Tuesday, July 13, 2021

More ways to make movies without a movie camera

 I’m actually not a huge fan of the current social media offering. However they can be a great way to interact with others and in fact find a wider audience for your works. From my involvement in the Watercolour Society of Victoria. I have discovered what really counts is a sense of community, knowing and caring about others. Following what they are creating or struggling with.

An interesting video with a few good pictures and relevant story are sure to make a good impression. They are highly likely to stop the viewer scrolling through static thumbnails and endless selfies.

So I hope this little set of examples inspires you to create a video about yourself art making and showing your art.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Experimenting with IGTV

 I'm afraid IGTV never really appealed to me. Not sure if it was the vertical format or the type of video maker it was trying to gain access to. was it YouTube for the chronic selfie take who hasn't worked out how to turn the phone through 90 degrees and use the better lens on the back of the phone. Perhaps I'm being a bit cynical!

Anway no time better than now to experiment with the format.

Man the embed code is longer than the video! 

I took two short clips with my phone. then I used Canva (an on-line design tool) which can handle video and offered a neat way to append the clips together and add some text. I exported it as .mp4 and it seemed fine until I listened to the audio. So I recorded a simple voice-over on the phone. Uploading to Instagram was the real challenge but I eventually discovered it was simple if I did it from my computer via the web connection to Instagram. It didn't take so long and would I be inclined to do it again, Maybe?

Perhaps not as much fun as using mmhmm. Looks like my challenge to other artist continues.

'Make a video of yourself marking your art"

Thursday, June 17, 2021

A lockdown diversion - making a video

 As this "7-day" lockdown in Melbourne began (a few weeks ago now) I thought it would be a good idea to try making a video of myself making my art. Fate intervened and I had a series of technology breakdowns so this got postponed. Yet the aim expanded, Trying to find as many ways as possible to create a video showing me making art or perhaps the processes and media I use.

This is the first cab off the rank. Without my camera I looked to the streaming technology we have all become familiar with, video conferencing aka zoom. Now zoom lets you use virtual cameras (software that looks to zoom as if it is a video input, like a webcam). However, a virtual camera can be a lot more dependent on the software itself and what inputs you can access. I have been using manycam for some time and my youtube "quicktips" are all recorded using it. The open-source OBS (Open Broadcaster System) has been hugely popular in the on-line gaming community for some time.

The pandemic and multiple lockdowns have seen the massive expansion of what virtual cameras are capable of doing. I have been enrolled on the beta test of the windows version of a niffy "little" application called mmhmm. It has just been upgraded to its first "official" release. Here is what I recorded using this latest release.

The video of the painting process was recorded as a .mp4 first up straight from my webcamera with mmhhmm in full-screen mode. Whilst the apple version of mmhmm gives you the option of a faster playback, it doesn't allow this on the current windows version. So I resorted to my normal video editor (Corel's Video Studio) to speed up the video to 10x speed. I also added the CCmusic by Bensound "Sunny", and saved the results as a new video again in .mp4 format. Back into mmhmm with a new room (backround) based on a photo of my palette and open sketch book) and I recorded myself speaking whilst displaying the text cards and other "effects" as I was talking, I also ran the newly created painting video within that session and saved the whole as my final video again in .mp4 format. Finally I uploaded this to YouTube. It actually didn't take long and was fun. 

So I'm going to challenge other artists to also "make a video of yourself making your art".

Friday, May 28, 2021

This is also a little spooky ...

Just how much our privacy is being eroded is scary, as we participant the image sharing on social media. This especially applies to our photos and the apps on our mobile phone that may well be processing them even when we haven't shared them. These apps might be scanning your contacts, purchases, and perhaps even your searches. This graphic is from a review undertaken by SurfShark, a group that provides VPNs. 

I don't believe I would benefit from a VPN but I have removed  VSCO,  Adobe Lightroom, PicsArt and Prisma; along with Facebook, Twitter & now also Google Photo apps from my mobile phone. I'm retreating back to only interacting with social media via the Brave browser and mainly from my computer. 

I really don't think I'm being paranoid just careful.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Yes I just had to photography the lunar eclipse


I have been able to photograph the lunar eclipse in 2014, 2015 & again in 2018, so I knew I must photograph last night's "blood moon" aka another Lunar eclipse. Whilst it didn't look so promising early, with thick cloud cover. As the eclipse progress it cleared to a magnificent, but cold, night. I actually found the best vantage point was right in my backyard. So I had my smallest camera and longest lens (giving the best reach) set up on a tripod with a timer on the shutter.

The colour wasn't as red as perviously, it was more a coppery red but still pretty amazing.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Exploring Excire

 I had gotten interested in Excire at the Visual Story Tellers on-line conference. It seemed to offer some useful feature that might help me tackle the process of working  through a lot of old family photos, slides, negatives and albums. Well it didn’t inspire me to start that project. However it is an amazing program.

The clearest use case for excire is during the import/ingestion of photos. Its was faster than lightroom, but it does have to create its own database (like the lightroom catalogue) and it uses either a jpeg or the jpeg built into any RAW file.

The fact that it can write this keywording and your ranking to a sidecar file as you import is a really massive benefit.

I still think photo mechanic lets you get through the import a lot quicker, but I’m seldom adding keywords. Once you have entered custom keywords both do a great job of finding your photos.

The second great application is for searching through a large collection, where its hierarchical keywords strategy can help  you find a lot of photos quickly within a larger collection. It also keywords several special terms related to aspects of the photograph, not things buried in the exif data (like lightroom) but general things like brightness, leading lines or silhouette.

Its biggest downfall for my “family history” project was that although you can put in customised to identify people and grouping people “like this” it misses enough to make it unreliable, as a fall back organizer.  By comparison google photos gives me a slightly better strike rate once I identify people (or alternatively say not matching). Picasa (although no longer supported by google) still appears to me to do the best job and It works on photos locally.   So my eyes are going to be the best tool, with assistance from picasa and photo mechanic for now.

So my conclusion is I’m not buying excire (just now). It is an impressive program and leads the way for AI classification and assistance finding photos. Its definitely something to keep an eye on. There is a free seven day trial if you are interested.           

Monday, May 24, 2021

Not if but when continues.......

I falsely thought equipment failures where behind me, at least for a while. I was wrong. Ok I had been seeing times when my old portable USB card reader (hanging together with masking tape) would just refuse to read cards on different computers. Frustrating sure but it was intermittent and there where alternate ways to upload photo.

Now I find all my built in SD card readers on the three computers (that survived the windows 10 update) still working have stopped working over the past few days. Damn. Still I can upload directly from the Camera.

Clearly I spoke to soon. Is this bad luck and a massive coincident or is there a  SD card virus or similar data contagion out in the wild? I can't find any reliable reference to such a beast, at least at the moment.

So its off to replace my USB card reader and get some new cards, but keeping my fingers crossed.