By: Alex Frank
This week’s episode is the final installment of Electric Eye’s SXSW Trilogy
Other Side Drive: Monday
Now that you’ve returned from SXSW, weathered, and shrouded in sadness, severing the last shackle of a wristband doesnt mean its over, youve got one final stage, editing. This is the third, and final installment of Electric Eye’s guide to SXSW, an episodic adventure of peril and large piles of trash on 6th st. To be honest, I literally felt like a pile of garbage when I got home after the last day of SXSW Music, and immediately crashed on the couch. Now fully rested, I sauntered over to my computer and stared down 6 files of footage, each one larger than the next, well except for day 4, because I had too much to drink but that’s besides the point. Or maybe it is the point, drink in moderation y’all. Anyways, each file was around 30GB, I shoot in RAW, and 1080P at 24fps so it wasn’t as daunting as it initially appeared. First thing you need to do is take a breath, and plan your attack, I broke up the workload and took down about 2 folders each day to avoid fatigue. After staring at photos for 5 hours, you start to see things, things you can’t unsee, but seriously, your work will suffer. The editing stage is crucial, especially if you’re shooting in RAW, if you shoot jpeg, you probably don’t care about what I’m saying. Photoshop is essentially your darkroom and you can take an average photo to an astounding one with some quick edits.
The first thing I do when I’m tackling a folder of images, is to run through them in Adobe Bridge, iPhoto, or what-have-you. In my initial pass I delete all the photos that are out of focus, or too wonky to fix (too much noise, way under/over exposed, etc.). Once I’ve paired my photos down I’ll try to narrow my focus onto a few shots, generally one or two of each member of the band, and a few crowd shots. It’s not a rareity that you’ll get 10 great shots of a lead vocalist during a set, but you can usually knock some of those out if they’re too similar, which is often the case. This stage was particularly hard for me when I shot Skeletonwitch during SXSW, because their vocalist is highly expressive, and I had at least 15 great shots of this guy. After much deliberation I pared it down to 3 images of him, but I kept the rest just in case I changed my mind later. Once you find your final images you’ll want to edit them, I could go into a lot of detail here, but usually focus on properly white balancing the photo (auto usually gets you in the zone during the day, but when you add in a bunch of wacky colored lights, it can ruin your image), adjusting the exposure and shadows. I also try to clean up some of the color noise by pulling color and luminance in the noise reduction menu, but don’t go crazy noise reduction softens the image and too much can make the image look flat and out of focus. You can also pull the clarity all the way up if you want to be lazy, but you could also just take a picture with instaham and slap a filter on it. Anyways, once you’ve got your picture looking like something you’d be proud to put your name on kick it on over to photoshop, for a crop (rule of thirds son), resize (web, print, or maybe a poster if you’re vain), and fill in that file info so you remember the deets later on down the road. That was fun, now keep doing that, over and over again, until all your photos are done.
Once I finished each day of SXSW, I immediately posted the images to the KTSW blog, blog.ktsw.net. If you don’t work with a media outlet, make your own blog, I prefer WordPress since it’s delux, and won’t make you look like a chump. WordPress has a great feature where you can easily throw your photos into a slideshow, or a mosaic type gallery, which I prefer since it gives you a better view of the photos and you can scroll through on your own leisure. It also displays camera deets, like focal length, lens, ISO, aperture, and camera model if you’re into that. You can also easily transfer your wordpress blog into a website if you want to look more professional.
I also took video during SXSW, but I haven’t really gotten around to dealing with it yet, but when I do I’ll apply similar principles that I went over earlier. Right off the bat I’ll toss the clips that are out of focus, unless they’re too good, like the 540 Ben Raybourn did at the Thrasher Death Match. I also deleted all the footage from Death Grips since it was too dark to fix, now I have a manageable 25 GB of footage, which isn’t bad for 5 days of SXSW. Once I get the choice clips, I’ll make a collaborative montage video with some of the other members of KTSW that attended SXSW, so keep your eyeballs peeled for that jazz.
Also, I’d like to thank the city of Austin for cleaning up the mess on 6th st. that everyone made during SXSW, honestly I’ve never seen that much garbage, and I was born in Houston, and have visited New Jersey.
Now, seriously, get some rest, try to forget all the terrible things you saw at SXSW, and thank Cthulu that this only happens once a year.
Next week, I’ll be giving a follow up, and in-depth review of the Canon 6D, which stood strong at SXSW.
By: Colton Matocha
Other Side Drive: Monday
Could Apple be releasing a new low end iphone in 2013? Recent reports have indicated that this year Apple will release several phones. The iphone 5s and a lower budget version. The iphone 5s is no surprise, but this is the first time that Apple will launch two phones at once. What is even more of a surprise is that Apple, the company known for making high quality devices, will release a phone designed to be lower quality. The phone will not feature the Retina display and will also have a plastic casing. Clearly Apple is trying to reach multiple markets. One for people who want the best quality phone, and one for people who want the “Apple experience” at a lower cost. Apple did a similar thing when it introduced the ipad mini last year. The question will be whether the two phones will keep current consumers and bring back the ones who have left for Samsung, Nexus and other new smartphones. The Samsung Galaxy s4 will also launch this year and will certainly rival the new iphone.
Computerized mannequins are on the way! The Mannequins were recently developed by researchers of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. “i.Dummy” as it is called is a mannequin that can change shape automaticly. The dummies can make 3D changes in width, length, and thickness all at once automatically. i.Dummy can be controlled via an easy to use graphic interface on a computer, but developers say that bluetooth connected to a smartphone will be no problem. Dr Allan Chan is one of the minds behind i.Dummy and says it was created for the fashion industry. Many companies are forced to keep tons of different shaped mannequins around for each size they are working on. In theory these companies could trash the existing force of mannequins in favor of just one i.Dummy. Because customized measurements can be inputed the i.Dummy can make any size possible, and custom tailors can also use the i.Dummy. Dr. Allan Chan believes this product will be a vast help and improvement to fashion designers, pattern masters, merchandisers, and quality and production personnel at home and abroad. He also says that the i.Dummy would make a great educational and training tool.
The smart watch race is on. These last few weeks have seen a number of companies come out and declare intentions to make a version of the smart watch. The device first made waves in the Tech world when Pebble first launched. Since then Apple, Samsung, Google, LG, and more have all announced their plans to make a smart watch.