What’s Behind The Public Shaming of Reddit’s King Troll Violentacrez?

first_imgfruzsina eordogh A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit When Gawker reporter Adrian Chen publicly outed troll and influential Reddit user Violentacrez as Michael Brutsch two weeks ago in what many are calling the “best story of the Web,” he changed the nature of the Internet forever. The resulting journalist-sanctioned public shaming:1. Highlighted how ignorant the media is of Internet culture.2. Forced the Internet’s core psyche, sometimes referred to as the “hive mind,” to mature from a teenage boy to a relatively respectful young adult almost overnight.3. Legitimized digital lynch mobs. The Seduction Of A Public ShamingOur technology may have evolved, but our attitudes have not: Nothing pleases humanity more than a good public shaming. Instead of pelting rotten tomatoes at a man locked in the town square stockade, society’s “sinners” are now paraded on national television, courtesy of Anderson Cooper, and branded with a scarlet “T.” (Just Google “Michael Brutsch” if you don’t know what I mean.)Brutsch is now the physical face of the most hated thing on the Internet: the Troll. That anonymous person who goes out of his way to provoke a response. While few people understand what trolls actually are, where they came from and why they do what they do, it is generally accepted that they are the scum of the Web. Hating on them unconditionally is not just acceptable, it’s encouraged, as Cooper implied by calling Brutsch a sad “little person,” sitting “alone in his room, typing on his keyboard, interacting with people he doesn’t even know.” Cooper did stop short of calling him a “neckbeard,” but other outlets have not –  he’s been called a “monster,” and even falsely tied to the suicide of Amanda Todd and the “capper” community. Brutsch didn’t create the act of trolling, nor was he the original or most notorious troll. (Brutsch might not even be a troll, as tech culture journalist Xeni Jardin pointed out.) Nor is Brutsch the first man to have an offensive porn collection, or the first man to sexualize children. Regardless, Brutsch will be made an example of, dammit, because we the media (or as Forbes Kashmir Hill called it, “The Internet Cool Kids”) are sick and tired of these vile human beings mucking up our Internet! Never mind that the same media leverages these same transgressors to drive pageviews – all cloaked in hand-wringing and faux outrage (an act Reddit itself is guilty of) . And, of course, the same said media also sexualizes children.   Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification Related Posts Tags:#Trolls center_img The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos Trolls Are Easy TargetsCalling Brutsch’s transgressions “vile” isn’t an overstatement – his stuff was downright disgusting. Brutsch had his hands in some of the most controversial subreddits, including /r/incest, /r/misogyny, /r/beatingwomen, /r/chokeabitch, /r/Jewmerica, /r/Jailbait, /r/niggerjailbait, /r/rapebait, /r/picsofdeadkids and /r/creepshots, just to name a few. If you are offended by those titles, that’s the point of a Troll: Brutsch’s online behavior is so offensive that anyone that wants to be considered a respectable member of society has no choice but to oppose his behavior.As Chen describes trolling in his unmasking piece: “A troll exploits social dynamics like computer hackers exploit security loopholes, and Violentacrez calmly exploited the Reddit hive mind’s powerful outrage machine and free speech values at the same time.” If “troll” wasn’t the hot button word of the year, we’d be calling Brutsch’s digital binders of scantily clad or beaten women “performance art.”Whitney Phillips, a scholar studying Internet trolling culture, put it another way, calling trolls “cultural scavengers” that “engage in a process I describe as cultural digestion: They take in, regurgitate, and subsequently weaponize existing tropes and cultural sensitivities.” Trolls don’t engage in this sort of behavior alone or in a vacuum, Phillips said. Rather, they come out to play when they have a supportive “host culture.”  AKA: Reddit.Enabling Adolescent BehaviorThis is exactly what Brutsch meant when he told CNN’s Drew Griffin that Reddit “enabled” and “encouraged” his online behavior: “When two years ago, when all of this was at its height, the audience was appreciative, and supportive of the sort of gallows humor that I put out there.” When Brutsch, who is one year shy of 50, said he was catering to an audience of college kids, he means this both literally and figuratively. Brutsch’s fanbase isn’t necessarily college-aged, but the core Internet psyche is.Established sometime between late 1993 and 1999 through sites like Usenet and WebCrawler, and then reborn in 2003 with the creation of 4chan, the Internet psyche is skeptical, self-absorbed, sadistic and lazy – except when it comes to porn, cute animals, digital pranks and acts of Internet vigilantism. For various reasons, perhaps elated to being wealthy, white and privileged, users connected to this hive mind regularly post the most disturbing (re: misogynist, racist) content they can find. You might see this behavior as a way to compensate for, and feel alive in, their mundane real-world existences.    The infamous Usenet troll Ted Frank told Stryker in an interview for his book Epic Win For Anonymous: How 4chan’s Army Conquered The Web, that trolling served as “an educational tool for newcomers.” Modern trolling culture has evolved from its roots on Usenet, however, and Frank “insists” the trolling similarities between 4chan and Usenet are “an etymological coincidence.”  (In fact, the notion of trolling can be traced back even further than Usenet: Stryker describes comedian Andy Kaufman as one of the finest examples of a “pre-Internet troll,” and draws parallels with the “Greek prankster Pan, the Norse god Loki, and the conniving Native American Coyote.”)As the Internet goes mainstream and effectively kills the mantra “there are no girls on the Internet,” older generations, women and traditional media increasingly bump into this hive mind. Their presence will age and mature the digitial pysche just by being there, is the hope.  Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… The 4Chan ConnectionMuch of Reddit’s young, trolling psyche comes from 4chan, specifically /b/, but 4chan has managed to stay out of headlines during this flame war. “I don’t understand why everyone was upset at jailbait, while 4chan continually posts bullshit across the internet and no one bats an eye,” wrote redditor he_cried_out_WTF in response to the Violentacrez controversy. “4chan is apparently the petulant child that everyone pretends doesn’t exist as it throws yet another vase on the floor.”Reddit (and 4chan) aren’t the only social news sites that regularly tap into the vase-throwing Internet psyche: Digg, 9gag, Fark, Something Awful, Encyclopedia Dramatica, Buzzfeed, The Daily Dot, Know Your Meme and the entire I Can Haz Cheezburger clan regularly regularly tune in. Even Erik Martin and fellow paid Reddit employees were guilty of listening to this psyche when they cried “free speech” and “privacy” as knee-jerk reactions, when they could have denounced the misogynistic and racist behavior Brutsch catered to.  Brutsch gave the community exactly what it wanted. In return, he heaped up “meaningless Internet points… It had a reward, like the monkey that pushes the button to get a food pellet, it’s addictive” said Brutsch on national television. “Why do people spend money playing [World of Warcraft], why do people play games like that to build up their meaningless stats?, [it’s] exactly the same as 800,000 karma on Reddit.”  Gamification, baby.Where Do The Rest Of Us Fit In?Our reaction, as both journalists and “respectable members of society” prove we’re not that different from Brutsch and the dark side of the Internet. We behaved trollishly when we celebrated his job loss, demanded he be imprisoned or burn in hell, and gleefully discussed how his life is now ruined forever. Our collective outrage – what trolls eat for breakfast – also earned us meaningless Internet points in the form of Facebook likes and Twitter RTs. Chen’s piece made White Knights of us all, but is that enough to fix all the societal ills Brutsch was pointing out with his “trolling?” And is a digital lynching really the way to go? We don’t accept this kind of treatment of criminals in the real world – our current justice system is not ruled by a mob mentality  – but Chen’s piece and the resulting digital lynching is generally viewed as an acceptable means of punishment online. Perhaps, though, the most ironic aspect of this journalist-sanctioned public trial and execution, is that it generated from well-known Reddit “trolls” themselves. last_img read more

Facebook Said To Have Sexting App In The Works

first_imgFacebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… adam popescu Related Posts The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos Guess who just might be the newest addition to the sexting community? Facebook. That’s right, the nearly 9-year old company is growing up. Big time.The house that Mark Zuckerberg built is reportedly set to launch a new standalone app aimed at competing with Snapchat, a disposable photo and video chat service best known for… well… sexting.Technically, the service is about creating private, “self-destructable” picture and video messages that users can send and choose the amount of time that the photo will be available for viewing. After the allotted time, the content deletes itself from the sender’s and receiver’s phone, and from Snapchat’s server. Like it never happened. You can imagine the appeal to those who want to send “cheeky” images.Details for the release are still sketchy (Facebook’s official response to ReadWrite’s inquiry was: “We’re not going to comment on rumor and speculation.”). But we do know that Snapchat boasts a community that sends 50 million photos per day, and Facebook is likely betting its users, 1 billion people, who upload about 300 million photos a day, want to play. Although this app would a stand-alone product, operating like Facebook’s Instagram app, the coming service would be able to draw from a huge user base.What’s Coming?Ben Tao, chief executive of adult crowd-funding site Offbeatr, and digital marketplace Extra Lunch Money, says there is a huge market for sexting. But he’s not sure people will look to Facebook for it. “If people can do this for free and know that those messages and pictures are never stored, even more people will use it,” he said. “However, given Facebook’s privacy reputation I doubt [it will] be able to convince the majority of users that these messages and photos are deleted like they are on SnapChat. When people think of ‘sexting,’ people think of SnapChat. They don’t think Facebook.” But Kelly Lux, a social media strategist at Syracuse University’s iSchool, thinks the app could be big, and used for more innocent purposes than sending NSFW content. “My view is that Facebook is going to jump on whatever bandwagon is hot at the moment and see if something sticks,” Lux said. Lux doesn’t think the forthcoming app will be as big as Instagram because of the fleeting nature of its content. She also cautions that the promise of impermanence of photos and videos could lead to bad choices on the part of users. Even though the photos themselves would be automatically deleted, fast-fingered recipients or uploaders could still take screenshots or save those photos.“I think this idea sets a bad precedent for young people who still have not heeded the wisdom of ‘what happens on the Internet, stays on the internet,’” Lux warned. “There are permanent digital footprints from their connected activities.”The app is supposed to launch before the end of the year. That’s two weeks away. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.center_img A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit Tags:#apps#Facebook#social media Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verificationlast_img read more

The Greed-Heads At Facebook Just Keep Making Life Easier For Google’s Vic Gundotra

first_imgA Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification Related Posts A friend of mine who worked at Microsoft during its glory days once confided to me that Microsoft’s success in the 1990s came in part because Microsoft had been blessed with such wonderful enemies. It’s not that Microsoft was so brilliant, he said, but that everyone else was just so incredibly awful.Same goes today for Vic Gundotra and his team at Google+. Here they are, building a social network that gets bigger and better every day, while their biggest rivals, Facebook and Instagram, keep planting land mines around themselves and then stepping on them.The latest example is this uproar over changes Instagram made to its terms of service, which maybe gives Instagram permission to use your photos in ads, or maybe not, but anyway, everyone panic, it’s a trap!Instagram BackpedalsEveryone freaked out, so yesterday Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom issued a backpedaling blog post that said, basically, Um, no, you guys all misunderstood what we’re planning to do, and we need to fix the language in our statement, and we’re totally not going to sell your photos to advertisers, we’re just saying that we have a license to license them to advertisers, which is not the same as selling them, so we’re totally not lying, right? Although yeah, maybe, like, we might, um, someday use your photos in some new kind of advertising or brand promotion that we’re hoping to experiment with or something, but as of right now we don’t have any intention to do whatever it is you’re afraid that we might do, at least as far as we know at this very minute as I am sitting here writing these words, though that could change in the future. So, we good?This is a classic Facebook-style response, the non-apology apology combined with non-admission admission, where you try to sound contrite and you fire out a lot of words and hope that everybody just gets more confused and nobody notices that you didn’t actually say that you’re not going to do the thing that people are worried you might do. My sense is that Systrom sold his company to Facebook and now is waking up realizing the kind of people he’s actually leapt into bed with, and maybe it is also dawning on him that these guys now own him and can tell him what to do, and maybe he even regrets this turn of events, but several hundred million dollars has a way of assuaging that pain.The Anti-Backlash BacklashThe anti-Instagram backlash of course prompted an anti-backlash backlash, as the usual lineup of Silicon Valley apologist bloggers (apolo-bloggers?) rushed out to defend Systrom and Instagram, arguing that everyone was just being ridiculous and freaking out for no reason because Instagram isn’t doing anything bad here, and the new terms aren’t any different from the old terms, and everybody just needs to sit down and read the legal documents, or just trust Instagram and Facebook, because why not? Look at their track record. Good people.But if the new terms aren’t any different from the old terms, why did Instagram and its lawyers feel the need to create new terms? Does anyone believe that big publicly traded companies suddenly start adding new wording to their terms of service just for no reason? Just for giggles? Just to piss people off and send users into a panic? Who knows. I am not a lawyer, as folks online like to say. What I do know is that I’m not going to pore through the legalese of the new document and compare it to the wording of the old document and then try to parse the meaning of the different wording, because frankly I don’t have time to wade through legal forms, and I don’t think I should need a law degree to stay on top of the constantly changing terms of service of an app that lets me share photos with kooky old-timey filters on them, especially since I’m married and I have kids and a job and a mortgage and loads of things that are far more central to my existence than worrying about (or using) Instagram.The takeaway for most people will be that Instagram made some changes, and the changes seemed skeevy, and not just to the unwashed masses but even to companies like National Geographic, which has stopped posting photos on Instagram and presumably did so on the advice of its own lawyers, who no doubt understand terms of service statements better than the average tech blogger.Whatever Facebook does or doesn’t plan to do with people’s photos, the damage is done. If you needed another reason not to bother with Instagram, Facebook just gave it to you.What’s more surprising is the fact that people seem so surprised and disappointed — and even kind of hurt — to discover that Instagram isn’t some well-meaning charity organization but is in fact just another grubby Internet business. How does anyone not know, at this point, that the people who are offering all these “free services” on the Internet are not a pack of heroic, idealistic entrepreneurs but are in fact just a bunch of icky businesskids whose idea of “changing the world” means tricking people into parting with data that can be turned into money?It’s 2012, people. Time to let the scales fall from your eyes.The Exodus BeginsNow people are bailing out of Instagram, among them my colleague Jon Mitchell, an avid Instagrammer who says he’s quitting because “it’s not inspiring anymore.” Our writer John Paul Titlow points out that Instagram also is alienating professional photographers.How great is this for Google+? Photographers are one of the key consituencies and were among the service’s earliest and most avid adopters. Photographer Thomas Hawk touted the virtues of Flickr and Google+ in his blog post expressing his dismay over the Instagram debacle. Some photographers love Google+ so much they even organized an “Unofficial Google+ Photographers Conference” earlier this year. Now even more of them have a reason to switch to Google+. And what can Instagram do to lure them back?Facebook and Instagram are in a tough position. The only way they can make money is by doing things that members don’t want them to do, things that, in ways big and small, diminish the experience of being on Facebook and Instagram.So they must choose between advertisers and members, and so far — I know this is shocking — they keep siding with the ones who give them money.The problem is that this strategy seems guaranteed to drive away members, which in turn drives away advertisers, which means it all ends in a blackened pit of fire and smoke, but by then, if you’re clever, you’ve dumped your shares onto the suckers, made your millions (or billions) and moved on.Google Doesn’t Need To Put Ads On Google+Google+ has no such issues. Gundotra and his team don’t need to place ads next to, or inside, the news feed of Google+. They don’t need to run sponsored stories and promoted posts and all the other garbage that increasingly clutters up Facebook. They also don’t need to grab your photos and make money off them by using them in ads.Google makes money from Google+ by using social results in its core search business. Who knows how much money, and really, who cares? Google could run Google+ as a charity, and whatever the whole things costs it would still be a rounding error to a company that will do $40 billion in sales this year and throw off $10 billion in net profit. I’d guess Larry Page would do it just for giggles, let alone for the chance to hurt Facebook, which has talked so much smack about unseating Google.So what does this mean? It means Google+ guys can take the high road.It means Vic Gundotra can wait for Facebook and Instagram to keep doing dumb things, then put out a high-minded statement like the one I got from Google: “As our Terms of Service make clear, ‘what belongs to you stays yours.’ You own your files and control their sharing, plain and simple. Some of our services allow you to submit content. You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In addition, on Google+ you can export your photos and other data whenever you’d like.”It means Bradley Horowitz can get up on stage at the unofficial photographers conference and strike a Jesus Christ pose (seriously, check out the photo on that link) and say that Google’s goal is simply “building a product for humanity.”It means Google can just keep its head down, keep adding features, keep not running ads, and watch in glee as Facebook and Instagram keep pissing off people by trying to make money off their personal information and photos. Vic Gundotra would never say this, but I’m sure he’s happy today. Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro…center_img The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos Tags:#Facebook#Google#Instagram#Vic Gundotra dan lyonslast_img read more

Celeb Sighting Bingo! CES 2013’s Zany Celebrity Lineup Grab Bag

first_imgtaylor hatmaker Chris “Ludacris” BridgesSOUL Electronics / 10pm, Thursday, January 10, TAO Nightclub Rapper turned actor Ludacris seems like a nice dude. I count this as a real celeb.Dr. Sanjay GuptaDigital Health Summitt (LVCC, North Hall, Room N250) / 9-10:15am, Wednesday, January 9 CNN’s overexposed rockstar doctor guy. If he had accepted the job as Surgeon General, that would be one thing.Dr. OzDigital Health Summitt (LVCC, North Hall, Room N250) / 10-10:50am, Thursday, January 10 Maybe Dr. Oz can tell you what that weird growth is on your foot. If not, try Sanjay Gupta.Carrot TopGibson Guitar Corp. (LVCC, CES Central Plaza, CP-30) We all know that the obnoxious comedian Carrot Top is just hanging out here in Vegas anyway. I don’t know what he brings to Gibson’s brand, but now that CES celebs are like trading cards, you might as well collect ’em all. Danny DeVitoPanasonic (LVCC, Central Hall, Booth #9406) / 2:30pm, Wednesday, January 9 Okay, Danny DeVito is actually kind of awesome. If he’s anything like his character on It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, I’d like to commit a misdemeanor or drink stale beer with him. Ryan VogelsongJVC Americas Corp. (LVCC, North Hall, Booth #1810) / 11am and 2pm, Wednesday, January 9 A pitcher for the World Series Champion San Francisco Giants. Who let all these athletes in here?! Brian SingerPrivate Event, Parnassus Group / 5:30-7:30pm, Thursday, January 10, Cili’s at Bali Hai Singer directed the first two X-Men movies, which were awesome. But I’m still mad that he bailed on the trilogy to make a Superman movie. If you see him, ask him about that.Want to track down even more weirdo celebs? Check out the full list. As the annual Consumer Electronics Show grows away from its humble roots as, you know, a consumer electronics show, its focus increasingly turns to things altogether unrelated to technology – like celebrities!Last year I recall spending three hours chasing down Justin Bieber with my telephoto lens – he made a brief, grumpy appearance promoting some entirely forgettable robotics company that I have since entirely forgotten. This year, the celeb safari is back on.  Here’s who is showing up to CES this year and why you should – or shouldn’t – care.Get your bingo cards ready. No really… why not make a bingo card? Fill one up, find me and I’ll buy you a shot. (Just don’t blame me for knowing more about smartphones than pop culture – this is who I think these people are, anyway.)   Felicia DayThis year’s “CES Celebrity Ambassador,” you might know Felicia day from the World of Warcraft spoof web series The Guild, or just from being generally cool and having preternaturally perfect skin. She tends to appear at every geek-adjacent event known to man, and we imagine that she’ll spend most of the week in a cocktail lounge in an ivory tower somewhere in the South Hall. She’s the CES celeb bingo equivalent of a doubleword score.Maroon 5Qualcomm Incoporated Preshow Keynote / 6:30-7:30pm, Monday, January 7, The Venetian, Palazzo Ballroom This is a band, I think. I’m honesty not totally sure. It sounds like a racecar. Or a craft beer.will.i.amThe Next Generation of Innovators Keynote / 11am-12pm, Tuesday, January 8, LVH Theater This dude is from The Black Eyed Peas and has the cojones to downstyle his name like an Apple product. He’s A+ in my book.Curtis “50 Cent” JacksonSMS Audio (LVCC, South Hall 1, #20206) / 3pm, Wednesday, January 9 Isn’t this guy blatantly sexist and homophobic? Surprise! He’s at CES 2013 representing SMS Audio, a brand that I will now ardently choose to not give a shit about. Travis BarkerPioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. (LVCC, North Hall Booth #1101) / 12-1pm and 1:30-2:30pm, Tuesday, January 8 The Blink 182 dude? Really? Don’t make me make the “what’s my age again” joke.Dana CohenHaier America (LVCC, Central Hall, #10939) I have zero idea who this woman is, but apparently she was dubbed the “Scallop Queen” on season 10 of Hell’s Kitchen, which is the best title I’ve ever heard of. All hail the bivalve queen! 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… Tags:#CES 2013#events#Events Guide#film#humor#music#social#television center_img 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App Related Posts I Fight DragonsBém Wireless / 7pm, Wednesday, January 9, Luxor, Flight LoungeThis is probably an indie band. Okay, yeah, I looked it up and it is definitely an indie band. I hated them at first based on their name alone, but apparently they are into the chiptune retro video game sound thing, so now I’m totally into it.Lil TwistNikura (LVCC, South Hall 4, #37134) / 1pm, Thursday, January 10 A young rapper of sorts, I imagine. And apparently Justin Bieber’s BFF.LL Cool JCNET (LVCC, South Hall 3, CNET Booth) / 4:30pm, Tuesday, January 8 This guy is kind of actually famous! All these years and he never changed his name to something more pretentious or with fewer vowels – props to you, Mr. J.Rohan MarleyHouse of Marley (LVCC, Central Hall, #10544) / 11am-3pm, Tuesday, January 8 – Thursday, January 9 Bob Marley’s son is here every year with his crazy bamboo headphones and a big smile on his face. He’s a super nice guy and he’ll take a picture with you and you can almost pretend you met the “real” Marley instead of Lauryn Hill’s ex boyfriend.Nicole “Snooki” PolizziZeikos/iHip (LVCC, South Hall 1, #21142) / 1-3pm, Wednesday, January 9 Yep, Snooki.Tim TebowSOUL Electronics (Venetian Tower, #31-234) / 9am, Thursday, January 10Isn’t this that sanctimonious football player guy who never actually gets to play? We geeks come to these events to get away from you people. Whatever. 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People…last_img read more

Did Fitbit try to buy longstanding rival Jawbone for Christmas?

first_imgAfter settling patent infringement lawsuits in the run-up to Christmas, Fitbit supposedly offered to acquire Jawbone for an undisclosed amount.The two firms have been at each other’s throats for a few years, accusing each other of patent infringement and stealing trade secrets. Jawbone originally sued Fitbit in May 2015 and Fitbit filed a counter-suit later in the year.See also: Will Jawbone’s future mean no more wearables?Talks quickly ended once Fitbit revealed its offer, which was much lower than the $1.5 billion valuation Jawbone received last year, according to The Financial Times.Jawbone has been under pressure to find a solution to its financial problems by Blackrock, a major stakeholder in the firm. According to sources inside the company, it has been unable to find a buyer or investor willing to value the company “fairly.”The private company dropped in value from $3 billion to $1.5 billion in a year, and it seems most bidders have devalued Jawbone even more in 2017.The acquisition of Jawbone may have raised questions about Fitbit’s total dominance of the wearables market, as it would have come on top of the Pebble and Vector acquisitions.Fitbit has been scooping up a few wearable startups in the past few weeks, possibly due to analysts cooling their predictions on industry growth. The withdrawal of interest may have lowered the value of some startups, making them cost effective for the firm. Related Posts Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Small Business Cybersecurity Threats and How to… Follow the Puckcenter_img Tags:#Fitbit#fitness tracker#jawbone#smartwatch#wearable Internet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You… David Currylast_img read more

TomTom to step back from wearables market after poor sales

first_imgRelated Posts Internet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You… Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Follow the Puck TomTom may be on the verge of leaving the wearables market, after a 20 percent year-on-year consumer sales decline, which management blamed on the Sports division.“The wearables market has fallen short of expectations… And because of this and because we want to focus on automotive, licensing and telematics businesses, we are reviewing strategic options for our Sports business,” said TomTom CEO Harold Goddijn.See Also: Where are all the women in tech? They’re in wearablesTomTom’s sports division includes the company’s fitness trackers and the action cams.According to a report by Wareable, several key figures in the division have already departed. These include Patrick Stal, VP of marketing for TomTom Sports, Costa Grillo, global product marketing manager, Lindsay Mandeville, communications manager, George Sewell, VP of software, and Tom Brown, the head of the UK operations.Lots of empty desksMost of them left during TomTom’s last round of firings, in December. The report says that most of the positions have not been filled, leading them to believe that the division might be shut.Satnav manufacturers have been looking for ways to diversify their brands and wearables, which utilize GPS and low-power technology, seemed like an easy fit. However, the wearable industry has seen sluggish performance all round, with Apple and Xiaomi the only real ‘winners’ in the last six months, as Fitbit has lost market share and Jawbone folded.Intel has supposedly also “eliminated” its wearable division, following the disastrous Basis Peak recall, which cost the company millions in replacements and refunds.center_img David Curry Tags:#action camera#fitness tracker#Internet of Things#IoT#satnav#smartwatch#TomTom#wearable Small Business Cybersecurity Threats and How to…last_img read more

The 10 Unforeseen Developments of Smart Buildings

first_imgTrends Driving the Loyalty Marketing Industry Frank Landman Follow the Puck What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Frank is a freelance journalist who has worked in various editorial capacities for over 10 years. He covers trends in technology as they relate to business. center_img For the past decade or so, we’ve watched as conventional devices and applications made the upgrade to become “smart.” Our phones became smartphones, our TVs became smart TVs, and soon people started talking about the concept of a “smart building,” or even a “smart city,” based on an integrated network and hundreds, if not thousands, of sensors and devices.Smart buildings sound cool, but more importantly, they have the power to fundamentally improve how we conduct business—not to mention setting the stage for even more powerful, interconnected smart cities in the broader context of the connected world. Already, CEOs, entrepreneurs, and organizational leaders are making the upgrades necessary to turn their existing building into a futuristic, data-gathering information hub, but we may be getting ahead of ourselves. There are many secondary effects, consequences, and complexities we need to be considering.The Unforeseen DevelopmentsWhile the technology behind it is complicated, the idea of a smart building is relatively simple. There’s no real formal definition in place, but a smart building is any building that relies on a self-contained network and multiple IoT devices to gather data, form conclusions, and/or automate certain features of the building.For example, a building may use sensors to observe the traffic patterns of visitors, which can then be used to improve the layout of the space. It may also proactively monitor the status of equipment, issuing alerts when attention is required or taking care of some maintenance by itself.These are just some of the seldom-considered developments that will arise in response to the development of these buildings:1. Impact on maintenance staff. Automation and AI have tremendous potential to replace or dramatically change human jobs, and the devices and sensors necessary to upgrade a smart building are no exception to that rule. Currently, most buildings have maintenance staff—either full-time or third-party—to handle things like minor repairs, regular inspections, cleanliness, and upkeep. But as more devices are able to replace or improve these roles, the maintenance industry will need to adapt. Some human workers may find their jobs in jeopardy, but the majority of roles won’t be replaced; they’ll simply be changed. Maintenance workers will need to learn how to incorporate these new technologies into their jobs, and may be required to maintain and oversee more sensors and devices, as opposed to equipment directly.2. Privacy concerns. We also need to acknowledge the privacy concerns expressed by experts and consumers alike with regard to the onset of smart buildings and, eventually, smart cities. Consumers who enter a building may be immediately and constantly tracked from the moment they enter. Should companies and organizations be freely allowed to use these data for customer analysis purposes? What if customers use free in-building Wi-Fi; should companies be allowed to monitor what sites their customers are visiting? And what about the other data in their smart devices? There’s no clear answer here, which is why the world of consumer privacy is about to get even more complicated with the development of smart buildings.3. Data ownership. Another issue related to consumer data is the matter of data ownership. Smart buildings will introduce more methods of tracking, data storage, and data analysis than ever before, which means organizations will be hungry for more consumer data. But who truly owns these data, and how can they be used? For example, if one company tracks the activity of their customers using sensors in their main building (let’s say a gym tracking the activities of its members), would they be free to sell those data to a third party (like a weight loss organization)? Or would they first need to get the express written permission of those customers?4. Changes in demand. The emergence of smart buildings will cause an economic ripple effect across various industries as demand increases for certain components. As an example, let’s consider the battery industry. Smart buildings would hypothetically need hundreds, if not thousands of tiny, individual devices as part of their internal networks. To run wirelessly, those devices will need batteries. Multiply that by thousands, if not millions of buildings suddenly demanding this fleet of devices, and you’ll have an industry overrun with new demand. New industries may spring up to address these types of needs, while others may die out entirely.5. Vulnerability to hacking and corruption. IoT, in general, has raised concerns about security, and the possibilities of hacking and corruption. If a personal computer is hacked, we might get our identity stolen or might lose important personal files, but if there’s a breach across an entire smart building, it could pose a serious safety concern to everyone in that building. Redundant systems and higher security standards can only go so far; nothing is uhackable, and new technologies always have exploits that can be taken advantage of.6. Legal complexities and fault. If a system does become hacked or corrupted, and someone in the building is hurt because of it, who will be held responsible for the damages? New technologies always introduce new legal complexities, and they usually introduce them at a rate much faster than politicians and lawyers can keep up with. In the wake of smart buildings and other smart technologies, our legal systems need to get smarter as well. Whether or not they will, or whether they can truly keep pace, remains to be seen.7. Economic stress. Smart buildings and smart cities can also introduce new economic factors, including economic stress. Existing wealthy clients and successful businesses will have access to more advanced technology than struggling populations or failing businesses, which could create more vast discrepancies between rich and poor. It may also enable some businesses to operate much more efficiently, making it harder for competition to enter the market.8. Inter-city competition and spending. Companies aren’t the only ones that will be competing with smart building advancements; cities may begin competing with each other as well, hoping to become one of the first smart cities on the planet, or in a given area. The problem with this is that cities typically operate with a very limited budget and many other practical problems to deal with, like infrastructure damage and poverty relief. Overspending on tech developments could end up being counterproductive, especially if those cities aren’t spending enough on supportive strategies to ensure that technology is safe and productive.9. Developmental differences. Smart buildings could feasibly be designed as top-down or bottom-up; it’s entirely reasonable to retrofit an existing building with new devices, sensors, and systems to make building maintenance easier, but companies could also design brand-new buildings from scratch. These designs rely on very different industries, and could have radically different impacts on the companies using them (as well as the cities hosting them).10. Unreasonable and unmet expectations. People tend to have deep misconceptions about the realities of futuristic technologies, like deep learning and AI. They imagine future developments as being extremely polished and enormously functional, but in reality, new technologies tend to offer new functionalities gradually, with flaws and hiccups along the way. When the first smart buildings begin to emerge, people may not know what to expect from them, and their expectations will likely be lofty. When those expectations aren’t met, it could lead to interruptions in financing and lower overall demand for smart buildings.Preparing for a Smart Building Takeover?Depending on how you want to define the term, you can likely determine that smart buildings are already being constructed and developed. With so much enthusiasm and potential behind the new technology, momentum isn’t going to stop anytime soon. This is ultimately a good thing for corporations, cities, and everyday consumers, but we need to be aware of the secondary effects, consequences, and new issues that may arise as we attempt to improve these structures. Related Posts Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaceslast_img read more

Money Monday

first_imgBy Barbara O’NeillDoes the military provide any type of compensation assistance for daily living activities?Yes. Special Compensation for Assistance with Activities of Daily Living (SCAADL) was authorized by the Fiscal Year 2010 National Defense Authorization Act (Public Law 111-84). This special monthly compensation is for eligible catastrophically injured or ill service members who require assistance with activities of daily living or who are at a high risk for personal safety and cannot live independently in the community without caregiver support. SCAADL provides financial assistance for non-medical care, support, and assistance by a primary caregiver for the service member. Catastrophically wounded, ill, and injured service members and their caregivers should discuss eligibility for this program with their primary care managers or care coordinators. To be eligible, service members must:have a catastrophic injury or illness incurred in the line of duty that compromises their ability to carry out activities of daily living such that they require personal or mechanical assistance to leave the home or bed or require constant supervision to avoid physical harm to themselves or others;be certified by a licensed physician to be in need of assistance from another person to perform the personal functions of everyday living; andrequire some form of residential institutional care in the absence of this provisionFor more information, click here.Browse more military personal finance webinars and blog posts by experts.Follow Dr. O’Neill on Twitter!This post was published on the Military Families Learning Network Blog on December 16, 2013last_img read more

Q&A with #MFLNMC: How is Medicaid affected by the Affordable Care Act?

first_imgAre you a military service provider or caregiver to a family member whose medical coverage falls under Medicaid? Are you unsure how their coverage may be affected by the Affordable Care Act? In today’s caregiving post we take a brief look at the impact the Affordable Care Act has on Medicaid.The Affordable Care Act (ACA) allows states to expand Medicaid based on the percentage of the federal poverty level. About half of the U.S. has opted to do this as of early 2015. These states have expanded Medicaid eligibility to adults earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.The ACA also creates incentives for states to further develop Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) and to incorporate the programs into their state Medicaid programs, making services more widely available. HCBS are provided under federal waivers that allow states to provide services to qualified individuals. As a result, the scope of services may be limited, the populations served may be specified, and the approval to operate the waiver time may be limited.  Medicaid is and remains a federal-state program that is administered by state governments.To learn more about Medicaid check out our Medicaid and Military Families: An Introduction training.Have a question for our military caregiving team? Let us know! We want to hear from you.last_img read more

Food Safety for Your Labor Day

first_imgCC Flickr Picnic food by Mark H. Anbinderby Joanna ManeroAlthough the summer is winding down and coming to an end, Labor Day is always a nice last hoorah.  It’s the perfect time to squeeze in one last picnic or trip to the lake or beach with the family.  Before embarking on the family fun, check out these picnic tips to make sure everyone enjoys their break without too many trips to the bathroom.  Don’t forget your food safety!Keep your hands clean– It can be tricky to wash your hands in an outdoor setting.  If facilities aren’t available, plan ahead and bring hand wipes or sanitizer to use before handling food.Keep cool things cool– If you have cold items, like potato salad or condiments, keep them in the cooler.  Keep the cooler in a shaded area and try to limit excessively opening the cooler to maintain cold temperature.  Keep ice packs or ice cubes in the cooler and everything in an air tight container to avoid cooler water from getting in the food.Don’t over-pack– Try to bring only the food you think you and your family will eat.  Don’t overpack food, to avoid dealing with leftovers.Leftovers–  If you happen to have leftovers, place them in sealed containers and stick them in a cooler to avoid leaving them in the temperature danger zone, the temperature range in which bacteria grow most rapidly, for too long.Save condiment packages– If you can, save a few small condiment packages from fast food restaurants or cafes to stick in your picnic basket.  It’ll take up less room and will be easier to share.Reverse pack your basket– Pack food items on the bottom of the basket with paper plates, silverware, and a tablecloth on top.  This way you will have a place to put your food when you get to it.GrillingMarinate– Make sure you marinate your food in the fridge and not on the counter at room temperature.  Don’t reuse marinade as sauce to pour over meat.  You can separate part of the marinade before using it on raw meat to pour over the finished meat later.Keep raw meat items separate– If you can, assign them their own cooler to keep food from cross-contamination.  If not, double bag meat items in air tight containers.Always cook food thoroughly– If you are doing any grilling, make sure food is cooked all the way through.  Although a meat thermometer is unlikely, cut the thickest piece of meat to evaluate if it is cooked thoroughly.Avoid cross-contamination– Make sure you have different utensils for cooked and raw products.I hope you found some of these tips fun and useful as you prepare for your last few family outings for the summer.  Don’t forget the sunscreen and bug spray!  Most importantly, make the most of the summer before the kids go back to school.Check out the following websites for more tips and tricks for the perfect picnic! https://www.extension.iastate.edu/foodsafety/content/picnic-safetyhttps://www.fda.gov/food/resourcesforyou/Consumers/ucm109899.htmhttps://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/seasonal-recipes/how-to-plan-the-perfect-picnic This blog was posted by Robin Allen, a member of the Military Families Learning Network (MFLN) Nutrition and Wellness team that aims to support the development of professionals working with military families.  Find out more about the MFLN Nutrition and Wellness concentration on our website on Facebook, on Twitter, and LinkedIn.last_img read more

GIVEAWAY! Win Retrograde – A Vintage Film Plugin for FCPX

first_imgGive your video footage a vintage film look with Retrograde, a film emulator for Final Cut Pro X. We’ve got 5 copies to give away!Retro looks are all the rage.  Instagram, Hipstamatic…Retrograde.Want to give your footage a cool vintage film look?  Crumplepop and Red Giant Software, makers of quality post production plugins and effects have released Retrograde – a vintage film emulator for FCPX.Crumplepop has provided us with 5 copies of Retrograde to give away!  Enter to win by following Premiumbeat and tweeting the message below!  You have until midnight on Friday, October 26th to send the tweet.  Winners will be contacted on the 27th.  Only enter once!  Multiple entries will be disqualified.1. Follow us on Twitter 2. Tweet the Following:GIVEAWAY! I just entered to win Retrograde for FCPX from @CrumplePop & @Premiumbeat! http://bit.ly/fcpx-retro #RetrogradeYou can quickly give your footage an 8mm or 16mm film look by dragging and dropping Retrograde onto your footage in Final Cut Pro X.  You’ll get the trademarks of shooting with analog film – grain, dust, scratches and a vintage tinged color palette.  No need to layer filters and effects.This FCPX effects pack was created using real analog source material giving it an organic analog effect.  Customize and tweak the effect to achieve your own unique look.DOWNLOAD RETROGRADE for $49 or test out the free trial.Retrograde in action:The Making of Retrograde:last_img read more

352 Free Letterbox Templates for Video Editing (8K, 4K, HD & More)

first_imgThe templates (seen above) can be used to convert footage into the following aspect ratios:1:1 Square4:3 Silent Film/NTSC1.37:1 Academy Ratio1.43:1 IMAX3:2 Classic 35mm7:4 Metroscope1.85:1 Vistavision2:1 Panascope & RED2.2:1 Todd AI2.35:1 Cinemascope2.39:1 Theatrical & Blu-ray2.55:1 Vintage Cinemascope2.75:1 Ultra Panavision2.76:1 MGM Camera 653:1 Extreme Scope4:1 PolyVisionAll of the templates are available in both black and white letterbox formats.Using the Free Letterbox TemplatesThese free letterbox templates are incredibly easy to use and manipulate. All of the files are PNG images with alpha channels. To use the templates, simply drag and drop the appropriate resolution letterbox above your sequence in your video editing application of choice.DOWNLOAD FREE LETTERBOX TEMPLATES Easily give your videos the cinematic cropping they deserve with these free high-res letterbox templates for video editing.Despite having the ability to export footage in virtually any resolution, filmmakers and video producers are still limited to showing their work on screens with a very specific aspect ratios. Because of this, you need to export your footage with letterboxes if you want to view your footage in an aspect ratio that’s different than 16:9.What Are Letterbox Templates?Simply put, letterboxes are small bars that can be applied to your footage to give them an irregular aspect ratio while still retaining their 16:9 size. Letterboxes can be used to crop footage shot in 16:9 to a more cinematic 2.35:1. They can also be a great tool for pre-visualizing how your video will be cropped on an irregularly sized screen.In the past if you wanted to drop letterboxes into your project, you had to either download a limited free template or create your own. These options aren’t ideal — so we created a future-proof pack full of letterbox templates for virtually every format in the world.What’s in the Free Letterbox Template Pack?Our free pack of 352 letterbox templates includes templates for every popular video resolution in the world, including:HD 720HD 10802K2.5K3K3K HD4K4K UHD5K6K8Klast_img read more

7 Easy Ways to Improve Your Cinematography

first_imgWatch TutorialsImage via Awesome Cinematography Tutorial: The Flip Shot.We truly live in a golden age of information as pretty much anything you want to learn, you can learn online by watching videos. Filmmaking may be one of the great examples of the democratization of knowledge, as there are an endless number of videos that can explain everything from cinematography basics to camera breakdowns to a litany of concepts, tips, and tricks.6 Filmmaking Tutorials for CinematographersCinematography Tutorials Will Help You Put Some Brains Behind Your Cinematic Choices20 Lighting Tutorials for Film and VideoYou can also keep developing your cinematography by subscribing to channels like PremiumBeat’s YouTube channel or keeping tabs on our archives here.What are your tips and tricks for improving at cinematography? Let us know in the comments. Use InstagramImage via Shutterstock.Like it or not, Instagram is not only a cultural phenomenon for sharing food pics, it’s also a powerful tool for aspiring cinematographers. Depending on how much you want to utilize its potential, Instagram can be a great means to try new perspectives and develop an understanding of what makes certain images stand out. With its in-depth editing options covering everything from contrast to pulling out colors in highlights and shadows, it’s a great program to keep you constantly trying new things.8 Cinematographers to Follow on InstagramHow Instagram Can Help Cinematographers!Ryan Booth on Career, Life and Instagram Try Different Cameras and LensesImage via Shutterstock.A good director of photography needs not only a comprehensive understanding of cinematography but also an astute knowledge of camera technology. Finding ways to shoot on different cameras — either by renting, borrowing, or buying — is a great way to expand your camera repertoire. When you do try different cameras, try to understand each camera’s strengths and weaknesses for your specific cinematography style.The 6 Best Filmmaking Cameras Under $1,000How To Choose The Best Camera For Your Video ProductionImportant Cameras of Cinematic History Use Different Aspect RatiosImage via Shutterstock.Another way to get a cinematographer out of his or her comfort zone (which is important for growth), is to practice shooting in different aspect ratios. A good cinematographer should have a comprehensive understanding of what it takes to shoot in everything from a 1:1 box to 2.35:1 cinemascope. A DP will have a major say in what aspect ratio is right for a project and will make their selections and recommendations based on what the story dictates.Using Aspect Ratios Like a Pro: Why Choose One Ratio Over Another?Movie Making Manual/Cinematography/Aspect ratios352 Free Letterbox Templates for Video Editing (8K, 4K, HD & More) Try out these 7 tips and tricks to expand your skill set and improve as a cinematographer.Cover image via Shutterstock.Like any artist, a good cinematographer must constantly look for ways to hone his or her craft. While it’s easy to say “practice, practice, practice,” it’s harder to find creative and pragmatic ways to expand your knowledge base, day in and day out.Let’s explore seven tips and tricks that can help you become a better cinematographer.Take Up PhotographyImage via Shutterstock.It’s simple and it’s true: cinematography shares many of its principles with photography. However, you could argue that the stakes are higher in photography as a single frame must maximize all of its elements to convey a feeling and tell a story. Camera settings like exposure, color temperature, and depth of field are as important as framing concepts like the rule of thirds; focus; and foreground, middleground, and background.Here are some resources on how to improve your cinematography with photography (and vice versa).Find Cinematic Inspiration with These Visionary PhotographersThree Ways Cinematography Can Improve Your PhotographyTranslating Your Photography Skills to CinematographyCinematography and Photography Concepts Simplified Learn to Color GradeImage via Shutterstock.As film crews are continuing to shrink and roles continuing to merge, a good cinematographer in today’s multifaceted environment needs a good understanding of color grading — if not how to double in that role altogether. If you think about it, it really makes sense for a DP to know how an image is going to color in post and how to shoot intentionally to prepare for those results.The Video Editor’s Guide to Color GradingThe Difference Between Color Correction and Color Grading35 Free LUTs for Color Grading Videos Practice StoryboardingImage via Shutterstock.While it may not be the most glamorous part of the profession, storyboarding is often a major part of a cinematographer’s job. A good cinematographer must often painstakingly storyboard every shot throughout an entire film — often by hand. If you’re a forward-looking individual, check out some of the many online and app options to streamline storyboarding. But make sure you’re ready to dive in deep, as storyboarding is where a true cinematographer can shine.Free Storyboard Template for Film and Video ProjectsThe Unifying Power of StoryboardsWorkflow Tip: Storyboard Your Animations in Adobe Illustratorlast_img read more

Meditative Ambient Music for Thoughtful Videos

first_imgRoyalty-free music to calm the soul. This playlist is perfect for meditation videos and more.Cover image via Shutterstock.It’s an interesting paradox that ambient soundtracks — with music that’s often designed to subtly establish mood and texture — end up having a big impact on viewers. Think of the soundscape Thomas Newman created for American Beauty or Vangelis’s score to Blade Runner. Both are soundtracks that people still talk about today.Whether it’s an accompaniment to a thoughtful Sci-Fi piece or a meditation instructional for YouTube, there are plenty of genres and project types that can benefit from a unique ambient sound. For example, see how the track “New Atmosphere” by Martin Riopel adds a chill, hypnotic texture to Jon Wright Photography‘s video below.Want to give your next project a similar New Age vibe? Our music team has curated a playlist featuring meditative, ambient cues. Each track is royalty free, too, so with the purchase of a simple license, you can the track of your choice online in as many videos as you want. Check all of our royalty free music here.last_img read more

How to Create Unique Effects by Editing Your Videos in Photoshop

first_imgYes, you can edit video in Photoshop, but should you? Here are a few tricks you can pull off to quickly and easily add a little life to your projects.Why would anyone want to do edit video in Photoshop when there are non-linear editing programs designed specifically for the task? Until a couple of months ago, I didn’t even know it was possible. However, editing video in Photoshop can be a creative way to add visual effects to your projects that your viewers have never seen.In this article, we’ll break down how to edit video in Photoshop, and then we’ll dive into some techniques you can use for your own special effects.Getting StartedIf you’re familiar with Adobe products, then learning to edit video in Photoshop shouldn’t be too difficult. Once you open PS, you need to switch your layout to “motion,” which you’ll find in the top-right corner of your screen. Once you’ve made this selection, a timeline should appear; click Create new sequence. I recommend doing most of your basic editing in Premiere f— or whichever editing program you use — before dropping your video into Photoshop. This way, you can focus on adding effects rather than worrying about timeline work.Once you’ve exported your sequence from your NLE of choice, import your video into the Photoshop timeline by clicking Add media next to Layer 1. Delete the default blank layer, and move your clip to the beginning of the sequence. Depending on the length and other specifics of your clip, you can set the two markers at the top as in and out points to focus on a specific section. This is particularly useful if you’re making small adjustments and want to analyze specific frames.For example, if you’re editing a photo, I recommend creating a new layer if you want to manipulate certain shapes or aspects of your image without changing the whole thing.What You Can Do in Photoshop1. Add Color and TextureA couple of months ago, I saw Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The animation style and the visual effects left me so inspired that I decided to try to make my own 30-second homage to the film. To recreate some of the comic book-like effects, I exported each clip into PS and used different brushes to create shading and highlights. By creating individual layers for each aspect of the image and then setting in and out keyframes, I was able to track the different layers to the moving image. The result was a short sequence inspired by the film with my own unique twist. (I made a full video about this process if you want to check it out.)2. Create Interesting Titles or Text OverlaysIn Photoshop, the possibilities are endless, whether it’s creating unique shapes or adding textures to text or backgrounds. Using these tools to add your own personal details makes your work unique.3. Use Animations to Add Emphasis and InterestThese images show two consecutive frames of a woman walking across the shot holding a baby. In order to make this more visually intriguing, I added a couple of different designs to emphasize her movement and create a more stylized look. First, I added a geometric outline to the woman that shifts with every frame. The three dots remain fixed in place and disappear as the subject overlaps with them. Inspired by a more illustrative, animated style, the half-moon shapes emphasize the subject’s movement and her swinging bag, creating more visual movement.Cover image via Sony Pictures.Looking for more video production tips and tricks? Check these out.How to Create a Mid-’90s DV Camcorder Look in After EffectsWhy You Should Be Using Film Grain on Digital Video + 5 Free Film Grain OverlaysQuick Tips: Improving Your Product Shots and Commercials3 Easy Stereo Recording Techniques For Your Next ProjectThe Whys and Hows of Tracking: Handheld vs. Stabilizedlast_img read more

$10K vs. $100K vs. $500K: Feature Film Budgets Compared

first_imgThat’s the breakdown for these different feature film budgets. I hope you’ll be making one in the very near future.Cover image via Janelle Lugge.Looking for more on the film and video industry? Check out these articles.The History and Power of Sound Design in the Film IndustryFilmmaking Fads and Trends: Don’t Let Them Bother YouThese Tribeca Docs Will Renew Your Faith In The Power of The CameraThe Cameras and Lenses Behind the Marvel Cinematic UniverseBreakout Director Kat Candler on the Best Festivals for First-Time Filmmakers Making a Film on a $10,000 BudgetSo let’s start with $10K. I’m going to say $10K, but it’s really anywhere between $10-$25K. This is as much as most people have in savings or could put on a credit card (I don’t recommend the latter).It’s probably not going to be a SAG (Screen Actors Guild) project, so your actors will be non-union. Your film is certainly not going to be union for other departments, including cinematography, electrical, sound, grip, catering, etc. — these will all be way over your budget.You’re probably not going to pay anyone very much money, maybe around $50 a day. You’re going to shoot in under two weeks, and most of your money is going toward one main location and feeding everyone.You’ll have to choose a script that’s very contained (that only takes place in a couple of locations), and you’re going to have to know a lot of other filmmakers.At $10K, you won’t be able to afford to pay $700-1,500 a day for a professional sound person.You’re going to be working on your own script, or a script that someone has given to you (because you can’t afford to buy one).You’re going to be getting locations of friends, family, yourself, or shooting outside in a park or on the street, if your city allows you to shoot publicly without a permit.Generally, you’re going to have to cut every corner you can and only use your budget to bail you out of an emergency.So the money will go toward whatever your network can’t supply.Hiring a camera or lenses (but probably not both).Lights and grip (some you’ll probably borrow or get for free — either the DP or gaffer will have them).Post-production. If you’re not a colorist or sound editor or mixer or musician, you’re going to have to pay one of those people (but hopefully not all).You can make a movie for zero dollars; it just means that you’re going to be asking for favors from everyone, all the time, which can take longer than if you just worked to save up the money and paid for whatever you couldn’t get as a favor.The budget of a $10K movie isn’t that complicated because (basically) you set out to get everything for free, and then when something falls through, or when you just can’t find it no matter how hard you look, you have to dip into your limited resources.A lot of people do this every year. Some of them break out and find wider acceptance. It’s basically a film school. You get to spend a month preparing, a week shooting, and then 3-6 months in post. After that, you try to find an audience for your film.It’s a great training ground for filmmakers of all kinds.Making a Film on a $100,000 BudgetImage via 9387388673.At $100K, you have some money, but you don’t have enough money to pay full price for everything.You’re probably going to move up to SAG actors because you want a couple of recognizable faces (or names) in your film. These are people at the end or beginning of their careers — actors transitioning from TV or Broadway into movies.At this budget level, you’re going to pay everyone something.You’re going to shoot for 18 days or three weeks, taking Sunday off.You’re going to be able to hire camera, lenses, and a grip, but not at full rate.You’re going to have to find people who believe in the vision of the film in order to make it.You’re still going to be directing the movie yourself because you still can’t pay the $100K it costs to get someone from the DGA (Director’s Guild of America).Hopefully, you’ve made a $10K movie already, and you know the process. You’re aware of your blind spots from the first film, so you’re going into the second film with your eyes more open.You can probably afford a professional colorist, professional sound mix, and professional musicians — all at a reduced price. You can afford to pay $2K for a mix, not $20K, and generally you still need to beg, borrow, and steal everything. By the time you write the script, cast it, find all the locations, shoot it, post-produce it, and find a buyer for the film, a year will have gone by. $100K is real money. People expect a return. You need to sell that movie and get that money back, which can take a lot of time. That’s time that you’re not working at a regular job.$100k will allow you to give yourself a small wage, but you’re probably still going to need to work part-time in order to avoid dipping into the budget to support yourself while you make the film.Making a Film on a $500,000 BudgetImage via 9387388673.This really could be anywhere from $500K to $1 million. This is the first time you’re paying union rates for your sound mixers, transportation, union members, AC (Assistant Camera), post, etc. You simply find the people you want to work with and ask them what their rate is. You’re not going to pay them their TV commercial rate of $8K a day; you’ll pay their feature rate of maybe $800 dollars a day.You’re going to pay for a casting director who will handle all the SAG elements for you.You’ll probably give yourself a wage of about $50K, depending on your living expenses, and you’re probably going to have a producer (as well) at the same price, which needs to cover your costs so you can work on your film and sell it. Remember, it takes 18 months to get a feature film from inception to sale.Having said that, there is very little money in a $500K budget for any of the things that you see in major Hollywood movies.There’s very little money for visual effects.You can’t fix things in post.You’re probably going to get one “name actor” at Schedule F, which is $60-$70K. Everyone else is going to be a bit player or a favor.You’re certainly not going to get Brad Pitt or Charlize Theron. You’re just going to try and find a rising star who really wants to be in your film.You’re still going to have to work with the new, hungry post-production houses. You’re not going to walk into Industrial Light & Magic and say, “I want a CGI character.”You’re going to really have to keep it very bare bones, but at $500K-$1 million, you’re going to at least be able to pay for most of what you need.center_img These budget breakdowns demonstrate the wild difference money makes when shooting a feature film. Here’s what you can expect.$10K, $100K, and $500K — they all sound like a lot of money. And they are. But they are also not as much as you might think when it comes to producing a feature film — especially a feature that will be compared to projects with budgets of millions (or hundreds of millions) of dollars.Here’s what you can expect from these three sample budgets.last_img read more

Inside the Electric Department: Lighting, Tools, and Safety Skills

first_imgThe Electric Department is the backbone of any production. Let’s look at the roles, tools, and responsibilities behind safely powering a set.The Electric Department is one of the most important on any production. Today, we’re taking a look at the jobs available to Electrics, the main kinds of lighting used on sets, as well as some of the common tools used on productions, then examining some of the basic safety skills necessary for all Electrics to possess.What Does the Electric Department Do?The Electric Department works alongside the Grip Department, under direction from the Director of Photography, in order to devise and execute the lighting plan for each shot in the production. The Grip and Electric departments are often referred to under the single title of G&E.The primary job of all members within the Electric Department is to provide power to everything on set. This means everything from the craft service’s microwave, talent trailers, video village, to each of the lights illuminating the set.As a result, the Electric Department forms the backbone of any production. Let’s take a look at the positions that comprise the core Electric team on most sets.Roles Within the Electric DepartmentImage via Media Whalestock.GafferThe Gaffer is the head of the Electric Department, and works directly under the Director of Photography, to develop and build the lighting plan on a shoot — in conjunction with the Key Grip and the Grip Department. In television, the gaffer is sometimes known as the Lighting Director. The Gaffer remains with the DP during the shoot to pass lighting changes to the Best Boy.Best BoyThe best boy, or best girl, is the main assistant to the gaffer and operates as the foreman of the Electric Department. The best boy oversees all operations of the Electric Department, passing directives from the gaffer to the set electricians, and assisting the electricians with setup and rigging of lights and cables. Best boys often are responsible for hiring and managing the Electric Department, in addition to assisting with the execution of the lighting plan. If the gaffer is unavailable for any reason, the best boy stands in to cover their responsibilities until the gaffer is available to return to set. The role of best boy is sometimes credited as the Assistant Chief Lighting Technician.Lighting TechnicianLighting Techs are the workforce of the Electric Department. They are frequently referred to as Electricians (or simply Electrics) on many productions, but might also be known as Sparks or Juicers. They are responsible for the loading and unloading of lighting equipment, execution of the lighting plan, and safely mounting lighting fixtures, cables, and other necessary light manipulators and equipment, out of the way of the cast and crew. Lighting techs are also responsible for managing set power, operating and running cables from generators, wall outlets, or other power sources on-set, to wherever it is needed by the crew.RiggingSome productions have a team of Electricians who move ahead of the production and pre-light sets, based on the gaffer’s plan. This helps productions move more quickly by keeping the amount of time spent moving and setting up lights to a minimum. Rigging Electricians work under a Rigging Gaffer, who has their own best boy, and reports to the head gaffer of the Electric Department.SwingsA swing is a member of the Electric or Grip Department who is able to assist either department, as needed. On larger productions, Swing Grips or Electrics help to substantially reduce set-up and tear-down times, as they are authorized to work with both Grip and Electric equipment.Now that we’ve got the basic roles within the Electric Department covered, let’s take a look at some of the tools these technicians use each day on set.Tools of the TradeLightPremiumBeat’s Michael Maher has a fantastic article detailing the basics of the main types of illumination used on set, as well as a great primer on Color Temperature. I’ll cover the basics here.Film lights are highly specialized tools, with many variants to fit the specific needs a production might have. On modern productions, Electrics use four main types of illumination: Tungsten, HMI, Fluorescent, and LED.TungstenImage via Alberto Laratro.3200 KelvinHigh Color Rendering Index (CRI)Hot, heavy, and inefficientHydrargyrum Medium-Arc Iodide (HMI)Image via cineuno.~5800 Kelvin after several hours of burn-inExtremely high CRINearly four times the output of Tungsten lamps per wattRequire use of magnetic or electronic ballasts for operationLamps use Mercury gas — dangerous if droppedFluorescentImage via Elizaveta Galitckaia.2700-6500 KelvinHigh CRISimilar output and draw as HMILow weight, low temperatureSoft, even lightingLarge lamps use Mercury gas — careful handling necessaryLight-Emitting Diodes (LED)Image via Jack Tompkins.Nearly any color temperature or color on the RGB spectrumVery low power draw; may be operated on battery powerNo dangerous gases, low temperature, very lightweightTechnology still developing, some types of fixtures do not have LED versions yetAll of these lighting technologies can be used in a variety of specific fixtures for various applications and effect.FresnelImage via Chernov Victor.Fresnel fixtures are some of the most commonly found lighting variants on set. The Fresnel gets its name from the Fresnel Lens inside the fixture, which creates an even dispersion of light, and allows the throw of the light to be widened or focused into a spotlight.EllipsoidalImage via Source Four.Ellipsoidal Reflector Spotlights are lensed fixtures that are used for the sharp edges and highly modifiable beam patterns they produce. Ellipsoidals contain a few features that set them apart from other fixtures. The barrel of the fixture can be extended and retracted to harden or soften the edges of the beam — this is referred to as the lens train. Additionally, the fixture contains shutters to shape the beam, as well as gobo slides which can pattern the throw of the light.ScoopImage via Altman.Ellipsoidal Reflector Floodlights (ERFs), or Scoop lights, are used for their soft and diffuse beam. These are typically some of the simplest lights used on set, consisting of only the lamp housed in a reflector. They produce very diffuse light and are primarily used as floods or background lights.PARImage via Altman.Uniquely, Parabolic Aluminized Reflectors refer to the lamps themselves rather than the light fixtures, which are known as PARCANs. Each lamp has an enclosed, contained reflector, with its own brightness and throw pattern. PARCANs are highly versatile, with many fixtures accepting lamps from 150 to 1,000 watt outputs with the switch of the lamp. The lamps are very cheap and widely available at department stores, making these fixtures a must-have in cases where lighting is needed after normal business hours or in remote locations.SoftlightImage via Mole Richardson.Softlight fixtures come in a variety of form factors, but all have a similar function — to create soft, shadowless illumination to be used for flat illumination or as a fill light source.CycloramaImage via Altman.Cyclorama (CYC) lights are similar to scoops in that they mostly consist of lamp and reflector. CYC’s have a broad, even throw that are used to light CYC walls or other backgrounds. They can also be mounted on the floor or to an overhead grid.GelsImage via Lee Filters.Electrics are also in charge of correcting or coloring lights using gels. Gels are made by a few different manufacturers that make hundreds of variants of color and diffusion gels, among other styles.The most commonly used gels are Color Temperature Orange (CTO) and Color Temperature Blue (CTB) at the strengths of 1/8, 1/4, and 1/2. These are used to correct daylight fixtures to tungsten and vice versa.Gels are based on the Micro Reciprocal Degree system, shortened to Mired. Mired measures color temperature like Kelvin does. To correctly choose a gel to bring a light source of a different color temperature (find the mired value) divide the color temperature of your scene by 1,000,000.For example, if you were trying to correct a Tungsten light (3200K) to an outdoor scene in direct sunlight (5600K), you would need to perform the operation on both values (1,000,000/3200 and 1,000,000/5200). Then, subtract the results to find the mired value to the nearest whole number. So, 313-179= 134 mired.If you want to skip the math, Lee filters has a handy calculator to save you a little time.GeneratorsImage via Radovan1.Generators are extremely common on film sets, and their operation is the duty of the Electric Department. On larger sets, a dedicated electric known as the Generator Operator handles the operation and distribution of power from the generator. Depending on the size and needs of a given production, generators range in size from ice chests to 18-wheelers.Commercially-available generators often need to be positioned far away from shooting, or rigged to dampen sound, due to their high operating noise. Generators made for film production, however, are sound-dampened and may be used much closer to the filming that is taking place.SkillsImage via Oleksandr Nagaiets.Electrical SafetyMembers of the Electric Department work with electricity — obviously. All members must have a solid understanding of electrical safety, as they operate tools and machinery carrying dangerous amounts of electricity.The University of Washington Environmental Health and Safety has a great starter guide for working with mains power. Always consult more experienced electricians if you don’t have experience working with high voltage sources. This could literally save your life. If you’re on a small set and don’t have experience with mains power, find an alternative like a generator.Cable SafetyCable runs can get long and complicated on any set. In order to keep yourself and other members of the crew safe, pay special attention to keeping your power runs properly secured.Before running cables, take a moment to notice how the crew is moving in and around the set. You want to minimize the chances that anyone will trip over your cables or other equipment. In general, the best method for running cables is long, straight runs with 90-degree turns when necessary. If time permits, secure your runs with gaff tape in the corners of the 90-degree junctions, and every few feet of straight runs. Always tape down runs that cross heavily trafficked areas of the set. When your fellow crew members are loading equipment in and out of set, unsecured runs can be extremely dangerous.Image via 9387388673.In order to keep your cables in good health, practice proper coiling and storage. It usually pays to ask your gaffer if they prefer over-under or over-over for power cables, as opinions vary on which is best. Either way, make sure that each member of the Electric Department is using the same method. Alternating between both on a single set leads to headaches and rapidly worn-down cables.Rigging SafetyWhile the Grip Department is responsible for securing and flying lights and their accessories, make sure that you are properly securing each light you rig with multiple points of failure. Most heavy fixtures from rental houses will have heavy-duty chains or cabling, which should be separately attached to the lighting trusses or on the stand itself. This keeps the lights from falling, should the stand or clamp it is attached to fall or lose its grip.The Electric Department requires some of the most diverse body of knowledge of any department on set. This mastery of tool and craft helps film sets move smoothly and efficiently. For more detailed information into the craft of the Electric Department, I highly recommend Cinelease’s Juicer’s Handbook.Cover image via kengc.Looking for more on the film industry? Check out these articles.Industry Insights: Filming Documentary Subjects in Conflict Zones10k Vs 100k Vs 500k: Feature Film Budgets ComparedThe Cameras and Lenses Behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe — Phase ThreeThe Cameras and Lenses Behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe — Phase TwoThe Cameras and Lenses Behind the Marvel Cinematic Universelast_img read more

The Horrible Right Now Nature of Email

first_imgThe person that delivers your mail pulls up to your house. They find your mail, and they put it in your mailbox. Then they drive to the next house. They won’t return to your house with more mail for 24 hours.You want to know what they left in your mailbox. You rush out to the street and open the box, and you anxiously bring the mail inside. You hope there is a check in the mail. You hope there is something interesting or worthwhile. Instead, there are two bills and five pieces of junk mail, nothing worthwhile.Two minutes later, the mailperson backs up their truck. They forgot something. They open your mailbox and place an envelope inside. You rush out to see what treasure awaits you. Another bill. Nothing novel, but at least your curiosity has been served.The mail is delivered once a day. You only have to open the box and process your mail once a day. Most of what shows up isn’t worth your time or attention. A good deal of it is routine maintenance, things like bills and statements that, while important, aren’t anything that needs your attention now. Having learned this over time, you are not so enthusiastic about physical mail anymore.Right NowImagine another scenario. Imagine that your mail delivery person parks their truck right in front of your mailbox. About once every 10 minutes, the mail carrier opens your mailbox and inserts one new envelope. Over the course of an hour, you receive 6 new pieces of mail. Would you walk to the mailbox every ten minutes to retrieve your mail, knowing that there isn’t likely to be anything that needs your attention there? Or would you wait a couple of hours while you do you work before you go and pick up your mail.This second scenario is exactly how email works. When you leave your inbox or web browser open, you are inviting interruptions. You are allowing yourself to be distracted, knowing that most of what comes into your inbox doesn’t require your attention, and knowing that your most important work isn’t going to be found in your inbox.The “right now” nature of email is that everything that enters your inbox is treated as being equally important. That newsletter subscription you keep meaning to unsubscribe from is at the very top of your list, prominently on display as the very first thing you have to look at. Beneath that are two news alerts you subscribed to. Now you know the Federal Reserve didn’t raise interest rates, and some team from Cleveland is getting things done. The fourth email in your list is a “for your information” email from a coworker who wants to make sure everyone on the distribution chain is aware that there is “no change” on the status of a project.Right now, you could be doing meaningful work. Right now, you could be face-to-face with a client, a prospect, or a co-worker getting things done. Right now you could be making phone calls to people who need your help or people who could help you. Most of the results you produce aren’t going to be produced in your inbox.Turn your browser off. Close your inbox. Do meaningful work for 90 minutes. Take 15 minutes to stand up, stretch, drink some water, and then check your email to see if anything needs your attention. This means you will check your email 4 times over the course of an 8 hour day. You can do excellent, meaningful, on purpose, intentional work in blocks of 90 minutes.last_img read more

The Death of the Death Of

first_img Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Now Right now, you might be reading a few self-loathing sales prognosticators suggesting that sales is dead. The narrative they have chosen to believe—and compiled enough “data” points around which to confirm their bias—is that salespeople no longer serve any purpose, thanks to the internet. This, despite the fact that the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that sales roles will grow by 6.5 percent over the next seven years, and Manpower’s surveys say sales is the third most difficult skill set to acquire when it comes to hiring.Others suggest that sales will be disintermediated by technology, that people will choose not to buy from people. Mostly these folks live in around San Francisco, and they dream of automating sales. Their bet is that you will feel more comfortable buying from a chatbot than a human being. Some have suggested that automation would provide the ability to sell more with higher margins, not taking into account that programming automation to sell more regardless of what the client  really needs is what we have spent so much energy correcting in humans over the last few decades.These seers overestimate what technology provides over the short run, and they massively underestimate what technology will do over the longer term. But what makes their predictions suspect is their underestimation of power of what makes us deeply human; things like trust, caring, and belonging.Surely transactional salespeople are going to be needed less and less in the future, but trusted advisors have been around since there have been leaders. They will be here in the future, and they will leverage technology and data, for certain.The charlatans who got to the internet early immediately proclaimed the death of the cold call. Even though the cold call is alive, well, and over indexing when it comes to creating opportunities.Many predicted the death of the office, and now the mother ship is calling her workers back home. Certain things that are good ideas in some cases are awful in others.A few weeks ago, after a first quarter that saw more retailers shutter their doors than the entire last year, the news reported the death of retail. Mark this as the start of the countdown to Retail’s Resurgence. I give it 24 months.For all of the changes in our economy, some things haven’t changed. You read the news, and it is paid for by advertisers. You buy things from retailers, and they ship it to you instead of to a store. We connect and share things with each other, and for all the information available, we still seek wisdom.Keep an eye on what changes. Make the changes necessary to adjust. Move quickly to adopt new ideas and new technologies. But be careful about believing that things that are still alive and well are dead.Sales is not now dead, nor will it be for some time into the future. If it ever dies, those of us who possess the mindset and skill set to sell will have what will look to others like superpowers.last_img read more

Integrity In Your Pipeline

first_imgOne surefire way to miss your goals is to have a pipeline that lacks integrity. The lack of integrity isn’t intentional. No one is really lying about their pipeline. Mostly, there is just a lack of rigor around opportunities. Here are a few of the root causes that you need to remove if you want a pipeline you can believe.Bad Dates: No client will ever tell you that they need to close a deal on the last day of the month, the last day of a quarter, or the last day of the year. Those as “salespeople dates” used as a placeholder for the date by which they believe they can wrap up a deal. A client may, however, want to go live on the first day of a quarter or a year, in which case, their contract will likely need to be signed some time before, allowing time to get through the process.Too Old: Problems don’t age well, and neither do deals. The age of a deal can tell you whether you are looking at something you have a shot of winning. If the deal has been in the pipeline long enough to have its third birthday or has covered two Presidential elections, it’s not something you want to bet on in most cases.Bad Deals: If a deal should have been disqualified, it doesn’t belong in your pipeline. A fast “no” to bad deals is much better—and much healthier—than a slow “no” to those same deals.Wrong Stage: Some of the aging deals in your pipeline may become your client someday. You may have deals that look they have progressed to the point where your prospect will make a decision even when that decision is still far away. The optimism that causes one to believe they are going to win a deal might be well-founded. That said, just because you gave a prospect a proposal don’t mean they are prepared to sign a contract. If you skipped some of the commitments in this book, you may need to go backwards to go forward.A pipeline that lacks integrity can give you a false sense of confidence, causing you to believe that you are closing to your goals than you are. A bad number that is true is less damaging that a good number that is false. It can also prevent you from recognizing what you need to do to produce the results you want. Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Nowlast_img read more