The more creative folks among us will be excited to hear that today Adobe has introduced new versions of both Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements. The photo and video editing programs, which are stand-alone apps, have both gone to version 11 and are available immediately.
Photoshop Elements 11 features a brand new user interface with Quick, Guided and Expert editing modes, one-click options, action bar and bigger icons. Users can also organize photos based on people, places (via Google maps geo-tagging) or events, new Guided Edits, new filters and the ability to share photos via email, Facebook and more.
Premiere Elements 11 also features a newly-designed user interface with many of the same updates we mentioned for Photoshop Elements. The new version also comes with a wider range of effects, transitions, themes, titles, disc menus and professional-level effects and sound. A FilmLooks features has been added which Adobe describes as a way to “easily apply slow and fast motion effects; dial-in colors with slider controls; effortlessly integrate blends for seamless transitions; and make adjustments with Quick Presets”.
Both apps can be purchased separately or as a bundle. While many software updates introduce so few changes that they aren’t worth users shelling out the money for the upgrade, version 11 of the Adobe Elements software seems to make the upgrade a worthwhile move for those who want to make the jump.
The winning images from the Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2012 were announced today and as you might expect, they’re absolutely stunning. Organised by the Royal Observatory in conjunction with the Sky at Night magazine and Flickr, every single one of the pictures is fantastic.
Nearly 700 pictures were submitted to Flickr for 2012 and you can see them all in the Flickr Group Pool for the Astronomy Photographer of the Year. There’s an endless supply of background images when you include the previous year’s entrants.
Photograph by Rick Whiteacre. Licensed under Creative Commons.
The BBC is showing off some of the photographs from the competition in a narrated presentation that’s well worth a watch as well.
The photographs are on show at the Royal Observatory through to 17 February 2013.
Today, July 5th, marked the official opening of the new tallest building in the European Union, although construction was actually completed back in April of this year. Called “The Shard“, and formerly known by the name “London Bridge Tower”, the building is 309.6 meters tall with 72 habitable floors. It also features a viewing gallery and observation deck on the 72nd story.
If you are wondering how this article fits into our normal tech news genre, well there are a couple of reasons. First is the architecture, which likely couldn’t have been done in the pre-computer design era. The long, thin pyramid design is beautiful to behold and a challenge to design and build.
Second, the pictures taken of the new building were picked up by web and mobile photo sharing service Instgram, who today dedicated a page to images of The Shard. They announced this today through a post on their blog, and also added a few images, which you can see below.
Image Credit: Instagram Blog
Instagram launched their long-awaited Android app just a few weeks ago. It was followed by several small updates to get it up and working properly, but today they have finally released the first feature update, dubbed version 1.1. The latest version adds just one feature, but it’s an important one to anyone that has used Instagram – tilt-shift.
The name may be a bit cryptic, but tilt-shift is essentially an effect that adds depth-of-field to your images. In other words, it’s that cool effect you get in high-end DSLR cameras that causes the background to be blurred, bringing the subject into better focus. With Instagram this isn’t done at the time the image is snapped, but in post-production with a filter.
In you are interested in more in-depth information about using this feature then you can head over to the Instagram blog to read their tips for using tilt-shift. Instagram is available for free from the Google Play Store.
At this year’s CES, Andy McCaskey and Courtney Wallin interviewed John Palmeri of RHP on their new MirrorCase, a special case for the iPhone 4/4S that lets photos be taken while the phone is horizontal, i.e. flat, rather than the more usual vertical orientation.
Depending on your point of view, it’s either a clever idea that stops the camera intruding on the moment or else it’s sneaky way of taking pics without other people realising. Regardless of reasons, it may be of interest to know that the MirrorCase is currently on Kickstarter.
If I read the funding levels correctly, at the moment $35 will get you pre-order of the MirrorCase (RRP $80) but there are only limited numbers of backers at that level. If you do miss out, you should be able to back at $40. Backers are also offered a discount on the iPhone 5 version, whenever that comes out!
There are another 28 days and $21,000-odd to go before the project is funded. Assuming this, delivery is expected in July.
Veho probably isn’t the first name that springs to mind when thinking about gadgets but they have a sizeable range from miniature video cameras to digital photo frames and Bluetooth headsets. In the UK, their products are sold in the main big boxes – PC World and Currys.
On Veho’s stand at Gadget Show Live, I played with a USB microscope which showed magnified images on the PC screen. Perhaps a little limited with just two magnification levels (20x or 200x) but good fun nevertheless.
In this interview, James Farmer from Veho takes me through some of the Veho range, including their Muvi miniature DV cameras, Pebble portable battery packs and Mimi wireless speakers. I really liked their Pebble range of battery packs as they had a lovely smooth shape, like the original Palm Pre.
Podcast (specmedia): Play in new window
If you have ever watched a video someone tried to film from a vehicle you know how painful it can be because of the vibration. At one time the only way to stop this type of vibration was to spend hundreds of dollars on a Hollywood style contraption , not anymore. Delkin Devices is announcing the new Connector Bracket which is compatible with Fat Gecko Mini and The Fat Gecko Original. This will allow photographers and videographers to connect one camera, iPad or camcorder mount with a second Fat Gecko Original or Mini model. It can handle DSLRs and camcorders up to 8 lb. It provides triple and quadruple contact points, which allows you to attach a camera to any non-porous surface. The Connector Bracket has a slide and lock design which allows the camera to be placed at various angles and positions. Meaning if you want to attach your camera to the top or side of a vehicle and have an image that is crisp and smooth, this is the bracket to use.
The Connector will be available for $19.99 directly through the Delkin Device Website or at any authorized retailer. Delkin Devices has been making accessories that are built to make life easier for photographers since 1986.
The BubbleScope is an optical attachment for smartphones that takes 360° pictures and video called “Bubbles”. The BubblePix smartphone app is used to capture, view and share online the Bubbles, which can be hosted free at bubblepix.com. The pictures below gives you a feel of wraparound nature of a Bubble but when it’s in the BubblePix app, it joins up seamlessly. Here’s one in a fountain - the effect is amazing.
Shaped a bit like a periscope, the BubbleScope attaches to the to the smartphone and uses the phone’s built-in camera to record the imagery. The optical part of the scope pops up and down to keep it clean and undamaged. Available initially for the iPhone 4 & 4S, it will be on sale this summer for £64.99. Versions compatible with other leading smartphones (Android) will be released shortly afterwards.
In the interview at the Gadget Show Live, I talk with Tom Lawton, the inventor of BubbleScope about the device and how it took ten years to turn it from idea to product.
This is my favourite interview from the Gadget Show Live, so if you only listen to one of these, listen to this one.
Podcast (specmedia): Play in new window
The Blackmagic Cinema Camera is one of those cameras, that makes me wish I was a cinematographer. If when you think of a video camera, you think of a bulky device that sits on your shoulder then you need to take a look at the Blackmagic Cinema Camera, What makes the Blackmagic Cinema Camera special is what they concentrate on. When video cameras are being sold many times they are sold based on how many megapixels they have. More megapixels just create a larger image, it does nothing to improve the quality. The Blackmagic Cinema Camera focuses on capturing a wide contrast range rather than more megapixels. This allows them to capture more detail at the black and white level. The ability to capture a wide contrast range plus the EF and ZF lenses produces a high quality video that looks like film. Being able to capture at a wide contrast range is great but if the data is compressed it will still produce an inferior result. To solve this problem the Blackmagic Cinema Camera has an integrated SSD recorder which allows you to record full 2.5k raw sensor data completely uncompressed CinemaDNG files. It also allows you to record at DNxHD or ProRes for HD resolution files that are compatible with Avid Media Composer and Apple Final Cut Pro X.
There is a standard auto jack which allows you connect a microphone and record high quality audio uncompressed. To add metadata you simply tap on the LCD screen and add it like you would on a smart phone. The metadata is saved and is available as a file in Final Cut Pro X and DaVinci Resolve Format. You can also change many of the camera setting by the LCD touch screen.
I could tell you about the specs all day, but sometimes seeing is believing and this maybe one of those cases. John Brawley an award-winning photographer was able to get a hold of a Blackmagic Cinema Camera for testing and he put up some videos on his site showing off it’s capabilities. It is a handheld and made of blocked aluminum. Making it perfect for a professional trying to produce high quality videos. These Blackmagic Cinema Camera will run about $2995 and ship in July.
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