The Lens – GoPro Cameras

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Here at ZHM, it seems as though not a day goes by that we don’t talk about hardware, either in meetings, or around the proverbial ‘water cooler.’ And with technology developing as rapidly as it is, we have all sorts of new hardware to talk about. Most recently, we’ve been talking about the new generation of GoPro cameras, with which many of our readers are, no doubt, already familiar.

Ultimately, producing a high quality video requires talented and experienced shooters and crew behind the camera, no matter what equipment is used. That having been said, with the technology we have today, there are all sorts of options available, and depending on the shoot, some options work better than others. GoPro is a perfect example.

If you’re looking for a studio quality camera, with multiple lenses and a host of adjustable settings, this isn’t the camera for you. If you’re looking for a solid ‘point and shoot’ video camera to record first-person experiences in ‘extreme’ environments, GoPro is hard to beat.  With a small form factor, it can be attached to a helmet, a vehicle, or even an animal. Although the GoPro has a fixed fish-eye lens, the GoPro Hero3+ can shoot high-resolution video up to 4K, 12MP pictures at up to 30fps, and is waterproof up to 40m. Given the amazing video that has already been produced (check out a few of our favorite examples below), some of the more adrenaline-oriented members of our team can’t wait for an opportunity to use a GoPro (actually, one of our team already owns one for his personal use). At $399.99 for a Hero3+, having one in your toolkit isn’t going to set you back too much, and it’ll give you some creative options that you might not have considered before.

GoPro Examples:

If you’d like to know more about the GoPro line of cameras, and in particular the Hero3+, check out the following link: http://gopro.com/cameras/hd-hero3-black-edition.  And if you’ve used a GoPro, please let us know whether you liked it or not in our comments section.

Free Software for the Arts

Anyone who has worked in the world of computer-assisted creative arts (graphic design, photography, video production, music, page layout, creative writing, etc.) knows that getting started using ‘industry standard’ hardware and software can be prohibitively costly. What many people don’t know is that there are quite a few free, very powerful software applications available that will run on all major computer operating systems in common use today. These applications are, directly or indirectly, a product of the Free Software Movement, which is founded on a philosophy that software should be free to use, open to development, and can be freely distributed. Some of the best known examples of Open Source Software are Mozilla Firefox, Android, and Open Office. The following list is a small selection of our favorite applications that are great cost-effective software alternatives for budding artists, hobbyists, and Open Source advocates . 1. The GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) gimp As the name implies, the GIMP is a very capable image manipulation program, which can be used for anything from very simple image touch-up projects, to the creation of very complex, multilayered composite images. 2. Inkscape inkscape Inkscape is a full-featured vector graphics editor, very similar to Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw. Open source images are also available that can be imported into Inkscape for additional editing. 3. Audacity audacity Audacity is a free, cross-platform audio recorder, editor, and player. It can record, play, import and export audio files in a broad range of formats, as well as mix tracks and add effects. In the free-software arena, Audacity is the standard to beat. 4. And, for now, last but not least, Blender. blender Blender might be a bit much for the average hobbyist to handle, but for the serious video producer, Blender is one of the most versatile and powerful 3D graphics applications available – and it’s free. Per Wikipedia’s web site: “Blender is a free and open-source 3D computer graphics software product used for creating animated films, visual effects, interactive 3D applications or video games. Blender’s features include 3D modeling, UV unwrapping, texturing, rigging and skinning, fluid and smoke simulation, particle simulation, soft body simulation, animating, match moving, camera tracking, rendering, video editing and compositing. It also features a built-in game engine.” For a taste of what Blender can do, check out the sizzle reel below:  

– David Arpee, IT Director