Japan

HTC Link To Combat Pixel Poor Phone Displays

By Al Caudullo

The dreaded “screen door effect”, the feeling that you are looking at your VR headset through a line inducing screen door. How many PPI, pixels per inch, does your phone have? How many does it need? Samsung teased uses briefly with a standalone VR Headset with 1500 ppi. Now HTC has released Link, with (2) two 3.6-inch 1080 x 1200 LCD displays and a 110-degree field of view and with support for 90Hz refresh rate. In addition, the unit comes with an external camera sensor and hand controllers.

But with one caveat, you have to buy the HTC U-11 phone and one other small detail, you have to live in Japan. Yes, at this point, you have to move to Japan to get one of these. I haven’t heard if the menu is available in English, so you may also have to learn Japanese! Could it be worth it? Well, the HTC Link will be the first smartphone-based VR headset to offer 6 DoF, or six degrees of freedom. 6 DoF will allow you to move inside the VR space for greater immersion.

The bigger question. Is this the way of the future and the answer to the pixel challenge? The original idea of using your smartphone seemed to be a step towards a ubiquitous everything display where your headset would not only play games but also let you browse the web or Facebook or anywhere else, for that matter. But then the screen door issue raised its ugly head. Putting a smartphone centimeters from your face requires a high PPI in order to achieve a quality display. But other than for VR, how many pixels → continue…

From:: Student Filmmakers

Olympus cleans up at Camera Grand Prix 2017

The Japanese Camera Journal Press Club has awarded Olympus three out of its four annual prizes after voting by photographic magazine editors and readers. The Olympus OM-D E-M1 ll came away with both the Camera of the Year award and the Readers award, while the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-100mm F4.0 IS PRO won Lens of the Year.

The club, which was established in 1963, has ten member magazines and websites that each test and review camera equipment. The members come together with affiliated magazines to determine the best products released during the period between April and March each year. This year the OM-D E-M 1 ll attracted attention for its high speed AF system and frame rates that exceed those achievable by even top-end DSLR cameras.

Olympus didn’t wipe the board entirely though, as the Editor’s Award went to the Nikon D500 for its professional AF system and modest price, and the Fujifilm GFX 50S for its resolution and handling as well as for popularizing medium-format again.

For more information and to read why each of the products was awarded see the Camera Journal Press Club of Japan website.

Camera GP Japan information

Camera Grand Prix 2017 / CJPC

Camera Grand Prix is held by Camera Journal Press Club (CJPC, Japan), a group of representatives from magazines or websites specializing in photos and cameras. CJPC, established in September 1963, has 10 members from the media as of April 2017. The selection committee, organized under the auspices of CJPC’s Camera Grand Prix Executive Committee, deliberates and selects the best products to give the four awards from among those introduced into the market during the previous fiscal year (from April 1 to March 31).

Camera Grand Prix “Camera of the Year” is granted to a still camera recognized as the best of → continue…

From:: DPreview

The 15 Best Animated Movies of the 21st Century (So Far)

By Jack Books

The history of animation goes hand in hand with cinema. Since the earliest days of live-action cinema, artists and animators have produced cartoons and animated films that have captivated young audiences across the globe. Starting with hand drawn and cell based animation, the medium has gradually evolved over the decades, utilising new methods to not only produce a different aesthetic, but create stories that connect with audiences on a much deeper and emotional level.

Leading into the 21st Century, audience expectations shifted dramatically due to the revolutionary changes made in special effects and animation. Computer graphics became an art form and changed the landscape of cinema, especially with animation. While traditional animated films still carried impact, studios like Pixar suddenly introduced audiences to a whole new plethora of animation techniques.

These new techniques not only widened the artistic possibilities, they also widened industry involvement in the medium. Suddenly, dozens of new animated films were being released, illustrating that the medium was more than just a throwaway genre for children, but a strong artistic statement. The early 21st Century saw the majority of awards ceremonies acknowledge this statement by introducing new categories for animated shorts and feature films, including the Academy Awards.

Not only has animation been easily accessible for filmmakers in multiple countries, meaning that the medium has been well represented across the globe in the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, France, Israel and Australia, but it has also allowed filmmakers to experiment with audience expectations, producing films that do not just cater to children but also the nostalgia and the social disillusionment of adults.

But out of the dozens of animated films released since 2000, which are the best?

The 21st century has only entered its 17th year so many of the mentioned animated films have not stood the test time yet these films → continue…

From:: Taste Of Cinema

Google releases list of Street View-ready certified 360-degree cameras

Google has released a list of 20 360-degree cameras that are available or will be launched over the coming months that have been certified according to Google’s new ‘Street View ready’ standard. This means they can be used in conjunction with the Street View app to create content for the Google Street View platform.

The cameras meet one of four new “Street View ready” standards, allowing users to choose the way of uploading 360-degree content that is most suitable for them.

  • Street View mobile ready: 360 cameras that can publish Street View directly from a mobile app, without requiring a desktop workflow

  • Street View auto ready: 360 cameras tailored for vehicle-based collection with the highest accuracy

  • Street View vr ready: 360 cameras or systems that collect geometry in addition to generating sets of connected 360 photos

  • Street View workflow ready: Publishing tools (sometimes bundled with cameras) that can upload to Street View accounts

You can see the list of certified cameras in the graphic at the top of this page. More information on the Street View ready standards is available on the Google developer website. Many of the cameras in the list will be on show at Google’s Street View Summit in Tokyo, Japan this week.

→ continue…

From:: DPreview

11 Weird Movies From The 21st Century No One Talks About

By David Zou

Why 11, you probably ask? Well, the answer is simple – eleven is a bit weirder than ten or twenty and you’ll agree it’s about time one of these weird lists got an odd number of entries. As usual, the movies are organized chronologically and arrive from various countries, tho’ Japan kinda imposes more than the others when it comes to cinematic peculiarities.

And in case you also wonder why weird again, the answer is even simpler – why not?

1. The Atrocity Exhibition (Jonathan Weiss, 2000) / USA

“We have created reality according to our needs, not according to truth. Insanity is actually an opening onto another reality, one that is equally real… maybe even more real.”

The English literate J.G. Ballard whose experimental novel “The Atrocity Exhibition” served as a basis for Weiss’s feature said: “What a superb adaptation it is – it takes the logic of the book and translates it almost seamlessly into a very different medium… a ceaseless flow of atmospheric locations.”

If it works for him, then who are we to judge? A peculiar (anti) therapy of sorts, it is akin to an avant-garde masturbation, quite reminiscent of the broken mirror pieces which reflect the dissolving mental state. Just one look at the chapter titles and you’re already in an irrational world:

1. World War Three as a Conceptual Act
2. The Geometry of Her Face as a Diagram for a Murder
3. The Crash as a Fertilizing Event
4. Nightmares of Anxiety (Death in Space)
5. Virtual Death

Its deranged, decidedly artificial atmosphere is established primarily through the twisted sequences composed of brutally fascinating imagery in which the steel and concrete constructions of modern architecture serve as the Playground of Benign Madness. Accompanied by the fittingly eclectic score, they are intertwined with the “atrocious” stock footage of (orgasmic?) car → continue…

From:: Taste Of Cinema

10 Great Dramas from the 21st Century You Might Not Have Seen

By Nikola Gocić

The article you are about to read could be easily retitled as “Travelling Around the World in Search for Dramas”, considering that each of the films hereinafter originates from a different country, co-productions aside. None of them, however, could be classified purely as drama, even when there are no additional terms on their respective IMDb page.

Going from Japan to Kazakhstan, you will most probably find at least one title – obscure, prize winning or both – that will awaken your interest (and give a recommended companion piece – some taken with a grain of salt – a chance). The entries are arranged in chronological order.

1. Inugami (Masato Harada, 2001) / Japan

“Dreams are not ‘good’ or ‘bad’. They ooze up through the cracks at the bottom of your heart. They are where your real self comes from.”

A young calligraphy teacher, Akira (Atsuro Watabe, excellent and looking much younger than 33), arrives at a remote village of Omine whose superstitious inhabitants shy away from the modern technology such as television and cell phones, yet they do use computers. There, he meets a spinster, Miki (Yūki Amami, superb), who owns an old-fashioned papermaking shop (something you do not see every day) and falls for her, ignoring the age difference.

As time goes by, she miraculously gets younger (and less reserved), whereas the villagers become increasingly upset by the local legends of Inugami (wild dog) curse which has hanged over the female members of Miki’s Bonomiya family.

Depicting the destructive power of unfounded beliefs (are they really?) against the backdrop of conservative vs. liberal thought, Harada delivers a peculiar, finely nuanced blend of romantic and familial story with incestuous undertones and subtle elements of supernatural thriller rooted in Japanese folklore.

All the while, bits of horror slowly boil under → continue…

From:: Taste Of Cinema

6 Reasons Why “Ran” Is Akira Kurosawa’s Late Masterpiece

By David Zou

Akira Kurosawa’s last epic was probably the most notorious entry in his vast filmography, since it was the most expensive Japanese film ever produced up to that point, with a budget of $11 million. It was also almost dropped for lack of funding, and the 75-year-old master lost his wife during the shoot, in an event that only stopped him for a day.

Eventually, and after many ‘skirmishes’ with the Japanese film industry, it received Oscar nominations for art direction, cinematography, costume design (which it won), and Kurosawa’s direction, after a campaign started by Sidney Lumet. It is currently considered one of the greatest films ever made.

Here are six reasons that justify the aforementioned. Please note that the article contains many spoilers.

1. Script that transcends the concept of adaptation

In feudal Japan, Lord Ichimonji decides to divide his realm among his three sons. Taro, the eldest, will receive the prestigious First Castle and become leader of the Ichimonji clan, while Jiro and Saburo will be given the Second and Third Castles. Hidetora is to retain the title of Great Lord and Jiro and Saburo are to support Taro.

His youngest son is against this decision, stating the obvious – that the three brothers have a thirst for power and their cooperation is almost impossible. Lord Ichimonji, however, considers his words an insult and banishes him, instigating a chain of events that results in a great war and his demise.

In that fashion, Taro, who has all the power in his hands as the leader of the clan, is proven worthless; he scorns his father and sends him away and forces Jiro to do the same. The catastrophe is completed when the two brothers kill each other.

Lord Ichimonji realizes his part in the drama and he loses his mind, → continue…

From:: Taste Of Cinema