Season 2 of Tales by Light is now on Netflix! I'm featured in episodes 3 and 4. What an amazing production to have been a part of--I'm truly honored.
Congratulations to the winners of the 2017 New York City Drone Film Festival (and to all of the folks who submitted)! I was unable to attend the film festival in person this year, but was honored to be on the jury and to see all of the submissions. The quality of drone-focused videos is going up each year, as is the diversity of content.
The winners are all embedded on a page over at NYCDFF's website, which includes a list of submissions.
TL;DR: Use ProRes, or command-line ffmpeg to get 6K into H.264 outside of standard level specs.
The problem with trying to encode and upload videos in 6K is that it's hard to encode 6K video using highly-compressed codecs that are upload friendly. H.264 is currently the standard video codec used to compress video for Internet sharing, and its highest performance level doesn't support video resolutions higher than 4K. Here are two possible solutions.Read More
Video and stills comparison from 8 current 360 cameras including the Giroptic iO (pre-production), Insta360 Nano, LG 360 Cam, Nikon KeyMission 360, Panono, Ricoh Theta S, Samsung Gear 360 and Z CAM S1 (screengrab from 6K video).Read More
Although Oculus Rift's newest updates allow the installation of game and content data on a drive of your choice, your existing data can't easily be moved. I found this article that describes how to do it, but I found that my folder locations were different, and I had to change the order of its instructions in order to succeed. If you're willing to open an elevated command prompt in Windows 10 (a command prompt that has administrator privileges), you can do this pretty easily using the following steps...Read More
I've survived the first couple months of transition from a Mac-based workstation to a Windows-based one (still using a MacBook Pro as my main "life" computer, though). The NVIDIA GPU has been required for a lot of the work I'm doing in 360 and VR. The new machine features an overclocked 10-core i7 CPU and Titan X GPU, so it's very fast. But I was not so happy to see Adobe Media Encoder CC 2017 only using from 50-75% of my CPU. I seem to remember that AME used a higher % of available CPU resources on the Mac, but haven't done direct comparisons.
If Premiere Pro is playing clips back too quickly, check your Audio Hardware settings. If I set my Default audio input to "Microphone (Rift Audio)" (I have an Oculus Rift connected), playback is about twice too fast, and I can't get play it at normal speed. If I set Default Input back to "No Input", playback returns to 1x real time.
I hate this stuff.
Tonight I learned how to make a shortcut to a folder on a NAS box in Windows. Happy Christmas Eve!
mklink /d "c:\Users\echeng\Desktop\picturesnas" "\\freenas\medianas\pictures"
... will put a folder called "picturesnas" on my Desktop that points to the "pictures" folder in the "medianas" share on my FreeNAS box. I'm frankly incredulous that you can't just make shortcuts of this stuff from the normal user interface. I assume "ln-s" would also work in Windows Bash shell, but Windows-mounted network shares don't show up in bash, and I'd have to mount them again.
After you do this, you can stick that symlink "file" in any folder and then drag it to your Quick Access area.
You really can't make this stuff up.
Just before sunset today, a gorgeous double rainbow appeared over the San Francisco bay. I happened to have a fisheye lens attached to my camera, so I ran outside and snapped this shot. The rainbow stuck around for a few minutes, so I had time to shoot using a few different setups.Read More
I recently went out and captured about 130 320-megapixel HDR 360 panoramas. Each panorama consists of about 4.25 GB of raw files from a Sony a7r II and takes nearly an hour to detect and render on a Windows machine running an 10-core Intel Core i7-6950X overclocked to 4.2Ghz and a Titan X GPU--about 5 days of continuous rendering (using Kolor Autopano Giga).
I'm willing to leave my machine on for 5 days to do this sort of rendering, especially when it's cold outside, as I'd have to run a heater in the room if I wasn't doing this sort of rendering, anyway (hah), but long rendering sessions like this require software that can essentially remain running continuously forever...Read More
I have been collecting Lexar SDXC 2000x UHS-II/U3 SD cards, which claim to have read speeds "up to 300MB/s." These cards use an extra set of pins on the back to achieve such fast transfer speeds, but there's a catch: your cameras and card readers must be compatible with UHS-II in order to take advantage of the increased speeds. Without explicit compatibility, these cards perform no better than inexpensive SD cards.
Some high-end cameras, like the Sony A7R II, can't take advantage of fast SD cards. In this SD card speed test, the Sony never exceeds 35.27 MB/s, which means that cards like the Lexar 633x UHS-I/U3 SD card, which are less than half the cost, work just as well (and also support 4K video in Sony cameras like the A7R II and RX100 IV/V). This Lexar UHS-I/U3 card is starting to be hard to get, but Sony's equivalent card is a few dollars more and also works well.
I am currently on assignment in London capturing about 200GB a day in still images. Copying and backing up such large amounts of data is a huge pain, and the built-in SD card slot in my MacBook Pro was getting an average of around 45 MB/s when reading from the 2000x. Switching to the $8.95 Kingston Digital MobileLite G4 USB 3.0 card reader, which supports UHS-II cards, tripled my read speeds to 140 MB/s (2000x SD card) and 100 MB/s (1000x SD card). This turns 75 minutes of copying into 24 minutes—an amazing time savings for a $9 dongle!
The Lexar SD card reader that comes bundled with 2000x-speed cards is also supposed to be even faster, and the standalone Lexar SR2 card reader is supposed to be the fastest, but it's relatively bulky when used outside of the Lexar Workflow Hub, in which it was designed to dock.
If you're using fast media cards, make sure you have the right accessories to take advantage of them!
I went to the DEMA Show for a day last week to check out underwater photo gear.
360RIZE announced underwater housings for the Samsung Gear 360 and 2 x Kodak SP360 4K, and were also showing their 6 x GoPro (Abyss) with Bullet360 sync. The Samsung and Kodak housings are expected to retail for around $1K.Read More
After much agonizing about the state of Apple's dedication in supporting power users, I decided to replace my Mac Pros at home and work with beefy Windows desktops (my laptop is still a MacBook Pro). At work, I now have a Falcon Northwest Talon (6-core), and at home, a custom 10-core workstation built by my good friends at Central Computers.Read More
Unboxing the Hover Camera by ZeroZero Robotics. Everything is really well thought out, and I'm looking forward to putting it in the air. Both batteries are charging now via the dual-battery charger, which is very compact.
Nearly a year ago, Abraham Joffe of Untitled Film Works reached out to see if I would be interested in collaborating on an episode of Tales by Light, a relatively new TV series about photography. I watched some of the work in progress clips from other episodes of the show and was amazed by what such a small, tight team was able to do. I eagerly signed on.Read More
Simple video editing can be frustrating for content creators whom aren't familiar with the process, and even people who work with video every day can struggle to find the right tools to accomplish quick edits. One issue is that most video editors force video re-encoding upon export, which results in potentially-long render times as well as degradation in quality. Here's how to do simple editing without re-encoding your final video.Read More
Seven years ago, I wrote a chapter for a book about eco-activism. It was during an incredible time in my life between spending 10 years chasing strange underwater stories, and a partial-return to tech. Ultimately, it was deemed that I was not "hardcore" enough of an eco-warrior; my chapter was silently struck after I was told that it needed to be "in some ways rewritten."Read More
I've been asked a lot recently by friends for product recommendations for useful baby things (our son is now 18 months old). I remember how daunting it was to have a new baby on the way. A few friends dropped off literally truckloads of hand-me-down baby stuff, much of which were confounding collections of plastic tubes, cylinders, and funnels that were apparently supposed to connect in ways that might be useful. Every kid is going to be very different, but here's what Mako ended up using...Read More