Seniors Should Be Dialing In On Smartphones

first_imgWhat it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Tags:#smartphone Related Posts Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces With one billion smartphones now on our planet, it is amazing that one device can provide such utility to so many different people. The combination of apps on my LG Spectrum let me do things I couldn’t do without it. However within my over-sixty demographic, I find myself in a small group of smartphone users. I find myself wondering why something so useful to me is embraced by so few of my friends? Estimates for smartphone users my age range between 8% and 24%. Actually, among friends of my age, I suspect only around 10% of the people I know have a smartphone. That number is exclusive of my former colleagues in the real estate industry where smartphone usage is very high, even as the average age of agents is 54.Making ProgressSeven years ago, I was just happy to have the contacts on my Mac computer sync with my Nokia 6620 cell phone. I gave up even that when I went to work in real estate in January 2007, where many were hooked on Blackberries and Windows computers were the standard. That summer, though, Apple introduced the iPhone and the world of cell phones began to change rapidly.In March of 2010, I bought a Droid phone mainly because of Verizon’s network. I was impressed that the Droid could be populated with my address book and Gmail accounts while we were paying for the phone and signing the terms of use contracts.The increasing sophistication of the apps that helped us do business in real estate convinced me of the utility of smartphone. It was great to be riding around in car with a client and be able to instantly find out information on a home that caught their eye.Even outside of business, I found some great uses that helped me become a dedicated smartphone user.Apps For Every PursuitWith a life long love of GIS and maps, I became smitten with a wonderful free app by Google called My Tracks. I love to hike, boat and kayak. My Tracks records those adventures and lets me store them on the web at My Places, which is in turn hooked to my Google account. I can see how far I walked or kayaked and share the maps with others. I can also edit the maps and attach pictures to the locations. It is really neat to take someone on a boat ride of our marshes and then share with them a map of their trip.I also love to take pictures and it is not unusual for me to take hundreds in a day. The edited ones I want to keep are uploaded to my Picasa web album account. Since my original Droid, the Gallery app has been a repository for not only the photos I have taken with my phone, but also all of the pictures stored in the cloud within my Picasa account.Last year, I got a Kindle Fire for Christmas and desperately wanted something similar to the Android Gallery app. I ended up finding a neat app called Portfolio. At the time I was experimenting with Microsoft’s SkyDrive so I ended up putting Portfolio for SkyDrive on both my Android devices. It is the easiest way to create a slide show. Now if I know that I want to show some photos, I just drop them in a folder on my SkyDrive and can show them from my phone or tablet. They also have apps for Flickr and Picasa.Another neat app that I find very useful is Google’s Latitude. My son and I often use it to track each other when we are traveling. If you are trying to meet someone, Latitude is hard to beat. You can see other person’s progress on a map showing your current location. Latitude is another tool integrated with Google Maps.I will also admit to using Evernote, Instagram and Foursquare. My Tracks is great for a full hike, but with Foursquare I can check in at landmarks and see how long it takes me to get to the next one. I also find Foursquare a good way to keep track of restaurants and places that I like. I had some great lobster in Maine this fall. I may not immediately recall the name of the restaurant, but I could find it easily in my Foursquare history.Another app that I like is Share My Position. When I am on the road and take a different route, the first chance that I get, I will share my location with our children. If I drop dead, they will at least know where to find me.Texting on a smartphone is a revolution compared to the old way of using a numeric keypad. It gets even better using voice input or when you install Mighty Text on your computer and your smartphone. I can send texts via my smartphone easily from my computer. Once in a while I even get a response from my grown children.I even use the Alarm/Clock app to keep my afternoon naps to a reasonable length.I also use CallTrack in conjunction with Google calendars. It records the date, numbers and durations of all my cell phone calls. With the calendar app it is easy to synchronize with my Google calendar, which has everything from our church calendar to the local tide tables.There is one final app that I have to mention. It is the Sea Tow app. Sea Tow is like the AAA for the water. You pay a yearly fee and if you run out of gas or get stuck, they will come rescue you. I boat a lot. This summer for the first and I’m sure not the last time I got my skiff stuck on a sandbar. I used the Sea Tow app to send the GPS coordinates of our location to our rescuer. Even with a drive to launch his boat, he reached us in about an hour after I sent the message. It only took a few minutes to get us off the sandbar and on our way. It would have been a lot harder without the app since their captain was unfamiliar with the area. While I have a GPS on the boat, coaxing the coordinates out of it is more difficult than tapping “send.”While I could live without my smartphone, it has become a great tool that I use all the time. Given the useful and personal nature of all of these apps and more, it still surprises me that more people my age don’t take advantage of smartphones.Image courtesy of Shutterstock.center_img Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology david sobottalast_img read more

Forget Searching For Content – Content Is About To Start Searching For You

first_imgLocation is part of what experts call “contextual search,” which becomes even more important with the rise of mobile computing. Where we are and who we are makes a big difference in the search results we want, and contextually aware search engines are working to use that information to decide what results to return to us.According to J Schwan, CEO of Solstice Mobile, there are four aspects of contextual searching that all have to work together:WhereRelevancePushSecurity and privacyFirst, there’s the where – what Schwan refers to as geo-fencing. Where you are, as noted above, makes a difference in what search results are most appropriate.Then there’s relevance, which dictates results through explicit preferences that you have set, the results delivered to other users in a similar context and what is going on around you at that particular time (traffic, weather, business hours, etc.).The third aspect Schwan highlighted is relatively new, but fast-becoming more important to contextual search: push. Rather than waiting for users to search and then reacting to that query, data providers and search engines are working on how to push data to users based on their context. Google Now does this now on Android and its Chrome browser extension: cards based on your search results, location and even email messages will appear that give you the traffic report to get home or inform you of the latest sports score.The final aspect is the wrapper of security and privacy that has to work with all of this to ensure a user’s data doesn’t go where it’s not supposed to.Squinting For SEOContextual searching is perfect for mobile, because, well, mobile users are by definition moving around. But the mobile form factor also makes contextual search more important.Many people may have honking big 27-inch monitors on their home PCs, but relatively tiny smartphone screens inherently limit the amount of information we can access. In that context, it’s even more important for mobile users to get the right results near the top of the results screen.This is even more true when adding natural interfaces to search, such as voice-activated searching using systems like Apple’s Siri. Forget search strings, Siri has to process natural-language queries and either speak or display usable results on a small screen. For search-engine optimization (SEO), this is a huge challenge: With contextual search, it’s no longer enough to get your business or product listed on the first Web page of results. On a mobile device, as well as in push situations, SEO is really effective only if you can push your results into the top position, or at least into the first few lines.Wearable devices like Google Glass and the rumored iWatch could put even more pressure on search results. We don’t yet know what their interfaces will look like, but it seems safe to assume that there may be even less real estate available to display search results.  Tags:#Apple#Bing#Google#Google Glass#Internet of Things#mobile#search brian proffitt Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting This is one reason why the search engines are working so hard to deliver knowledge rather than just Web page links in their results. Google and Bing both now feature “knowledge boxes” that try to encapsulate the pertinent information about a topic in one glance. This “knowledgization” of search results is conducive to mobile search because it parses data into easily displayed and digestible chunks – essential for the smaller screen.We may already be seeing the early effects of this trend. Last Fall, Google reported its first-ever drop in search volume. Some of this decline is no doubt attributable to competition – such as Bing, Yahoo or even local searches through services like Yelp. But how much of it is due to pushed content and knowledge replacing what might have otherwise been searched for? If the information being received is of better quality, then perhaps we won’t have to search as much in the future.By incorporating context and working towards knowledge – useful information instead of just plain data – the next evolution of search will take advantage of new opportunities and cope with new demands and challenges.Will that help us make better decisions? We can hope.Lead image and Notre Dame images courtesy of Shutterstock. How Intelligent Data Addresses the Chasm in Cloudcenter_img The world of search is about to be flipped completely on its head. As part of that sea change, today’s reactive Web-based searches are about to give way to proactive, geo-fenced answers that will pop up before you even frame the question.In many cases, you won’t be searching for content – content will be searching for you.Putting The New Search In ContextSearch, to date, has mostly worked something like this: You type a word or phrase into a search bar in a browser or mobile app and a search engine with a funny name returns a list of Web pages it deems related to your query.In recent years, search has gotten a lot better in a number of ways. One key improvement takes location into account. If I type “Notre Dame” while I’m in my hometown, then it’s very likely I will get results about the University. If I were located near Cleveland, though, I might get results about Notre Dame College. And if I were in France, surely my results would focus on this beautiful edifice.  Serverless Backups: Viable Data Protection for … Related Posts Cloud Hosting for WordPress: Why Everyone is Mo…last_img read more

XKCD’s Time Saga Comes To The End

first_imgFans of Randall Munroe’s XKCD strip had a bit of a shock this afternoon, when the long-running, auto-updating comic “Time” apparently came to its conclusion.The comic, which started on March 25, initially showed a girl and a boy (Megan and Cueball) sitting on a beach, with the alt text—that is, the yellow-boxed text that appears when you mouse over the comic—of “Wait for it.” Soon it became apparent that the comic was updating automatically—initially every half-hour, then after 120 hours, every hour.At first, the animation showed the two figures building an elaborate sand castle. Then it turned into much more.According to the Explain XKCD wiki:The unfolding story that it tells is set in the far future, at a time when the Straits of Gibraltar have long been blocked, and the Mediterranean has largely dried up, leaving only a much smaller, hypersaline sea behind. Megan and Cueball, living on the shores of this sea, notice one day while building a huge sand castle that its level is starting to rise, and set off on a journey of exploration to try and find out why. Eventually they discover that the Straits of Gibraltar have once again been breached, and the Mediterranean Basin is being flooded. They run back to their home, assemble their village, and board a makeshift raft. Megan has now established that the sea has risen too far, and that they will have to remain on the raft for the duration of the flood.The tale ramped up in recent days, particularly as Megan and Cueball ran home to warn others about the flood. (The alt text helpfully changed to “RUN.”) Once they reached the village and got everyone on the raft, the alt text changed again to “….” That led some on the forum thread, which has grown to over 50,000 posts, to anticipate another change. 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People… Tags:#XKCD 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App That change came today, which also marked the occasion of that 50,000th post. The raft struck shore, and the villagers disembarked and strode off into the woods. Whereupon the words “The End” appeared both in the image and the alt text. The words later disappeared from the image.Some speculated this was all a case of nerd-sniping. Maybe that’s the case. But Munroe clearly paid enormous attention to detail—as did his community, which was able to deduce by the night sky in the comic that the story was taking place in April of the year 13291. So it seems fairer to consider “Time” a story well told, well, in time.One day, perhaps, the story of Time will be taken up again. In the meantime, see the entire animated story for yourself.Munroe image courtesy of Wikimedia. Comic images courtesy of XKCD 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout Related Posts brian proffitt 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex…last_img read more

Northwest U.S. drivers won’t hand the wheel to self-driving cars

first_imgDonal Power A large number of drivers in the Pacific Northwest aren’t buying the hype that driverless cars offer a better future.GovTech.com discussed the findings of a survey by Pemco Insurance of drivers in Oregon and Washington states.58% of those surveyed believed that the will see autonomous vehicles on roads in the state with thin the next 10 years.However, more than 40% said they were not interested in buying a robot car, even when price considerations are removed.Self-driving naysayers represented the bulk of responses, while 23% saying they might consider an autonomous vehicle, and 34% responding that they were very interested in purchasing one.Perhaps not surprisingly the survey found that younger people were more excited about self-driving cars than their older counterparts. It found that almost half of drivers younger than 35 years old expressed a strong interest in buying an autonomous vehicle in the future.The Pemco survey polled 600 people in each Oregon and Washington states.Contrary to this localized antipathy to self-driving cars in the Pacific Northwest, another recent poll found that America as a whole was becoming more amendable to these vehicles.But most Americans are ready for self-driving carsA survey by Consumer Technology Association found that 70% of Americans are ready for an autonomous future.This marks one of the first large surveys to show an overall positive reception for self-driving cars.Previous results have shown mixed or negative views on full automation, and a worry that self-driving cars will not be able to make the correct decisions at key times.The CTA survey found that 82% were happy about potential reductions to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The survey showed a positive reaction to potentially lower insurance rates, which is one of the expected advantages of self-driving.These survey comes as increasing numbers of players around the world are developing self-driving car technology.Currently in the U.S. robot cars are being tested in Kirkland, Wash. by Google and in Pittsburgh by Uber.At this stage in the development of the technology, human drivers are still present in the front seat, as a precaution in case they need to take control if necessary. Break the Mold with Real-World Logistics AI and… IT Trends of the Future That Are Worth Paying A… Related Posts center_img For Self-Driving Systems, Infrastructure and In… Tags:#driverless cars#featured#Google#IoT#self-driving vehicles#top#Uber 5 Ways IoT can Help to Reduce Automatic Vehicle…last_img read more

Russian government turns to Ethereum Foundation for blockchain plans

first_imgRelated Posts What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Adrien Henni The Top 5 Issues Faced by Futurists The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologycenter_img Tags:#Blockchain#Ethereum#featured#Internet of Things#IoT#MISiS#Russia#Russian Federation#top#VEB#Vladimir Putin 6 User-Interface Musts for Personal Finance Apps Last week VEB, a major state-owned Russian development bank, signed a partnership agreement with the Ethereum Foundation to develop and implement Blockchain-based government applications.The Foundation’s founder Vitalik Buterin and VEB President Sergey Gorokov Chairman both took part in the signing ceremony, which was held during a Blockchain conference in Kazan, the capital of the innovation-friendly republic of Tatarstan.See also: For future transactions, in blockchain we trustThe agreement includes a “long-term and effective partnership in the implementation of projects using a distributed registry technology and the Ethereum platform,” as well as the formation of an Ethereum expert community.The partners will also launch joint educational and training programs within an upcoming VEB Blockchain competence center. The partnership agreement was signed personally by Ethereum Foundation founder Vitalik Buterin and VEB President Sergey Gorkov. Photo credit: VEB.This competence center is designed to “unite the efforts of all interested parties and create an ecosystem of innovations,” said Gorkov. It is scheduled for opening in September at MISiS, a major Russian science and technology university.“Cooperation between Ethereum and VEB gives a unique opportunity to engage in research and development on the use of blockchain technology for public administration and accelerating the adoption of this technology to government organizations in the Russian Federation,” Buterin stated.Putin is watchingIn June, the Russian government launched a working group to implement Blockchain technologies in state administrations, assigning a coordinating role to VEB, including the creation of the competence center.That same month, during the St. Petersburg Economic Forum, Ethereum caught the attention of Vladimir Putin, which saw in it a potential tool for the country’s economic diversification. The Russian president personally met Buterin at the forum.Just weeks ago, the Federal Agency for Technical Regulation and Metrology (Rosstandart) appointed a new technical committee to work on the standardization of software and hardware related to distributed register and Blockchain technologies, in coordination with the International Standardisation Organisation.This story is published in partnership with East-West Digital News, an international news resource about innovation in Central and Eastern Europe.last_img read more

Estate Planning & Military Families Webinar Series

first_imgJoin us on Sept. 5 at 11 a.m. ET for this 90-minute webinarMany of you joined us for Estate Planning and Military Families – Part 1 on August 22. This 90-minute webinar focused on general estate planning practices, including advance directives, wills, living wills, DNRs, last letters of instruction, and trusts. If you were unable to join this session, you can view the recording here. To earn CEUs, follow in the instructions for taking a quiz on this session’s content that are located at the bottom of the Learn page.The questions posed by participants in Part 1 indicated our audience is ready for some more detailed information on this topic, and on September 5, Part 2 will provide it. Dr. Martie Gillen, Part 1 presenter, will be joined by Attorney Mary Benzinger. Ms. Benzinger is a senior attorney with the Pentagon Army and Air Force Legal Assistance Office and will provide detailed estate planning information for military families. For important connection details and other information about this session, click here.There is no registration required and this session is free. We hope to see you online on September 5! This post was published on the Military Families Learning Network Blog on August 29, 2013.last_img read more

Factual Friday: January 17, 2014

first_imgSource: 2012 Point-in-Time Estimates of Homelessness ReportThis post is part of a series of Factual Friday posts published on the Military Families Learning Network blog.last_img

How to Overcome Military Family Financial Challenges

first_imgTake Advantage of Benefits One of the biggest challenges for veterans is the transition from military service to a civilian job. The lapse of employment that may follow military service can put an additional burden on the families finances, so it’s important to know what options are available to you upon leaving the military. There are numerous organizations and programs, like Hire Heroes USA and the VA’s Make the Connection, that can help vets not only find jobs but network with others who, like them, had to overcome the struggle of reentering civilian life. Side hustles are great for spouses of those who serve because they’re fun, can easily be done from home or close to home, and can really help boost your cash flow. From selling photos to tutoring to blogging, there’s bound to be an side hustle out there that’s perfect for you. If you’re not sure where to start though, check out my blog entry on finding the perfect side hustle!For Veterans Utilize Discounts and Hunt Down Freebies Minimize Your Debt Companies offer deals for military families in a variety of categories, such as school supplies, clothing, cars, electronics, and professional services. There are also programs that offer free services to military families. For example, the annual America is Beautiful national parks pass gives military members free access to 2,000 different federal recreation sites. Here are some more freebies and discounts for military families. Don’t forget to also call your utility companies and insurance companies to see if they have any military discounts they can apply to your bill. Photo by Cpl. Thomas Bricker. CC BY 2.0Making a strong effort to get out of debt can really help your family. Start out by tracking your spending (for some tips to help you track your spending, visit here). Once you know your spending habits, use that information to create a budget that fits your needs. Once you have a working budget you should be able to free up cash flow and start paying down debt. If you have multiple debts and aren’t quite sure where to start, a good rule of thumb is to focus on the debt with the highest interest rate first; this will save you the most in the long run! Consider a Side Hustle Find A Job That’s Right for You We’ve all seen those crazy couponers and, while it might be unrealistic for most people to reach that level of dedication, it is very easy to save with coupons and everyday savings. Social media and email are both great ways to find deals on the things you want from the shops you most frequently visit. Subscribe to email newsletters from your favorite stores , so you can be notified of sales and receive exclusive coupons and discounts.Newspapers and magazines also offer great coupons, as well as sites like Coupons.com and AFullCup.com. You can also look into Commissionaryshopper.com, which is a coupon site designed specifically for military families! By Leslie Tayne, AttorneyWith unexpected moves and the possibility of overseas deployment, military families are faced with some interesting obstacles when trying to save money and plan for future expenses. Thankfully, there are some simple strategies both service members and their families can employ to help overcome their financial challenges.Below I’ve provided some simple tips to help military families boost their cash flow, improve their financial well-being, and keep their financial future looking bright!For Families Look for Everyday Savings There are a variety of organizations out that there dedicated to helping veterans get their post-service lives off to a running start. Volunteers for America helps veterans find affordable housing and offers other helpful services. Your local Housing and Urban Development Plan (HUD) can also provide aid in finding homes. Other opportunities available for veterans and their families include the American Legion (which provides emergency cash grants for children of service members), USA Cares (which helps veterans pay for housing), and Disabled American Veterans (which provides services for disabled veterans). Make sure to inquire with local stores as well as your insurance and utility companies to see if you can qualify for veteran discounts.While the financial difficulties that military families face are by no means easy to overcome, possessing the right knowledge and adopting good financial habits can help ease the burden significantly. What financial struggles have you faced as a military family? What solutions did you discover? Feel free to share your story in our comments section! Leslie H. Tayne has more than a decade of experience in the practice area of consumer and business financial debt-related services. Speaker, Author, Attorney and Founder of the Tayne Law Group, P.C., Leslie is working towards reshaping the debt industry by offering real, proven solutions to help her clients get back on the road to financial freedom. Ms. Tayne will be presenting our September 20 webinar, Credit & Debt Issues for Military Families. Join us at 11 a.m. ET for this great learning opportunity.last_img read more

Preparing for an Emergency, including Natural Disasters Part 1

first_imgNational Preparedness Month, observed each September, encourages Americans to take steps to prepare for and respond to emergencies, including natural disasters. Emergencies can happen in your home, school, business, and community at any given moment.After the terror attacks on September 11th, the federal government renewed interest in disaster preparedness, mandating all state and local governments to create a disaster response plan. To help execute this plan, Cooperative Extension has positioned their system to assist with community disaster preparedness and response efforts by offering several disaster-related educational programs that are available through Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN).These resources can be found on their website,  https://eden.lsu.edu, and also on their YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/EDENvideoslast_img read more

The Motion Picture Camera: Past, Present and Future

first_imgFrom Muybridge to Google Glass, take a trip through cinematic history’s past, present and future.Cinephiles will enjoy the following video created for the Society of Camera Operators 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award. Showcasing clips of camera technology and camera ops over the last 100 years, we get a quick glimpse into how things have radically changed over the years.See how many of your favorite films make an appearance:last_img

After Effects Fundamentals Lesson 4: Editing & Animating Text

first_imgLearn how to animate text in lesson 4 of our After Effects Fundamentals course.We’ve arrived at lesson 4 of our 10 part Fundamentals of After Effects series. Up to this point we’ve learned about the After Effects interface, basic expressions, and keying. In this lesson we share some tricks for working with text in Adobe After Effects.Learning how to animate and work with text is an essential skill for every motion graphic designer to know. Unlike still designs made in Illustrator or Photoshop, text in After Effects requires a designer to take into consideration the length at which the viewer will be reading the text. This makes it more complicated but also more dynamic . This After Effects video tutorial covers:Text layersThe character windowStylizing textKey-framing source textWorking with path optionsAnimating textIf you are still feeling inspired after watching this tutorial check out some of the other awesome text based tutorials on the PremiumBeat blog like 3D corner text and how to create animated hipster logos.Best viewed full screen:We will post new lessons every Monday for the next 6 weeks. Check the Premiumbeat blog for future lessons. And while you’re there you can watch more After Effects tutorials, read the latest filmmaking news and pick up some post-production tricks!What did you think of this lesson? Have any questions? Let us know in the comments below.last_img read more

Quick Tip: How To Find Black Flash Frames in Premiere Pro CC 2015

first_imgHere’s a Premiere Pro tip on how to perform a quick quality control check of your final edit for unintended gaps.Just before you’re about to export your final sequence to send to your client, you should quickly run through this quick tip to ensure that there are no hidden gaps (or black ‘flash frames’) in your edit.More often than not, it’s pretty easy to tell where a gap in your sequence is because you’ll see an obvious break in the yellow line at the top of the timeline. But if you look at the image above, you’ll notice that (at this zoom level) you can’t tell there is a one frame black gap in the edit to the left of the playhead.But when we zoom in, it becomes pretty obvious that there is, in fact, a gap in the edit. But it’s unlikely that you’re going to shuttle through your timeline zoomed in as close as you can to hunt down single frame gaps, especially in a long complex edit. Thankfully you don’t have to, because of the ‘Go To Gap’ feature within Premiere Pro.To find gaps of any length in your sequence, click on Sequence > Go to Gap > Next in Sequence to find the first gap forward of the playhead. As you can see in the image above, you can also use the keyboard shortcuts SHIFT+G for Next in Sequence and ALT+G for Previous in Sequence.Once Premiere Pro has found the last gap in your sequence, choosing Next in Sequence then does nothing. This is also the case once Premiere founds the first gap, so choosing Previous in Sequence then does nothing. How easy was that?Hopefully this Premiere Pro tip will help you out in the future. Here’s a few more from PremiumBeat!How to Batch Export Clips in Premiere ProPremiere Pro Tip: Make Clip Replacements and Revisions Faster Than Ever!Create Quick and Easy Vignettes in Premiere ProGot any other Premiere Pro tips to share? Let us know in the comments below!last_img read more

The Best Video Professionals to Learn From

first_imgVideo production professionals are constantly learning from fellow filmmakers. Here are some video professionals who have given so much to help and educate others.Whenever a video editor needs to learn a technique, they can easily search online. When a cinematographer is looking for their next camera, they search for camera reviews. When a motion graphic designer is looking for elements, they can easily find material and tutorials.The internet has become a great source for finding out exactly what you want to know. However, we often forget that it takes a dedicated individual to put up free material for others.These video production professionals have absolutely no reason to help others, yet they do it anyway, making the industry a better place. Here are some of the best video professionals (and best people) to learn from.Philip BloomImage via Philip BloomYou can’t talk about video professionals who have cultivated an educational environment without talking about Philip Bloom. Bloom has amassed a large following on social media, and deservedly so. He is constantly interacting with filmmakers, often talking about camera gear, techniques, and more.His website is full of incredibly detailed camera and gear reviews, an array of video production tutorials, and fantastic resources that grew the DSLR filmmaking community.Despite the negative comments he seems to receive on occasion, he has continually interacted with the filmmaking community for better or worse. He also heads one of the largest fundraising teams in the UK (and world) each November during his Movember campaign.Bloom started his career as a cameraman for Sky News. He has shot several short films, documentaries, and even worked on the feature film Red Tails. He is currently shooting the second season of the CNN series The Wonder List.You can follow and learn from Philip Bloom on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Vimeo, and philipbloom.net.Andrew KramerImage via Video CopilotAndrew Kramer is the founder of Video Copilot, an online resource for motion design and visual effects. In 2005, Kramer started making After Effects tutorials that were featured on Creative COW.By teaching others After Effects, Andrew Kramer became an expert — eventually leading him to design his own software and plugins. Video Copilot plugins like Element 3D and Optical Flares have become standard tools in VFX houses.Kramer was the keynote speaker at the last Adobe AE World. Here’s a brief snippet of his presentation.Currently, Andrew Kramer can frequently be found collaborating with director J.J. Abrams. He has produced title sequences for films and shows like Star Trek and Fringe. He is also working on the much anticipated Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens.You can follow and learn from Andrew Kramer on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and videocopilot.net.Larry JordanImage via Larry JordanLarry Jordan absolutely knows his stuff. He has experience as a television producer, director, and editor.  He is a member of the Directors Guild of America and Producers Guild of America. He is also an Apple-Certified trainer in digital media.The larryjordan.com website includes tons of educational information on video production. There are free tutorials on Final Cut Pro and Premiere Pro, recommended reading about video production, and a whole section dedicated to editing as a business.I believe that technology is inherently confusing for many people. So I work hard, in my writing and training, to make training less frightening and more understandable. On top of that, Larry releases a free weekly newsletter and weekly webinar. In his “spare time” he hosts and produces Digital Production BuZZ, a weekly podcast covering media production, post-production, and distribution. You can listen to the show live every Thursday night at 6pm PDT or listen the next day on iTunes or YouTube.You can follow and learn from Larry Jordan on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, larryjordan.com, and digitalproductionbuzz.comDave DugdaleImage via Dave DugdaleWhen Dave Dugdale started making videos on DSLR cameras, he created the site Learning DSLR Video to take you along his journey. His goal was to educate you about his mistakes and the things he has learned. Dave has recently switched to mirrorless cameras, and thus renamed his site Learning Video.His site includes free tutorials, camera and gear reviews, and more. Dave also offers incredibly in-depth courses for sale, which are great for learning about a specific camera.Many of the great DP’s say the same thing, they all enjoy learning and still have much to learn. For these DP’s that have been shooting movies for decades to say that, then I know I will always be learning. I try to stay humble, and this is the reason why I called this site Learning Video, because no matter how good I get, I’ll always be learning.You can follow and learn from Dave Dugdale on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo, and learningvideo.comShane HurlbutImage via Hurlbut VisualsShane Hurlbut is a Director of Photography and member of the American Society of Cinematographers. He has worked on films like Act of Valor, We Are Marshall, and Need for Speed.He started the Hurlblog as a way to share his cinematography experience. The site includes an array of articles on cinematography, lenses and gear, lighting techniques, and all stages of the production workflow.He has always gone above and beyond to share his experiences. Even breaking down camera and lens options in a movie trailer spot.Recently he has started Shane’s Inner Circle, an in-depth look at filmmaking exclusively for members. Membership grants you behind-the-scenes access to his sets, classes on advanced theory, gear tests, camera profiles and LUTs, and a monthly podcast. He and his wife Lydia not only help filmmakers, but make it a priority to help local communities and global social causes.You can follow and learn from Shane Hurlbut on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram, and hurlbutvisuals.comMitch MartinezImage via Mitch MartinezMitch Martinez has slowly been making quite the name for himself the past few years. He has a blog that covers all sorts of industry news, tutorials, product reviews, and some great behind-the-scenes pieces.The thing that’s garnered Martinez the most attention is his free stock footage. He has given away over 120GB of free 4k RED footage, as well as some free elements. These materials are free to use in any project. It also give schools the opportunity to use the footage in their curriculum, giving material to students to actively learn from.Image via Mitch MartinezLately, Martinez has gained a lot of attention for his incredible bullet-time rig. Not only did he use 50 cameras to capture these stunning images, he shows you how he did it.You can follow and learn from Mitch Martinez on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Vimeo, and mitchmartinez.com.Author’s NoteThe genesis of this post came from a recent personal experience. If you’ve read any of my previous articles, you may notice that I shoot video with a drone. On a recent shoot, the handle on my drone case broke. It was just a design flaw.I looked into ordering a replacement part, only to discover that the manufacturer does not warranty the case – it came for free with the drone. Thus there was no replacement part to order. It turned out that this was a widespread problem. There were many users who were stuck with broken cases and no replacement parts.Seeing the opportunity to help fellow pilots, David Barwin began 3D printing replacement parts. There was no reason for him to do anything, but he stepped in to help out fellow filmmakers. So I gratefully ordered a set.Image via David BarwinAfter that experience, I just felt good. Someone had taken the opportunity to help other filmmakers. It made me think about the many filmmakers who have helped me, and those I have learned from over the years. Many still continue to help the filmmaking community.I would like to thank all of these filmmakers for their contributions to education over the years. Let’s keep building a great community to learn from and achieve great work.Let’s try to keep the good vibes going. Who are some video professionals that have helped you over the years? Who should be added to the list? Let us know in the comments below.last_img read more

Export Premiere Pro Projects Straight to Social Media

first_imgLearning how to export Premiere Pro projects straight to social media will streamline your workflow and quickly get your content in front of a large audience. All you need is Premiere Pro and an internet connection.Got any other Premiere Pro workflow tips? Let us know in the comments below! To truly harness the power of your export, check out the Publish tab in the Export Settings dialog box. This allows you to automate a video upload and instantly share to any of the four social media outlets you choose, including YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter and Facebook.This will save you an ample amount of time, since you can do everything from within Premiere. Now you don’t have to log in to all of your separate accounts via a web browser, where you’re possibly forgetting passwords and usernames, and having to upload multiple times.Just authorize each social media account once within Premiere, and then everything else is handled during export. It’s a huge timesaver if you share media often.Under the Publish tab, you’ll find checkboxes next to each social media account and a section to add details. For Twitter, you can add a status. For Vimeo and YouTube, you can set your privacy options, add keywords, and write out your description. For Facebook, you can add a description and set your privacy options, including whether to publish the video to just your group of friends or to make it available publicly on your wall.In addition to publishing your content to social media, you can also automate an upload via FTP. Finally, you can choose to have the file automatically deleted off of your local drive after export. It’s time to get social. Learn how to publish straight to various social media accounts from within Premiere Pro.When exporting a video from Adobe Premiere Pro, you have a wide array of options with which to tinker. You can manually adjust video and audio settings, and you can add effects such as captions, an image overlay, timecode overlay, video limiter, and several other useful tools.Premiere offers a number of export presets for a variety of different devices and platforms, including the Amazon Kindle, Android phones and tablets, iPhones, iPads, and various others.In addition to device presets, Premiere offers up a plethora of social media presets, including options for Twitter, Vimeo, YouTube and Facebook. If you browse through presets in the Export Settings dialog box, you’ll find one preset for Facebook, two for Twitter, four for Vimeo, and five for YouTube, including an option for 4K. (If you want to export a Premiere Pro project to Instagram, there’s a way to do that, too.)last_img read more

How Can Filmmakers Adapt to Hollywood’s Slump?

first_imgHollywood is adapting to decreasing profits by embracing new media outlets and production models. What should filmmakers do to adapt?Cover image via Shutterstock.The film industry has just recorded its worst performance at the box office in more than a decade, selling 400,000,000 fewer tickets than the previous year. While studios and publications are finding many avenues to blame for this summer’s poor performance, it seems to simply be a case of changing consumer behavior.The ways we watch movies have completely changed — from the smallest indie film to biggest Hollywood blockbuster. For filmmakers, observing and adapting to this ever-changing model is the key to a long and sustainable career in the industry.Image via Shutterstock.Is Rotten Tomatoes to Blame? When there’s a new film coming out, many of us immediately go to Rotten Tomatoes and check the film’s latest score. A recent New York Times article reports that Rotten Tomatoes was to blame for the poor performance this summer. While consumers, myself included, and movie-goers do have greater access to reviews and information than ever before, it doesn’t seem to correlate as much as anticipated.For example, while the film Detroit received excellent reviews, it still performed poorly in the box office. In contrast, The Emoji Movie was reviewed poorly but still performed well at the box office. Even though Rotten Tomatoes most likely does have a strong influence on consumer behavior, it doesn’t seem to be the main motivating factor.Image via New York Times.From the NYT article:Studio executives’ complaints about Rotten Tomatoes include the way its Tomatometer hacks off critical nuance, the site’s seemingly loose definition of who qualifies as a critic and the spread of Tomatometer scores across the web. Last year, scores started appearing on Fandango, the online movie ticket-selling site, leading to grousing that a rotten score next to the purchase button was the same as posting this message: You are an idiot if you pay to see this movie.Are Movie-Goers Bored with Reboots and Sequels?Journalists have also been placing the blame with crowds growing tired of reboots and sequels. I must admit that I’ve grown tired of them too. However, once you dive deeper into the statistics, this still doesn’t reveal the truth. Guardians of the Galaxy V. 2 performed very well, and Stephen King’s IT has just had the best opening for a horror film, ever. Both of these films were either sequels or reboots.With all of this in mind, one must wonder why is there such a steady decline in theater attendance. It seems that the answer may just be as simple as changing consumer viewing habits.Image via Shutterstock.What’s Changed? Recently, there have been talks about Apple potentially buying the rights for the James Bond film franchise. This piece of news, I feel, is the key to understanding just how consumer viewing habits are going to continue shifting. Looking at Apple’s track record, it’s hard to believe that if Apple purchased the rights to the franchise, they would send their first produced film to theaters. It would most likely be an online release. A new James Bond film straight to streaming could be the catalyst in a huge paradigm shift.A recent article from The Atlantic dives more into Hollywood’s poor summer performance. Interestingly, ticket sales for movies have been steadily declining for years.2000 – 2017 U.S. Movie Ticket SalesImage via The Atlantic.Netflix and online video seem to be the main reason for Hollywood’s summer of decline. Consumers now have more options than ever before. They can watch movies at their own leisure in the comfort of their own homes, which is nothing new. However, what is new are the vast catalogs of content consumers have at their fingertips.Image and data via The Numbers.Hollywood’s best chance, not just at survival but at thriving, is to embrace this change in consumer behavior. We, as filmmakers, must also not just adapt to change but embrace it. Much like the change in consumer behavior for Hollywood, the world of independent filmmaking is undergoing massive shifts. Throughout my experience, I’ve noticed three traits a filmmaker needs to succeed in the ever-changing environment (and market) of independent filmmaking.What Can I Do As A Filmmaker to Change with the Market?1. Networking Is Now Just MarketingThe concept of networking is nothing new. However, the ways in which we network are shifting. I assert that nothing will ever replace face-to-face networking. That’s the golden standard. There will always be something more trustworthy and reliable about meeting someone, working on set, and producing great projects together. However, many tools have surfaced in the last ten years to make networking more meaningful — and to expand your reach outside of your own network. The line between networking and marketing yourself as a filmmaker is more blurred than ever before.An active online presence is essential to finding success as a content creator. Creating and maintaining an active online presence now is more than just putting up a website. Being active on multiple social platforms is essential. Take Instagram for example. Yes, nearly everyone has an account, but how actively are you using Instagram as a tool to promote yourself and network with like-minded filmmakers?Image via Shutterstock.I never took Instagram seriously as a platform for networking. However, once agencies began to contact me after they saw my profile, I knew I needed to pay more attention to it. Aside from posting pictures from productions you’ve worked on, use it as a tool to hone your craft by taking and posting more photos of things you like. Relay your unique style and vision.Another way to network online is to list your equipment on services like Sharegrid. It’s a great way to meet and network with other filmmakers. Like networking, marketing is now also key to establishing a larger reach.2. Owning Equipment Is ImportantOwn your equipment. The days of a DP or cinematographer owning zero equipment are nearly gone. I understand that this is a topic of hot debate. However you can’t argue that DPs are expected now more than ever to bring equipment to the table. This isn’t true 100 percent of time, but the expectation is increasing. That equipment may include anything from a camera body to lenses to gimbals.In today’s market, providing value to a production will help you to obtain more work. Yes, many great Hollywood DPs don’t own a single piece of equipment. However, we’re not those DPs. The market was drastically different when they were coming up through the ranks. While we’re striving to establish ourselves as filmmakers, there are things we need to do to provide added value to a production.Image via Shutterstock.If you’re serious about filmmaking and expanding your career as a cinematographer, purchasing quality equipment should be a much easier pill to swallow. I recently met with a production company, and the executive producer said, “I can usually tell where a DP is in their career by the type of camera they own.” That hit like a ton of bricks. Yes, it may not be 100 percent true, but there is still a lot of truth in that statement.Don’t just own any equipment — own quality equipment. Have gear that you can rent to the production. Own equipment that you can rent out even if they’re not hiring you as a crew member. By going this route, not only will you gain more clients, but you’ll also bring in more revenue by investing in assets.3. Make More Passion ProjectsPassion projects essentially boil down to creating a quality piece of work that shows off your creativity and filmmaking vision. It doesn’t have to be a $30,000 short film. It can simply be a commercial you’re doing that you love and wish to put a little more effort, time, and resources into.Now it’s easier than ever to post your content for the world to see. Passion projects are the easiest way to get your content and vision as a filmmaker out to the masses. If you network well and own your own equipment, creating passion projects become much easier and more affordable.Image via Shutterstock.One of my own passion projects is still what gets me a lot of work. Yes, passion projects are hard to make time for. However, they can define careers. Taking time out of your busy schedule to hone and invest in your own creativity can be one of the best approaches you can teach yourself as a filmmaker. Instead of limiting yourself to only working on corporate, commercial, or other people’s features, create your own features, shorts, or art pieces. Help yourself grow as a creative, and don’t expect other people to do it for you.Times are changing for creative filmmakers — and even for Hollywood. Anticipating these changes and being at their forefront is what will ensure a long and stable career.last_img read more

Video Games vs. Feature Films: Why Adaptations Usually Fail

first_imgThe Little Moments — Far AwayWe often hear stories about a director’s favorite part of the film that had to be cut, or why a leading actor was seemingly shafted into a supporting cast member after a ruthless edit. The reason? The scene was unnecessary, and without it, the film became tighter. However, in video games, the moments that trail on for too long — or become what we would consider boring in a movie — can sometimes be the best parts of the game.In Rockstar’s 2010 mega-hit Red Dead Redemption, after completing several missions roughly one quarter into the game, you can finally head south and explore Mexico. It’s an area you hear a lot about, but unfortunately, you can’t explore it due to a natural disaster. Then, after one mission, the area unlocks. Players, as bandit-turned-family man John Marston, saddle up and ride across the southern border. Then, the sound of your horse slowly fades, and you hear an acoustic melody by artist José González.As one of the commenters on the YouTube video above says, “[This is] one of the most unforgettable moments in gaming.” In retrospect, while that moment in a video game becomes a godlike moment, forever cemented in gaming history, how would that translate into a movie? Would it even be possible to adapt it for film? I’m not too sure how viewers would feel about paying $15 to watch Tom Cruise ride a motorbike for five minutes. These are the moments that make you feel. With control over the camera movement, the player also becomes the filmmaker, and in turn, creates the moment as they see fit.These small moments are often completely missable, which makes them more enchanting experiences when you come across them. You’re not just viewing or hearing what a character from a film is going through — you’re living it.  And it’s these little moments that make a game unforgettable, and they seem completely unadaptable to film.Lack of Outside InterestEscaping the superhero phenomenon is no easy task. From Superman gym-wear to an Iron Man-inspired car design, it’s hard to find something Marvel or DC hasn’t influenced. That’s why it surprises regular cinema-goers to hear how many comic books (of a particular character or team) readers buy each month.For example, in April, the Goliath conclusion to Marvel’s Infinity [Film] Saga Avengers: End Game finally released and broke almost every box office record. One would expect the comic book sales to follow suit, right? Well, in April, the comic book Avengers #19 only sold 55,244 copies, and the newly released series Thanos sold 81,356 copies of its debut issue. There are two crucial factors to note:A debut issue will often sell more copies due to the excitement around a new series — and because an issue #1 will be worth more in the future (especially if a character features prominently in a movie).These numbers only account for physical sales within North America. So, you can expect the actual amount to be higher when considering digital and foreign sales.But still, one would expect the numbers for the Avengers comic to be higher when the Avengers film itself is selling millions of tickets. Conversely, if a comic only sells 50,000-100,000 copies a month, and leads a film franchise that regularly brings in a billion dollars per film, you could expect a video game that sells into the millions to easily earn quadruple. But, for example, despite the Assassin’s Creed franchise selling over 100 million copies, as of September 2016, the film ended up losing $75–100 million at the box office.Photo via Ubisoft.We could attribute this to the poor critical performance of video game adaptations scaring fans away from the box office. But with growing skepticism of review outlets and aggregate sites, even when a comic book film scores low among critics, it still reels in the box office numbers (see Venom).However, we must make a distinction between the audiences who follow comic book characters and those who follow video game franchises. It would be easy to lump the two into the same group. You don’t have to read even a single Batman comic to love Batman. You could have developed a connection with the character through his animated series. Alternatively, Batman could be your favorite Superhero because of the Adam West TV series. As such, the comic book icon isn’t solely anchored to its original medium. Even among comics themselves, every so often, a publisher will initiate a line-wide reboot, and suddenly the Batman of 1995 ceases to exist in current canonical publication. Therefore, you may sometimes hear people say they prefer Scott Snyder‘s Batman or Frank Miller‘s Batman; both versions of the same character have vastly different attributes and traits.Video game characters, for the most part, are only tied to their native medium. There’s only one version of Nathan Drake; there’s only one Ezio; there’s only one Joel. It adds insult to injury when reviews surface that the latest adaptation is unfaithful and the film doesn’t live up to the gamers’ expectations. But, it would be foolish to assume that video game films are primarily made for video game audiences — Marvel will rebuke that for you — but you have to acknowledge that at least 2/3rds of the general public have no interest in games. Let alone a film based on a game.Is my 68-year-old father going to be excited about the next Batman film? Sure. It’s Batman. Is he going to be excited about the Halo adaptation? He has no idea what Halo is; therefore, the film itself is going to have to reel him in, and video game films can’t seem to do that at this moment in time.Filmmakers Change the Core Element of the Video GameSometimes a filmmaker proposes a change to the adaptation, and on cue, the difference gets an extreme reaction from the gaming community. For example, the continuously-in-development Uncharted film was once to be helmed by director David O’Russel, and he proposed that the film would involve “a crime family that metes out justice in the world of art and antiquities . . . They’re like the Sopranos in some ways, but they have great taste, and they have a sense of justice.” To some extent, you have to sit back and think, Well, look — how do you take a 7-9 hour game and make it into a ninety-minute movie? Surely, a five-time Academy Award Nominee can figure out how to do it.Conversely, what does O’Russel’s pitch have to do with the Uncharted series? The only connection is the title, which seems to be a running theme among video game adaptations. The story in the film is wholly unique and bears little resemblance to the multi-million dollar franchise the film promised to adapt.The Assassin’s Creed video game franchise is known for its detailed and respectful journey into history, allowing you to play as a character from a specific age, while traversing a city that’s historically accurate in its recreation. It’s a historical epic with a twist. Although the game pits you against the 15th-century order of Templars, and the primary setting is Renaissance Italy (for the first few games), you’re only playing as an avatar of the ancestry lineage of the main character, Desmond, who is currently accessing these memories in the present day. (Think The Matrix meets Back to The Future.)However, the present-day element of the game is arguably the most mundane part, and rightly so. You spend very little time in the present day, so much so that the developers did away with Desmond’s storyline as soon as they could. Typically, most Assassin’s Creed games have you play as the character from the historical setting for 95 percent of the game. So, what does the film do? It sets 65 percent of the narrative during the present day and 35 percent in the past.It seems absurd for studios to take a well-loved franchise and remove its most prominent selling elements — only to replace them with something else. But that’s what happens with video game films. Of course, as I’ve repeatedly said here, filmmakers have to take hours of storytelling and condense them into a single movie. Perhaps this is why interactive storytelling doesn’t translate well into a film — it needs those hours to breathe.Are Video Games Unadaptable Due to Their Length?As summer blockbusters become longer and longer, we frequently see the following: “If the film was twenty minutes shorter, it would have been perfect.” Video games face a similar criticism, but on the opposite end of the spectrum — they can be too short. Many game developers push for a stronger online multiplayer experience, which will increase the overall playtime for the user, enabling additional monetization of online content. As a result, the single-player storyline is more of an add-on, rather than the central focus. Star Wars Battlefront 2, for example, had a single-player campaign of just five-to-six hours; ten to fifteen years ago, however, multiplayer gameplay was the bonus.As a result, it’s become a rarity (and a welcome surprise) when the latest game comes out and you invest hours upon hours in completing your mission, and those hours reward you with rich storytelling and character development. It is, then, not without reason that these games, with immersive and compelling storytelling, become the games that take a seat in the hall of video game greats.However, how does one turn Mass Effect’s 43-hour runtime into a single film? The complex sci-fi saga promotes complex narratives, where the player’s decision-making will directly alter the course of the game. Is it even possible to take just one of those narrative threads and adapt it into a film, while still capturing the essence of the game?Image via Legendary Pictures.If we look at 2016’s Warcraft, the answer is likely a brief no. Warcraft is an adaptation of the longstanding MMO Warcraft (later known as World of Warcraft), and despite having millions of players online, it lost $40-to-$60 million at the box office and holds a 29 percent critic consensus. While rewarded for faithfulness to character design, geography, and references, it was criticized for being too focused on cramming years of lore into a plot with little character development.Writing for the Independent, Jack Sheppard says the following:It becomes almost impossible to keep up, not helped by the lack of individual character development. A quick example, concerning our lead human protagonist, Anduin. Both his relationship with his plot-device son and with Garona are rushed, underdeveloped, lacking nearly all emotional oomph (his apparent longstanding friendship with Medivh is non-existent) . . . After two brilliant films (Moon, Source Code), it feels like the fanboy within Duncan Jones got carried away with Azeroth’s minute mythology, leading to a film filled with tonnes of references to the wider world but no real soul of its own.Ironically, when discussing the issue of filmmakers completely removing core elements of the adaptation, Jones remained true to the material, yet the project falls victim to time constraints. For Gamesradar, Kevin Harley says the following:Some shock deaths show narrative daring, but it’s hard to get that involved when the two-hour runtime is too crammed to let in emotional air. Lacking the longer-form luxuries of Game of Thrones, Warcraft occasionally manages to feel both rushed and dull, impressively staged and disengaged.Ultimately, I think this is always going to be a problem when working from a game that has tens, sometimes hundreds, of hours of material. Many games want to keep you invested for as long as possible, and in doing so, they provide more than enough content to keep you entertained for hours. But sometimes cutting these short side quests and narrative threads in order to compress it all into a standard cinema release kills the spirit of the game. How do you make a 90-minute movie from a game, when 90 minutes in Red Dead Redemption 2 is just the tutorial sequence?As a passionate gamer, I often wonder why some of us have this insatiable need to see our favorite games adapted to the big screen, when quite literally, we haven’t seen a single successful adaptation. Not to mention, many studios push for cinematic gameplay, and most pre-rendered cut-scenes rival the big CGI sequences from the most expensive films. Don’t we already have the best version of the story?I’ll leave you with this sequence from the Irrational Games 2013 megahit BioShock Infinite. It’s a video clip of a moment that only happens if you veer away from the designated path and head into the basement of a jazz bar. The character you play, Booker, picks up a guitar and starts to play a melody. Your companion, Elizabeth, starts to sing. Suddenly (and subtly), a young homeless boy crawls from underneath the stairs to see what’s going on. It’s not part of the story. You could play this game ten times and miss it every time. And that’s the beauty of these moments, you feel as if you made this moment happen by acting off-script. A film can’t make you feel like that. While video games include cinematic storytelling, we have to wonder why they rarely translate into good movies. It seems to come down to delivery.If you Google 2019 films, you’ll see that, notably, many films are adaptations. From Stephen King’s novel Pet Sematary to Marvel’s comic saga The Infinity Gauntlet. Or, even the manga Battle Angel Alita or Fighting with My Family, based on the 2012 documentary The Wrestlers: Fighting with My Family.However there aren’t many adaptations of video games. Currently, there are three for 2019: Detective Pikachu, Angry Birds 2, and Sonic. Although, since I started writing this article, Sonic has been pushed back to 2020 because of the collective adverse reaction to his redesign from the games (an element I cover further on). So, that brings us down to just two video game adaptations this year. That’s being kind, however. To say Angry Birds or Sonic are remotely based on the complex narratives of their original video games would be quite the stretch.Even then, Detective Pikachu (a faithful adaptation of the spin-off Pokémon game also titled Detective Pikachu) only has a 53 percent Metacritic score. Its current box-office draw is a number any Marvel adaptation would laugh at. However, the film has performed favorably among fans and with its current critic score and box-office take combined, Detective Pikachu is rated as the best live adaptation of a video game to date. With the plethora of video games regarded as cinematic art, we have to ask Why don’t video games translate into good movies? It’s a question that doesn’t have a single answer; rather, there are many reasons video game adaptations don’t deliver.Games as a FeelingMany video game journalists believe the reason why video game adaptations fall short is that a film is a passive medium, and a game is not. You sit down, relax, and let the filmmaker tell the story the way they created it. Video games, on the other hand, are an active medium. And although a writer still scripts the story, you often get to choose how that story unfolds, at a pace of your choosing.This creates a different intensity of connection to the story. When we think back to an adrenaline-filled moment in a film, the experience was the result of how the story was crafted. However, when we think back to exciting moments in games, they’re not the result of cinematics or award-winning acting (although, that is now very prevalent in gaming). Rather, the experience has to do with the player controlling the scene to overcome the odds, not the character. Whether linear design or open world, the player is the one who makes the moments happen.Take the following sequence from 2015’s Uncharted 4.In the sequence, the player must navigate the narrow streets of a fictional Madagascan town while avoiding enemy militia firing at them from the street corners — later, an armored tank will pursue the player. The AI citizens leap away from your vehicle as you smash through their grocery stands, and your companion, Sully, yells at you to watch out for oncoming traffic. Then, the armored vehicle stops in front of you, which will prompt you to either quickly turn left down a set of public stairs, or take a right through someone’s garden. You have seconds to choose, with no real knowledge of whether your route leads to a blocked exit or frees you from the enemy.An upload of the same (but edited) sequence has over 5,000,000 views and is rightly titled “Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End – Best Chase In Gaming History.” (Based on the thousands of comments, many agree.) Through the visual destruction, dynamic sound design, and feedback from the controller’s vibration, these sequences elevate the storytelling control to a level films simply can’t offer.In the 2005 adaptation of Doom, at one point in the film, we watch a first-person sequence that mirrors the gameplay from the game series. Visually, it’s impressive, and technically, it’s genius. But to watch? It’s tedious, and it lacks tension. When you play a first-person shooter, the fun comes from knocking down the enemy with precision shots, using as little ammunition as possible, and beating the high score. However, as visually embellished as the sequence may be, as a passive audience member, the thrill isn’t the same. You’re left thinking, “I could do this better” — just like readers who say, “The book is better.” Gamers may never be satisfied with an adaptation because of the lack of governable experiences. Cover image via Ubisoft.Looking for more articles on the filmmaking industry? Check these out.What the Marvel Cinematic Universe Means for the Future of Film10k Vs 100k Vs 500k: Feature Film Budgets ComparedThe History and Power of Sound Design in the Film IndustryThe Cameras Behind Netflix Originals: Films and SeriesThe Cameras and Lenses Behind HBO’s Original Serieslast_img read more

The Better You Get the Better You Better Get

first_imgThe title of the post was inspired by David Allen, founder of GTD (Get Things Done); if you listen to him enough you’ll hear him say it.If you want better results than you are generating now, you have to become better than you are now.Putting Things in the Right OrderThere are a lot of areas you might improve upon, and in Sales business acumen is right at the top of that list. But not the very, very top.Your physical health is the most important factor when it comes to generating greater success. Without your physical health, you will lack the stamina and energy to perform at peak levels. You are going to generate your very best performance when you are in your best physical health.The answer to optimal health is simple, but it isn’t easy. It requires that you sleep more than you believe necessary. It also means you need to eat with health as the intention instead of pleasure (even though there are ways to accomplish both). You also have to maintain your hydration.This is all common sense, but too few practice it, especially people who are running and gunning, hustling and achieving.Mental ToughnessThe second most important factor in your success depends a great deal on the first factor, and that is your psychological health. Your mental stamina and mental toughness depend a great deal upon your physical health. But they also depend upon your underlying belief systems and your attitude.You may not believe that you have a philosophy of your own, but you do, and it is found in your belief structures. The question is whether it is serving you.Your personal philosophy, your mind’s operating system, is worth exploring, and it’s worth working on. For an immediate improvement, look at the new mindfulness work and the stoic philosophies (Of which Tim Ferris and Ryan Holliday are huge proponents, both who make that work easily accessible).If you really want to be a hustler, and by that I mean a truly successful salesperson, you need to be committed to yourself first and foremost. Before you dive into a new health regimen it’s important that you’re mindful as to why you are doing it. Your physical health is the foundation upon which your sales success is built.last_img read more

Insecticide poisoning: 7 more die in three days in Yavatmal

first_imgSeven more farmers have died in the past three days owing to improper spraying of ‘Profex Super’ insecticide on cotton plantations in Yavatmal district, taking the toll to 15.Kishor Tiwari, chief of Vasantrao Naik Shetkari Swavalamban Mission, said over 600 cases of insecticide infection have been reported in Yavatmal district. He blamed indiscriminate use of wrong combinations of insecticides, and direct and continuous exposure to toxic substances owing to lack of protective gear for the death of farmers and farm workers over the past one week.The deceased farmers have been identified as Dashrath Chavan of Naygaon village, Devidas Madavi of Kalamb town, Kailash Pendor of Jamni village, Ayub Sheikh of Kalgaon village, Anil Chavan of Kalamb, Ramesh Chirawar of Ghatanji village, Ravi Rathod of Uchegaon village, Vithal Parkewar and Pradip Soyami from Kelapur town, Vasant Sidam of Maregoan village, Maroti Pimpalkar of Kalegoan village, Divakar Ghoshi of Ghoddara village, Shankar Kedam of Talki village, Dipak Madavi of Arni town. and Bandu Sonurle of Manoli village.Mr. Tiwari also blamed genetically modified Bt cotton seeds for the deaths. He said, “Bt cotton seeds are supposed to be resistant to bollworm and other infestations. However, they failed to tackle the pests and this resulted in the use of the toxic and internationally banned Monocrotophos, a highly toxic pesticide, which makes plants look green and healthy but causes the resurgence of pink bollworm. The chances of exposure to toxic chemicals increase as farmers use non-recommended combinations.”Mr. Tiwari said Maharashtra had the largest area under cotton cultivation (over 40 lakh hectares) and tribal farm workers would continue to die if the State did not ban chemical farming in regions seeing a spate of suicides over crop failure.last_img read more

Lok Sabha bypoll results: Cong. maintains lead in Ajmer, Alwar; Trinamool wins in Uluberia

first_imgThe counting of votes for by-elections to two Lok Sabha seats and one Assembly constituency in Rajasthan and one Lok Sabha seat and one Assembly constituency in West Bengal that went to the polls on January 29 began at 8 a.m. on Thursday.In West Bengal, The Trinamool Congress (TMC) has won the Noapara Assembly constituency and the Uluberia Lok Sabha seat.In Rajasthan, Congress candidate Vivek Dhakar has won the Mandalgarh Assembly seat and the party is leading in the Alwar and Ajmer Lok Sabha seats.An average 63.76% polling was recorded in Alwar and Ajmer, while at Mandalgarh, 76.57% of the electorate exercised their franchise.A total of 42 candidates were in the fray for the bypolls.Here are the updates:6.40 p.m.Rajasthan: Karan Singh Yadav of the Congress leads by 1,96,496in Alwar. His party colleague Raghu Sharma is leading by a margin of 84,162 in Ajmer.According to Rajasthan’s Chief Electoral Officer, 100% votes have been counted in Alwar and 99.07% in Ajmer. The Congress is currently having an unassailable lead in both seats.5.20 p.m.West Bengal: According to sources in the Election Commission of India, Sajda Ahmed of the Trinamool Congress has won the Uluberia Lok Sabha bypoll, beating her nearest rival Anupam Mallick (BJP) by over 4.74 lakh votes, reports PTI.5.00 p.m.Karan Singh Yadav of the Congress leads by 1,94,285 in Alwar. His party colleague Raghu Sharma is leading by a margin of 80,455 in Ajmer.3.10 p.m.Trinamool Congress maintains the lead ahead of its nearest contender, the BJP, in the Uluberia Lok Sabha bypoll by a massive margin of 3.6 lakh votes, an Election Commission official says. After 14 rounds of counting, Trinamool candidate Sajda Ahmed bags 5,88,211 votes. Her nearest rival, Anupam Mallik of the BJP, secures 2,18,807 votes.CPI(M) nominee S.K. Sabiruddin Molla and Congress candidate S.K. Madassar Hossain Warsi receive 1,03,015 and 16,784 votes respectively.2.00 p.m.Rajasthan Pradesh Congress president Sachin Pilot says his party will get strengthened by today’s results. Besides being the people’s verdict on the State government’s failures, it is also a mandate against the Centre’s demonetisation, GST implementation and economic slowdown, he says at a press conference in Jaipur.Congress wins MandalgarhThe Congress wins the Mandalgarh Assembly seat by a margin of 12,974 votes. Vivek Dhakar of the Congress polled 70,143 votes and defeated the BJP’s Shakti Singh Hada, who polled 57,169 votes.Congress rebel Gopal Malviya, who contested as an independent, received 40,470 votes.1.00 p.m.TMC wins Noapara, leads in UluberiaThe TMC wins the Noapara bypoll by defeating its nearest rival, the BJP, by 63,018 votes, the Election Commission said.“The TMC has won the Noapara by-election. The BJP has secured the second position and the CPI(M) the third,” said West Bengal Chief Electoral Officer Aariz Aftab.While TMC candidate Sunil Singh secured 1,01,729 votes, the BJP’s Sandip Banerjee got 38,711 votes. CPI (M)’s Gargi Chatterjee got 35,497 votes.Counting of votes for the by-election in the Uluberia Lok Sabha seat is also underway with the TMC ahead by more than 4,700 votes,  reports PTI11.30 a.m.Alwar: Congress candidate Karan Singh Yadav leads by 39,826 votes over his nearest rival, BJP’s Jaswant Yadav, after 15 rounds of counting. Mr. Yadav has garnered 1,63,489 votes.Ajmer: Congress’ Raghu Sharma maintains a lead of 23,882 votes over BJP candidate Ram Swaroop Lamba, reports PTI.Mandalgarh: The trend in Mandalgarh is in favour of the Congress. Vivek Dhakar of the party leads by 1,864 votes at the end of 12th round of counting. BJP’s Shakti Singh Hada is trailing behind, reports Mohammad Iqbal.11.00 a.m.In Ajmer, the margin with which the Congress candidate is leading increases to 21,000.In West Bengal, the TMC surged ahead of its rivals in both Noapara and Uluberia after the initial rounds of counting of votes, reports PTI.At Noapara, the ruling party stormed ahead by a massive margin of 30,000 after the sixth round of counting.TMC candidate Sunil Singh secured 46,281 votes, while his nearest rival of the CPI(M), Gargi Chatterjee, bagged 16,444 votes. Sandip Banerjee of the BJP secured 15,570 votes, while Goutam Bose of the Congress managed to get just 4,742 votes.The TMC also took an early lead in Uluberia by a margin of 4,767 votes.After the first round of counting in Uluberia, TMC candidate Sajda Ahmed secured 6,462 votes, while CPI(M) candidate Sabiruddin Molla bagged 1695 votes. Anupam Mallik of the BJP and S.K. Madassar Hossain Warsi of the Congress managed 1,471 and 256 votes respectively.10.30 a.m.The margin with which the Congress is leading in Lok Sabha byelections in Rajasthan is 31,531 in Alwar and 8,555 in Ajmer.The margin constantly reducing in Mandalgarh. The BJP is ahead by only 350 votes at the end of 10th round, reports Mohammad Iqbal.Former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot says the mandate is going against the BJP due to the failure of both the State and Union governments. People had high expectations, but Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje made false promises and didn’t fulfil them. “The Congress will form the next government in Rajasthan,” he says.9.30 a.m.The Congress lis eading in Ajmer and Alwar on completion of two rounds of counting, says Rajasthan Chief Electoral Officer. The Congress candidate leads by 10,800 votes in Ajmer. The BJP’s Ramswarup Lamba may find it difficult to fill this gap, reports Mohammad Iqbal.At Mandalgarh, the BJP leads. Congress rebel Gopal Malviya gives a major shock to official candidate Vivek Dhakar, who is trailing at third position, reports Mohammad Iqbal.In West Bengal, the TMC has taken an early lead. It is leading in Uluberia by about 10,000 votes after the completion of first round of counting in one Assembly segment out of seven, reports Suvojit Bagchi. Counting starts little late and result of only Udaynarayanpur segment [first round] is announced.In the Noapara Assembly constituency, the TMC is leading by over 30,000 votes.The CPI(M) and the BJP are neck and neck for the second position.tHE TMC won both THE seats in the last election.9.00 a.m.The BJP leads by 699 votes in first round of counting at Mandalgarh. The nearest rival is Congress rebel Gopal Malviya, who contested as an independent candidate.In Ajmer, Mr. Sharma leads, says the State Election Commission.In Alwar, Congress candidate Karan Singh Yadav leads, having secured 18,652 votes on completion of first round, says the State Election Commission.In West Bengal, the TMC candidates are leading in Noapara and Uluberia, reports Shiv Sahay Singh.The Uluberia seat in Howrah district fell vacant after the death of TMC MP Sultan Ahmed in September last. The Noapara seat in North 24 Paraganas fell vacant after the death of Congress MLA Madhusudhan Ghosh in April last.The BJP faces an uphill battle in Rajasthan because a miffed Rajput community has announced its support to the Congress in all the three seats, writes Mohammad Ali. Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and Pradesh Congress president Sachin Pilot have campaigned extensively in Ajmer in view of the constituency’s role in strengthening their own position within their respective parties.The Uluberia bypoll result is expected to be a litmus test for the BJP as it not only has to face the organisational clout of the ruling TMC but also deal with substantial minority votes in the constituency.Read more  8.00 a.m.Counting for by-elections to the constituencies in Rajasthan begins. Postal votes are being counted first, reports Mohammad Iqbal.last_img read more

Poipynhun Majaw first RTI activist to be murdered in Meghalaya

first_imgExcommunication from the village or society was the preferred form of punishment for those who used the Right to Information in Meghalaya. Until youth leader Poipynhun Majaw was murder on Tuesday.The police in the State’s East Jaintia Hills district said unknown assailants killed Mr. Majaw by hitting him with a heavy iron object, possibly a wrench, found lying beside his body in Khliehriat, a coal mining hub. They are following a clue – a 125 cc motorcycle found abandoned nearby – to get to his killers.Rights activists in the State said that at least 20 people have been banished from their villages for using the RTI to expose corruption in local governance and utilisation of beneficiary schemes in less than a decade.“Many of those excommunicated are women who dared to go against corrupt local body heads and moved the RTI to find out rations allotted for them were being diverted or ghost workers were awarded MGNREGS (rural job guarantee scheme) work,” Agnes Kharshiing of the Civil Society Women’s Organisation said.On Wednesday, as the police began hunting for the bike owner, some villagers in the adjoining West Jaintia Hills told the authorities they were being hounded by local leaders after getting a reply to their RTI query on the status of MGNREGS in Sankhat, their village.“The RTI reply revealed that area leaders withdrew more money than what the MGNREGS assignment for 11 job card holders of our village could have entailed. We are under tremendous pressure to either take up the matter or leave,” a member of one of 32 households denied work said from Sankhat.Ostracised for using RTI In 2014, the dorbar (governing body) of Umsumbah village in the West Khasi Hills district deprived 11 people of their basic right of seeking information through RTI. The dorbar ‘blacklisted’ them and it needed the intervention of the Block Development Officer to come to a compromise. But the reprieve was temporary, as the ‘dorbar’ allegedly punished the villagers till December last year, cancelling their job cards, denying them access to fair price shops and residential certificates for their children.In 2011, three women – Fatima Mynsong, Acqueline Songthiang and Matilda Suting – were excommunicated by the ‘dorbar’ of Jongsha village, about 30 km from Shillong, after they exercised the RTI to know about utilisation of government funds for the village.The trio, however, fought back and managed to get the village headman, who ordered their exile, removed from his post.In February 2011, a student leader named Bobby Basaiawmoit was asked by the ‘dorbar’ of Mairangbah village to either pay a fine of ₹5,000 for exercising RTI or be banished.“Mr. Majaw’s was the first case of murder of an RTI activist in Meghalaya, where violence was not associated with activism unlike other States such as Assam,” Ms. Kharshiing said.Rights activists believe that Mr. Majaw was killed because of using RTI to expose the unholy nexus between the Jaintia Hills tribal council and cement companies who have been extracting limestone with scant respect for the fragile ecology of the State.“We are yet to find the motive behind Mr. Majaw’s murder, but we hope to get some answers once we find the owner of the bike. The suspected murder weapon has been sent for forensic tests while the autopsy report is expected within a week,” Nazarius Lamare, Superintendent of Police of East Jaintia Hills district, said.last_img read more