Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Blackle - The Black Google

Blackle was created by Heap Media to remind us all of the need to take small steps in our everyday lives to save energy. Blackle searches are powered by Google Custom Search.

Blackle saves energy because the screen is predominantly black. "Image displayed is primarily a function of the user's color settings and desktop graphics, as well as the color and size of open application windows; a given monitor requires more power to display a white (or light) screen than a black (or dark) screen."

In January 2007 a blog post titled Black Google Would Save 750 Megawatt-hours a Year proposed the theory that a black version of the Google search engine would save a fair bit of energy due to the popularity of the search engine. Since then there has been skepticism about the significance of the energy savings that can be achieved and the cost in terms of readability of black web pages.

To quote Nigel Tufnel of Spinal Tap, "It's like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black."

Pros: None More Black.

Cons: It's Not The White Album.

Price: FREE!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

BlueAnt Supertooth Light

For those of us who are lucky enough to live in California, or unlucky enough, depending on your viewpoint, a new law goes into effect on July 1, 2008 that will prohibit the use of a handheld wireless device while operating a motor vehicle. I personally think this is a great idea, but can we also outlaw women, and even some men (this is California after all) from applying their make up while they drive? Dare to dream...

In order to keep away from the $20 first time offense ticket, and $50 subsequent offense convictions, pick yourself up a BlueAnt Supertooth Light hands-free device. This neat little device will provide you a hands-free driving experience, leaving your hands free for more important things, such as smoking, drinking, eating...and oh yeah, driving.

Pros: Small Ergonomic Design, Clips To Sunvisor.

Cons: Pull Out Antenna.

Price: $99.99

Click here to buy from Pixelphile's Amazon Stop & Shop.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Princess Leia Costume

For all those guys who enjoy sci fi, the best costume ever has to be the Princess Leia outfit from Return of the Jedi. Looks like there are a lot of women out there who also agree.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Blue Screen Hanging

Blue Screen Plate

Background Plate

Final Composite

Recently I did a little blue screen shoot with my visual effects students over at CSUN. We did 4 set-ups in 4 hours which I think is pretty amazing. We picked blue screen over green screen for this particular shot due to the fact that we were lighting the screen with Kino Flo K55 tubes which are rated at 5500 degrees Kelvin. This color temperature combined with the blue screen provided a well saturated blue screen.

This type of shot requires a heavy dose of keying, rotoscoping, motion tracking & color correction. These techniques are the bread and butter for all visual effects artists and this one shot will use them all.

The really fun part of the shoot was hand holding a fully extended monopod thirty feet in the air while connected to a new $4,000 camera. Priceless.

Monday, April 14, 2008

RED Scarlet 3K Camera Announced at NAB 2008

Today at NAB, Red Digital Cinema showcased the long-awaited Scarlet, a compact model capable of shooting 3K video for under $3,000. Film and video enthusiasts flooded the show floor, clawing to catch a glimpse of the Scarlet's rectangular upright body and unconventional architecture. The Scarlet is equipped with a new 2/3-inch Mysterium sensor and supports 1-120fps with a 180fps burst mode. The Scarlet can capture video up to 100Mbps in REDCODE Raw format and RGB recording to dual compact flash.

Red's latest compact addition has a 4.8-inch LCD screen, 8x optical zoom lens, and full Auto or Manual shooting modes. The Scarlet's connectivity includes HDMI, HD-SDI, FireWire 800, and USB2. A still mode and compatibility with many Red One accessories is available.

Scarlet Preliminary Specs:

* 1-120 FPS (180FPS BURST)
* 4.8″ LCD
* FIREWIRE 800 and USB2

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Adobe Photoshop Express Beta

Adobe recently announced it's beta version of Adobe Photoshop Express. This FREE flash based application has a look and feel very similar to it's bigger and more expensive brother, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. For basic photo editing chores such as; exposure correction, red eye removal, image cropping, and simple touch ups, this software might be all you will ever need. For more advanced editing that requires layers, masking, and other professional tools, you will still need to plunk down some greenbacks for the industry standard Photoshop CS3.

Cool features like it's slide show function, that resembles Apple's "cover flow", makes watching the content of your photo albums much more enjoyable. It can be viewed in either standard 2D or in pseudo 3D.

The main thing missing from Photoshop Express is it's inability to resize the pixel resolution and consequently reduce the file size of your photos that you wish to email. This would make sending your friends and family a copy of your latest pix much easier than having them download a large 1 or 2MB file.

Picassa, a FREE little iPhoto like application has been around for quite awhile and has a loyal user base, appears to be the only competition against Adobe's latest creation.

Pros: Elegant Interface, Photo Cataloging, 3D Slide Show.

Cons: No Image Resizing.

Price: FREE!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Panasonic Retro Headphones RP-HTX7PP

I remember listening to Paradise Theater by Styx on my brother's Puke Green headphones while lounging in a bean bag chair as I played Asteroids on my Atari 2600. How's that for a run-on sentence? The bean bag chair and the Atari 2600 went to the city dump many, many years ago. Not really sure what happened to my brother's headphones, but they must have met the same fate. Thanks to Panasonic I can Rock the Paradise once again in retro style. The RP-HTX7PP Old School Stereo Headphones will transport you back to a much simpler time.

Providing a nice round sound that makes your digital mp3's sound a little less brittle and gives you more of an analog experience. They are much lighter than they look, which will make longer listening sessions less fatiguing. The earpieces are a bit on the smaller size, so those of you with Spock like ears might want to look elsewhere.

You can take your pick of Green, Blue, White, Cream, or Black.

Pros: Retro Design, Round Sound.

Cons: Not for Vulcans.

Price: $59.99

Click here to buy from Pixelphile's Amazon Stop & Shop.