prof. e.

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Archive for the ‘photography’ Category

The Magic of Motion Pictures

Posted by prof e on October 4, 2015

Movies, aka films, aka motion pictures, are actually optical illusions. To capture motion on film, or as digital bits, simply involves capturing still images in quick succession. How quickly depends on how much temporal resolution you want to capture…but for the illusion to be believable it should probably be, at a minimum, in the neighborhood of 18-24 frames each second. That’s it…just a new picture every 18th to 24th of a second and our eye/brain thinks it is seeing motion. Persistence of vision is the technical phrase used to explain the illusion that makes motion pictures possible.

So when you see TV or film images flicker on the screen just realize that you’re really seeing a bunch of still pictures displayed at a rate that is fooling your brain into thinking that you’re seeing motion. Animation is based on the same principle. There are many forms of animation, but if you remember Gumby, or the California Raisins, you can thank stop-motion animators for this technique that involves taking a photograph, then moving a real object in front of the camera, then taking another photograph…repeat until you’ve made a short movie. I once shot a claymation TV commercial for a local cable TV company and I can tell you that it is a very tedious process.

Equally tedious is a process of animating drawings to create a fluid appearance of motion. Check out this ad from Honda…

According to Ad Age,

The spot, called “Paper,” weaves together roughly 3,000 hand-drawn illustrations using stop-motion filming that takes viewers through a paper-flipping, historical journey of Honda products.

So if motion is an illusion, what do you call a short film made up of many very short motion clips? Move.


Posted in film, photography | 2 Comments »

Copyright Monkeybusiness

Posted by prof e on August 9, 2014

Macaque-Selfie-finalPerhaps you’ve seen this picture of a female Celebes crested macaque. The picture is unusual in several ways. First, the expression is priceless. To peer into the soul of a subject and capture it on film in such a powerful way is truly amazing.

But that brings us to the second way in which this photo is unusual. It is a selfie. That’s right, the photo was taken by the subject. According to an article on the Mashable website, the photographer David Slater was on a trip through the jungles of the Indonesian island Sulawesi in 2011 when he had his camera swiped by the macaque who then turned the camera on herself.

Okay, pretty interesting story so far, but it gets better. Several years later someone uploaded the photo to Wikimedia Commons. Slater, who claims copyright on the photo, asked Wikimedia to remove the photo. Wikimedia denied Slater’s request claiming that Slater did not own the photo since he didn’t take it.

Alex Magdaleno, writing for Mashable, continues…

according to Wikimedia’s licensing report, it remains in the public domain “because as the work of a non-human animal, it has no human author in whom copyright is vested.”

There you have it. Once the courts settle this case we’ll know whether animal selfies enjoy the protection of copyright. And what if the courts say that the copyright belongs to the critter who pressed the shutter? In the US, copyright is awarded for the life of the author plus 70 years. If a Giant Galapagos tortoises snaps a selfie it could remain under copyright for upwards of 250 years!

Posted in copyright, global media, interactive media, new media, photography, regulation | Leave a Comment »

Someone’s about to die

Posted by prof e on December 12, 2012

Two photos, taken within a few days of one another in NYC, of men about to die.

In the period of a week these two photos were taken and published in newspapers and online. In each photo you can see the final moment before a life is snuffed out. In the first photo the victim is about to be hit by a New York subway train. In the second, the victim is about to be shot point-blank by the man approaching from behind. The first image was taken by R. Umar Abbasi, a freelance photographer for The New York Post. The second was a still from a surveillance camera.

The ethics of shooting, publishing, and captioning photos such as these are complex and difficult. You can find plenty of blogs and essays that attempt to dissect the issues involved (here’s one and here’s another) and they make many excellent points. It can be argued that I’m just as guilty by posting the pix on my blog and using the power of these very compelling images to draw you into a conversation about their appropriateness.

I hope that you will be prepared, if and when the day comes, to make the difficult choices that may be facing you. Do you take the picture? And if the picture is taken, do you print it? Which picture do you print? Which caption do you run? When does the public’s right to know trump the family’s right to privacy?

The best that we can hope for is that our choices come from ethical foundations that understands and appreciates the complicated, and often conflicting, values at play.

Posted in 1st amendment, journalism, media effects, photography | 19 Comments »

Is it real, or is it Photoshopped?

Posted by prof e on November 7, 2012

With cell-phone cameras everywhere, and digital photo sharing sites and apps like instagram so easy to use, we are seeing more photos than ever before. And while most of these photos are true depictions of real events, others are intended to mislead or deceive. Take, for example, the photos at right that came out in the days surrounding the “Superstorm” named Sandy. Of the four photos at right, only one is “true” or “real.” Can you guess which one?

Not only are fake photos easy to create, they are even easier to distribute. One cleverly made photo can go viral via social media like twitter, Tumblr and Facebook.

People with Photoshop skills can make composite photos that often defy detection. Photoshop has even become a verb, as in, “I ‘photoshopped’ him out of the picture and put Josh in his place.”

Photoshopped images in advertisements have even attracted the attention of European lawmakers who are threatening to ban the use of Photoshop or digital retouching in ads targeting those under the age of 16.

Oh, and by the way, the only photo that depicts Sandy in an accurate way is the shot of the roller coaster surrounded by water. The photo of Lady Liberty is from the movie The Day After. The shark is photoshopped, and the photo at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was taken in September.

Posted in new media, photography, social media | 10 Comments »