Thursday, 31 December 2009

iPhoneography - Which blogging platform is best?

So tomorrow I will be launching my new iPhoneography blog

My preference for a name is still iSeeLeeds however I have also thought if I want to establish myself as the 1st and premier iPhoneographer of Leeds perhaps the name theiphoneographerleeds would be a good name, but is it possible a little too long and wordy for a URL?

My next challenge is to decide on which blogging platform to use. I want as many people to be able to follow this blog in a way that is simple and easy for them. I need to select a platform that the majority of people use. From personal experience of people I have met in the Yorkshire Digital Community I believe this to be blogspot. However I think if I take the Yorkshire Digital Community out of the equation a larger number of (photographic / arts) people use tumblr.

There is always the possibility to cross posting using a desktop blogging application, but then this would make it harder for me to go back and respond to comments. (Would I be possibly be spreading myself (and my work) to thinly)

As previously mentioned I wish to bring this blog to the attention of people in Leeds and possible develop an iPhone Photography Community in the Leeds / West Yorkshire / Yorkshire area.

I am aware that on my own that I will not be able to reach many people, therefore a plan to approach other bloggers with interests in photography, digital media and technology to write about my project. I could also ask people who cover art projects with in the Leeds area to write about my project with the aim of gaining more publicity for the project.

If I want this project to be taken seriously by other media outlets I feel I will also need to work with other people to help me design and create skins for my chosen blogging platform. If you would like to help me out with this part of the project then please leave a comment below. In the bio of the iPhoneography project I will give you credit for your work and link back to you.

So that is where the project currently stands but ….

The question still remains, what is your favourite blogging platform? Let me know in the comments. Also suggest ways in which I can build up followers and a community around iPhoneography

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Mobile Phone Photography Blog

I am hoping to purchase a new phone before the 1st of January

This has presented me the opportunity to start a new Internet blog about my unique discoveries.

When considering a new mobile device, camera capabilities are the most prevalent player in my decision making process.

Previously I have owned a Nokia N80 (with a 3 megapixel camera) and a Nokia N95 (with a 5 megapixel camera). This time around I am considering the iPhone 3G S. The iPhone 3G S' camera is 3 megapixels, but people with a knowledge of digital cameras will know megapixels only equate to how big you can print the picture and not image quality. It is the camera sensor that that gives the image it's quality and with that said I believe the sensor in the iPhone 3GS's camera is very capable of producing good images for online distribution and sharing. [See images taken with iPhone 3GS]

I have previous dabble in mobile phone photography and more recently learnt how to competently use a digital SLR camera. With this in mind I am planning on setting up a blog around the subject of mobile phone photography.

Blog Outline

Initially I am going to aim to take one interesting or unique picture a day and post it on this new blog

Initial Goals

My aim for this blog is not only to interest and entertain people by documenting the world around me, I also wish to generate a steady flow of traffic to this new project.

Further Challenges that may be posed

A personal goal I wish to achieve is to use a service such as Ad-Sense to generate relevant adverts on the blog. I hope to make my 1st online revenue stream in 2010!


If I can find the time I may also write articles about camera phone photography. I would also like to invite users to submit their iPhone pictures to also be posted (just to add some variety to the blog)

An initial starting point with any new blog is coming up with a suitable name

Here are some initial thoughts I have had to help me formulate a name

Living in the city of Leeds the majority of pictures will taken in Leeds

I will be using an iPhone to take these pictures

My current favourite name I have generated is 'iseeleeds'

Other names I have come up with include iphotoleeds & iphoneographyleeds

I am not sure if these names are a little too specific as pictures may not always be taken in Leeds. My reasons for having such a specific name is that I envision the initial community for this blog will be built up around people in Leeds (as this is where the majority of pictures will be taken) then through social media and "word of mouth" more people will discover the blog.

If you can think of any further ideas or inspiration for the name of this blog then please leave them in the comments of this post.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Testing Microphones

Having previous worked with video at a home / diy level I was aware that audio would be an important factor in giving this video a professional edge.

I wanted to test out the different microphones (directional, lapel and the built in camera microphone)

I shot some test footage using various microphones in locations of varying noise. One location was the college canteen at lunch time.

When watching the footage back I found that the built in camera microphone picked up noise from the whole canteen and my voice appeared muffled and somewhat in audible.

The directional microphone provided better results, but I found it some what inhibitive when presenting and talking to the camera.

The conclusion of this research was that a lapel mic would best suit my podcast I wished to create. The lapel mic gave me a freedom to not "fidget" while holding a directional microphone and was just a personal preference.

Unfortunately I accidently managed to destroy the video results of these microphone tests. All I have to evidence this work is a picture of myself in college with a lapel mic that I took to post on a social networking website.


Location Development

Feed back I got at the 1st crit was that my location was somewhat bland and not visually stimulating or engaging for my target audience.

I did some further research into alternative locations and recorded my results in to a power point file which I have embeded below

Geek Brief Credits

After my initial test of recording in a studio environment I became highly aware of how difficult is to control each and every element of video production when working on my own.

Problems I incurred included

  • Set up your own lighting and make sure it is even on the subject
  • Focusing a camera on a subject
  • Recording and present to a camera at the same time
  • Moveingequipment such as lights, video camera, tripods, and microphones.
  • Making tiny adjustments to things and not have a second pair of eyes to verify that what you see is the same as other people may see or perceive something.

    Previously I had thought that most 3-minute video podcasts were made by one person controlling and operating everything. Most video podcasts I watch do not contain any credits. However while watching GeekBrief I noticed there were credits at the end of the show, this made me aware that some of these podcasts are operating with a small team of people crew and cast is as follows

  • Producers, Writers, Editors Shooters, Janitors – Cali Lewis & Neal Campbell
  • Exectutive Producers – Adam Curry & Ron Bloom
  • Opening Graphics - Jude Ng
  • Back Ground Image – Trey Rattcliff

    My immediate thoughts on the trial run of setting up my lighting was

    “This would be a lot easier if I had a small crew / team to assist me. I found it hard to be able to evenly focus the light on myself.

    To check the light was even I used a camera as my second pair of eyes (Pictures can be seen on my Flickr account and while this over came the problem it was a large time drain.

    On reflection I know my work could have been better had I of had a small crew to assist me and in future projects I will look to assemble a small team of people to work with.

  • Pronunciation and Speech

    Once I had developed the script I had to think about the manor in which I would deliver it.

    This video required me to verbalise my understanding of technology, I am aware that the Internet in its nature is global and therefore is watched by an extremely wide audience.
    As well as having a comprehensive script. I also needed to deliver this in a way that could easily be understood aurally.
    I am aware that I have a Yorkshire and that I sometimes drop my “H’s” when speaking.
    To make the way I spoke in the video more understandable to a wider range of people I looked at pronunciation and speech
    I also looked at speech having rhythm and fluency, similar that that of music.

    I used YouTube as a tool to learn more speech and pronunciation.
    I found these videos particularly useful.

    Voice, Articulation & Fluency.

    Vocal Warm Ups for Public Speaking : Articulation Drill for Public Speaking: Uh & Ah - Is a YouTube Channel that has a number of pronunciation and speech videos that I found useful.

    Scripting – The use of powerful language.

    I am not a scriptwriter and therefore I had to teach myself how to convey the information I knew about technology in a verbal manor that would maintain peoples attention.

    At this particular time I was reading the book “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs”

    Side Note: At the time I was reading this book, as I am interested in doing consultancy work. I have been to a lot of conferences recently and have become aware that a lot of consultants give talks at conferences about their practice. In the future I would like to give a talk about the relevance of digital video on the web at a conference. I was using this book to educate myself on how to put a good presentation together. (I also used this book as a reference for putting together my presentation for crit)

    It struck me that the ideas and concepts I was learning from this book, e.g. Creating a Story & Deliver an Experience could fundamentally be used in creating a script for my video.

    Talking directly to a camera can be a nerve racking experience for some people. I related the experience of talking to a camera to that of public speaking (in some ways you can can consider your audience is at the other end of the camera and therefore this exercise was not to dissimilar to public speaking.)

    As well as reading The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs and adapting the ideas in the book to create a script I also looked at other public speakers who I considered are influential at this current time.

    I looked at Barack Obama and also more relevant to social media I studied how Tommy Fishback (a 14 year old) delivered a speech at izea fest. (Video can be seen here)

    Crew Roles

    While undertaking this project I have been reading the book Directing The Documentary by Michael Rabiger (Read a description of Directing the Documentary).

    As mentioned I struggled not having a crew. One section I found particularly interested in this book was the section that defined crew roles.

    Having read this section I am a lot more clearer in my mind of what roles I would be able to delegate to people when making videos in the future. As well as helping me focus roles I am interested in filling and perusing as a career path.

    This is my understanding of each role in my own words


    The producer is involved more with the business aspects of the film. A producer manages budgets, hires equipment and people, and liaise with other people to market the film and get it to distribution


    A director’s role is to lead what the look and feel of the film will be. They must also be able direct any crew or actors with technical* and non technical aspects of creating the film

    *technical – lighting, camera angles, lenses, set,

    The director also has a role to play in post production, advising on colour grading and sound mixing.

    Director of Photography and/or Camera Operator

    The DP is responsible for ordering cameras and lenses, they would be expected to test all equipment before it arrives for the shoot to make sure that it is full operational. Camera operators are also often responsible for lighting, finding locations to access light and electricity supplies and supervising the set up of lighting equipment.

    Sound Recordist

    The sound recordist is responsible for hiring and testing any sound equipment that will be used on the shoot before it is on set. The sound recordist must liaise with the people in charge of cameras and lighting to find a suitable position to place microphones that will not interfere with the rest of the equipment.

    Further 3 point lighting investigation and research

    I have previously mentioned I performed a 3 point lighting test run

    As I researched into various lighting techniques I learnt about 3-point lighting. I choose to use this lighting, as I wanted to light my subject evenly while giving some definition from the background.

    While researching in to lighting I became aware of variations of three point lighting, what effects can be achieved with these variations as well as how and where it may be used.

    Below are Wikipedia links containing more information about high and low key lighting. I have chose not to reword Wikipedia’s description as I feel they have adequately described these two variations of three point lighting in a way which I understand and can not improve.

    High Key

    Low Key

    Lyndia Tutorials (Learning to navigate the Final Cut Interface)

    For this project I wished to advance my editing skills. Previously I have worked in iMovie but I felt I was now being limited by this app as there were certain things I wished to achieve that I could not create or execute with this app.

    Having an awareness of digital video I knew that I needed to progress to using Final Cut Pro (not only to achieve good results for this project but also to make employable as a video editor in the future.)

    I had previously used final cut but felt somewhat unfimilair with it’s interface. I knew I need to improve if I wished to use this to edit my final piece of video.

    The tool I used to help me learn to navigate and use the various features available in Final Cut was Lynda Final Cut Pro Training. After watching this video I felt much more comfortable with the interface and controlling various features.

    Final Cut has now my editing tool of choice as it allows me to have great control creatively over any footage that I have shot

    Self Reflection from last years feed back -

    It has previously been mentioned to me that when I have handed in work I have not provided enough documentation. On self-reflection this is because I have been under the false understanding that my final product demonstrates the knowledge I have learnt.

    However on this occasion and I am aiming to divulge as much information as possible regarding various topics I have read into to help me create my final product.

    They will appear in subsequent blog posts to this one.

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