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Posts tagged with "camera"

Eve Cam: An Excellent Addition to a HomeKit Secure Video Setup

Last week I added a new camera to my HomeKit Secure Video setup: the Eve Cam. Announced at CES this year, what drew me to the camera was its slim profile and HomeKit Secure Video support. I’ve used other Eve home automation products in the past and had high hopes that the Eve Cam would be just as easy to install, and as reliable as the electrical outlets and door sensors I’ve tried. So far, I haven’t been disappointed.

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Epic Games Releases iPhone App That Captures Facial Expressions to Unreal Engine

Source: Epic Games.

Source: Epic Games.

Epic Games has released a new iPhone app for videogame developers that captures facial expressions, piping them into the company’s Unreal Engine in real-time. As explained on the Unreal Engine blog:

Live Link Face streams high-quality facial animation in real-time from your iPhone directly onto characters in Unreal Engine. The app’s tracking leverages Apple’s ARKit and the iPhone’s TrueDepth front-facing camera to interactively track a performer’s face, transmitting this data directly to Unreal Engine via Live Link over a network.

What I find most interesting about Live Link Face is that Epic says it scales from solo developers working at home to sophisticated stage productions involving actors in motion capture suits and multiple iPhones. If so, that will make the app a terrific example of the sort of democratization of complex tools that technologies like ARKit and hardware like the iPhone’s TrueDepth camera make possible when integrated into existing workflows.

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Halide Team Experiments with iPad Pro’s LiDAR Scanner

Source: Halide Blog

Source: Halide Blog

Sebastiaan de With, on the Halide blog, goes deep on the 2020 iPad Pro’s camera module. His examination reveals that the device’s wide camera is virtually identical to that of the 2018 model. And the ultra-wide camera, unfortunately, isn’t quite up to the quality level of what’s found in the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro.

The most exciting and impressive aspect of the camera system is the LiDAR Scanner. The Halide team actually went to the trouble of building an entire proof of concept app that utilizes the LiDAR Scanner to capture your surroundings.

With Halide, we’d love to use the depth data in interesting ways, even if it’s low resolution. There was only one problem: there are no APIs for us as developers to use to get access to the underlying depth data. They only expose the processed 3D surface.

What if we re-thought photographic capture, though? We built a proof-of-concept we’re calling Esper.

Esper experiments with realtime 3D capture using the cameras and LIDAR sensor at room scale. It’s a fun and useful way to capture a space.

I always love reading de With’s in-depth explanations and comparisons of new iPhone or iPad cameras, and this was an especially fun one.

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Apple Announces Winners of Its ‘Shot on iPhone’ Night Mode Challenge

Photograper: Konstantin Chalabov (Moscow, Russia), iPhone 11 Pro

Photograper: Konstantin Chalabov (Moscow, Russia), iPhone 11 Pro

Apple has announced the six winners of its Shot on iPhone challenge. The contest, which was announced at the beginning of the year, asked photographers to submit their best Night mode shots taken with the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max.

The winning photos, which were taken by photographers from China, India, Russia, and Spain, were judged by a panel of professional photographers and Apple executives and employees. The photos are currently being featured on apple.com, Apple’s Instagram account, and will appear on billboards worldwide in the future.

The images chosen by Apple’s panel of judges are fantastic. It’s remarkable what can be accomplished with Night mode, especially when you look back at what nighttime photography was like on the iPhone just a few years ago.

Don’t miss all six winning Night mode shots in Apple’s press release.

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First Look: RTRO by Moment Vintage Video Camera App

Source: Moment.

Source: Moment.

RTRO by Moment is a brand new vintage video camera app for iOS from the makers of my favorite add-on camera lenses for the iPhone and the excellent Moment Pro Camera app.

The app is a new direction for Moment. The company’s Pro Camera app, combined with its add-on lenses for the iPhone, push the boundaries of what’s possible with the iPhone’s camera. Packed with settings and customizations, the Pro Camera app can create stunning photos and video in the hands of a skilled photographer.

In contrast, RTRO is a video-only camera app focused first and foremost on making fun, short videos for sharing that use filters crafted by photographers to create unique retro looks. It’s those filters, which Moment calls ‘looks,’ paired with a simple, approachable interface that make the app work. It’s easy to get started, fun to use, and the videos the app creates have a unique vibe that makes even the most mundane video more interesting for viewers.

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CES: A Tour of the Most Interesting (and Strange) Tech Announcements

CES has been going strong all week with announcements of new gadgets: home automation gear, TVs, computers, and lots more. Many mobile phone makers and some big industry players sit out CES, but there is still plenty of news from companies big and small with new products and technologies to show off.

A lot of what gets hyped at CES is prototypes and concept devices that will never ship or will get delayed. Still, every year I find that CES is fascinating to study for the industry trends it reveals and the handful of gadgets I discover that I’d like to try.

After combing through hundreds of headlines and press releases, I’ve compiled a roundup of some of this week’s most compelling announcements. Feel free to skip around to the categories that you find most interesting using the table of contents below.

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Apple Announces Night Mode Photography Contest

About this time last year, Apple announced its first-ever ‘Shot on iPhone’ photography challenge judged by a panel of professional photographers and Apple employees. Apple is back with a new contest app this year asking users to submit their Night mode photos.

Through January 29th, Apple is taking submissions on Instagram, Twitter, and Weibo. To qualify, post your photos on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #ShotoniPhone and #NightmodeChallenge and Weibo using #ShotoniPhone# and #NightmodeChallenge#.

Five winners will be picked by a panel of judges that include:

plus the following Apple executives and employees:

  • Phil Schiller
  • Kaiann Drance
  • Brooks Kraft
  • Jon McCormack
  • Are Duplessis

The five winning photos will be announced on March 4th on the Apple Newsroom. Apple says the images may also be used in digital campaigns, at stores, on billboards, and in photo exhibitions.

Night mode photography was a big part of Federico’s story on iPhone 11 Pro photography called Eternal City, Modern Photography: The iPhone 11 Pro in Rome. Here’s an outtake from that story that Federico submitted for the challenge:

For more on the contest and tips on shooting Night mode photos, check out Apple’s press release.


Hands-On with Clips 2.1: Memoji and Animoji Support, Plus New Sticker Face Tracking and More

Apple has released the first big update in over a year for its Clips video creation tool. Following the trend begun in iOS 12, which added Animoji support to FaceTime, now all Animoji and Memoji characters can also be used inside Clips. Though I would have expected such an update a year ago, it’s nevertheless good to see. Besides Animoji and Memoji, Clips 2.1 only adds a couple other small new features, like a fresh batch of Mickey and Minnie stickers, a ‘Let It Snow’ winter poster, and support for right-to-left languages. After spending some time with the update, there are a couple nice implementation details related to Animoji that deserve highlighting.

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Sebastiaan de With Explains Why the iPhone 11 Camera Is Such a Big Leap Forward

Sebastiaan de With, part of the team behind the camera app Halide has published part 1 of a multi-part breakdown of the iPhone 11 camera. It’s a fantastic analysis of what makes the new camera different from past versions and goes into great depth while remaining accessible, even if you have only a passing familiarity with photography.

To put this year’s camera into perspective, de With recaps what Apple did with last year’s iPhone cameras explaining how Smart HDR works and its shortcomings. The iPhone 11 features Smart HDR too, but as de With explains, Apple has significantly improved how it handles the dynamic range of an image.

Another aspect of the improvement is in the camera sensor hardware. Despite its diminutive size, the iPhone 11’s image sensor can resolve more detail than any iPhone camera before it.

However, many of the iPhone 11’s camera improvements come down to better software. The new camera post-processes each component of an image differently, applying different noise reduction to the sky, a face, hair, and clothing, for example. Apple calls the feature Photo Segmentation, and it’s aided by machine learning.

One of my favorite features of the new camera is Night Mode. As de With notes:

In the iPhone 11 Night Mode, you can also see detail vanish in some areas. Except that it really seems to only affect parts of the image that you don’t really care that much about. Night Mode has a remarkable if not uncanny ability to extract an image that is sometimes even sharper than the regular mode, with strong sharpening and detail retention occurring in areas that are selected by the camera during processing.

The iPhone 11’s camera is also the first one de With thinks rivals standalone cameras:

In the past, iPhones made great photos for sharing on social media, but blown up on a big screen, the shots didn’t hold up. It’s why I frequently still pack a ‘big’ camera with me on trips.

With these huge improvements in processing, the iPhone 11 is the first iPhone that legitimately challenges a dedicated camera.

There are many more details in de With’s article, including a close look at the iPhone 11’s ultra wide lens. Every section of the post has photos and side-by-side comparisons that illustrate the analysis too, which makes the full post a must-read].

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