New Luxli Composer App

The new Luxli Composer is a complete overhaul of the companies iOS and Android app for their Timpani, Viola 2, and Cello lights. I’m a big fan of the Luxli lights. I reviewed their Timpani 1×1 RGBAW last year and I was very impressed with the fixtures vast array of features, build quality, color accuracy, … Continued

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Free Sound Effect Packs for No Film School Readers

The new audio production company Epic Sound Effects designs high-quality, royalty-free sound libraries for filmmakers, composers, and content creators of every stripe. Now they’re giving sound effects away to NFS readers for FREE!

I was recently in contact with a new company called Epic Sound Effects (ESE). They’re a Florida-based audio production company poised to deliver powerful new sound design capabilities to independent creators, from YouTube vloggers to indie filmmakers. You know, people we love here at NFS.

The company was co-founded by composer and music producer Clement Ducasse and music trailer composer Karel Psota. They are passionate about sound and sound design in film, TV, commercials, and everything in between.

After chatting with them, I knew the NFS audience would dig some free swag. And they delivered.

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Insta360’s 11K Titan Camera Is Now Available For Purchase

After a near 7-month wait, Insta360’s Titan is available to buy.

Back in January, Insta360 announced Titan, its behemoth 11K 360º camera, and is now ready to start taking orders.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Titan, it’s a revamp of Insta360’s entire system, with upgrades to not only resolution but its sensors and low-light sensitivity as well. It boasts 11K at 30 fps, 10K 3D, 10-bit recording, 100-6400​ ISO, and 8 micro 4/3 sensors, the largest offered in a unibody VR camera.

The Titan can automatically stitch a 2D image in-camera up to a 10560 x 5280 image and in 3D can stitch up to 9600 x 9600. There’s also a bespoke monitoring system from Insta360 called Farsight that allows you to take a look at what sort of 360/VR images are being recorded.

And now, we can finally get our hands on all that.

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Team tests out drone strikes by firing them into a wall at 500 mph

What remains of a drone after it was fired at a wall using a customized testing unit. Photo used with permission from Fraunhofer EMI.

Since being introduced to the market, commercial drones have rapidly grown in popularity. An increase in the number of unmanned aerial vehicles in the sky, year over year, has also created an uptick in reports of collisions and near misses with manned aircraft. While some drone sightings, including high-profile incidents at Gatwick and Heathrow airports, have yet to be confirmed, others such as the 2017 collision with a Canadian passenger aircraft make one thing clear: bird-strike tests for aircraft are mandatory.

Currently, an equivalent standard test procedure for collisions with drones doesn’t exist. The Fraunhofer Institute for High-Speed Dynamics, based in Germany, is aiming to change that by building a test bench for recreating various collision scenarios. The test bench will measure the consequences of a collision between a drone and airplane by firing a drone toward a wall at a speed of 500 miles per hour.

A lithium-ion battery, weighing roughly 700g, used in one of the drones Fraunhofer EMI tested. Photo used with permission from Fraunhofer EMI.

In the U.S., alone, the commercial drone market is forecast to triple in size by 2023. For Germany, an 80 percent increase from 179,400 unmanned aerial vehicles to 847,000 by 2030 is expected. German police have warned of a credible threat to both helicopters and airplanes posed by irresponsible use of drones. While all manned aircraft are required to undergo a standardized test to assess their tolerance to a bird strike, drones are not subjected to these regulations. Experts believe a collision with a drone would cause more damage to a manned aircraft than a bird strike.

‘From a mechanical point of view, drones behave differently to birds and also weigh considerably more,’ explains Dr. Sebastian Schopferer, a scientist working on this project. ‘It is therefore uncertain, whether an aircraft that has been successfully tested against bird strike, would also survive a collision with a drone.’

It is imperative for the drone industry to obtain accurate data surrounding collisions as it will inform the future of regulations regarding flight around airports. Varying opinions have been published over the years on the potential damage caused by a drone colliding with an aircraft. However, these theories are limited because they are based on computer simulations or assessments derived from outdated testing methods. The Fraunhofer Institute is creating numerous scenarios with a variety of both amateur and semi-professional unmanned aircraft models weighing 2.5 to 6.5 pounds.

‘Using compressed air, we accelerated these two components to speeds ranging from 115 to 255 meters per second and fired them at aluminum plates up to eight millimeters in thickness that were mounted in a test bench,’ said Dr. Sebastian Schopferer, a scientist working on the project.

The institute has already started performing initial impact tests with these drones, their batteries, and motors. ‘Using compressed air, we accelerated these two components to speeds ranging from 115 to 255 meters per second and fired them at aluminum plates up to eight millimeters in thickness that were mounted in a test bench,’ said Dr. Sebastian Schopferer, a scientist working on the project. ‘There was substantial deformation and indentation of the plates, and the drone battery and engine were completely destroyed.’

Ultimately, the underlying goal of the institute is to provide in-depth assessments to aircraft manufacturers and aviation authorities regarding the potential danger to aircraft posed by drones. ‘We will be able to investigate the impact and fragmentation of complete drones during collision with both rigid and flexible targets and thereby study the presumably catastrophic effects of a drone strike for an aircraft,’ Schopferer explains. ‘Tests in this weight class of drone have never been carried out before.’

Building a Travel Story

Building a Travel Story

All too often, I find myself guilty of concentrating on hero images — the one phenomenal image that will get noticed by the right people and will propel my career. In this video, National Geographic photographer Susan Seubert talks about the process of creating a story.

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The Best Astrophotography Subjects You Can Shoot Right Now

The Best Astrophotography Subjects You Can Shoot Right Now

Want to know what objects you should be shooting in the night’s sky? Astrophotography can be a complex discipline, since knowing what important astronomical events are occuring can be a challenge in itself. Check out this guide and see what you should shoot.

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Photographer Captures Perfect Shot of Person ‘Holding’ the Total Solar Eclipse

Photographer Albert Dros may have captured one of the coolest photos of yesterday’s total solar eclipse in Chile. In addition to a few striking photos of a his model, Bart Lablans, standing next to the eclipse, he also managed to capture Bart “holding” it at totality. Take that cliché Leaning Tower of Pisa photos.

The photo was captured as part of a group organized by Dream Photo Tours and NatPhoto. But instead of using this rare opportunity to capture a standard photo of the eclipse, Dros tells PetaPixel that he decided to get creative. “I decided to improvise a little bit on the spot and photograph a model doing some poses in front of the eclipse,” he tells us. “This was possible as there was a hill nearby that fit the angle of the eclipse perfectly.”

The resulting images were captured using a 100-400mm lens and 1.4x teleconverter, which allowed him to compress the background sufficiently to capture “both the moon and the person at a nice size in the frame.” After a little bit of additional cropping in post, here is what he ended up with:

Interestingly enough, Lablams was actually capturing a time-lapse of himself while all of this was going on, relying on Dros to get him into the right spots via radio. Keep an eye on his Instagram and hopefully we’ll see that go up soon.

To see more of Dros’ spectacular work, head over to his website or give him a follow on Instagram. And if you were in Chile capturing the eclipse this week, share your results in the comments!


Credits: Photographs by Albert Dros and used with permission.

Which 5 Films Could You Watch Over and Over Again for the Rest of Your Life?

CNN wants to know what your top five most rewatchable movies are and why. Can you come up with your list?

Recently, CNN tweeted out a challenge to its followers. They want you to pick five movies that you could watch over and over again for the rest of your life. Assuming you’re in relatively good health and have longer than five days to live, this could mean watching those films thousands of times.

Of course, this begs the question…what are your top five?

I had to labor over mine but I finally settled on…

1. Raiders of the Lost Ark

Action, adventure, romance, killing Nazis, need I say more?

2. When Harry Met Sally

Love, laughs, and the question of whether or not men and women can truly be friends!

3. Waking Ned Devine

A gem about friendship, the meaning of life, and making your death worthwhile.

4. Casablanca

A miraculous movie that has something new hidden in its script every time I watch it.

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Do You Need It and Can You Afford It? Canon’s f/2 Holy Trinity Might Be a Little Bit Too Crazy

Do You Need It and Can You Afford It? Canon’s f/2 Holy Trinity Might Be a Little Bit Too Crazy

Just as Tamron has been asking us to reconsider the accepted focal range of an ultra-wide angle zoom, up steps Canon with the rumoed 16-28mm f/2. You can be sure it will be huge and expensive, but do we need it? And do photographers really want a holy trinity that is so heavy and expensive?

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Remembering Ben Barenholtz

Exhibitor, distributor, producer and director — one of the seminal figures in the modern American independent film movement, Ben Barenholtz, passed away last Wednesday in Prague. He was 83. In the late ’60s, Barenhotlz’s rep theater, the Elgin Cinema, mixed experimental films with mainstream movies, and it was where the exhibitor popularized the concept of the “midnight movie,” playing Alejandro Jodoworsky’s El Topo for months on end. Another midnight movie — Eraserhead — was an early marquee title of his first distribution company, Libra Films, and later, at Circle Films, he bought and distributed the classic and career-launching Blood Simple, […]

‘It’s Not What You Think’: Danny Boyle’s Advice for Aspiring Filmmakers

Danny Boyle’s “Yesterday,” starring Himesh Patel, is a kinetic, imaginative fable about success and a love song to the Beatles.

For his new film, Yesterday, Danny Boyle teamed up with Richard Curtis, whom he calls “the Poet Laureate of romance and comedy”—the writer of Notting Hill, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Love Actually, and many more rom-com classics. They make a formidable duo, each bringing an element of their oeuvre to the table. Boyle’s kinetic energy is there in spades, along with Curtis’s hopeless romanticism and flair for otherworldly plot twists. Together, the writer and director animate a genre-shifting script.

Yesterday is a romantic comedy with a twist of fantasy. It stars newcomer Hamish Patel as Jack Malik, a struggling singer-songwriter who just can’t seem to catch his big break. He’s about to throw in the towel for good when a supernatural event gives him a chance at stardom. Suddenly, nobody seems to remember that the Beatles existed—except Jack, who has memorized every single one of their songs.

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Wedding Photogs Berated for Refusing to Work with ‘Influencer’ for Free

UK-based wedding photographers Frankie Lowe and Laura Dunning of Betrothed & Co recently ran afoul of an Instagram “influencer,” whose PR person seemed flabbergasted that the pair would choose not to work for free, for two years, in exchange for exposure to her client’s 55,000 followers.

The story begins with an email from someone named “Melissa” who claimed to represent “a well known social media influencer” who is planning to get married in 2021. In her email to Betrothed & Co, she lays out exactly what her client is expecting—two videos, approximately 1,000 photos, etc. In exchange, the mystery client would “extensively promote” their business to a combined Instagram and Facebook audience or 55,000 followers, in addition to offering those followers a 25% discount on Lowe and Dunning’s services.

“Just so you are aware,” concludes the email, “we have approached four other similar businesses in your area so a fast response will be beneficial to your business.”

Lowe, who took the lead responding, was understandably confused and a little bit offended. He responded in kind, asking Melissa if there was a typo in the original email as 55,000 followers is hardly “influential” enough to demand £3-4K worth of services. He also thanked her for suggesting they offer a 25% discount in addition to free services, writing, “it’s helpful to know that in advance that being linked with your client will automatically knock 25% off the perceived value of the product we have spent so many years honing.”

Their tongue-in-cheek response was not well-received, and Melissa responded immediately to inform them that they were “unprofessional,” that the response was “appalling,” and threatening to “name and shame” them if they were to respond and “continue with this abuse.” There is also a mention that the influencer’s mother was recently diagnosed with cancer.

“We will no longer be considering you as contenders to shoot what would have been a very lucrative wedding for you,” she writes.

Lowe closed out the back-and-forth with one more email in which he addressed the accusation of “abuse” head-on, commented on the use of the mother’s illness in response, and concluded by writing:

“We’re just a couple of hardworking creatives trying to make a living in a very challenging industry, and occasionally that means standing up for our profession and valuing our craft.”

The whole email exchange was later uploaded to the Betrothed & Co Facebook page, where Lowe and Dunning further justified the exchange. “We don’t share client emails unless they look like this,” they said. “We are a really tiny business in a really competitive industry and emails like this really disregard how hard we work.”

You can see the full exchange and Facebook post below:

Whether or not an actual PR professional would act this way is up for debate, but whoever Melissa is “representing” did not come off well in this exchange. As for “naming and shaming” Betrothed & Co, the photographers obviously got ahead of that particular threat by posting the unedited email exchange in full.

The problem of Influencers (and micro-Influencers) demanding free stuff certainly isn’t new, although this is the first we’ve heard of it affecting wedding photographers. Do you think Lowe and Dunning did the right thing by responding as they did, or should they have followed Melissa’s advice and simply sent a polite no?

(via Insider)


Credits: Screenshots by Frankie Lowe and Laura Dunning of Betrothed & Co, used with permission.

More Companies Like Canon Should Use Crowdfunding Websites

When I first learned that Canon was planning on using a crowdfunding website to launch a new product, I thought to myself “this is going to be a PR disaster.” My knee jerk reaction was to think that it’s unacceptable for a company like Canon to use websites like Indiegogo in order to launch a product. Surely it has more than enough money available to develop products without asking for it from the public.

Now that I’ve had a little time to think on the matter, I realize now that this is probably the best thing to happen to the crowdfunding sector.

Crowdfunding Is Not Necessarily About Raising Funds

The main misconception is that people assume crowdfunding websites are used entirely as a means to fund the development and launch of a product. This isn’t always the case, especially when it comes to manufacturing.

The costs associated with developing and manufacturing a new product are almost never covered by the income received from crowdfunding sources. In many situations, companies are required to seek further investment after a crowdfunding campaign has been successful. This is also one of the key reasons so many campaigns fail after they’ve seen success on a crowdfunding website. Many new companies severely underestimate the actual costs required and burn through any cash very quickly.

Crowdfunding websites are generally used as a way to determine the demand of a product. This is one of the key benefits of using a website like Indiegogo. Raising a few million on a crowdfunding website is a brilliant way to measure the demand for any new product and mitigates a significant amount of risk. If your product does not have the demand to be successful on a crowdfunding site, then you can simply move on with minimal losses. If, however, your campaign is successful then you have an incredible pitch you can put forward to potential investors.

The way Canon seem to be using crowdfunding is to determine the demand for a new product it would like to produce. If there is sufficient demand, then it can green-light the project and actually develop the IVY REC camera (terrible name by the way). Essentially Canon is the investor and the crowdfunding campaign is a pitch to itself in order to determine the product’s viability.

Canon’s Indiegogo placeholder pace for its upcoming IVY REC camera launch.

Why This is Brilliant

The photography industry has become extremely difficult to compete in. Many new products that are launched within this industry have failed and the losses have been significant. Take Nikon’s attempt with its KeyMission cameras. Nikon probably poured a great deal of time and money into developing those products only for them to generate losses for the company.

Nikon Keymission cameras were failure.

Camera sales have been in decline for the last few years and investing in new products is riskier than ever before. The main reason for this is that income from cameras sales has been on the decline, and any loses on new projects are compound losses. That puts a company on the back foot and prevents them from being as innovative as they’d like to be.

What crowdfunding allows these types of companies to do is properly asses the demand for a product before completely committing to it. This prevents huge losses and more importantly, it allows companies to experiment and try new things. Companies can be as innovative as they’d like to be and present new concepts and products to the market before they fully develop them.

Products that they wouldn’t have ever normally produced can now be attempted on websites like Indiegogo. We could start to see more interesting and niche products being made by larger mainstream companies. The main production lines of these companies can operate as normal and smaller more nimble departments within the company can try completely new concepts.

Crowdfunding is a fantastic way to prevent significant losses and it’s about time larger companies started looking to these types of websites for new and quirky concepts.

Views of the Canon IVY REC

Is Crowdfunding Going Mainstream?

The last few years have not been great for many crowdfunding websites. Several notable failed projects have made backers wary of the concept. Companies have been found making completely ridiculous claims about the kind of product they are developing. Some projects have been nothing more than quick money-making schemes for “companies” who essentially planned on using the money for nothing but parties. Once the money runs out, simply declare bankruptcy and none of the backers receive refunds or their products.

This is quite obviously going to leave backers with a pretty bad taste in the mouth. The fact that Canon has opted to use a crowdfunding platform could be the best thing to happen to these kinds of websites. We may start to see more and more mainstream companies operating on crowdfunding platforms. This is fantastic because these are companies with a huge deal of experience and a proven track record to deliver what they promise. Mainstream companies have more to lose, so the chances they would renege on any agreements with their backers are slim to none.

I’m assuming most backers would prefer to support companies with decades of experience and a proper customer support system over companies that may or may not be able to deliver the goods.

The way I see it is that the IVY REC camera is probably just a project for Canon to determine how viable it is to use crowdfunding as a means to develop new products. If this is successful, we may start to see more and more larger companies operating on the site. I believe this is great news for backers because not only do they have added peace of mind, but they also have the ability to receive products from these companies with steep discounts.

The downside is that start-ups and smaller companies may struggle to get the attention of backers, making it far more difficult to compete.

Personally, I think that backers have the right to more security and accountability. If this makes it more difficult for smaller companies to compete then it is unfortunate, but it is also necessary.

Final Thoughts

Crowdfunding websites have received a fair amount of bad press. If they are in-fact attempting to attract larger companies then this could turn things around quite drastically for them. The income potential could be much greater too and the chances of failure are significantly reduced. In a lot of cases, when a niche company goes mainstream, it’s perceived as being a bad thing; however, in this case, I think it’s probably the best thing to happen to the industry.


About the author: Usman Dawood is the lead photographer of Sonder Creative, an architectural and interior photography company. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of his work on his website, Instagram, and YouTube.

Cannes Winners Chose FilmLight Finishing

Two of the top prizes at this year’s Cannes Film Festival have gone to movies which relied on FilmLight colour science for the finishing look. Parasite, from Korean director Bong Joon Ho, took the Palme d’Or, while director Mati Diop won the Grand Prix for Atlantique (Atlantics), the first black female director to take the […]

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Apple Can Automatically ‘Correct’ Your Gaze in Video Calls on iOS 13

iPhone users who have been testing the latest beta of iOS 13 have discovered a strange new feature. It’s called “FaceTime Attention Correction” and it uses automatic image manipulation to “fix” your gaze while video chatting.

The feature does exactly what it sounds like. Even though you’re looking at the screen, not the front-facing camera, the person on the other end of the video chat sees you making direct eye-contact. It’s a little bizarre, as Will Sigmun, co-host of The Dish Podcast, demonstrated on Twitter:

According to Will and The Verge Executive Editor Dieter Bohn, you can turn this feature on in settings, but while it is showing up on the latest beta of iPadOS as well, so far it only seems to work (and sporadically at that) on iPhone XS, not iPhone X or iPad.

All of which, of course, begs the question: will this kind of automatic “gaze correction” ever be applied to photos? Will we have the option? And how much correction will it apply once the feature is live and out of beta?

We can only imagine the ways this feature could go wrong, potentially “hijacking” your eyes when you’re trying to look away, and leading to some pretty interesting effects.

(via Engadget via Thurrott)

Adding the Human Element to Landscapes

Adding the Human Element to Landscapes

Let’s be honest, landscape photography is just fun no matter where in the world you are shooting. I would even venture to say that it is growing with more and more popularity over time and with increased exposure from social media outlets.

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