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Bruce Campbell’s Jack of All Trades square cover art for iTunes

Posted in Uncategorized by Will on Sunday, September 30th, 2018 ~ 7pm

This series is not on iTunes, but for everyone who has digitized their own DVDs and who is looking for square cover art, here is a cover. This comes from a low-quality scan of the DVD cover, with with the bottom edge brought up. And I tried to turn the banana yellow hue into an old parchment hue instead. Not great, but I only took 15 minutes on this. I hope you like it.

cover art

Seeing all the way to the edge of the frame of the Lumix LX10 camera using RawTherapee

Posted in Personal by Will on Thursday, September 20th, 2018 ~ 9am

You’re not meant to see the edges of the frame, because lenses have difficulty providing the same kind of quality at the edges that they provide at the center.

So, cameras such as the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX10 automatically cut off the edges. (The sensor records the whole image but lops off the sides when it presents the image to you). The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX10 is an excellent camera by the way, and you cannot fault Panasonic for their decision.

But sometimes, you really want to see as much as possible of what you photographed.

So, how to stop the edges from being automatically cut off?

You’d expect that the answer would be to use Lightroom to develop your pictures. Lightroom is one of the best applications to develop pictures, but Lightroom honors the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX10’s built-in lens profile – meaning, it cuts the edges off just like Panasonic wanted. And at least on the final desktop version of Lightroom, which is the version I use, you can’t tell it to stop doing that.

So, you have to turn to a lesser-known application, RawTherapee, an independent effort originally written by Gábor Horváth of Budapest, now developed “by a team of people from around the world”.

On a Mac (I can’t speak to the Windows version) RawTherapee is clunky – it barely notices when you move your pointer, it doesn’t even instantly display the photo you want to work on when you click on your selection, and it has very limited color correction compared to Lightroom. Its annoyances are many.

But it has the advantage of not respecting the built-in lens profile!

Meaning, you can get the full picture, like so:

(Comparison of the same photo as presented by the camera versus the wider version you were never meant to see)

You have to be shooting RAW, not JPGs, in order to do this. (The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX10’s version of RAW is called “RW2″ but it is the same for all intents and purposes).

You end up with an even wider angle of view than what the camera is advertised as having.

Here’s how another photographer put it. He refers to Micro Four Thirds cameras. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX10 actually uses a 1” sensor, smaller than a Micro Four Thirds sensor, but that’s not relevant. He says, “Micro Four Thirds cameras have a lens correction profile (lcp) saved with the raw file, but not applied to the raw file. Many software, including some third party software like Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, apply this lcp automatically when processing the raw file. These images look like the JPEG … Other raw software ignores the embedded lcp, like DxO and RawTherapee and RPP64.”

David Bowie, Rest in Peace

Posted in Music,Personal by Will on Monday, January 11th, 2016 ~ 2pm

On David Bowie: What can I say? I got his albums on vinyl when I was a youth. As an adult I got everything he released and always cited Heathen as his return to form. I sometimes took my time getting to listen to his later works; I’d started listening to the second of two available tracks from Blackstar on Friday, and was so impressed! I opted only to listen, choosing not to watch the elaborate music videos he made for them until today, after I heard of his death this morning.

I knew, or had an idea, that he was going to pass away imminently, in the sense that I’d worried that his choice to wait until his birthday (Jan 8) to release Blackstar was a risky proposition if he wanted to be around to hear the critical reaction. (I hope his family – Iman and Duncan and whomever else was in his close family – told him that the reception to it was very warm indeed, and that he knew they were being truthful).

I knew he’d been ill since his heart attack in 2004, in fact my first blog entry was written about him, back in July 2004 (writing, “he’s so good right now at this stage of his recording career, it would be a shame for earth to lose him.”) I don’t mean to sound as if I am competing with other Bowie fans when I note that my music player has more than 250 recordings of his concerts; I simply found that not only was his writing superior, but his many different performances were almost all worth hearing. And yet it took a reporter to make me notice the obvious bit that Bowie was a bit of a science fiction writer, in that many of his albums are close to concept albums about aliens and future dystopias and such. I knew I liked science fiction, and I had to laugh when I realized that his sci-fi bent may also be part of why I got into Bowie!

I am so grateful for him. There’s a meme going around saying that “the Earth is 4,345,000,000 years old and somehow you managed to live during the same time as David Bowie”. Truly, in our time, we were better off to have had David Bowie among us.

Last word about Bowie today: By leaving with the video of Lazarus, he completed his artistic life on his own terms. Bravo.

Buffy HD campaign a success… on 3 or 4 shots

Posted in Uncategorized by Will on Tuesday, July 14th, 2015 ~ 8pm

Our voices were heard! Fox has made quick fixes to the most egregious errors seen in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer HD / Blu-ray remastering process!

As you may recall, Fox hired a no-name company with no experience to do the remastering of Buffy from the original film elements, and fans campaigned to bring awareness to the ineptitude of the company’s effort so that Fox would take notice. And notice they have!

See sample image below.

I am hopeful they are continuing to fix the errors, but we really don’t know anything beyond the fact that this week’s airing of Buffy on ABC family included several corrected shots – shots that had been ruined by the original remastering team, now done perfectly by the (presumed) new remastering team.

About this campaign: As is my usual method of operation, I didn’t create the BuffyHD facebook page nor do any heavy lifting myself; I simply dashed off an action plan over on the forum where we were discussing the problem (a home video forum where I am known as willbfree) and presented it to a guy who was motivated to enact it. I don’t know his real name either, but he’s the hero in this story. Everyone was ready to do their part, and the effort was joined by super-talented folks who made videos illustrating the problems which got zillions of views on YouTube.

I am so very proud of everyone.

This fan-led effort has been wildly more successful than my iZombie petition, enacted by iZombieObsessed, which has thus far only received 23 votes.

UPDATE: THEY FIXED THOSE FEW SHOTS, AND THEN PROCEEDED TO COMPLETELY RUIN EVERYTHING AFTER THAT. Evidently they used an artificial intelligence to reframe everything, and they had it set incorrectly. The AI was erroneously set to center and crop on any figures in the frame. As such, even the later seasons WHICH WERE ALREADY IN WIDESCREEN were reframed AGAIN, turning wide shots into closeups, and turning medium shots into closeups, and turning closeups into even closer closeups. Fox could easily sue to recover their expenses and hire pros to redo it.

 
The green area shows the original shot – a close-up of Buffy. The remastering program was incorrectly set to zoom in even more. Nearly every shot is like this. By the way, the green part of the frame is courtesy of an earlier DVD release; that’s how we can see what is missing.   Here, the AI recognized a human figure in the frame and automatically centered & zoomed in on it. So instead of being a shot of people in hospital beds, it become a shot of the floor. (Why even build sets?) There are hundreds of shots like this in every episode.
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