In case you did not know, virtual reality is a big deal. Thanks to Facebook's recent announcement that you can now upload and play 360-degree videos (they call it "spherical content") to your feed natively, it is now much easier to share your virtual reality videos to the average Facebook-using consumer, which is everyone — even my mom. Read below to learn the significance of this announcement, as well as the capabilities and limitations of Facebook's new player.
Articles written by Douglas Sonders
So if you've been following my articles the past year, you know that some major brands have been developing either virtual reality headsets, started developing 360-degree content, or announced they are building a VR camera. Well, Samsung finally released more details on their new 360-degree camera system they call Project Beyond. So what makes the new Samsung camera stand out from the pack? Find out below!
Let me preface this article by stating that this is based on educated rumors. Late in September, the rumor mill was flying with speculation about Samsung shutting down its Digital Camera Division and the NX line in particular. This was sad news because many photographers throughout the industry have found that they really like the NX cameras and their price point values. Samsung officials responded stating that this was just a rumor and that the camera division was very much alive. Well, this week, several factors seem to be hinting to the contrary.
Most of us know Lytro for their light field cameras that capture scenes in a way that allows you to refocus an image anywhere you want with the click of a button without having to take a new image. I'll admit, I thought it was a neat trick, but as a commercial photographer, I never saw how it would apply to someone like myself. Well, Lytro has blown me away today with the announcement of their new virtual reality camera system that works much like their light field cameras and allows the user to move within a video environment (not a computer-rendered space) while wearing a virtual reality headset. They have officially changed the game.
Like it or not, 2016 is going to be a huge year for virtual reality content and technology. It seems like every major brand is dipping their toe in one way or another. Even Pixar is creating their own movie studio in order to create 360-degree films. Magazines are no exception for desiring and creating this content. It's a perfect way to immerse their readers into their content. Recently Hearst Publishing's Car and Driver Magazine hired my company, 8112 Studios, to help create their first ever virtual reality car reviews.
You know, I always thought that Chatroulette was a place you went to speak to random strangers in foreign lands and sometimes see the unwanted privates of strangers in distant lands. Well, one director from Realm Pictures has used the platform in a revolutionary way to create one of the craziest choose your own adventure zombie and space adventure films, in which the viewers give our hero orders that will hopefully save his life and those of his shipmates. Read below to see parts one and two as well as the full behind the scenes content!
As Fstoppers' resident virtual reality content creator, I'm excited to share our most recent project we did for AOL. A few weeks back, the Autoblog/Translogic team flew my business partner and I to southern California and rented out a race track so we could film an awesome 1980s Ferrari that was converted to an all-electric high-performance sports car in virtual reality. They also wanted to interview us on what we are doing in the VR field and where we see the technology going. Learn more and see the actual VR film below!
I've always been a big fan of Dave Hill's photography and creative vision. If you're familiar with his earlier commercial work, you probably know him for his progressive digital and composite techniques. Well, in recent years, Hill has been growing and changing as an artist and he's been exploring different techniques and mediums (not just super rad composites) and shooting a lot more automotive ads. Here is an example of a great Jeep Wrangler ad campaign he captured with — Gasp! — 645, 6x7, and 35 film.
Fan of the TV show “Doctor Who” and the Beatles? Well then, last week was your week indeed. The cast and crew decided to recreate the legendary 1969 “Abbey Road” album cover along with two prop Dalek cyborg aliens (always thought they were robots, but upon further fact-checking, they are in fact cyborg aliens). The actual road itself is in a busy portion of London, so you will feel completely under the gun if you attempt to do any shoot there while completely blocking it, which is why they took less than a minute to do it. Read below to see the lightning fast behind-the-scenes video.
This is it... I've come across the mother lode of photography personal projects that will just blow you away. Czech photographer Jan Rambousek and Creative Director Tomas Kopecny were inspired to visually recreate some of the most noteworthy scenes from Grand Prix racing during the 1930s. The series is entitled "Silver Arrows" due to the fact that Mercedes race cars were dominating the race series during that time period. The final images are incredible and gorgeous, but what's even more amazing is the research, detail, and overall production that went into creating these images. Prepare to be inspired and amazed.
At this point, you've probably heard that the Virtual Reality revolution is coming. Seemingly every week, big companies are making announcements about dipping their toes into the 360 video technology game. For example: Facebook purchased the class-leading virtual reality headset company Oculus, Samsung released their GearVR headsets that work with their smart phones, and Nokia announced their stereoscopic professional VR OZO camera.
As a young photographer, I used to think a beautiful flat light, that gave smooth skin tones was the best way to capture a portrait. I invested in a bunch of large diffuse light modifiers, such as softboxes, beauty dishes, and octoboxes, and shot photos of people with the smoothest and flattest lighting I could muster. Although, as time progressed, I learned the greater importance of telling a STORY with your photographs, rather than just making them look pretty or clean. This is when I learned about grids, bard doors, and negative fill in order to actually shape the light and not let it spill all over the photo environment. Thankfully, Profoto has debuted a series of videos to teach photographers about the most effective way to use light shaping tools.
Platon has photographed many of the world's most powerful leaders and biggest celebrities and often shoots covers for magazines such as Wired, Esquire, Newsweek, Rolling Stone and New York Times Magazine. Most recently, he captured comedian and TV show personality Stephen Colbert for the cover of Time, which you can see in the video posted above. His style of shooting proves that you can take some of the most legendary portraits of our most powerful people with nothing but a light or two and a real connection between subject and photographer. In fact, I learned that from him directly when he came to teach a couple of classes to some of us lucky photo majors back at Rochester Institute of Technology over 10 years ago. It was those classes that changed my view on portrait photography forever.
So if you have been watching social media this week, then you most likely heard about British photographer David Yarrow who made headlines after a tiger allegedly got "loose" during a photo shoot that was taking place in the well-known Packard Plant in Detroit. As a photographer, I am in Michigan a lot for various still and video projects throughout the year and have a lot of creative industry friends in the region. After reading the initial news reports, I decided to do a little digging of my own and went to the source to find out what REALLY happened.
If you hadn't heard of it before, the Stand Out! Photographic Forums is a huge photography industry event (taking place in New York City, Toronto, and Los Angeles) loaded with affordable workshops taught by some of the biggest and most successful names in the industry. You can learn directly from legends like Mark Seliger, Pratik Naik, and Michael Muller. Phase One was even nice enough to ask me to come and teach classes on digital teching and shoot pre-production. You should read below to learn more about all of the classes and offerings.
Here at Fstoppers, we all know Canon makes some pretty cool cameras, but you may have forgotten they also make really nice photo and document printers. Canon realized that, in this digital age of Facbeook, Instagram, RFID devices, and Apple Pay on your iPhone, many of us have dramatically decreased or stopped printing things out. You know, things like photographs, tickets, business documents, and maps. Thus, in response, they started the "Never Again" campaign and made this hilarious series of videos to promote their PIXMA printers. Read below to watch them all.
I knew when I saw this image up in the photo section of our Fstoppers website, I had to inquire about how it was created. It is clearly a thoughtful re-imagining of the iconic painting "Liberty Leading The People", but I had no idea how much effort Anthony Kurtz went into creating this photo. Little did I know that it took three weeks of preparation, two days of set building, one day of photographing, and 50+ hours of retouching and it was all done on a shoe string budget with borrowed props and location. What he created with very little money and a lot of brilliant strategy and vision is inspiring. Read below to learn how Anthony did it.
Yes, you've read that correctly. Nokia, the former maker of my favorite cell phone in which I could play "Snake" during high school math class, has entered the hot new virtual reality camera market. A lot of the camera details are scarce, such as pricing and when it will ship to the consumer market, but there are some key functions I am very intrigued by. As Fstopper's resident virtual reality filmmaker, I am hesitantly optimistic. Read below to learn why.
Last year I wrote an exclusive article talking about RED's plans to attack the photography camera market by adding a still photo mode to the RED SCARLET and EPIC cameras. That day has come with their latest firmware update release. Some of you still photographers may be saying, "So what?" Well, 16.5 stops of dynamic range at nearly 20 megapixels is what. Do I have your attention now?
I always love a good well-planned time-lapse as I'm sure most of us do. Although, photographer and California police officer Jeff Boyce has taken it to the next level with "Edge of Stability." Earlier this year, he followed forecasts from the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center (SPC) and literally drove into some of the most dramatic storms occurring in over a dozen states to capture these very dramatic and beautiful time-lapses made from over 70,000 photos. Boyce was generous enough to share his story and his process with us below.