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Apple Magic Trackpad



So Apple has just announced a giant trackpad titled the Magic Trackpad. It supports a full set of gestures; two-finger scrolling, pinching to zoom, rotating your fingertips, tapping is clicking, and so on—you get the idea. Of course it looks amazing because its an Apple product, but I question its practicality among designers/photographers. I get that Apple is trying to push technology into a more physically interactive realm but would you actually use this in replace of your mouse or tablet?

Personally I don’t think I could make the switch. I for one hate the trackpad for lack of control and use a mouse whenever possible. I think if I were to change my setup at all, I would probably have to add a tablet or purchase one of the new 12-Core MacPro’s.

Wooden PC by Design Hara





One of the things that turns me away from products is when they are slapped with something saying it’s “environmentally friendly” or “green” when its not. If cutting down trees and mining the soils for ore is environmentally friendly then this PC by Design Hara, is exactly that. I get that you could recycle this but do people really buy products (namely electronics) just because they can be recycled?

My initial thought about this PC was of course the design. It fits into the mid-century category by the materials choice. The option of Italian Cypress wood, Canadian Rose wood or even sheep leather really give this the computer it’s substance. The keyboard and even USB drive also really add to it. Maybe next we’ll see a wood-framed monitor. But as cool as this is and as much as I love the mid-century design aesthetic, I would probably only use this as a decoration (enter Mac vs PC debate).

Images via Yanko

Continuous Lighting Part I

Posted by Alex

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We’ve written before about photographic lighting. Another lighting arena that I’ve recently explored is continuous lighting for video. As I had absolutely no idea what I was doing when I jumped into this, I decided to start with a basic kit set up, and then go from there. I had researched enough to know that I would need at least three lights, but I was fuzzy on just about every other detail. I ended up going with the Smith Victor K84 Photoflood Kit. (Four lights: two A80 flood lights and two, smaller A5s.)

Now to this point, the kit has satisfied my requirements. I haven’t felt like I needed any additional lights on my projects and everything is lit well and looks (more) professional. That said, I have learned a lot in the process about what not to do.

First, these lights get unimaginably hot when they’re on for an extended period of time (more than 5 minutes). I use them in an enclosed room without a lot of ventilation and it can become unbearable really quickly. If you are interviewing someone, or performing under these lights, you need to either get things done fast, or have some way of cooling down your room. I broke a sweat just snapping the above picture, and they had only been on for 10 minutes.

Second, despite the benefits of using continuous lighting for photography (no camera syncing necessary, always see where you’re lighting etc), this kit is not powerful enough to really work in this regard. Unless the lights are right up on your subject, you’ll have to adjust the shutter speed significantly to get satisfactory results. It’s also impossible to get good portrait shots, mainly because your iris gets smaller as it gets used to the continuous amount of light; doesn’t look as cool as strobe. It works for some photo things, but I am mainly attempting to use this kit for lighting video. So far the footage has required a significant amount of color correction to make things look natural. The kit is a tungsten set up, which burns yellow/orange, and that is the color of the footage upon capture. Luckily I’ve been working a lot with Color and have been able to work around this.

The biggest positive to the kit is that it’s cheap (relatively). It helps to know some basic lighting strategy (three point etc), but the kit really doesn’t require much know-how to get up and running. It is a great starter kit and I feel like I have a much better idea of what I need, now that I have fumbled my way around with this one. Of course it will be a while before I can afford a real set up, but in the mean time I am having a good time experimenting and making mistakes. This probably wasn’t the kit of me at the end of the day, but it sure beats lighting things with assorted desk lamps and flash lights.

Nissan Cube vs Moodgadget Logo

Posted by Jakub

Nissan Cube
Moodgadget logo
The other night i’m sitting on the computer and Mux Mool sends me a picture and starts laughing and talking about how there’s a Moodgadget car driving around. In my mind I always thought if I get enough money together one day I might buy a white Honda Element and turn it into the Moodgadget Logo. I might even put the generic man as a tint on the window but now no need because the Nissan Cube came into play. LOOK AT IT! I mean WHAAUUUT IS GOING ON!? who does that with a back window? only the Moodgadget logo.

Let me give a little background about the Moodgadget logo, a lot of people call it MOONgadget maybe because it looks like something that would land on the moon or I can’t pronounce my D’s because I might mumble sometimes but really its a dreamt up idea I had that involves my obsession with pods and early early Radiohead covers, the old Royksopp video, and those cube shaped rooms that take you up a mountain that are used mostly by tourists. The Moodgadget logo was designed by 3 friends of mine: Adrian (Creative Director of the silhouette iPod commercials), Danny (Art Director at Ghostly), and Adam (co-owner of Moodgadget) and the idea came from a dream that I had about these white pods what were controlled by these generic business men sitting inside them that floated almost assembly line style out of a glass dome flying by these row of trees and straight into the sun except for one that was in color meaning still black and white but the glass window was light blue and the guy inside had pigment to his skin. This guy wasn’t in the assembly line he was floating around exploring but not too smart of a fellow because he always questioned everything since it was all new to him and he was just overall really curious. I think that dream of the logo kind of symbolized the music industry back then for me which was a lot generic music and compilations that we’re very specific and what we do at Moodgadget is kind of break down those barriers that were up and share music that is all over the place but still catchy in a way, kind of like the music on the blog that we pick but still educates hopefully and makes you want to try listening to something new.

Let’s get back to the Nissan Cube, not my style because of how bad their commercial was for it which if I remember correctly was probably geared toward break dancers that pop n lock in their cars, people that love glowing LEDs filling their stereo screens and those people that go out to the club with a fedora hat on tipped to the side because they’re soo “street” it hurts. To be honest Nissan should of hired on a creative like Scott or some of you that send in great pieces that Scott reposts and not this Mitsubishi Eclipse regurgitation of a car commercial that probably could be sold to people like me if it was delivered to us in a way that doesn’t make me feel like a soulless 20 year old that can’t speak for himself and wants to dance to Soulja Boy or whatever ringtone Rap is popular now(the stanky leg? I dunno i’m so lame when it comes to the hot tracks on the radio) or Tiesto talentless trance music thats played in the bigger metro clubs around the world.

Either way, I’d like to see a song off this blog make it onto the next Nissan Cube commercial, maybe we’d post the commerical and the 4th generation Nissan Cube get a little help from a design firm from Sweden and we might sell a few of these cars.

Nikon SB-600 Test Shot

Posted by Alex

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Picture 5
Recently I purchased a Nikon SB-600 flash for my D40. I have never owned anything in the way of photographic lighting and I figured this would be a good first step. I’ve outfitted my studio with a good continuous lighting set up (for video), but photographic lighting has always intimidated me (in regards to complexity and cost). The SB-600 is a flash attachment that works with the D40 (thankfully) and basically just augments the existing flash. The big difference is the ability to adjust the direction of the flash, allowing you to bounce light off the ceiling etc. It also has more options and allows for more control than the basic flash.

Above I’ve posted two pictures, the first uses the SB-600 (pointed at the ceiling), and the second is just the on-camera flash. Neither has been edited. Given that I have no idea what I’m doing with this flash, I think the results are fairly impressive out of the box. Every time I’ve used the SB-600 indoors, the pictures reflect exactly what I see in real life. None of that blown out flash nonsense. The colors are correct, the light is balanced, and the level of detail is like nothing I’ve seen come out of my D40 previously. Of course, the SB-600 is no substitute for a real studio lighting setup, but it’s a great way to cheaply augment the power and versatility of your on-camera lighting situation.

There are a number of other options for speedlights of this kind. I chose the SB-600 mainly because it seemed to be the best fit for my relatively “low end” D40. It’s not too heavy and didn’t break the bank like some of the other Nikon models (the SB-800 for example costs more than my camera). It’s been very easy to use and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a quick and easy way to improve their indoor photography. If anyone has experience with other models, Nikon or otherwise, I’d love to hear your thoughts or see some examples. I’m still learning how to get the most out of mine, but the potential definitely seems to be there.

Recession Purchase: Chill Pill

Posted by Jakub

Chill Pill
I’m not sure how well they sound walking the streets but they might be worth(15 USD price tag) checking out if you have a few minutes to kill and your ears hurt from headphones, seems like the good guys at Turntable Lab enjoy them…

From the makers of the bestselling Chill Pill speakers comes the Rapcap Mini iPod Microphone. This genius gumdrop-sized device allows you to record crisp, clear audio onto your iPod simply and easily (just plug into your iPod’s headphone port to switch on recording mode). A durable, ultra-compact design and plug-and-record functionality make this device an easy addition to your daily digital life. Use it to record memos, field samples, music sets, and more. The mic itself is wind-resistant, optimized for voice recordings and saves files in easy-to-edit WAV format. Works with iPod nano4G, iPod classic 120GB, iPod Tough 2G/3G, and iPhone 3G. No batteries required.
15 USD @ Turntable Lab

iPhone, Blackberry, & Gphone vanish

Posted by Jakub

phone
I had to use the word vanish today since I saw the movie Prestige last night for the first time and loved it. I was thinking what if my hacked iPhone(that Scott hooked me up with, thanks Scott) vanished and I had to buy a new phone. I couldn’t handle another Blackberry Pearl or that Gphone that friends have and lets pretend those weren’t even around anymore, I’d probably just want to go back to something simple that worked like the Ericsson T610 that I had in 2004 or maybe that clunky Bang and Olufsen? Anyone have something that they love i’m not thinking of? just Skype maybe? either way i’d probably shell out for another iPhone, its just too powerful of a tool that fits in my pocket and gets me out of many jams.