Monday, October 23, 2017

Toolbox

  • Thursday, Sep. 14, 2017
Sports in virtual reality sounds cool, but can feel distant
This May 2, 2017, photo provided by Intel and Major League Baseball shows a "fan" view from a baseball game in Detroit. The virtual-reality coverage includes a view using standard television cameras, top center, showing the pitcher, batter and catcher in one shot. Major League Baseball, in a partnership with Intel, has had a free game in VR every Tuesday, subject to blackouts of hometown teams. (Courtesy of Intel/MLB via AP)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

When watching sports in virtual reality, it's best to remind yourself that TV wasn't born in a day. Early television was mostly radio with pictures. It took years — even decades — for producers to figure out the right camera angles, graphics and instant replays to deliver.

Sports is going through a similar transformation. VR holds the promise of putting fans right in the middle of the sporting action — on the 50-yard line, say, or in a ringside seat, or standing behind the catcher as the umpire calls strikes.

But today's VR sports have an empty and distant feel to them. Watching through a headset sometimes feels like being there in the stadium ... by yourself, absent cheering fans, hot dogs and beer. And it doesn't get you close enough to the action to compensate.

For now, the zoom lenses of television cameras do a much better job of showing a pitcher's intensity or a free-throw shooter's concentration.

Yet Intel, NextVR and other companies are working to bring a variety of sports — boxing, golf, soccer, you name it — to VR. Major League Baseball has delivered a free game in VR every Tuesday (subject to blackouts of hometown teams); next week, it's the Colorado Rockies playing the Giants in San Francisco.

To enjoy it, it's best to think about what VR could be, rather than what it is now.

THE TROUBLE WITH VR
Start with some of the weird artifacts of VR. Many sporting productions don't actually give you a full 360-degree view, one of the main attractions of the medium. Instead, they often black out what's behind you. The reasoning is obvious — you're focused on the game and not other fans — but even television has cameras pointed at the stands.

Worse, VR camera placement is often downright odd. During the March Madness college basketball tournament, for instance, a coach or another camera operator would sometimes stand right in front of the VR camera, blocking the game play. The VR camera was also at floor level, which leaves you feeling as if you were watching while lying down by the court.

A VR camera in a baseball dugout should offer a unique perspective on the game — but in practice, what you often see are players' legs as they walk by. Any competent sports cameraman could have framed the shot better. (Intel Sports executive David Aufhauser says those blemishes add realism, much the way people can walk in front of you at a stadium.)

In Intel's baseball coverage, in fact, some of the best views come from a standard camera that captures the pitcher, batter and catcher in one shot. It's sequestered in a box within the virtual environment — which itself is sometimes just showing the catcher's back from behind home plate.

VR AS A SUPPLEMENT
Maybe it's best not to think of VR as a supplement to, rather than a replacement for, television.

Baseball does this well with its At Bat VR app , which requires a subscription starting at $87 for the season (discounted to $8 now that the season is almost over). Instead of VR video, you get a perspective from behind home plate, with graphical depictions of each pitch. A colored streak — red for strikes and green for balls — traces the ball's trajectory, using sensors in place at all major-league stadiums.

You're getting more information than you would with regular television, without missing out on what TV does best — the close-ups. The TV coverage appears on a virtual scoreboard in the outfield.

You need an Android phone and headset compatible with Google's Daydream system. The app isn't available on iPhones or Samsung Gear VR headsets, though Samsung's Galaxy S8 and Note 8 phones work with Daydream headsets. (On the flip side, Intel's baseball coverage works just on Gear VR with Samsung phones — not Daydream.)

WHAT'S TO COME
Some of what VR does really well comes in the form of highlight videos and player profiles. These are usually just a few minutes long.

And because these were produced during practice and other non-game settings, the VR camera can take you to more interesting locations. For a series on up-and-coming baseball players, one camera was just in front of second base, and another was in the bullpen during a pitcher's warmup. It feels as though you're getting access you wouldn't get on television or in person.

So why couldn't a VR camera show relief pitchers warming up during games, too? In an interview, Aufhauser says Major League Baseball and the individual teams will need to get more comfortable with VR before expanding camera access. For now, he says, producers look for other places that won't get in the way, such as the swimming pool near center field at Arizona's Chase Field or the tall "Green Monster" wall at Boston's Fenway Park.

And forget about placing cameras in the middle of the field. Instead, Intel has alternative technology that integrates footage from dozens of cameras surrounding the field to depict how a play would have looked to a player. Television networks are using this now to show as instant replays. Computers aren't powerful enough yet to do this live — but Aufhauser says that's the hope one day.

  • Thursday, Sep. 14, 2017
SmallHD debuts brighter daylight viewable 17’ monitor at IBC
SmallHD 1703-P3X monitor
AMSTERDAM -- 

Due to the success of its daylight viewable monitors, SmallHD introduces its brightest, full-featured 17” reference grade monitor ever made, the 1703-P3X. Double the brightness of other 17” reference monitors, it is at home in full sunlight, and covers 100 percent of the DCI-P3 and Rec 709 color spaces. The 1703-P3X features a 1500:1 contrast ratio and a 179° viewing angle, along with SmallHD’s Pagebuilder OS toolset. The new monitor is being unveiled at IBC (stand 12.E65).

“This monitor is both bright, extremely color accurate, and offers true reference grade cinema color,” said Wes Philips, SmallHD co-founder. “Covering 100% of the DCI-P3 color space, it’s the perfect monitor for DIT’s on-set or location and for mastering in post.”

Designed to serve the demanding color display requirements of both on-set and post production color grading professionals, the 1703-P3X comes pre-calibrated for DCI-P3 and Rec 709 for both broadcast use and cinema mastering. Covering 100% DCI-P3 with a Delta E average of <0.5, it offers easy installation of the user’s own 3D LUT calibration with advanced color management solutions like Light Illusion’s, LightSpace CMS, or SpectraCal’s CalMAN.

The 1703-P3X features one HDMI and two SDI inputs plus one HDMI and two SDI outputs. The fast and intuitive operating system allows ganging of on-screen tools like HD waveform, vectorscope, false color, focus peaking and 2x zebra bars simultaneously. Its Dual View function allows users to monitor two input sources simultaneously with side-by-side viewing.

The new monitor’s bright display supports any LUT workflow through SmallHD’s ColorFlow 3D LUT Engine which enables 3D LUT support, allowing previously created look-up tables to be used on-set. LUTS can be applied via the monitor’s full-size SD slot. This information can also be pushed downstream to other monitors. A LUT altered on-set with third party software, such as LiveGrade, can be viewed on the monitor and/or downstream monitors, and uploaded to an SD card for reference in post.

The 1703P3X is constructed of rugged milled aluminum to withstand the rigor of production. It features numerous ¼-inch and 3/8-inch threaded mounting points, a VESA mount and RapidRail accessory mounting system. The monitor can easily power wireless accessories like Teradek with built in 12V 2-pin LEMO auxiliary power. It can be powered via 4-pin XLR by optional V-mount and Gold-mount battery packs for wireless operation.

MSRP for the 1703-P3X is $3,999.

  • Wednesday, Sep. 13, 2017
FilmLight releases Baselight 5.0 ahead of IBC2017
A Baselight 5.0 grading suite
LONDON -- 

At IBC2017, FilmLight is celebrating the formal release of Baselight 5.0, as well as exhibiting the 5.0 color tools across its entire product range.

Offering over 50 new features, version 5.0 has been comprehensively put through its paces over the last year on a variety of real projects with complex workflows. Baselight 5.0 has been at the heart of blockbusters, high-end television series and commercials. 

One of the key features in version 5.0 is Base Grade, a new primary grading environment for modern color workflows and HDR.

“Base Grade makes you so much faster in matching and creating stunning looks--in a single layer,” said Philipp Horsch, sr. colorist and CEO at BFS Entertainment GmbH Munich. “The new subdivision of dim/dark shadows and light/bright highlights, each with its own pivot and falloff, basically gives you four keys already integrated in the layer.”

Version 5.0 aims to make grading for HDR even easier with the addition of color space “families,” and the new Gamut Compression tool. It makes moving between color spaces simple and seamless.

“The new color space families make delivering diverse masters really easy,” added Horsch. “With 5.0 I can now concentrate exclusively on the creative job and don’t have to worry so much about the color science.”

“Gamut Compression is so useful, especially when dealing with car commercials, where the LED brake lights often push the saturation too far,” added Mick Vincent, sr. colorist at The Mill, London. “Baselight 5.0 has been so exciting already, and there are so many more tools to try out--we have a great year ahead of us with this system at our fingertips.”

The addition of many new creative features--including Grid Warp, Paint, Perspective Tracker and Texture Equaliser--have also proven to be very popular.

“Baselight 5.0 has made finishing projects much faster and with less hassle--which is key for television content with a demanding production schedule,” said James Perry, editor/colorist on The Dr. Phil Show. “Instead of having to send shots to our graphics department for wire removal or general touch-ups, I can fix them easily in Baselight.”

Martin Tlaskal, lead developer at FilmLight, added, “These are just a handful of many comments from talented colorists, who have collaborated with us on the testing and refinement of version 5.0. It is extremely gratifying to know that our ideas have proven so valuable in practice among the creative community.”

With Baselight 5.0 now launched, the new features will soon be deployed across FilmLight’s other BLG-enabled products; Daylight 5.0, the dailies and media management platform, as well as Baselight for Avid 5.0 and Baselight for NUKE 5.0 in the Baselight Editions range, will enter beta after IBC, with Prelight 5.0 to follow soon. FilmLight is showing all of these products at IBC2017 (9/14-19) on stand 7.F31.

  • Tuesday, Sep. 12, 2017
Apple unveils $999 iPhone X, loses "home" button
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the new iPhone X at the Steve Jobs Theater on the new Apple campus, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017, in Cupertino, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
CUPERTINO, Calif. (AP) -- 

"One more thing." With that phrase, Apple paid homage to its late co-founder Steve Jobs for the 10-year anniversary of the iPhone on Tuesday when it unveiled its latest — and, at $999, its most expensive — new version of the device, the iPhone X.

CEO Tim Cook called it "the biggest leap forward" since the first iPhone. ("X" is pronounced like the number 10, not the letter X.) It loses the home button, which revolutionized smartphones when it launched; offers an edge-to-edge screen; and will use facial recognition to unlock the phone.

Apple also unveiled a new iPhone 8 and a larger 8 Plus with upgrades to cameras, displays and speakers.

Those phones, Apple said, will shoot pictures with better colors and less distortion, particularly in low-light settings. The display will adapt to ambient lighting, similar to a feature in some iPad Pro models. Speakers will be louder and offer deeper bass.

Both iPhone 8 versions will allow wireless charging, a feature thought to be limited to the anniversary phone. Many Android phones, including Samsung's, already have this.

STEVE JOBS HOMAGE
This is the first product event for Apple at its new spaceship-like headquarters in Cupertino, California. Before getting to the new iPhone, the company unveiled a new Apple Watch model with cellular service and an updated version of its Apple TV streaming device.

The event opened in a darkened auditorium, with only the audience's phones gleaming like stars, along with a message that said "Welcome to Steve Jobs Theater." A voiceover from Jobs, Apple's co-founder who died in 2011, opened the event before CEO Tim Cook took stage.

"Not a day that goes by that we don't think about him," Cook said. "Memories especially come rushing back as we prepared for today and this event. It's taken some time but we can now reflect on him with joy instead of sadness."

The iPhone X costs twice what the original iPhone did. It sets a new price threshold for any smartphone intended to appeal to a mass market.

NEW WATCH
Apple's latest Watch has built-in cellular service. The number on your phone will be the same as your iPhone. The Series 3 model will also have Apple Music available through cellular service.

"Now, you can go for a run with just your watch," said Jeff Williams, Apple's chief operating officer and in charge of Watch development.

Apple is also adding more fitness features to the Watch, and says it is now the most used heartrate monitor in the world. Now, Apple Watch will notify users when it detects an elevated heart rate when they don't appear to be active. It'll also detect abnormal heart rhythms.

The Series 3 will start at $399. One without cellular goes for $329, down from $369 for the comparable model now. The original Series 1, without GPS, sells for $249, down from $269. The new watch comes out Sept. 22.

APPLE TV GETS UPGRADE
A new version of the Apple TV streaming device will be able to show video with sharper "4K" resolution and a color-improvement technology called high-dynamic range, or HDR.

Many rival devices already offer these features. But there's not a lot of video in 4K and HDR yet, nor are there many TVs that can display it. Apple TV doesn't have its own display and needs to be connected to a TV.

Apple said it's been working with movie studios to bring titles with 4K and HDR to its iTunes store. They will be sold at the same prices as high-definition video, which tends to be a few dollars more than standard-definition versions. Apple said it's working with Netflix and Amazon Prime to bring their 4K originals to Apple TV, too.

The new Apple TV device will cost $179 and ships on Sept. 22. A version without 4K will cost less.

  • Monday, Sep. 11, 2017
Ken Truong named president of FOR-A Corporation of America
Ken Truong
CYPRESS, Calif. -- 

FOR-A Corporation of America, a manufacturer of video and audio systems for the broadcast and professional video industries, has promoted Ken Truong to president. He previously served as chief technical officer for FOR-A.

Truong’s career with FOR-A has spanned 18 years, during which he served as technical cirector and then CTO. 

“With our overall product integration tighter than ever and FOR-A’s commitment to a comprehensive IP and 12G-SDI infrastructure, this is an excellent time for me to take on this role,” said Truong. “We have a long-held tradition of creating the industry’s most innovative and rock-solid technology. Continuing that tradition in a way that meets our customers current and future needs is my top priority as the new president of FOR-A Corporation of America.”

Truong replaces Hiro Tanoue who has been promoted from president of FOR-A Americas to general manager, Planning Division, FOR-A Company Limited. Tanoue will now be based in the company’s Tokyo head office.

Truong will continue to operate out of FOR-A’s West Coast office in Cypress. 

FOR-A’s product line includes video switchers, routing switchers, multi-viewers, full 4K high-speed cameras, IP encoders/decoders, multi-channel signal processors, 8K/4K/HD test signal generators, color correctors, frame synchronizers, file-based products, character generators and video servers.

  • Wednesday, Sep. 6, 2017
Sony rolls out VENICE Full-Frame digital motion picture camera system
Sony Electronics' VENICE
LOS ANGELES -- 

Sony Electronics is unveiling VENICE, its first Full-Frame digital motion picture camera system. VENICE is the next generation of Sony’s CineAlta camera systems, designed to expand the filmmaker’s creative freedom through immersive, large-format, Full Frame capture of filmic imagery producing natural skin tones, elegant highlight handling and wide dynamic range. VENICE was designed through close collaboration with the creative community, fulfilling the requirements from filmmakers and production professionals.
 
VENICE will be officially unveiled on Sept. 6, in front of a select audience of American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) members and a range of other industry professionals. Sony will also screen a short film, The Dig, the first footage shot with VENICE, produced in Anamorphic, written and directed by Joseph Kosinski and shot by Academy Award-winning cinematographer Claudio Miranda, ASC.
 
“We really went back to the drawing board for this one,” said Peter Crithary, marketing manager, Sony Electronics. “It is our next-generation camera system, a ground-up development initiative encompassing a completely new image sensor. We carefully considered key aspects such as form factor, ergonomics, build quality, ease of use, a refined picture and painterly look—with a simple, established workflow. We worked in close collaboration with film industry professionals. We also considered the longer-term strategy by designing a user interchangeable sensor that is as quick and simple to swap as removing four screws, and can accommodate different shooting scenarios as the need arises.”
 
Full frame sensor and wide range of lens compatibility
VENICE combines a newly developed 36x24mm Full Frame sensor to meet the high-quality demands of feature filmmaking. Full Frame offers the advantages of compatibility with a wide range of lenses, including Anamorphic, Super 35mm, Spherical and Full Frame PL mount lenses for a greater range of expressive freedom with shallow depth of field. The lens mount can also be changed to support E-mount lenses for shooting situations that require smaller, lighter, and wider lenses.  User-selectable areas of the image sensor allow shooting in Super 35 mm 4 – perf. Future firmware upgrades are planned to allow the camera to handle 36mm wide 6K resolution.  Fast image scan technology minimizes “Jello” effects.
 
New color management system and established workflow for flexible postproduction
A new color management system with an ultra wide color gamut gives users more control and greater flexibility to work with images during grading and postproduction. VENICE also has more than 15 stops of latitude to handle challenging lighting situations from low-light to harsh sunlight with a gentle roll-off handling of highlights.
 
VENICE achieves high quality and efficient file-based production through Sony’s established 16-bit RAW/X-OCN via the AXS-R7 recorder, and 10 bit XAVC workflows. VENICE is also compatible with current and upcoming hardware accessories for CineAlta cameras (DVF-EL200 Full HD OLED Viewfinder, AXS-R7 recorder, AXS-CR1 and high-speed Thunderbolt-enabled AXS-AR1 card reader, using established AXS and SxS memory card formats.
 
Intuitive design & refined functionality support simple and efficient on-location operation
VENICE has a fully modular and intuitive design with refined functionality to support simple and efficient on-location operation. It is the film industry’s first camera with a built-in 8-stage glass ND filter system, making the shooting process efficient and streamlining camera setup.  The camera is designed for easy operation with an intuitive control panel placed on the Assistant and Operator sides of the camera. A 24 V power supply input/output and LEMO connector allow use of many standard camera accessories, designed for use in harsh environments.
 
License options for individual production requirements
With VENICE, Sony is giving users the option to customize their camera by enabling the features needed, matched to their individual production requirements.  Optional licenses will be available in permanent, monthly and weekly durations to expand the camera’s capabilities with new features including 4K anamorphic and Full Frame, each sold separately. 
 
The VENICE CineAlta digital motion picture camera system is scheduled to be available in February 2018.

  • Wednesday, Sep. 6, 2017
FUJIFILM to intro smallest, lightest 4K, HDR-compatible broadcast lens at IBC
FUJIFILM's UA24x7.8 lens
WAYNE, NJ -- 

At the IBC convention in Amsterdam this month, the Optical Devices Division of FUJIFILM will introduce what’s billed as being the world’s smallest (total length approx. 220.5mm) and lightest (approx. 1.98kg) broadcast lens that supports 4K production. Despite its compact body, the “UA24x7.8” features a 24x high magnification zoom, covering a focal length from the wide angle of 7.8mm to 187mm. This new portable lens allows users to shoot high-definition, realistic videos in environments requiring significant mobility, such as live sports and news from remote locations.

“Its portability and 4K HDR (High Dynamic Range) capability makes this new lens a huge boon to anyone looking to decrease shoulder-weight and capture detailed close ups when shooting hand-held,” said Thomas Fletcher, director of sales, FUJIFILM Optical Devices Division. “The UA24x really shows its power when combined with a 4K camcorder. With the increased use of 4K camcorders, the need for similarly compact and lightweight lenses has become more apparent, and productions using ultra-portable equipment continue to spread. We’re seeing a big increase in Japan, Europe and North American shooting 4K video for sports, news and in-studio shooting. And with OTT video available in 4K on PCs and tablets, that will only continue to increase.”

The new UA24x provides advanced optical performance, with 4K compatibility, throughout the entire zoom range. It includes Fujifilm’s proprietary “HT-EBC (High Transmittance Electron Beam Coating)” multi-layer coating that provides a high level of transmittance and color reproduction. HT-EBC, coupled with Fujifilm’s exclusive Aspheric Technology, reduces ghost and flare and increases light transmission. In addition, by thoroughly reducing chromatic aberrations, which are a common occurrence in telephoto zooms, it is also possible to shoot utilizing HDR. Rich tones can be reproduced, even when shooting scenes with intense contrast, such as stadiums at dusk.

The latest optical simulation technology was used in the lenses’ optical design to prevent resolution degradation around the edges and control aberrations, thus achieving 4K image quality across the zoom range. An aperture shape close to that of a circle is achieved by adopting nine aperture blades, which provides a more natural bokeh.

The FUJINON UA24x is the latest zoom lens in the company’s Premier UA Series of 4K 2/3” lenses. The UA Series is the first designed specifically for UHD broadcast applications.  The addition of this product expands Fujifilm’s 4K broadcast lens lineup to eight models in total,  catering to the various needs for 4K HDR video production. Other handheld zooms in this line up include: the UA14x4.5B, UA18x5.5B, UA13x4.5B and UA22x8B lenses. A new studio lens is now available, the UA27x6.5B, and field lenses, the UA80x9 and UA107x8.4, round out the series.

The Optical Devices Division will exhibit in Hall 12, Stand B20 during IBC, which runs from September 15-19 at the RAI convention center in Amsterdam.

The ““UA24x7.8” is scheduled for release in January 2018.

  • Friday, Sep. 1, 2017
MAXON rolls out Cinema 4D Release 19 
MAXON Cinema 4D Release 19
FRIEDRICHSDORF, Germany -- 

MAXON announces immediate availability of Cinema 4D Release 19 (R19). This next generation of MAXON’s professional 3D application delivers both great tools and enhancements artists can put to use immediately, and provides a peek into the foundations for the future. Designed to serve individual artists as well as large studio environments, Release 19 offers a fast, easy, stable and streamlined workflow to meet today’s challenges in the content creation markets; especially general design, motion graphics, VFX, VR/AR and all types of visualization.

Cinema 4D R19 Feature Highlights Include:

  • Viewport Improvements – Results so close to final render that client previews can be output using the new native MP4 video support.
  • MoGraph Enhancements – Added workflow capabilities in Voronoi Fracturing and an all-new Sound Effector.
  • New Spherical Camera – Lets artists render stereoscopic 360° Virtual Reality videos and dome projections.
  • New Polygon Reduction – Easily reduce entire hierarchies while preserving vertex maps, selection tags and UV coordinates to ensure textures continue to map properly and preserve polygon detail.
  • Level of Detail (LOD) Object – Define and manage settings to maximize viewport and render speed, or prepare optimized assets for game workflows. Exports FBX for use in popular game engines.
  • AMD’s Radeon ProRender – Now seamlessly integrated into R19, providing artists with a cross-platform GPU rendering solution.
  • Revamped Media Core – Completely rewritten software core to increase speed and memory efficiency for image, video and audio formats; native support for MP4 video without QuickTime.
  • Robust Modeling – A new modeling core with improved support for edges and N-gons can be seen in the Align and Reverse Normals commands.
  • BodyPaint 3D – Now uses an OpenGL painting engine, giving R19 artists a real-time display of reflections, alpha, bump or normal, and even displacement for improved visual feedback and texture painting when painting color and adding surface details in film, game design and other workflows.

MAXON Cinema 4D R19 will make its European debut at the MAXON booth in Hall 7, K30 at IBC 2017, which will take place from September 15–19, 2017, at the RAI Convention Center in Amsterdam.

In addition, internationally-renowned 3D artists including Peter Eszenyi, Sophia Kyriacou and Tim Clapham, as well as creatives from other international studios, will share insights into and techniques used on projects created with Cinema 4D. Partners including Google, Insydium, and Redshift will present important workflow integrations with Cinema 4D. 

Cinema 4D Release 19 is available from MAXON or its authorized dealers. MAXON Service Agreement customers whose MSA is active as of September 1, 2017 will be upgraded automatically. Cinema 4D R19 is available for Mac OS X and Windows; Linux nodes are also available for network rendering.

  • Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017
Weezer's "Feels Like Summer" music video shot with URSA Mini Pro 4.6K
Weezer in concert
FREMONT, Calif. -- 

Blackmagic Design announced that American rock band Weezer’s new music video for its song “Feels Like Summer” was shot using an URSA Mini Pro 4.6K digital film camera. Cinematographer Gabe Kimpson, along with directors Brendan Walter of Crush Music and Jade Ehlers, were tasked with replicating the legendary Guns N’ Roses “Paradise City” video with Weezer on the stage in front of screaming fans instead, as told from the point of view of a Weezer roadie in the 1980s.
 
Kimpson has shot music videos for some of the biggest bands in the world, including Fall Out Boy, Train and New Politics. For “Feels Like Summer,” Walter and Ehlers, of Scantron No. 2 Pencil, decided to shoot at Los Angeles’ iconic Rose Bowl Stadium during the Arroyo Seco Weekend music festival where Weezer was performing. During the performance, the URSA Mini Pro was set up center stage at the front of the pit and was mounted on a Manfrotto tripod, then switched to handheld for a more lively, energetic feel.
 
“This shoot was amazing. We had to include staged behind-the-scenes shots of the band, the stage and the crowd. Since we wanted it to feel like the viewer is a roadie with Weezer, if Weezer had been an 80s hair band, I was shooting in the pit with 20 to 30 other photographers and videographers with screaming fans all around,” said Kimpson.
 
“An issue during the shoot was that the majority of the stage was shaded, but some parts were in direct sunlight as well as all of the audience. Therefore, very fast changes between proper exposures had to be met, along with relying heavily on the large dynamic range that the URSA Mini Pro is capable of,” Kimpson noted. “The URSA Mini Pro’s built-in ND filters proved to be an essential tool to ensure proper exposure at the turn of a knob to keep up with the fast pace of the live performance and capture those quick moments, especially since there were no second takes.
 
“With the main concern being the vast differences in exposure from direct sunlight to shade, we didn’t want any of the highlights blowing out if possible, so we really pushed the dynamic range of the URSA Mini Pro to the extremes. And I think we were able to accomplish what we needed and then some by providing even better colors with gorgeous skin tones,” he continued. “One of the joys of shooting with this camera is having the confidence that you are capturing footage at the proper exposure while knowing that you will still have a ton of latitude to push it in the color grade. The ability to push the limits in the color grade was a blessing.”
 
During the performance, being able to turn from the stage to the audience and back again to capture key moments was essential.
 
“I had to capture my shots while moving around in a small space, and the URSA Mini Pro’s size really allowed me to be nimble. I had plenty of shots where I had to raise the camera directly over head, and not only does the weight and handle grip help with a shot like that, but so does the screen, which has the ability to rotate 180 degrees up or down. Shooting blind is never something I like to do, so being able to hold the camera directly overhead while still seeing what I was shooting was great,” said Kimpson.
 
“The entire shoot went really well, and the URSA Mini Pro’s dynamic range and image quality were the factors that influenced our use the most. We also loved being able to save money, because of the URSA Mini Pro’s affordability, and then being able to invest the savings into other areas of the production while still providing the client with a stellar image. Dynamic range, size, image quality and affordability are second to none, and it was really a no brainer to go with this camera.” 

  • Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017
Are consumers ready to give augmented reality a try?
This photo provided by Ikea demonstrates Ikea's augmented reality app called IKEA Place, on an iPhone, allowing a user to superimpose virtual images over real-life settings. The app allows shoppers to see how furniture will look in their living room or other space before buying it. (Ikea via AP)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

You might have gotten a taste of "augmented reality," the blending of the virtual and physical worlds, as you chased on-screen monsters at real-world landmarks in last year's gaming sensation, "Pokemon Go."

Upcoming augmented reality apps will follow that same principle of superimposing virtual images over real-life settings. That could let you see how furniture will look in your real living room before you buy it, for instance.

While "Pokemon Go" didn't require special hardware or software, more advanced AR apps will. Google and Apple are both developing technology to enable that. Google's AR technology is already on Android phones from Lenovo and Asus. On Tuesday, Google announced plans to bring AR to even more phones, including Samsung's popular S8 and Google's own Pixel, though it didn't give a timetable beyond promising an update by the end of the year.

As a result, Apple might pull ahead as it extends AR to all recent iPhones and iPads in a software update expected next month, iOS 11. Hundreds of millions of AR-ready devices will suddenly be in the hands of consumers.

But how many are ready to give AR a try?

EARLY APPLICATIONS
Of the dozen or so apps demoed recently for Android and iPhones, the ones showing the most promise are furniture apps .

From a catalog or a website, it's hard to tell whether a sofa or a bed will actually fit in your room. Even if it fits, will it be far enough from other pieces of furniture for someone to walk through?

With AR, you can go to your living room or bedroom and add an item you're thinking of buying. The phone maps out the dimensions of your room and scales the virtual item automatically; there's no need to pull out a tape measure. The online furnishing store Wayfair has the WayfairView for Android phones, while Ikea is coming out with one for Apple devices. Wayfair says it's exploring bringing the app to iPhones and iPads, too.

As for whimsical, Holo for Android lets you pose next to virtual tigers and cartoon characters. For iPhones and iPads, the Food Network will let you add frosting and sprinkles to virtual cupcakes. You can also add balloons and eyes — who does that? — and share creations on social media.

Games and education are also popular categories. On Apple devices, a companion to AMC's "The Walking Dead" creates zombies alongside real people for you to shoot. On Android, apps being built for classrooms will let students explore the solar system, volcanoes and more.

BEYOND VIRTUAL REALITY
Virtual reality is a technology that immerses you in a different world, rather than trying to supplement the real world with virtual images, as AR does. VR was supposed to be the next big thing, but the appeal has been limited outside of games and industrial applications. You need special headsets, which might make you dizzy if you wear one too long.

And VR isn't very social. Put on the headset, and you shut out everyone else around you. Part of the appeal of "Pokemon Go" was the ability to run into strangers who were also playing. Augmented reality can be a shared experience, as friends look on the phone screen with you.

BEING AVAILABLE VS. BEING USED
While AR shows more promise than VR, there has yet to be a "killer app" that everyone must have, the way smartphones have become essential for navigation and everyday snapshots.

Rather, people will discover AR over time, perhaps a few years. Someone renovating or moving might discover the furniture apps. New parents might discover educational apps. Those people might then go on to discover more AR apps to try out. But just hearing that AR is available might not be enough for someone to check it out.

Consider mobile payments. Most phones now have the capability, but people still tend to pull out plastic when shopping. There's no doubt more people are using mobile payments and more retailers are accepting them, but it's far from commonplace.

Expect augmented reality to also take time to take off.