sell the match more since the talent is occupying a much smaller area in the frame.The red circle shows the color values of the wall. The wide angle shows a slight red in the highlights, whereas the closeup’s wall is a tad blue.Use VignettesVignettes focus the eye toward a subject. They’re great tools as long as the trick isn’t given away by making them obvious to the viewer.  You can brighten the speaker and then create an outside node to darken the outside of the speaker. Vignettes can also be used to dramatize or lessen the existing light inherent in the shot. You can bring down bright areas on the wall brought about by bright background windows, knock back shelves or mute walls.Here’s a setup with and without the vignette. Below, the vignette is relatively severe but it isn’t visible due to a large amount of softening on the power window.Without vignetting:With vignetting:Deemphasize the BackgroundsNaturally, the viewer will be more interested in the main speaker than whatever’s in the background. If there are any overly saturated objects back there, pull a key on them and diminish their saturation a bit.Sometimes a lens containing deep focus can be distracting. If appropriate for the material, explore defocusing the background in favor of having the talent pop out a bit more. To achieve this, create a vignette around the speaker and invert it. Increase the blur by about ten or fifteen percent inside the Blur tab. Even a small amount can create a dramatic look, but it’s important to not go too heavy and risk giving away the trick.I’ve drawn a polygonal window around the talent and then inverted it, then blurred the background to taste.Hopefully these coloring tips and tricks will be useful in your day to day work. Here are a few more articles from PremiumBeat that can help you become a more well-rounded colorist.Blockbuster Looks in DaVinci Resolve: TransformersBetter Black and White in DaVinci ResolveTips for Achieving Real-Time Playback in DaVinci ResolveGot any advice/tips/tricks for users of Davinci Resolve? Please share them in the comments below!last_img read more

first_imgStorytelling is the most important part of the filmmaking process. For writer/director J.J. Abrams, it’s something that he’s spent a lifetime mastering.Top image via HeroComplexThere should be no question that J.J. Abrams is now one of the most influential filmmakers in the industry today. Visual storytelling is a complex art form to master, and it takes many years for a filmmaker to really reach the upper echelon where the Spielbergs, Capras, Fords and Scorseses reside. Abrams has been rapidly making that ascent for the better part of the last decade.Let’s take a detailed look at the evolving career of J.J. Abrams. From his start as a dramatic screenwriter, to his domination of television, and finally to his role as the man who revived two of the most beloved film franchises in history.Getting His Foot in the DoorAbrams was introduced to the business of moviemaking very early in life, as his father Gerald Abrams was (and currently is) a prolific television producer. Because of his father’s connections in Hollywood, Abrams was able to land his first job restoring films for Steven Spielberg, though he never actually met the legendary director.Through this job for Spielberg, a deep passion for Star Wars, and a love of mystery as well as film, Abrams knew exactly what he wanted to do with his life.Harrison Ford in Regarding Henry via Paramount PicturesBy the time Abrams made it to Sarah Lawrence Liberal Arts College in the late 1980s he, along with fellow writer Jill Mazursky, wrote a screenplay that would eventually become the 1990 comedy Taking Care of Business. Mazursky and Abrams also wrote another script that wouldn’t be developed for nearly eight years — the 1997 buddy comedy Gone Fishin’, starring Joe Pesci and Danny Glover.Elijah Wood and Mel Gibson in Forever Young via Warner Bros.With his foot firmly in the door, Abrams penned his first solo script — the 1991 dramatic feature Regarding Henry, which starred Harrison Ford. The very next year he hit it big again by writing the script for the dramatic fantasy film Forever Young, starring Mel Gibson and a young Elijah Wood.Video via Paramount MoviesBy the time he was 30 years old, Abrams had two major successful films under his belt. It was at this time that he began laying the ground work for an invasion into television.Taking Over TelevisionProving that he could craft a solid and viable narrative, Abrams was able to start his own production company, Bad Robot, and sign a television agreement with Touchstone Television. After several years of development, Abrams and co-creator Matt Reeves released the television series Felicity in 1998. Abrams would go on to direct the two-part pilot episode, which would be his first time behind the director’s chair.Keri Russell and Scott Speedman in Felicity via The WBIn 2001, while Felicity was still pulling in solid numbers, Abrams developed his first solo television series: Alias. Abrams moved away from the traditional dramas he had been known for and toward an action-based narrative. The success of Alias went a long way with Touchstone Television, now known as ABC Studios.Lost via ABCFeeling audiences were ready for something new and fresh, Abrams approached ABC Studios with a new show concept. ABC quickly approved the project and Abrams wowed audiences with this skillful direction of the two-part pilot of 2004’s Lost, starring Matthew Fox and Evangeline Lilly.Big Screen DominationWhile Abrams was finding great success on the small screen, he was still finding moderate success on the big screen. In 1998 he helped a pool of writers develop and finalize the script for the film Armageddon. In 2001, he was able to option his script of the thriller Joy Ride, which he also produced.Abrams and Tom Cruise filming Mission: Impossible III via Paramount PicturesWith Lost being a smash hit, Abrams was thrust into the upper stratosphere. While he never really left the film industry, he had never sat in the director chair. This changed for good in 2005-2006, when he wrote and helmed Mission: Impossible III, starring Tom Cruise.The film received positive critical reactions and grossed nearly $400 million at the box office. In the eyes of the industry, this cemented Abrams’s place among them and set him on an amazing path that would see him direct Star Trek, Super 8, Star Trek Into Darkness, and the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens.The cast of Super 8 via Bad RobotNow that we know the core of Abrams‘s history, let’s look at his techniques and find out exactly how he as wowed audiences for nearly a decade.The Mystery of NarrativeAbrams is first and foremost a writer, and multidimensional characters are a big part of that process for him. In fact, Abrams takes the same approach with every story he writes as he looks for the main character, their motivations, and why the audience should care.Abrams has spoken out in interviews about the complex layers needed for a good story, early layers that set the narrative up in the end.Who is your main character, what motivates them, what makes you care and makes you want to lean into them? – J.J. Abrams, AOL Build InterviewThe Lockbox presented by JJ Abrams and Bad Robot via Theory 11Once this multilayered narrative (with its multidimensional character) are in play, Abrams then builds in the mystery. For Abrams, mystery is a key component to creating a fully developed narrative, as this undiscovered knowledge adds a level of intrigue which keeps the audience engaged and focused. The idea of mystery is a concept that goes back to Abrams’s childhood and his time with his grandfather. In 2007, he gave a TED Talk about this very subject.Video via TEDMovement Is KeyKnowing now that Abrams enjoys and champions multilayered narratives, one would think that his film style would reflect this same approach. Yet, this is the furtherest thing from the truth.While he is often criticized for his overuse of lens flares, Abrams, like Spielberg, utilizes a very standard classic cinema style. As we’ve seen in his directorial work thus far, it’s not surprising that Philip Robibero at The Verge nailed the specifics of Abrams’s film style with his mixture of killer dolly shots, snap zooms, and fluid dutch angles.J.J. Abrams directing on set of Star Wars, Episode VII: The Force Awakens via WiredDutch angles are a tricky thing to pull off well, but filmmakers like Danny Boyle and Terry Gilliam use the technique to perfection within their own cinematic style. As stated previously, the J.J. Abrams film style is rooted in classic cinema, so using the dutch angle like Boyle and Gilliam really isn’t an option. Instead, Abrams gives the frame a slight angle and then stages the frame according to the angle. This technique is extremely effective and its imagery can be striking.Snap zooms are another somewhat more modern cinema technique. Filmmakers like Zack Snyder and Guy Ritchie have been using snap zooms for some time now. Abrams began really implementing them into his work while filming Star Trek. The purpose of the snap zoom is to begin with an establishing shot, but then quickly zoom into the action.Finally, our favorite Abrams film technique is his use of the dolly shot. While this technique has been around since nearly the inception of film, very few director have perfected its use. Spielberg is one such director, so it should be of no surprise that Abrams takes a page from the legendary filmmaker and utilizes crossing action in his dolly shots.This means as the camera pushes inward, visual information crosses the frame from left to right, or right to left.The key thing to remember with J.J. Abrams and the above film techniques is that each and everyone of them is (or is a part of) the movement of the camera. Abrams loves for the camera to move and traverse the space, thus giving the audience a wealth of visual information.To the Stars and BeyondImage via Bad RobotWith the successes of an early screenwriting career, a dominant run on television, and praise as a director, Abrams has been able to set his sights on much larger projects, starting with Star Trek in 2009. While his vision was met with some hostility from traditional fans, he was able to completely revitalize the franchise and make it more engaging for a younger audience.After the box-office success of both Star Trek films, Abrams was presented with doing the same thing for Star Wars — after Steven Spielberg told Kathleen Kennedy he could handle the job.Video via Paramount MoviesAs Star Wars: The Force Awakens inches closer to being released, the buzz about the film has reached a level not seen since the original film hit theaters in 1977. But Abrams seems the perfect director for such an undertaking, as his focus on multilayered narratives and classic cinema language fit perfectly into this universe.What are your thoughts on the work of J.J. Abrams?  Let us know your thoughts in the comment below.last_img read more

first_imgDrone enthusiasts rejoice: Rumors suggest the new DJI Inspire 2 will be announced on November 15th.DJI has been on a roll lately, releasing new drones at an accelerated pace that they are already known for. Just weeks after GoPro finally revealed the Karma, DJI swooped in and stole all the thunder with the new compact DJI Mavic.The Mavic’s success even surpassed DJI’s expectations, leading to some shipping delays as acknowledged in a recent update:When we announced Mavic Pro and began accepting pre-orders, we expected to deliver the first units in mid-October. However, ramping up production to full speed at top quality took longer than planned. Prior to our scheduled shipping target, we encountered an issue integrating a part into the Mavic Pro. We resolved that within a week. On top of that, the excitement for the Mavic Pro beat our expectations. As a result, we are working diligently to ramp up production to meet the higher-than-anticipated demand for the Mavic Pro.We have been shipping for nearly two weeks, but even with round-the-clock production, we unfortunately cannot give specific delivery estimates for many orders moving through various global sales channels because of this demand. For Mavic Pro orders received before November 3, 2016, we will do our best to clear them all within the next seven to eight weeks. – DJINone of that has slowed down DJI, as the company has started inviting tech writers and industry leaders to a Control/Create event on November 15th — which is widely believed to be the release of the new Inspire.The Inspire 1 was announced almost exactly two years ago, with the Inspire 1 Pro coming out about a year later. Quadcopter Guide scored a look at the Inspire 2 and it looks to be sleeker and slightly smaller.Image via Quadcopter GuideQuadcopter Guide also reports that the new TB50 battery may slide in from the rear of the drone, rather than the top like the Inspire 1. That may have to do with keeping the body aerodynamic.It’s believed that the Inspire 2 will have more sensors, allowing it to take advantage of DJI’s intelligent flight modes. The Inspire 1 is limited in its flight mode offerings.No pricing details are available yet, but keep your eyes peeled for more information after the November 15th event.Are you excited to get your hands on the DJI Inspire 2? Share your hopes and dreams in the comments below.last_img read more