Portable and Powerful: A Review of the DJI Mavic Mini

Portable and Powerful: A Review of the DJI Mavic Mini

The DJI Mavic Mini is a highly portable drone that still packs lots of features that professionals desire. And although it does not have all the capabilities of larger drones, it may be more than enough for you. This great video review takes a look at the drone.

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Top Black Friday Deals for Filmmakers – Part 1: Cameras, FilmConvert, MZed

Our first Black friday deals post features interesting cameras from DJI, Canon, FUJIFILM, Nikon, Panasonic, Sony, and Z CAM. Additionally there are FilmConvert, and MZed Black Friday offers. This is the first out of three Black friday posts. In the next post we will take a look at lenses and computers.

I went through the current deals on our partners’ websites and have selected the best offers currently available, which I think could be interesting for you. Some offers are only available at american store B&H, some offers only at european store CVP, and some offers are available globaly with both our partners. By shopping at our partners’ stores, you are supporting cinema5D through our buy links, as we get a small affiliate commission when a purchase is completed.

This year we decided to divide the Black friday deals into three posts, which we will publish in the next days before friday November 29:

  1. Cameras, Drones, FilmConvert, MZed
  2. Lenses, Computers, Laptops, Tablets
  3. Gimbals, Tripods, Monitors, Wireless Video, …

Today’s post is the first out of three and it features only cameras, drones, FilmConvert, and MZed.

Now, let’s take a look at the top Black friday camera deals for filmmakers:

DJI Osmo Action – $100/€77 Discount

DJI Osmo Action is still a relatively new product and it is the most serious contender to the GoPro. It is a very capable action camera with 4K 60fps video recording and brilliant stabilization. Even better then HERO7 Black’s HyperSmooth – here is our comparison of these two cameras. Make sure to also watch our Osmo Action review.

B&H Buy link: DJI Osmo Action Was: $379.00  Now: $279.00 (Savings: $100.00)

CVP Buy link: DJI Osmo Action Was: €319.18  Now: €241.56 (Savings: €77.61)

DJI Osmo Pocket – $90/€48 Discount

DJI Osmo Pocket is the smallest Osmo yet. It combines camera with a 3-axis gimbal and fits literally in the palm. The camera still offers up to 4K 60fps video recording. Make sure to watch and read our DJI Osmo Pocket review for more information.

B&H Buy link: DJI Osmo Pocket Was: $399.00  Now: $309.00 (Savings: $90.00)

CVP Buy link: DJI Osmo Pocket Was: €319.18  Now: €270.67 (Savings: €48.51)

DJI Mavic 2 Pro – $350 Discount

I decided to include drones in this post as well. DJI Mavic 2 Pro is the best drone in its category with the Hasselblad 20MP UHD 4K 1″ CMOS gimbal camera. The aperture is adjustable between f/2.8 and f/11. The drone can film in 10-bit Dlog-M and in up to 4K 30fps. More information about the drone can be found here in our article.

B&H Buy link: DJI Mavic 2 Pro Was: $1,729.00  Now: $1,379.00 (Savings: $350.00)

Canon EOS R Camera Body with Accessories Kit – $500 Discount

The EOS R is the first full-frame mirrorless camera from Canon. It features the new RF lens mount, and 30.3MP CMOS sensor along with a DIGIC 8 image processor. It tops at UHD 4K30 for video recording and the sensor also facilitates Canon’s great Dual Pixel AF system – probably the best autofocus system for video right now. The camera can shoot in Canon Log gamma for higher dynamic range and it can output 4K 10-bit 4:2:2 over HDMI.

To know more about the video capabilities of this camera, you can take a look at our Canon EOS R review. If you would like to use the EOS R as a B-camera to the Canon C200, check our article on the topic.

As a bonus within this accessory kit you will also get a SanDisk 32GB SDHC memory card, and Lowepro shoulder bag.

B&H Buy link: Canon EOS R Camera Body with Accessories Kit Was: $2,299.00  Now: $1,799.00 (Savings: $500.00)

B&H Buy link: Canon EOS R Camera Body with 24-105mm Lens Was: $3,399.00  Now: $2,699.00 (Savings: $700.00)

Canon EOS RP Camera Body with Accessories Kit – $300/€243 Discount

EOS R’s smaller brother – the EOS RP – is now also on sale during Black friday. As a bonus within this accessory kit on B&H you will get a SanDisk 32GB SDHC memory card, and a shoulder bag.

B&H Buy link: Canon EOS RP Camera Body with Accessories Kit Was: $1,299.00  Now: $999.00 (Savings: $300.00)

CVP Buy link: Canon EOS RP Camera Body Was: €1,362.46  Now: €1,118.99 (Savings: €243.47 – Cashback, Free RF-EF Adapter)

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Camera Body with Accessories Kit – $600 Discount

Canon’s full-frame DSLR flagship 5D Mark IV offers interesting price tag and free accessories in kit on B&H (spare battery, memory card, bag, and optics cleaning kit).

B&H Buy link: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Camera Body with Accessories Kit Was: $3,105.24  Now: $2,499.00 (Savings: $606.24)

CVP Buy link: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Camera Body €2,659.54 (Free BG-E20 Battery grip)

Canon EOS 1DX Mark II Camera Body – $500 Discount

B&H Buy link: Canon EOS 1DX Mark II Camera Body Was: $5,999.00  Now: $5,499.00 (Savings: $500.00)

 

Canon EOS 6D Mark II Camera Body with Accessories Kit – $400 Discount

B&H Buy link: Canon EOS 6D Mark II Camera Body with Accessories Kit Was: $1,599.00  Now: $1,199.00 (Savings: $400.00)

Canon EOS 77D Camera Body with Accessories Kit – $250/€156 Discount

B&H Buy link: Canon EOS 77D Camera Body with Accessories Kit Was: $799.00  Now: $549.00 (Savings: $250.00)

CVP Buy link: Canon EOS 77D Camera Body Was: €682.12  Now: €525.99 (Savings: €156.13 – Cashback)

Canon EOS Rebel T7i/800D Camera with 18-55mm Lens and Accessories Kit – $250/€126 Discount

B&H Buy link: Canon EOS Rebel T7i Camera with 18-55mm Lens and Accessories Kit Was: $899.00  Now: $649.00 (Savings: $250.00)

CVP Buy link: Canon EOS 800D Camera with 18-55mm lens Was: €682.12  Now: €555.26 (Savings: €126.86 – Cashback)

FUJIFILM X-T3 Camera Body Kit with Accessories – $200/€272 Discount

A lot has been written about the FUJIFILM X-T3, and a lot of it here, on cinema5D. We’ve reviewed the camera (twice), and crowned it our best mirrorless camera of the year 2018. Currently, there is a nice discount on this camera in both B&H (including free accessories – memory card and bag) and CVP.

B&H Buy link: FUJIFILM X-T3 Camera Body Kit with Accessories Was: $1,499.00  Now: $1,299.00 (Savings: $200.00)

CVP Buy link: FUJIFILM X-T3 Camera Body Was: €1,314.19  Now: €1,041.41 (Savings: €272.78 including Cashback)

FUJIFILM X-T30 Camera Body Kit with Accessories – $100/€146 Discount

The X-T30 offers very compact body and only a slightly less features than FUJIFILM X-T3.  Make sure to check our X-T30 anamorphic review for more information about this tiny yet capable filmmaking device. B&H offers free accessories – memory card and a bag – along with the camera.

B&H Buy link: FUJIFILM X-T30 Camera Body Kit with Accessories Was: $899.00  Now: $799.00 (Savings: $100.00)

CVP Buy link: FUJIFILM X-T30 Camera Body Was: €827.09  Now: €680.96 (Savings: €146.13 including Cashback)

B&H: Nikon Z 6 with FTZ Mount Adapter and Bag Kit – $547 Discount

Nikon Z 6 is the first full-frame mirrorless camera from Nikon – it is the “all-arounder” within the new Z system. It features 24.5MP CMOS sensor and can record UHD 4K video at up to 30fps and full HD at up to 120fps – all in H.264. The camera can also output RAW signal via HDMI, so this could be the perfect camera to use with the Ninja V to capture in ProRes RAW.

As a bonus within this accessory kit you will also get the FTZ Mount adapter to use with exsiting Nikon F lenses, Sony 32GB XQD G Series memory card, and DSLR shoulder bag.

Buy link: Nikon Z 6 with FTZ Mount Adapter and Bag Kit Was: $2,243.90  Now: $1,696.95 (Savings: $546.95)

Panasonic LUMIX G9 Camera Body – $500/€159 Discount, Free Accessories, Free LUMIX 25mm f/1.7 Lens, Free 3-Year Warranty

Panasonic G9 used to be “only” a great MFT mirrorless camera with a main focus on photography. Panasonic recently announced new firmware update, which will equip the G9 with killer video features – same like its slightly bigger sibbling, the GH5. G9 will be able to record 10-bit video internally up to 4K 30p, 4K 60p 8-bit, new slow motion framerates in 1080p, and it will also support the paid V-log upgrade.

B&H offers additional free accessories (SanDisk 32GB Extreme PRO SDHC UHS-I memory card, Corel PaintShop Pro 2020 ultimate license, and Ruggard Journey 24 DSLR shoulder bag).

B&H Buy link: Panasonic LUMIX G9 Camera Body with accessories set Was: $1,497.99  Now: $997.99 (Savings: $500.00)

CVP offers free LUMIX 25mm f/1.7 lens (!) and free 3-year Panasonic LUMIX warranty. CVP also offers G9 in a set with the LUMIX 12-60mm f/2.8-4 lens for an incredible price.

CVP Buy link: Panasonic LUMIX G9 Camera Body Was: €1,100.86  Now: €941.78 (Savings: €159.09, Free accessories, Free 25mm f/1.7 lens, and Free 3-year warranty)

CVP Buy link: Panasonic LUMIX G9 Camera Body with 12-60mm f/2.8-4 Lens Was: €1,381.43  Now: €1,118.24 (Savings: €263.19, Free accessories, Free 25mm f/1.7 lens, and Free 3-year warranty)

Panasonic LUMIX GH5 Camera Body – $700/€215 Discount Plus Cashback, Free LUMIX 25mm f/1.7 Lens, Free 3-Year Warranty

More then two years after its initial announcement, Panasonic GH5 still remains among the most popular Micro four thirds cameras for filmmakers. Its current price makes it even more affordable. Additionaly, B&H offers it with free memory card, spare battery, and camera bag.

B&H Buy link: Panasonic LUMIX GH5 Camera Body with accessories set Was: $1,997.99  Now: $1,297.99 (Savings: $700.00)

CVP offers free LUMIX 25mm f/1.7 lens (!), free 3-year Panasonic LUMIX warranty, and free accessories with a GH5 purchase.

CVP Buy link: Panasonic LUMIX GH5 Camera Body Was: €1,182.68  Now: €967.65 (Savings: €215.03, Free accessories, Free 25mm f/1.7 lens, and Free 3-year warranty)

CVP Buy link: Panasonic LUMIX GH5 Camera Body with 12-60mm f/2.8-4 Lens Was: €1,616.67  Now: €1,319.83 (Savings: €296.84, Free accessories, Free 25mm f/1.7 lens, and Free 3-year warranty)

Panasonic LUMIX G80/G85 Camera with 12-60mm Lens and Accessories Set – $300/€83 Discount Plus Free LUMIX 25mm f/1.7 Lens, Free 3-Year Warranty

Panasonic sells the same camera as G85 in the USa and G80 in Europe, so don’t get confused. This set with the LUMIX 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6mm lens offers great value for the price. B&H offers free accessories (spare battery, memory card, and camera bag) with the purchase. CVP offers free LUMIX 25mm f/1.7 lens (!), and free 3-year Panasonic LUMIX warranty.

B&H Buy link: Panasonic LUMIX G85 Camera with 12-60mm Lens and accessories set Was: $997.99  Now: $697.99 (Savings: $300.00)

CVP Buy link: Panasonic LUMIX G80 Camera with 12-60mm Lens Was: €609.02  Now: €525.88 (Savings: €83.14, Free 25mm f/1.7 lens, and Free 3-year warranty)

CVP: Panasonic LUMIX S1 Camera Body – €386 Cashback plus Free 3-Year Warranty

Panasonic S1 is a very capable full-frame mirrorless camera. It can record internally at up to 4K 60fps in 8-bit and output 4:2:2 10-bit signal externally. For more information about the camera please check our Panasonic S1 review and the revisited V-log upgrade review.

Buy link: Panasonic LUMIX S1 Camera Body Was: €2,120.75  Now: €1,734.99 (Savings: €385.76 Cashback + Free 3-Yeatr Warranty)

Sony a7 III Camera Body with Accessory Kit – $200/€145 Discount

Sony a7 III is currently considered by many as the best Sony mirrorless camera for video. Its 24MP full-frame CMOS sensor performs really well in low light and its 693-point hybrid AF system also works well for video shooting. The camera can record up to UHD 4K30p video with HLG & S-Log gamma picture profiles. For more information about the camera, go ahead and read Johnnie’s Sony a7 III review.

In this discounted set, along with the camera, you get SanDisk 32GB extreme PRO UHS-II SDHC memory card, Watson 2000mAh battery pack, Watson compact AC/DC charger for NP-FZ100 battery, and Ruggard Journey 24 DSLR shoulder bag.

B&H Buy link: Sony a7 III Camera Body with Accessory Kit Was: $1,998.00  Now: $1,798.00 (Savings: $200.00)

CVP Buy link: Sony a7 III Camera Body Was: €1,710.35  Now: €1,564.83 (Savings: €145.52 – CashBack)

Sony a7 II Camera with 28-70mm Lens and Accessories Kit – $600 Discount

B&H Buy link: Sony a7 II Camera with 28-70mm Lens and Accessories Kit Was: $1,598.00  Now: $998.00 (Savings: $600.00)

Sony a7S II Camera Body with Free Storage Kit – $440/€195 Discount

 

B&H Buy link: Sony a7S II Camera Body with Free Storage Kit Was: $2,438.00  Now: $1,998.00 (Savings: $440.00)

CVP Buy link: Sony a7S II Camera Body Was: €1,948.55  Now: €1,753.59 (Savings: €194.96 – CashBack)

Sony a7R II Camera Body with Free Accessories Kit – $400 Discount

B&H Buy link: Sony a7R II Camera Body with Free Accessories Kit Was: $1,798.00  Now: $1,398.00 (Savings: $400.00)

Sony a7R III Camera Body with Free Accessories Kit – $300/€195 Discount

B&H Buy link: Sony a7R III Camera Body with Free Accessories Kit Was: $2,798.00  Now: $2,498.00 (Savings: $300.00)

CVP Buy link: Sony a7R III Camera Body Was: €2,435.93  Now: €2,240.98 (Savings: €194.95 – CashBack)

Sony a9 Camera Body with Free Accessories Kit – $500 Discount

B&H Buy link: Sony a9 Camera Body with Free Accessories Kit Was: $3,998.00  Now: $3,498.00 (Savings: $500.00)

Sony a6500 Camera Body with Free Accessories Kit – $500 Discount

B&H Buy link: Sony a6500 Camera Body with Free Accessories Kit Was: $1,198.00  Now: $998.00 (Savings: $200.00)

Sony a6000 Camera with Two Lenses and Accessories – $400 Discount

B&H has a great deal on the Sony a6000 with two lenses – E PZ 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS and E 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS – plus memory card, extra battery, battery charger, and camera bag.

B&H Buy link: Sony a6000 Camera with two lenses and accessories Was: $998.00  Now: $598.00 (Savings: $400.00)

Sony RX100 III Camera Kit with Accessories – $150 Discount

B&H Buy link: RX100 III Camera Kit with Accessories Was: $748.00  Now: $598.00 (Savings: $150.00)

CVP: Z CAM E2 4K Camera Body – Free PortKeys BM5 Monitor

Z CAM E2 is a very capable small cinema camera with the Micro four thirds camera mount. It can record in ProRes HQ 10-bit or 4K up to 120fps in H.265 internally. Take a look at our Z CAM E2 review. This bundle with the free PortKeys BM5 monitor and control cable (so the camera can be controlled from the monitor) looks really tempting. Additionaly, the CVP price even without discount is better when compared to other european distributors.

Buy link: Z CAM E2 4K Camera Body €1,982.67 (Free PortKeys BM5 Monitor)

FilmConvert

FilmConvert’s film emulation plugins for all editing platforms are on sale for the lowest price this year. There is up to 60% off on all FilmConvert plugins, including new FilmConvert Nitrate for Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects and DaVinci Resolve.

FilmConvert Black Friday 2019 Offer

Video Plugins are available for only $89 (Was $179). FilmConvert Nitrate Bundle is available for only $129 (Was $249). Sale runs from Monday November 25 until Cyber Monday, December 2.

MZed

Education is an important part of self-development. MZed offers all kinds of usefull online courses. You can check our rewievs of their courses – Cinematic filmmaking masterclass by Philip Bloom and Directing color with Ollie Kenchington. They have interesting Black Friday offers which will be live from Wednesday 27th (PST) until the end of Monday, December 2nd (PST). Available offers:

Did you like any of our deals? Did we miss something interesting? Let us know in the comments underneath the article.

The post Top Black Friday Deals for Filmmakers – Part 1: Cameras, FilmConvert, MZed appeared first on cinema5D.

M Soft Raybrid Keymaker – Say Goodbye to Greenscreens for Good

The Japanese company M Soft has released a new tool that will revolutionize studio and broadcast recording. That tool is the Raybrid Keymaker, and it uses depth instead of color to key out backgrounds. Check out Johnnie’s conversation with them at Inter BEE 2019:

M Soft Green screen Solution – Image Credit cinema5D

What is the M Soft Raybrid Keymaker?

The Keymaker is nothing more and nothing less than a camera accessory, an add-on that tremendously expands the capabilities of any camera you pair it with. While Canon is the official distributor of the M Soft Raybrid Keymaker, don’t let that put you off. This technology is promised to work with any camera. It is only capable of processing HD images at the moment, but there is no reason 4K won’t be in its future. The HD spec is necessary because of computational speed, not because of any insurmountable physical limitation.

 

raybrid keymaker dinosaur m soft greenscreen depth keying

How it Works

Here’s how it works: two distance sensors are mounted onto the front of the camera. The operator then sets the distance from the sensor to the background. Everything in front of that set point is separated from the background and sent through a processing pipeline where the edges are cleaned. Once the layers are cleaned and separated, you can choose to remove the background entirely, modify it, or add other objects into that 3D space.

raybrid keymaker dinosaur m soft greenscreen depth keying

You can, for example, add a dinosaur between the subject and the background.

A Quick History of Depth-Sensing

Depth-sensing technology has really come into its own in recent years, as anyone with a modern cell phone can tell you. Apple, Google, Samsung, and more have embraced depth-sensing tech that allows them to unlock the phone with a 3D scan of your face, measure objects just by pointing your phone at them, and so much more. These are useful tricks, but they aren’t broadcast-ready. Some of us might also remember Lytro, whose “light field” cinema camera promised similar depth-mapping and background replacement. However, they created a massive closed-system cinema camera, and M Soft has built an accessory. The Raybrid Keymaker theoretically works with any HD camera.

 

The Raybrid Keymaker is available for order today – but only in Japan. It is expected to ship by the end of the year. The cost is 3,200,000 Yen, which is about $30k or €26,500. That hefty price tag includes software, sensors, a control PC, but no camera.

What do you think – is depth keying ready for the big leagues? Or are there still advantages to chroma keying? Let us know in the comments!

The post M Soft Raybrid Keymaker – Say Goodbye to Greenscreens for Good appeared first on cinema5D.

PortKeys Bluetooth Module for BM5 Monitors Announced – Wireless Control for BMPCC 4K/6K Cameras

PortKeys, a company specialized in HDMI and SDI field monitors, has just announced a new Bluetooth Module for their PortKeys BM5 field monitors. This add-on accessory screws directly to the back of the BM5 and allows you to control your BMPCC 4K/6K cameras wirelessly. Let’s take a closer look at it!

PortkeysBluetoothModule_Featured

PortKeys BM5 and BM5 II

Earlier this year, PortKeys introduced the BM5 field monitor, an impressive little display that can control your camera. If you never heard of the PortKeys BM5 before, it is a 5-inch 1080P WLED touchscreen display that features an HDMI and SDI input, and an SDI output with cross-conversion. It is powered via a single Sony NP-F style battery, and you can use the power output of the BM5 to feed your camera via a dummy battery. Also, you can power it with an external battery by using the Lemo port on the monitor.

The PortKeys BM5 is daylight-viewable with a maximum brightness of 2000nit – the newest BM5 II monitor is 2200nit – and it is entirely made out of aluminum for a total weight of 350 grams.

PortKeysBM5_Featured

The list of built-in monitoring tools is quite impressive and includes 3D LUT monitoring, waveform/false color/zebra, peaking and zooming, HDR support, and framing guides/grids/aspects.

But, the real advantage of the BM5 over its competitors – other than the incredible $499 price – is the control port at the back of the monitor. By connecting the monitor to your camera, you can control various functions like start/stop the recording, change your ISO settings, adjust the focus settings… etc. It is already compatible with the Z Cam E2, Sony/Canon/Panasonic cameras. But, PortKeys just introduced a new Bluetooth Module that pushes the capabilities of the BM5 a little further.

PortkeysBluetoothModule_01

Image credit: PortKeys

PortKeys Bluetooth Module for BM5 Monitors

The new PortKeys Bluetooth Module for BM5/BM5 II monitors screws directly to the back of the monitor. This update is especially exciting for BMPCC 4K/6K users. First, you will have access to the daylight/tiltable screen of the BM5. Second, you will be able to control your camera via the monitor wirelessly. The number of settings you can adjust via the BM5 is imposing; please see the full list below.

PortkeysBluetoothModule_02

Image credit: PortKeys

Also, the PortKeys Bluetooth Module adds support for Sony a7II/a7III/a7RIV/a9 cameras, and Tilta Nucleus-N/M follow focuses. Unfortunately, you will have to plug a cable from the monitor to your camera/follow focus to have access to these functions.

PortkeysBluetoothModule_03

Image credit: PortKeys

Pricing and Availability

The PortKeys Bluetooth Module for BM5 monitors retails for $119/99€, and you can pre-order it directly on PortKeys’ website. It should ship from the 30th of November.

What do you think of the PortKeys Bluetooth Module? Do you think it is useful for the BMPCC 4K/6K cameras? Do you already have the PortKeys BM5 monitor? Let us know in the comments!

The post PortKeys Bluetooth Module for BM5 Monitors Announced – Wireless Control for BMPCC 4K/6K Cameras appeared first on cinema5D.

Professional Editing: A Review of the Asus ProArt PA32UC

Professional Editing: A Review of the Asus ProArt PA32UC

A proper monitor is the one of the most crucial aspects of any photographer or videographer’s post-processing workflow to ensure their ability to deliver the highest quality results. This excellent video review takes a look at a monitor designed for professionals, the Asus ProArt PA32UC.

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The Wandering DP Podcast: Episode #203 – Billy Peña

This week on the show we chat with cinematographer Billy Peña about his start in the film world, coming up in NYC, making the move out to L.A. and managing a young family with the increasing travel demands of a commercial DP.

I had a great time chatting with Billy and be sure to check out his work below and give him a follow over on Instagram.

Enjoy!

Patreon Podcast #137 – Out of the Highlights

Over on Patreon this week we take a long look at Masanobu Takayangi’s work on Out of the Furnace.

I am always looking for films where the standard frame work is pushed to an extreme or completely thrown out the window and this film does exactly that.  Lots of interesting looks and decisions to chat through that hopefully you can use to make better choices on your next project.

To see the images and listen to the special breakdown podcast click the link below:

The Wandering DP Patreon

Featured Guest – Billy Peña

Personal Website:  Billy Peña

Instagram: @billimo

The post The Wandering DP Podcast: Episode #203 – Billy Peña appeared first on Cinematography Podcast & Tutorials.

Red Giant Complete Annual Subscription

Red Giant Complete is a subscription service where you’ll always have the most up-to-date version of their tools instead of standalone perpetual licenses. What software is included? Included in the Red Giant Complete subscription is: Trapcode Suite Magic Bullet Suite Universe VFX Suite Shooter Suite Purchased separately, all of these products would cost $3,495. Comparatively, … Continued

The post Red Giant Complete Annual Subscription appeared first on Newsshooter.

Facebook Reveals How Its AI Decides what to Recommend on Instagram

In a technical article published earlier today, Facebook has reveled some of the Machine Learning (AKA ‘AI’) technology that decides what photos show up on Instagram’s “Explore” tab—the main way IG users discover new accounts and content.

Getting your photography on the Explore tab can have a huge impact on your follower count, but there’s no department head at Facebook that you can schmooze to get your work included. As with so many things in the world of social media, your exposure (or lack thereof) is dependent on an algorithm.

But while most of most of these algorithms are shrouded in mystery, Facebook decided to share some details about how its Explore algorithm works.

The challenge, according to the article, is primarily one of scale.

“Over half of the Instagram community visits Instagram Explore every month to discover new photos, videos, and Stories relevant to their interests,” reads the article. And so Facebook’s engineers came up with “an AI system based on a highly efficient 3-part ranking funnel that extracts 65 billion features and makes 90 million model predictions every second.”

The algorithm’s job is to figure out what you’re interested in, and show you more content like it. The whole process takes place in a couple of discreet (if highly oversimplified…) steps: Candidate Generation and Ranking.

First, The algorithm identifies your interests by tracking what accounts you interact with and how—liking, saving, commenting. This data is used to create a list of “candidate” accounts that you might also enjoy.

Here’s just one example of how an account might make it into your “candidates” list:

Next, Instagram samples 500 of those candidates and runs them through a 3-stage ranking process that that identifies the “highest-quality” candidates. Step one takes the number from 500 to 150, step two takes it from 150 to 50, and step three identifies the 25 accounts you’ll see in the first page of the Explore grid.

The “how” behind this is where things get technical fast. Basically, the AI system predicts whether you’ll interact positively (a Like or Save) or negatively (See Fewer Posts Like This) with a particular piece of content you see in Explore, giving each predicted action a different “weight” and adding in a penalty for things like repeated content so you don’t see multiple photos from the same candidate account.

In this way, the Explore AI should winnow that list of 500 “candidates” down to the 25 accounts that you’re most likely to interact with positively.

In the end, the article doesn’t reveal too much actionable info that isn’t common sense, but it’s worth noting a few key takeaways for photographers who want to use Instagram to grow their fan- or client-base:

  1. Recommendations are made at the account level. In other words: Instagram isn’t finding photos you’ll probably like, it’s finding entire accounts you’ll probably like.
    Takeaway: If your feed is all over the place, you’ll never make it to Explore.
  2. There is a penalty to keep IG from showing multiple photos from the same account. That penalty increases the more of your photos a person sees.
    Takeaway: Only post your best work, because once you’ve made it into someone’s Explore, you may not make it in there again.
  3. Like it or not, it’s all about the likes. What gets recommended is what is most likely to receive a “positive” interaction.
    Takeaway: Aim for content that is like-worthy or save-worthy.

There’s a whole other conversation to be had about whether or not Facebook’s engineers are actively keeping people in their comfort zone by defining “interesting and relevant content” as “whatever you’re most likely to like and save.” But that’s a topic for another day.

To read all about the Machine Learning tech behind Instagram’s Explore tab for yourself, head over to Facebook’s Artificial Intelligence blog here.

(via DPReview)

Behind the Scenes of the Incredible Cinematography in ‘Chernobyl’

Behind the Scenes of the Incredible Cinematography in 'Chernobyl'

The cinematography in HBO’s “Chernobyl” is both arresting and unnerving and goes far to support the storyline. This awesome video sits down with the cinematographer of the miniseries to talk about the lighting and camera work of some of the show’s best scenes and how they were made.

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‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ Director J.J. Abrams on Fixing Things In Post

As he wraps up more than 40 years of Star Wars movies with The Rise of Skywalker, J.J. Abrams reveals how vital the post-production process is in making sure your movie gets it right.

You may have heard, but the Skywalker Saga is coming to an end.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker marks the last film in the new trilogy that started with 2015’s The Force Awakens — it also concludes the two previous trilogies in the series that started with George Lucas’ 1977 film.

This ending also marks a first for director J.J. Abrams — it is the first time he has finished something he has started, in either TV or film. The director is making the press rounds for Rise of Skywalker and he recently revealed, in addition to Rise‘s run time of 2 hours and 21 minutes, that post-production on Episode IX recently wrapped over the weekend, on Sunday. Abrams is famous (or infamous) for being a tinkerer with story and visuals up until the last possible minute — the filmmaker did reshoots and pick-ups for this film and others at his Bad Robot offices.

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This ‘Star Trek’ Scene Belongs In the VFX Hall of Fame

Star Trek: First Contact recently had its 26th anniversary last week, and an ILM legend in the VFX field celebrated it by showing how the film pulled off a shot that had never been done before.

For Star Trek fans, the best movie in the franchise is Wrath of Khan. With Star Trek: First Contact arguably right behind it.

On November 22, 1996, Jonathan Frakes (aka Commander Riker) made his feature directorial debut with the second movie headlined by the Star Trek: The Next Generation cast, one that pit former Borg — Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) — against the alien race hellbent on assimilating humanity into their collective. It’s Picard’s Moby Dick in space, as the Enterprise captain struggle to save his crew (and salvage his humanity) from the object of his vendetta: The Borg Queen (Alice Krige). One of the movie’s most memorable scenes — and one of the most iconic in all of Trek history — is the Borg Queen’s entrance, the first time the audience has seen her in the flesh.

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This Incredible Time-Lapse Shows an Immune Cell as it Moves Through Living Tissue

In April of 2018, a team of scientists made an imaging breakthrough that allowed them to capture this incredible video of an immune cell moving through the tissues of a zebra fish’s inner ear, picking up sugar particles as it goes along.

The video resurfaced today when it exploded in popularity on the r/videos subreddit, where it’s received some 10k upvotes over the past ten hours. And not without reason: the fact that this kind of footage exists is genuinely mind-blowing.

This breakthrough in microscopic imaging was made by a team of researchers led by Physicist Tsung-Li Liu, who combined two different imaging techniques into a hybrid that allows them to “study a variety of delicate subcellular events in vivo.” In other words: they can capture highly detailed 3-D images of living cells moving through living tissue.

The example above shows an immune cell buzzing around a zebrafish inner ear, but they were able to capture many more examples of subcellular activity, like neural circuits developing in a zebrafish spinal chord and a cancer cell migrating through a blood vessel:

The technique they developed is described in technical detail in the journal Science, but in summary, the researchers developed a new kind of microscope by combining lattice light-sheet microscopy (LLSM) with adaptive optics (AO) to create a system that can capture 3D ‘movies’ of specific structures in vivo at an unprecedented level of detail.

The lattice light-sheet microscope “rapidly and repeatedly sweeps an ultrathin sheet of light” through the subject—collecting imaging data and building a 3D movie—while the adaptive optics system “measures sample-induced distortions […] and compensates for these by changing the shape of a mirror to create an equal but opposite distortion.”

That allows the scientists to go from an image that is, a researcher Eric Betzig told HHMI, “too damn fuzzy” to a high-resolution 3D time-lapse that captures the activity as it’s happening. The immune cell video, for example, is made up of 90-minutes worth of images taken every 13 seconds.

Image Credits: T. Liu et al./Science 2018

This first iteration of the microscope was, unfortunately, massive. According to HHMI, it takes up about a 10-foot-long table. But it was a proof of concept that researchers were already working on shrinking down back in 2018.

As this technique and technology advances (and shrinks) we’ll begin to see many more amazing videos like the ones above: bona fide peeks into the inner workings of living cells.

Watch Jonathan Glazer’s Terrifying New Short Film

After a six-year hiatus, director Jonathan Glazer (Under the Skin) is back with a creepy and timely new short film from A24.

Jonathan Glazer is scary-good at what he does. His last feature film, 2014’s Under the Skin, showed off the indie director’s effortless talents for maximizing drama and well-crafted visuals out of a solid elevator pitch of an idea (Scarlet Johansson is an alien in human form, in Scotland, luring human men into her van for, well, just watch the movie).

While Skin received mixed-ish reviews, film fans (no pun intended) ate it up and have waited the better part of a decade for Glazer’s next effort. Well, A24 just released it and (spoilers) it is pretty great.

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Five Great Tips for Improving Your Street Photography

Five Great Tips for Improving Your Street Photography

Professor Hines is a street photographer whose work has a distinctive look and feel that is shaped by his approach. In this short video, he shares some excellent tips for how to shoot and gives an insight into how he creates his images.

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Tetenal to offer ‘Magic-Box’ single-roll film developing kits for testing the waters

The revived photochemistry company Tetenal has announced the impending release of a one-roll development kit for those wanting to try out film photography or those wanting a kit to take on-location. The Magic-Box series will include all the chemicals needed to process a roll of negative film, a transparency film or 23 sheets of 8x10in color paper, with the chemistry arriving in pre-measured quantities.

Available only in German-speaking regions at first, the company says it will extend distribution in time, as it gets production up to speed. The new company, Tetenal 1847, has risen from the ashes of the former Tetenal business after employees got together to take on the company after it faced collapse at the beginning of the year. The new business has an online store already and is beginning, it says, to work on new products – including tablet form photochemistry. In fact, though, the old Tetenal used to produce tablet chemicals as well as one-shot processing kits some time ago, but it is great to see them come back to life again.

According to the website Emulsive prices for the new Magic-Box kits will be:

  • TETENAL Magic Box RA-4: €14.95
  • TETENAL Magic-Box E6: €15.95
  • TETENAL Magic-Box C-41: €12.95

The kits aren’t listed in the online store but will be found in German retailers. For more information see the Emulsive report and the Tetenal website.

Press release:

{pressrelease}

Discover the Magic of developing your own film and colour papers with Tetenal Magic Box.

New Products for analog photography from Tetenal 1847.

In the meantime, the employee-based initiative to save Tetenal has developed to a more than 40 people strong and still growing StartUp, in order to continue Tetenal ?s pivotal role in the analog photography industry. Out of the old Tetenal, the new company, Tetenal 1847, has formed with the claim to develop innovative and new products for analog photography.

Vinyl records and instant photography have shown that a new demand for “nostalgic” products has formed with a target audience that did not grow up with these very technologies initially. This is the case with analog photography as well. Be it a camera found on the grandparent ?s attic, or bought directly from the used equipment dealership, cameras, film and the overall “style” of shooting connected with it are increasingly in demand again. “The fascination of analog photography does, however, not end with the exposure of the film”, says Carsten Gehring, who together with Stefania Grimme has taken over leadership of Tetenal 1864 GmbH. He points out that the team in Norderstedt have made it their expressed goal to proliferate the fascination about analog photography even to households not previously associated with developing film. This claim is clearly visible on the new products leaving the factory in Norderstedt as well: “Magic-Box – Discover the magic of film development.”

The Magic-Box C-41 and Magic-Box E6 contain pre scaled concentrates to develop exactly one colour negative or colour slide film in 135 or 120 formats conveniently at home. The product line is completed by the Magic-Box RA-4 for 23 8×10 sized colour enlargements on photographic paper.

For the time being, the products are being launched in the German speaking market but will successively be made available in other markets as well.

This, however, is not the end, but merely the beginning. Product developers in Norderstedt already are working on the next innovation – tabletized photochemistry. Already leaked here and there, and even part of Tetenal ?s rich history, these tablets will again simplify developing film substantially.

Something is developing in Norderstedt again. This time, literally.

{/Pressrelease}

Facebook explains how its AI helps Instagram users discover new images

In a new technical post on its Artificial Intelligence blog, Facebook details the technology that determines which images Instagram users see in the platform’s Explore tab. According to the company, it had to develop ‘novel engineering solutions’ in order to select a relatively minuscule number of recommended images, videos, and Stories out of the billions of options each time the Explore tab is opened.

Instagram’s Explore tab is found by tapping the magnifying glass icon within the service’s mobile app. The content presented within this tab is a small selection chosen from the billions of images and videos uploaded by users. Instagram uses machine learning (ML) to determine which content is most relevant to the user, helping them discover the types of images and videos they’re most likely to care about.

Facebook explains in its new post that Instagram’s Explore tab is powered by a three-part ‘ranking funnel’ system that is capable of making 90 million model predictions in a single second. Engineers developed multiple systems to ensure that Instagram’s Explore recommendations are ‘both high quality and fresh,’ among other things.

Facebook explains:

After creating the key building blocks necessary to experiment easily, identify people’s interests effectively, and produce efficient and relevant predictions, we had to combine these systems together in production.

The overall recommendation system first engages in what Facebook calls Candidate Generation, which determines the accounts (‘seed accounts’) an Instagram user may be interested in based on the accounts they already follow. Using these seed accounts, the AI then uses embedding techniques to find other accounts similar to the first batch it found.

Using this entire batch of accounts, Instagram’s system then determines which images and videos those users engaged with (likes, shares, etc.), as well as the content they posted. Thousands of candidate posts are identified for each average person using the platform, according to Facebook.

Once the candidates are identified, the system takes 500 of them and ranks them using a three-part ranking infrastructure. The first pass in this ranking system uses a distillation model to select 150 of the highest-quality posts from the 500 candidates.

The second pass utilizes a lightweight neural network to pick 50 of the highest-quality posts from the batch of 150. Finally, the third and final pass uses a deep neural network to pick 25 candidates that are both most relevant to the user and of the highest quality. Those 25 candidates appear on the first page of the Instagram Explore tab.

The selection process isn’t quite as simple as it sounds. Facebook explains that its system predicts which individual actions users will take on any given post, such as whether they’ll ‘like’ or share it — or, alternatively, whether they’ll have a negative response, which is something like choosing to ‘see fewer posts’ like the one they were recommended. The system can be designed to give more weight to certain predicted actions than others.

Instagram’s Explore tab factors in the intention of showing users posts related to new interests in addition to their existing interests, according to Facebook, which explains:

We add a simple heuristic rule into value model to boost the diversity of content. We downrank posts from the same author or same seed account by adding a penalty factor, so you don’t see multiple posts from the same person or the same seed account in Explore.

The ultimate goal of Instagram’s Explore tab is helping users find new, relevant, and interesting content from other users. Facebook says that its engineers are ‘continuously evolving’ the discovery tab.