Apple and the SuperFly

What do you think of replacing advertising with art on billboards, bus shells and street posters?

Shot on iPhone 6

My SuperFly exhibitions did this in 2009 and 2010 – now Apple are doing the same.

Despite having not seen it in the flesh I really like the Shot on iPhone 6 poster campaign by Apple as a simple piece of advertising design. As the campaign title suggests the images on the posters have been captured on the iPhone 6, demonstrating the power and versatility of the camera And yet it took a piece on the Creative Review blog to help me realise that my interest ran deeper than the simplicity of the design. The campaign felt very ‘SuperFly’.

With SuperFly I set out to create an openly accessible art exhibition using spaces usually reserved for advertising. Adverts often use great art, old and new, as part of the composition, however the focus is on selling the product.

SuperFly Creative Review

The Shot on iPhone 6 campaign is clearly selling a device, but it is doing so by demonstrating the output of the device, in print, via the creativity of its user.

Being ‘the most successful company in the entire history of civilisation’ means that Apple can dispense with the (limited) branding and sponsorship that I needed to accommodate, which makes the minimalist design even stronger.

And of course – given the recent (and impending) Art Everywhere initiative – Apple trump again in my eyes by using images of completely unknown photographers (unknown to me at least) when they could easily have given their device to a celebrity photographer and demonstrated its power that way (see the clip below (referring to the iPhone 4S) and ask yourself what the iPhone 6 campaign could have been in the hands of Annie Leibovitz?!)

So five years on Apple bring their own brand of SuperFly to the streets – although I’m guessing they were able to afford several more poster sites than I was…

Have a read of the article (by @belford_paul) and then jump to the SuperFly article (also on the Creative Review blog from 2009) – is it time to revive the SuperFly street exhibition?

Shot on iPhone 6 – Creative Review

SuperFly 2009 – Creative Review

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AudioBoo. AudioBoooom.

 

Before and after with AudioBoom. My frustrations with a great platform.audioboo-audioboom

Less than two months ago you could have been listening to this Boo on AudioBoom via a Twitter share or an email link. Uninterupted. Today you would need to log into your account or create one if you don’t already have one.

“Would you like an AudioBoo account?”
“Well, I don’t know – maybe I’ll have a listen first.”
“I’m afraid not sir – you’ll need an account…”

Etcetera, etcetera, ecetera…

This may seem of no consequence but what does it mean to the communities of online broadcasters who have invested in this once great platform?

AudioBoo. AudioBooooom.
Is the change of name to AudioBoom simply masking the company’s self destruction?

Have a listen and tell me what you think…

(All is not entirely lost because, as you can see, embedded Boos dodge this problem…)

A wide angle on 2014

roads

So here we are, 2015 – the fabled year of Marty McFly’s journey into the future. Apart from the blessing that in our universe Jaws sequels didn’t see episode 19, the reality of 2015 in the Back to the Future context remains largely underwhelming.

No hover boards, no flying Delorean’s (no Delorean’s of any sort on my driveway for that matter…), and no fortune-securing almanacs.

But the downbeat attitude ends here! My intention is to point out some faves of the last 12 months while looking forward to amazing developments in the year ahead!

So here goes, five highlights of 2015 (excluding family of course, cos’ they would take up three slots straight-a-way) in no particular order, as they appear in my head at this moment (while I also reserve the right to change my mind later…)

GoPro: I’ve always loved taking pictures and have a history of digital cameras that goes back to 2000 and a 3.4MP Fuji. Things have moved on considerably of course and despite the current convenience of a very powerful camera on my phone I’ve had a lot of fun with this camera over the past eight months – not least of which was taking 240FPS videos of sycamore leaves (helicopters) and slowing it right down.

Pixies: The new album did not disappoint and neither did their live set at T in the Park (Scotland).

 

Gairloch: …is a small town on the west coast of Scotland. We went as a family for the first time this year (my wife had been before) and what a location. We took a trip 30 miles out to sea on a RHIB and saw dolphins, a Minke whale, seals, puffins… it was a stunning morning, some of which you can see in the film below… I also got to try out my sea kayak (I’m going to cheat and include here as another fave of the year) in some serious surf. Can’t wait to get back…

Games: This year has been a real eclectic mix of games in the family. The kids really got into Monopoly and love using my Star Wars original trilogy edition – they both beat a couple of times. We also downloaded Need For Speed: Most Wanted which is a huge guilty pleasure for me. And then on a short break to Edinburgh I introduced my boy to Games Workshop which he got quite interested in so we are currently painting Warhammer 40K figures and learning the game. Finally, my boy also had a chess set for Christmas which he has now taught me to play… so despite the number of devices available to play games on in the house we have a pretty healthy balance of non-digital interests too…

University: 2014 was the year that saw my wife graduate with the same Masters in Design for Services that I completed in 2011. IT was like a refresher course for me, which was great, but also it’s given us the opportunity to collaborate on some great projects together and moving forward I’m sure there’ll be lots more – exciting times!

So, what hit the spot for you in 2014? While you think have a quick squiz at my 2014 in wide-angle, mostly courtesy of my GoPro. Watch out 2015!

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

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

Get a ‘Grip’ for Yourself!

Joby gorillapod video and grip tight

Earlier this years I blogged about a Joby Gorilla tripod and how impressed I was with it.

Shortly after that I was directed towards the new range of tri-Pods by someone at Joby themselves. They very kindly sent me a couple of items to try out and having used them for a month or so this is what I think…

I’ve created a hybrid Gorilla tri-pod, for my iPhone 4S, consisting of ‘GorillaPod Video‘ and ‘Gorilla GripTight‘.

GorillaPod Video is designed for palm size video cameras and digital cameras. It has the standard screw mounted attachment with quick-release plate. It has several other features too but I’ll get to those in a second.

The GripTight comes with its own tripod (which for me is now surplus). Given the quality of the GorillaPod Video it would make sense to make the GripTight a stand alone product as I’m sure many users, like me, will want the best of both worlds. However…

Joby gorillapod video and grip tight

GripTight, as you would expect, grips your phone – but it is also extendable. It extends to widths between 54 and 72mm. Of course this future proofs your purchase to a degree – no worries about iPhone changing size in the future or converting to another device altogether!

So, GripTight does just that. There is only friction keeping your device in place, so exercise caution, but it’s surprisingly strong and i’m always confident that my iPhone is genuinely secure!

Joby gorillapod video and grip tight

So far, so ‘really’ good.

Back to the GorillaPod Video pod then.

Apart from the trade-mark Gorilla grip legs – that wrap around just about anything – this tri-pod, quite literally, has improvements from the top down!

Starting at the top we have the pan and tilt arm. Again, you can feel the quality in the build and it provides a very smooth pan. If the tripod is free-standing then it will need secured by your freehand while using the pan arm as there is a reasonable amount of resistance – but such is the quality.
There is a handy button that, while depressed, allows the tilt arm to move freely – once a suitable position is chosen then release the button and the arm remains locked in place.

At the neck of the tripod, just below the arm is an additional ball joint not found on other GorillaPods in this range and it allows for greater flexibility in positioning. (see below).

Joby gorillapod video and grip tight

See the video captured here, below.

Finally, probably the most surprising feature – surprising because they work so effectively!
The feet on the Video tri-pod are magnetic. I honestly didn’t think I would trust my iPhone to three small magnetic feet. However, they are very, very strong. (Over 7lbs of pulling force – if that means anything to you?!) I would happily attach the tri-pod to something metal, 90 degrees to the ground, and be happy that my phone was secure. Even stood upright on a metal surface provides extra peace of mind that the device won’t be blown over. (Been there with a iPad :\)

Joby gorillapod video and grip tight

So here (above) I put the magnetic feet to the ultimate test by dangling the camera upside-down from the metal housing of a projector screen. I filmed a time-lapse over 15-20mins, and, just in case, prepared a soft landing below. However, there was no need! The tripod stayed in place happily until I removed it!

So, while Joby Gorilla pods don’t come cheap I would suggest, given the value of the device you’re likely to be putting in it’s ‘grip’, the investment is valid and reasonable. This is a great portable product that I carry constantly with me. I found plenty of uses for the older model, (see the review) and I’m finding dozens more for this one, simply because it’s so versatile.

For ‘mobile’ film-makers then this is an essential tool! I say go for it – get a ‘grip’!

With Joby you’re literally in a good ‘hand’!

Joby iPhone GorillaPod

Just in case you haven’t found anything useful to do with your iPhone and you’re looking to give it a new lease of life then you might find this little gizmo interesting. [UPDATE] Please read this review by all means but it has been superseded by a review of the latest Joby products! While this review covers how I use the tripods the newer review looks at the improved functionality of Joby Gorilla Grip Tight and Gorilla Video.

gorilla-pod-music

I’ve no idea how long this has been around (so this post may be very old hat!) but I do know that over the past few weeks several iPhone wielding friends have been suitably impressed that I thought it was worth sharing further afield…

The Joby GorillaPod is well known in photography circles and has been produced in various sizes to cope with the most sturdy of cameras for many years. I came close to getting one for my SLR many times… however, they can be pricey. However, this one I couldn’t resist. Firstly, it was less than a tenner (£10) on Amazon. Secondly, I use the iPhone ‘a lot’ in workshops and general day-to-day photography, film/animation so I knew I was going to get a lot of mileage out of it.

The things is, apart from all the creative stuff, the time-lapse and having somewhere safe to prop my phone for outdoor camera stuff, I’m using the GorillaPod as a stand for when I’m Skyping/Facetime, watching the iPlayer or listening to Podcasts… and the thing that I was most paranoid about… leaving the phone lying around in the kitchen while cooking or washing up! ‘Now’ it’s wrapped around a cupboard door handle out of harms way!

I even tried wrapping it around the handlebars of my bike this week – it was pretty secure but given the wind I didn’t trust the frame to hold (see below) – otherwise it’d be a great way of capturing time-lapse or video on the bike.

Te GorillaPod legs are very light-weight yet incredibly sturdy and I have no fear of losing or damaging my phone while wrapping it around the branch of a tree! The stand also comes with the necessary (screw fitting) attachment that would allow you to use the tripod with a (Phone sized/weighted) digital camera. The frame that fits around the phone is detachable from the legs so you can very quickly set up for shots with out having to walk around with a tripod in your pocket! It feels less substantial than the legs but appears to be made of very flexible plastic, fits very snug and I’ve no reason to doubt its durability as yet.

So, heartily recommended by me… but what about you?! Have you used a Joby or anything similar? What’s your gizmo of choice for doing the same job? Let me know below…