Instagram HyperLapse

 

A new movie capturing app from photo sharing platform Instagram promises to bring powerful ‘steadying’ capabilities to your iPhone (and Android phone very soon).

Ordinarily steadying or ‘anti-shake’ software maps every frame in a clip and tracks constant elements to determine the movement of the camera and use that information to fix unwanted movement. This takes a lot of processing power which is fine on a pro setup but no so much on a phone.

So rather than scan the film and drain your battery, Hyperlapse uses the phone’s gyroscope data as reference and fixes the movie up from that. This is by no means a simple process but, despite adding much more functionality to the Instagram app recently, Instagram Inc. are confident enough in Hyperlapse’ ability to put it out as a stand alone app.

I can’t wait to give it a go – how about you?

Read more on on the Instagram blog.

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Instagram Victoriana

victorians - actors

Fun times were had at The McManus, Dundee’s Museum and Art Gallery last Saturday evening (17 May) as we presented Victoriana Dundee as part of the Festival of Museums.

The Museum, opened late for a special evening and, with the help of Artemis Scotland, brought Victorian Dundee to life once more as the various galleries were hosted by local Victorian celebrities – amongst them, Bessie Maxwell and Marie Imandt told us about their ground breaking journalism for DC Thomson seen here:

My job was to ‘channel’ the spirit of Peter Feathers Jnr who just over 100 years ago was a photographer an filmmaker in the city. The Youth Action Group at McManus had found a lot of inspiration through his work for their Sense of Place project (currently on display at The National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh).

victoriana props

Above: Victoriana selfie with my Victoriana props. (I’m not quite that portly) This pic was taken with my GoPro super wide angle camera :/

Bringing some of our ideas from the project together for last Saturday’s event we decided to have a Victorian Photo Booth where our visitors could dress up and we would photograph them and post to Instagram. Given that Peter Feathers has been remembered for his films more than photographs I opted to use an app called Vintagio. Equipped with my authentic Victorian clockwork iPad I took 5 second shots – similar to the moving newspaper images seen in the Harry Potter films. You can see the results on the McManus Instagram page or arch a montage of snippets in the Youtube video below.

victoriana - dressing up

We were very busy for the solid two and half hours – the continual posting to twitter (check out the has tag #FoM2012) didn’t go unnoticed:

So, I heartily recommend any opportunity to encourage folks to dress up and have their picture/movie taken – adults and children alike, I’m sure we could have stayed open for another two hours!

Were you at McManus last weekend – or any other Festival of Museums events? Tell us all about it below…

Death of the Selfie?

group NY selfie

Do you remember when taking a selfie meant using the tiny convex silver blob on the back of your phone as a guide?

Well, the ‘selfie’ is so common place now that at the end of 2013 ‘Selfie’ was named word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries and even the Pope was in on the act.

Such is the fickle world of fame that having reached the pinnacle the only way is down; and, thanks to a gaggle of the movie world’s finest, it may be that last weekend brought about the beginning of the end for the poor old selfie.

Oscars superfly'd

Whereas the Pope came across as obliging and benevolent the Oscars pic has an embarrassing ‘dad dance’ feel to it. And then, with this being the internet, we see the ugly truth – that no one let Liza Minnelli (at the back in the blue dress) push through!

liza minelli Oscars

The one saving grace was that Matt Groening rattled off a spoof…

simpsons selfie

Pop, as they say, will eat itself!

– – – – – – – – – – –

While working on the the Sense of Place project at Dundee’s McManus we were looking at how cinema developed locally in the early 20th century. At a time when only a few dozen people on the planet had access to a movie camera they were filming the most mundane of activities; people coming out of work; trains coming into stations. It took the magician George Melies to spot the entertainment value of the medium.

With the creation and sharing of photography and video being so ubiquitous and democratised through smart phones and social media we live in a constant avalanche of selfies and dinner plates. But surely it’s the same phenomenon.

It’s interesting that many of the people who complain about the number of people sharing their breakfast on Instagram are also glued to the Great British Bake Off; I’m sure there’s some shared DNA in there somewhere.

And of course the Oscar selfie became the most re-tweeted Tweet of all time with over 2  million RTs before the end of the show.

ancient selfieFinally, my favourite selfie. Apparently the picture on the left dates back to the 1850’s (?). Although it could just be an early iPhone using a grungy Instagram filter. It’s so hard to tell these days.

Muvi X-Lapse for time lapse panoramics

muvi x-lapse pic 3

I really didn’t have to think too long about this purchase.

I love making time-lapse films and iMotionHD is one of my most used apps on both the iPhone and iPad.

Time lapse is a fascinating filming technique. It’s the perfect tool for:

  • Establishing shots (how else could you make a conference-room filling up with people look remotely interesting?)
  • Creative openings (the day’s sunrise)
  • Illustrating the passing of time (clouds rushing by, sun-down, etc)

The possibilities go on and on…

muvi x-lapseWhat Muvi brings to this is X-Lapse, a clockwork turntable which turns 360 degrees over an hour (manually adjustable to anything between one and sixty minutes).

The movie below was capture over a couple of days on the west coast of Scotland at a place called Ratagan (Glenshiel, Ross-shire) and includes a shot of the nearby Skye Bridge (toll free bridge to the Isle of Skye) and the ferry terminal at Sconser, Isle of Skye.


muvi x-lapse pic 1X-Lapse has standard tripod screw (¼” screw thread – male on top for mounting a camera; female on the bottom to mount X-Lapse to a tripod); it’s a great companion piece to my Joby Gorilla Pod. It also comes supplied with a ‘shoe’ to hold your iPhone (illustrated above) but again, I use my Joby Griptight for added security (left).

So let me know what you think of the film. For about £15 (from Firebox) I recommend X-Lapse as a solid purchase! I also recommend you check out iMotionHD here.

 

Skye Bridge from Kyleakin

skye bridge

My kind of CPD!

McManus CPD Group

The McManus (Dundee’s Museum and Art Gallery) was host to a ‘continuing professional development’ (CPD) session last night. Organised by Angus Arts Co-ordinator Pauline Meikleham, artists and teachers from Angus Council came along to hear about the McManus creative learning programme, the Youth Action Group and the ‘Sense of Place’ project/exhibition (closes Friday, so hurry!).

McManus CPD Feedback

We talked about the practical and digital elements of the project and the connections made between print and digital media.

Sense of Place - McManus

My fascination with the iPad (other tablets and phones are available) is the fact that rather than a Volvo Estate full of ‘stuff’, these days I can capture, edit and share from a device that fits in my inside coat pocket.

mcmanus feedback 2

But all work and no play makes Jon a dull boy (this is ‘Playful’, not ‘Workful’ Communications) so we had a tour of the exhibition scanning a few QR Codes and a little film making session using iMotionHD to make a few stop frame films (they’ll be on the @YagMcManus instagram account later).

It was great to see minds working overtime as ideas formed on the spot – they’re will be a few classrooms across Angus making short, creative films in the coming weeks!

mcmanus feedback 3

On sharing some of these pictures on Instagram later, one of the comments to come back from a teacher not at the session (@andymcginger) was, “My kind of CPD!
So, if this looks like ‘your’ kind of CPD; if you’d like to find out more or have a similar event organised for you then let me know!

X-Men take on Instagram

Regardless of what some might say about Instagram, Facebook were sufficiently interested to pay $1Billion for an 18 month old company that had no financial revenue – it didn’t even have a financial model (free to download, free to post, no ads)!

FaceBook Vs Instagram

While it was clear that Facebook was paying for the ‘engaged’ community, it was also likely that they would change the platform somehow (see my reaction from the time above, “Instagram: Before and after Facebook” – visualised in Lego).

The introduction of video sharing in June 2013 was a popular addition to the app, and though a maximum of only 15 seconds can be uploaded per post, the opportunities appeared huge in comparison to Vine’s 6 second loops.

So, a couple of videos caught my eye in the last week that have adopted the platforms video capabilities beautifully.

The BBC – Despite a hokey title, InstaFax from the BBC is an reasonable attempt to engage a younger audience with the news. 15 second sound and video bites with large subtitle-style overlaid text act as tasters to headline news stories. I like it, but will it impress the target audience?

X-Men: Days of Future Past is the latest in the rebooted and now mashed-up movie franchise. On Thursday last week (23 January 2013) the Official X-Men Instagram account released a lightening 15 second mini-trailer – perfect for sharing and watching across mobile networks – especially for those of their younger (but essential) demographic for whom data-rates are still a concern.

x-men on instagram

A closer look at the account reveals that back in October an Instagram video was used to tease the imminent trailer release. Another masterful use of what Instagram can offer.

So why is no-one making more of this opportunity?

I’m sure there are others that I haven’t seen – so tell me, who is exploiting Instagram in the most creative or opportunistic way?
Who is making the most of its 15 seconds of fame?

Visual Storytelling Made Simple: Storehouse for iPad

storehouse3

Did you know that the very first version of Instagram (Burbn) was intended as a ‘Swiss army knife’ of an app… kitchen sink included. As development progressed went on, Kevin Systrom and his team stripped out feature after feature to arrive at the simple (but effective) photo sharing app that subsequently sold to Facebook for 1 Billion Dollars only 18 months after launch.

Storehouse is a new digital visual storytelling application for iPad and shares something of the simplicity of Instagram.

Positioned somewhere between Storify and photo book production, Storehouse maximises the intuitive interface potential of the iPad. Bring in pictures and video from your iPad’s photo albums, Flickr, Dropbox and Instagram to create (very quickly) a polished ‘story’ that can be annotated with text (again, limited to ‘header’, ‘quote’ or ‘regular’) and published on the web to the Storehouse community and to the world.

storehouse2

Experienced desktop publishers might see the application as limited. As a long-time Adobe InDesign user the power of Storehouse, to me, is in its simplicity. Within 30 mins of downloading the app for the first time I had browsed some great stories (links below) and had one of my own ready to publish.

Sharing is simple too – Facebook, Tweet or email a link to stories. Click ‘recommend‘ to bookmark stories you might like to return to. I expected ‘recommend‘ to be a ‘like’ but I can’t see that Storehouse display numbers of ‘recommendations’, only ‘views’.

storehouse4

Translation to bigger screens via your web browser is excellent, no need for ‘mum’ to download any pesky desktop apps to see your story. As yet embedding is not an option, but I wonder if that’s an intentional choice for now… YouTube videos can turn up in all sorts of places – Storehouse stories can only be seen on their site.

Developed by a team that includes an ex-Apple employee, the presentation is very cool – limited, but unfussy. As with Storify, the inability to ‘save a version’ of my work is a little disconcerting. I once experienced hours of work on Storify disappear due to a server problem. Once was enough.

Although a PDF would be appreciated, I have to say that much of the functionality and beauty of the ‘story’ would be lost. The Storehouse versions flow and bounce and twist (to close) in the fluid way we have grown accustomed to in well executed iPad apps. And while images can be cropped in the ‘story’, a single tap has the image appear full screen and uncropped.

storehouse application image

While less than a week old the Storehouse community is growing and, like me, they see a lot of potential and room to grow.

I think Storehouse would be great learning tool for schools. My daughter loves creating Keynote (Powerpoint) slides about her favourite subjects. On an iPad I could see the simplicity and intuitive nature of Storehouse being really popular with children creating home or class projects – but for that to happen I would want the ability to create private accounts, maybe even private groups where stories could be shared with the class, youth club, etc.

storehouse1

I can also see me using Storehouse as a presentation tool – particularly for image heavy and Pecha Kucha style slides; particularly for the cropped images that then appear full screen.

But, I’ve kept you for far too long – you should try it out for yourself.

Have a browse through the stories I’ve linked below, including my own ‘SuperFly’ exhibition retrospective… (read more about SuperFly here)

Remember where you heard about Storehouse first – if it was here then come back and tell me what you think. If you make a ‘story’ (or you already have one) link to them in the comments below or Tweet me @OnTheSuperFly

storehouse5