Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Business Planning

As I work on the business plan for the "Candid Keepsakes" service stream of Doco it's clear this stuff is a lot of work! And requires a depth of market research to be more sure of a viable sustainable business.

So, it seems, along with a movie I am producing going into production "soon", this blog may see a few tumbleweeds over the coming weeks. Ongoing shortform thoughts can be found on my Twitter page.

Until the next update,
Pax Copia.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

My First Doco Shot on iPhone 6 Plus

It's less than 15 minutes long and was created entirely on the iPhone. And if that wasn't enough, well, you'll see what happens at the end.

My observations about using the iPhone/iMovie combo:

1. When watching this on my 50" Panasonic TV, it seems to gamma up the low-light stuff which otherwise can look very dark on the iPhone screen or laptop screen. Weird. Very 20th century, all this TV gamma. I keep my other screens intentionally dimmer (including iPhone) so as not to tire out my eyes, so that may be one explanation.

2. iMovie for 64bit iOS on iPhone really would benefit from the advanced edit mode - to enable easy J- and L- cuts.

3. iMovie for 64bit iOS really needs to allow me to do other things whilst uploading the finished movie. Keeping iMovie in the foreground and tying up my phone just reminds me of the patience needed when your desktop computer was tied up rendering with Adobe Premiere 4.2 fifteen years ago or so.

4. iMovie for 64bit iOS would benefit from a better way to scrub through longer form projects. Although the Pinnacle Studio for iOS Storyboard view would be an improvement, that's not perfect either.

5. The iPhone 6 Plus video camera performs very well with all its Focus Pixels and stuff.

6. The audio on the video recorded by iPhone never ceases to impress me. On playback I was able to hear speech that I wasn't able to discern intelligibly in the live environment. Wow. I hope Apple keep on top form in the audio area. It may go unnoticed by the vast majority of users, but not by me.

7. I'm now used to the size of the iPhone 6 Plus. It is tricky to use one-handed when reaching on the homescreen or typing, and in landscape mode I find typing even less accurate and more uncomfortable. Swype is great, when it's working. Fortunately I missed the iOS 8.0.1 update. I tend to cup with one hand, use Swype with one finger on the other hand. Swyping one-handed for me is close, but no cigar. Can't do it consistently.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Update On Adjustable Glif with iPhone 6 Plus

Having used the glif with the Manfrotto pixi, I can't recomment the glif adjustable tripod adapter for field use (although controlled studio use will likely be fine). Why not? Watch the vid below.

I do have an alternate solution winging its way to me from Europe, more on that when it arrives.

Monday, 22 September 2014

How To Keep Swype As Your Default Keyboard in iOS 8.0, errrr maybe

I've loved Swype since my Android days so was really pleased when Nuance brought it to Apple's iOS 8 on iPhone.

However. Since installing it, I've noticed that apps and iOS itself appear to fallback to the baked-in iOS keyboard from time to time, not sure why. (NOTE: it is by-design that the native Apple keyboard appears for input into password fields - brownie point from me!)

I've now re-arranged my keyboard list so that Swype appears at the top (previously, it had been at the bottom) and - so far - so good.

So if you're having some keyboard bother with iOS 8 'forgetting' to present you with your third party keyboard by default, this could be worth trying.

EDIT: This doesn't work. Between and Swype and iOS 8 it appears there are some remaining bugs to be ironed out! In the mean-time, it's simpler for me to remove Swype from the Keyboard selection to save my sanity. Patiently awaiting the next iOS and Swype updates and I'll try try again.

EDIT: There's an update to Swype released!


Friday, 19 September 2014

iPhone 6 Plus, Youtube, and Me

Just trying out some new filters in iMovie iOS 8:

And a quick test recording with my iPhone 6 Plus (source is 60fps, not sure it will survive the transcoding to Youtube but it did take an absolute age to upload):

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Manfrotto Pixi - excellent mini-tripod

The Manfrotto Pixi drew me in with its dual use hand-held design, easy-lock head, and brand reputation. Not disappointed. (Oh and I bought it at a reduced price from Amazon.co.uk).

The video above was just a bit of fun, getting to know the cuts in Corel's Pinnacle Studio for iOS (formerly an Avid branded product). I like the Pinnacle iOS software a lot in terms of actual editing vs iOS iMovie. However it appears to have glitched somewhere between final render and Youtube presentation. So I will proceed with it on future projects with caution. Could be a iOS 8 bug since that's newly released. There's no easy-peasy way to add royalty-free music for commercial use either (unlike iMovie - OK not many tunes to choose from but some music can sometimes be preferable to zero music).

I really like the Pixi too - makes it easier to grip the iPhone in a more tactile manner, and put it down somewhere to record/rest. Quick levelling, great. Obviously if you want any pan and tilt you will be the human tripod relying on digital signal processing and optical image stabilisation for effortless professional results (shhhh - don't tell the professionals!)

It's really come down to this - one man and his smartphone at one end, and a minimum 60 man crew and video village support and rider winnebago logistics at the other end. Everything else? The mushy middle.

Stay remarkable. Stay frosty.

fugly? Mac OS X 10.10 (Yosemite Beta)

Functionally improved, visually a little retarded?

Looks like preparation for resolution independence through scalable vector graphics to me. Though we've been here before a few years ago, it didn't quite unify and mature in the way I expected - probably because of that pesky iPhone showing up in 2007.

One thing's for sure - Apple has a plethora of screen resolutions to deal with and a whole bunch of forking fragmentation creeping up on them. I'd be surprised if Apple are not self-aware and already on it in some manner. Their scaling solution is not as 'clean' as I'd expect from Apple. SvG, is.

And circular application icons? Where did I see those recently? (Okay so circular icon bias is not new).

I'm mulling over subscribing to the 79p 20GB iCloud Drive but mentally I have a hard time becoming dependent on anything that requires I regularly pay money for something I could get by without. Though I suppose, if I can't find 79p every month I must have bigger problems than fretting over cloud storage options. The mindset of the soon-to-be self-employment revenue stream!

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Attach a Condenser Microphone to iPhone

I'm still looking for the perfect microphone to accompany my iPhone (hint: perfection does not exist except perhaps using double-system but that is a magnitude of additional admin which is out of scope of this post).

I was also looking for a way to attach a microphone to the iPhone. This is the result.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

White Cube Project Progress

Needs another coat and some lino. Maybe a duvet on the wall. It'll get there. 


Saturday, 13 September 2014

Will iPhone 6 Plus fit the Studio Neat Glif tripod mount

Since I won't have the real thing in my hands until Friday at the earliest, I printed out a paper template to test if my adjustable glif will better serve me on eBay:

The Glif is available from Amazon online and there's more than a few cheap imitators out there too!

Friday, 12 September 2014

Here's Dell's Smartphone With 5" Screen

Note the date and Android 2.1 (IIRC). My photographic evidence that I am in no way hypocritical for bagging myself iPhone 6 Plus this morning! The phone in these pictures was my phone. Heck, I took the pictures too!

Whatever happened to the Dell Streak?

And will Microsoft leap on the opportunity to be a leader in small smartphones? Doubtful.

Pre-Ordered: Apple iPhone 6 Plus 128GB, Silver

The idea is to run my video biography business on this little big device that I can fit in my pocket.

I placed the pre-order just after 8:30am UK time, looks like I got lucky.

If you are wondering what my phone service costs, I am on ThreeUK aka 3. I use PAYG, they do a useful £15 pcm add-on with all-you-can-eat data. ThreeUK actually encourage you to do VoIP and eat data, unlike just about any other phone company I've tried. In my eyes, ThreeUK are foresighted in that respect. In terms of coverage they give me the best most consistent data coverage out here in the sticks.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Airninja is the method

As things come into focus, and after a sober conversation with a good friend, I was reminded how much I enjoy creating documentary.

Another piece of of personal self-employment puzzle slides into place:

AirNinja is the method.

Miker is the madness.

Now, doco is the manufacture.

The time seems perfect for citizen cinema, new reality beyond 2008's frugalwave.

Sole Runner Ouch

After a couple of days wearing it's clear these cannot be my everyday shoe (note the sore red line on my foot, caused by the Sole Runner Vario).

Back to the Vivobarefoot Gobi it is then!

10 Reasons: iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus or Something Else?

Short Version
Let's say if the rumours of a 5.5" iPhone turned out to be false I was going to move forward with an iPad Mini purchase (having previously evaluated the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom). But Apple have announced UK pre-ordering for the iPhone 6 Plus starting Friday 12th September 2014.

I'm probably going to go for the white/silver colour.

Long Version
Remember I am framing my decision around compact capablities, clutter reduction, media acquisition and production - with an established baseline of a device with every-day communication and messaging capability. Convergence in a world of natural divergence.

Firstly, shooting video and then also recording digitial audio through the lightning connector is going to require power. The bigger the battery, the more shooting before recharging is needed. When recording using the Apogee MiC or other Lightning microphone, the port is not available for simultaneous charging. While workable on an iPhone 5s and prior comparable devices (I have shot an entire frugalwave feature film on iPhone 4S), having a bigger battery that lasts longer reduces admin and increases confidence. An iPad Mini is great in this respect, but just like the larger sized iPad, it does not have the compact capability to slip into a pocket. So the iPhone 6 Plus seems a good choice.

Secondly, when monitoring video I find the iPhone 5s screen is not an ideal size. It's fine for close-ups but more difficult for me to judge long shot compositions for focus points. Again, I find the iPad Mini is a great size for this, but yet again the call of pocketability sees me gravitating toward iPhone every time. So a 5.5" screen on the iPhone 6 Plus seems like the perfect middle ground.

Thirdly, continuing on the established theme of the iPhone 6 Plus, it has optical image stabilisation when taking video. Although the iPhone 5s digitial image stabilisation is pretty good (and apps like Hyperlapse co-ordinate with the device's gyroscope to make it even better), the iPhone 6 Plus will offer a definite, if incremental, improvement.

Fourthly, I am digging Touch ID on the iPhone 5s. There is currently no class of iPad that offers Touch ID (although they are undoubtedly coming).

Fifthly, I have already consolidated my wallet with my iPhone 5s using a Pack&Smooch. Getting an iPad reverses my personal minimalism trend by giving me "one more thing" to carry about.

Sixthly, the iPhone 6 Plus has a screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 and supports shooting 1080P video at 60fps. The iPhone 5s can shoot 60fps, heck it can even shoot 2K and 4K but it is unsupported by Apple. That means those unsupported modes may not be as robust as I need it out in the field. The Plus fixes that concern.

Seventhly, editing video on the 5.5" screen of the Plus will be a dream compared to editing it on the 5s 4" screen. Secretly I'm also hoping that the 5.5" phablet will also unlock some of the 'iPad only' features of iMovie like L-cuts and J-cuts - then I might even consider editing something longer form on iOS (my aforementioned feature film was shot on iPhone 4S and edited on a MacBook using Final Cut Pro X).

Eighthly, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus 'focus pixels' that bring DSLR autofocus speeds to iPhoneography are a welcome addition. Considering this may be the last expensive thing I can buy for a long long long time, it makes sense to have as much useful capability packed into it as possible.

Ninethly, let's face it, that 5.5" screen will totally trump the 4" screen for gaming. When I had an iPad Mini I was totally into racing games like the Asphalt and Need For Speed series, but with my older eyes those games put me at a major disadvantage on a 4" screen.

Tenthly, I continue to be impressed with iPhone audio given the constraints on playback and recording. As far as I know, Tomlinson Holman remains an audio consultant to Apple. I expect the number of useful Lightning audio peripherals to expand over the next decade.

So for me, for the intended purpose, it seems like the iPhone 6 Plus would be a good buy. Since we're talking HD video acquisition and editing, it would be foolish to plump for anything other than the 128GB version in terms of storage.

But what colour?

I have given this some thought, as you might expect. I really like the black faceplates, I really like them, all Monolith-like. So I decided I will get the white and silver version.


As much as I like the black, the white faceplate makes it much easier to see the edges of the frame you are shooting and thus potentially aid in composition. That's the only practical reason. My other reasoning is purely psychological - white looks 'lighter' which somehow looks 'smaller' and 'airy' - so what other colour would the airninja choose?!

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Apple Watch, Apple Turnover. Who wears a watch?

Disclosure: I haven't worn a watch for over ten years.

A statistic I read recently stated that 54% of people today don't wear a watch. Further, there was a claim that you can sell another watch to someone who already has 20 watches but you will have a really hard time selling a watch to someone who is content without one.

So Apple's watch is undoubtedly a device which will polarise people; marketing 101.

Personally, I don't do jewellry nor fashion. The Apple Watch, more than anything, currently looks to me like an iPhone accessory (yes, the $350 device requires you already own a modern iPhone). Don't get me wrong though - Apple have clearly re-invented the watch, the interface looked well designed and like nothing on offer from the competition.

What might get my interest - an Apple Watch which is your personal profile on your wrist with basic data internet comms and you can wirelessly connect to screens and other peripherals. Now, I'd say that's 5 - 10 years out, if it ever arrives before the Apple Tattoo.

From a purely minimalist viewpoint - it's well known that categories diverge over time (look at the iPhone timeline from 2007 as a good example) and that falling into the brand extension trap can muddy the prospect's perspective. In terms of keeping my life simple and uncluttered, and distancing myself from technology and interruptions the Apple Watch isn't for me. I do think it will appeal to teenage girls who love the illusion of attention that constant interruptions bring. And anyone with similiar psychology.

In short, I don't yet see a "must have" reason for the Apple Watch as announced.

As a former 5" Dell Streak user I have far more to be excited about with the release of the iPhone 6 Plus.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Sole Runner Vario minimalist boot / shoe

They took a few days to arrive from mainland Europe but my new all-season minimalist boots by Sole Runner came today (via Amazon.co.uk).

Initially the thermal inserts were installed but a few seconds after putting the shoes on it became clear that currently the weather here in the UK is too hot. So I removed the inserts - I'll save them for when it's freezing weather.

Without the inserts the shoes felt much more roomy and less snug on my feet, but in a positive openly free way.

One niggle - on my right foot it felt like a seam was digging in along the top of my foot, felt similar to an insect bite. Annoying but manageable to ignore. Would this be a point of abrasion and tear the top of my foot to pieces? Watch the video to find out.

Overall I'm very happy with the Sole Runner Vario, coming from Vivobarefoot Gobi with no in-soles. The Vario gave me zero blisters so far which is a feat only Vivobarefoot has managed previously. I do think there is a high chance the Vario will become my 'go to' everyday shoe. Personally I like the high-top since I do not wear socks and although the Gobi are extremely comfortable, I can feel 'exposed' because I do not wear socks.

Thanks to minimalist shoes I haven't worn socks for over a year now and I don't anticipate ever wearing socks again under normal conditions.

Yellowtec iXM - power cycle combinations

This is a robust metal bodied solid state microphone recorder. The shank of the mic holds all the electronics necessary for recording (with a compressor and limiter by default, too).

Whenever I use this microphone I can never remember how to switch it on or off. So I made this quick reminder howto video. Using iMovie. On iPhone.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Review: Attach iPhone 6 / 6L to Tripod using Glif adapter

New iPhone, new form factor! Here's how to stop worrying about the size of your smartphone and learn to love the atomic bomb. Or, at least, embrace the Glif on all phones going forward and not be distracted by the bombshell of iPhone physical dimension changes.

Check out the video below for an overview.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Digital Lightning iOS Microphone Round-up (plus a couple extra dual system!)

Today I put together a video that compares the following microphones:

1. iPhone 5s onboard mic.

2. IK Multimedia iRig Mic HD.

3. Zoom IQ5.

4. Apogee MiC (96k).

5. iRig Pro pre-amp with Sennheiser K6/ME64.

6. Yellowtec iXM with Beyer Dynamic hypercardioid TOTO head.

7. Nagra SD (green band stereo mic).

Part of this experiment is to determine the value of diminishing returns - should you spend £1000 on a dedicated portable recorder when an iOS and digital Lightning microphone that costs £100 might do the job adequately?

You'll notice I recorded at full gain where possible. This results in a possibly skewed subjective result - however it should serve to help you determine the sensitivity of each microphone solution relative to noise floor etc (although it's just a normal room in a house with the soundman's favourite the fridge-freezer about 20 feet to the right).

After reviewing the results myself it has cemented my opinion on my favourite(s).

The recording below has been through the mangle of iPhone AAC codec compression, FCPX render, and whatever Youtube decides to do with it, but nonetheless it will give you an idea of the character of each microphone.

Quest Continues For My Perfect Footwear

Ordered: Sole Runner Vario all-season minimalist boot.

After realising I am actually a size 7 in Vivobarefoot and consequently looking for a autumn/winter minimalist boot, I started looking for the Vivobarefoot Scott. No avail, not available anywhere I can find in a 7.

I've been through a lot of shoes the last couple of years, but I keep going back to the Vivobarefoot Gobi- but I really want a higher-top so I don't have to worry about feeling weird about not wearing socks. Some weatherproofing could be useful too.

Then the Sole Runner shows up as a suggestion and I look into it. Seems pretty good, ticks a lot of boxes for me. I guess I'll find out. From what I've read, seems like I'll be a size 7, so that's what I'm taking a punt on (and Amazon makes returns relatively painless in my experience).

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Tip of the Fappening: Don't Use A Password

Use a passphrase.

The psychology of marketing posits that the Fappening will remain a net positive for Apple iCloud in terms of brand awareness.

For legal images there is HollywoodTuna.

EVOL movie gets a soundtrack album release

Among my many talents is picture editing, and EVOL is one such output of my skills in that area (I recall I may have done some EVOL dialogue editing too, but it was a few months ago and my memory is fogged by more current events with live action Sexton Lovecraft preproduction).

You can get the EVOL album and see the official trailer  by clicking here.

Below is an initial trailer that was cut before the movie had been fully assembled. Enjoy!

Want to know more about the invisible art of dialogue editing? This book spills all the beans you'll ever need about it.