Google’s Latest Pixel Takes Phone Cameras to Next Level

At Google’s annual hardware event this week, the company introduced the new Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL smartphones, both featuring an extra camera lens, infrared scanner for unlocking the phone, and emphasis on computational photography for automatically processing more professional-looking images (even photos of the night sky). Both phones use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 chipset and come equipped with 19:9 “Smooth” displays, which refresh up to 90 times per second, and the touchscreens allow users to poke it or squeeze the body if they want to call upon Google’s built-in Assistant. 

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Unity Deepens Storytelling Workbench With CineCast Feature

At the Unite 2018 developers conference last week, Unity Technologies’ head of cinematics, Adam Myhill, unveiled CineCast, a synthetic co-director for filming video games that has implications for narrative storytelling and sports broadcasts of all kinds. Myhill, with the help of four players and a stand-in director — professional gamer Stephanie Harvey — demoed the CineCast mode for “GTFO,” a first-person shooter and the first property to use CineCast. Under Harvey’s watchful eye, CineCast automatically and in real-time chose the best and highest quality shot to move the action forward, with Harvey making only a few, on-the-fly adjustments. Continue reading Unity Deepens Storytelling Workbench With CineCast Feature

vETC 2018: The Current Immersive Media Landscape: Trends and Opportunities

Tipatat Chennavasin, co-founder of the Venture Reality Fund, the largest VC fund focused on VR and AR, discussed the Current Immersive Media Landscape: Trends and Opportunities. As an investor, Chennavasin cares about sales — what consumers are actually buying. VR is looking for the killer app that will drive adoption. Forty-four VR titles have generated over $1 million in revenue, so the market is looking pretty good to him. “Beat Saber” is the first game to unlock the potential of VR, with over 500 million views on social media in addition to the game’s VR users. Continue reading vETC 2018: The Current Immersive Media Landscape: Trends and Opportunities

Panavision: Lenses for Drones, New Filter Tech, 8K Workflow

Panavision made its Cine Gear Expo debut of the Millennium DXL2 8K camera, 8K workflow improvements, a customized optics system for specific use with drones and gimbals, four new large-format lenses and a technology demonstration of a major advance in filter technology. The new products, said Panavision chief executive Kim Snyder, are intended to evolve the ecosystem surrounding the Millennium DXL2. “We’re building a bridge between products and processes,” said senior vice president of innovation Michael Cioni. Continue reading Panavision: Lenses for Drones, New Filter Tech, 8K Workflow

Huawei P20 Pro: Triple Camera System Gets Strong Reviews

Huawei’s new P20 Pro, which features an AI-powered Leica triple camera system, has been ranked as one of 2018’s best Android phones. The new smartphone is also stylish, with the option of a Twilight glossy blue/purple finish. The 6.1-inch OLED screen offers an aspect ratio of 18.7:9 (it’s a little more than twice as tall as it is wide) and 2240×1080 resolution. But nobody in the U.S. will be able to buy the P20 Pro anytime soon, since AT&T pulled out of the partnership due to FCC concerns over potential spyware. Continue reading Huawei P20 Pro: Triple Camera System Gets Strong Reviews

Skydio R1 Drone Touts Advanced Visual Tracking, 4K Camera

Several companies have offered drones that can, more or less, follow a target and avoid obstacles. But now a new company, Skydio, has introduced the $2,499 R1 drone that shows significant promise. The R1 doesn’t use GPS or wearable trackers for 3D vision tracking, yet is able to avoid obstacles from all angles at speed (about 25 miles per hour). The high-quality device, which Skydio describes as a “self-flying camera,” is also easy to use. The R1, via camera lenses that point up and down on a two-axis gimbal, also records 4K video. Continue reading Skydio R1 Drone Touts Advanced Visual Tracking, 4K Camera

Review Praises Camera Functionality of Samsung Galaxy S9+

With a few weeks to go until the release of Samsung’s latest high-end smartphone, the Galaxy S9+, its camera just earned the top spot on DxOMark (a site that tracks and rates camera sensors, lenses and smartphone cameras). The S9+ received a score of 99 — the highest for any handset to date — with a review indicating the camera has no “obvious weaknesses.” The score is one better than the Pixel 2’s camera and two better than the iPhone X camera. The biggest addition to the S9+ camera is a dual-aperture for low light shots and a zoom lens.

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Kodak Shows 360-Degree Cam, VR Cameras in Development

At CES 2018, Kodak showed its new Kodak Pixpro Orbit360 4K camera, debuted in August. Kodak is positioning the camera as a next-generation 360-degree camera for video and still photography that features built-in processing. The camera has two hemispherical lenses, one on either side of its rectangular body. One lens is 155 degrees and the other is 235 degrees; the two lenses work together to create the 360-degree, 4K image that can be live-streamed or uploaded via Wi-Fi to Facebook, YouTube and other platforms. Continue reading Kodak Shows 360-Degree Cam, VR Cameras in Development

GoPro to Exit Drone Market in 2018, Cut More Than 250 Jobs

While companies such as Yuneec, DJI, Ryze Tech, AirSelfie Group and others tout their latest drones and related products at CES this week, action-cam manufacturer GoPro announced that it plans to exit the drone market completely once it unloads its remaining $799 Karma drones. Citing “hostile regulatory environments” and an “untenable” aerial market, the company also plans to cut more than one-fifth of its workforce. GoPro faces mounting competition from new smartphones that feature improved video capabilities and advanced lenses. The company reduced the price of its Hero5 Black and Hero5 Session cameras in December, and this week announced it would lower its Hero6 model from $499 to $399. Continue reading GoPro to Exit Drone Market in 2018, Cut More Than 250 Jobs

Harvard Metalens Research Could Impact AR/VR Applications

Researchers at Harvard University’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) made a breakthrough in metalenses, flat surfaces that focus light via nanostructures. Metalenses, which would replace curved lenses, have thus far been able to focus only on a limited spectrum of light, but SEAS engineers created a metalens that can focus, in high resolution, on the entire visible spectrum of light in the same spot. Previously, that effect could only be achieved by stacking many conventional lenses. Continue reading Harvard Metalens Research Could Impact AR/VR Applications

Unique Compact Still Camera Captures 52-Megapixel Images

Startup camera company Light just debuted the L16, which weighs less than a pound, has a form factor small enough to fit in a back pocket and replaces one large lens with 16 smaller lenses and sensors that produce a 52-megapixel image. That image compares to the typical smartphone’s 12-megapixel image or 30-megapixel image from a DSLR camera. The L16 — intended for photography, not video, and priced at $1,950 — also offers an adjustable optical zoom that allows the user to change the level of background blur and focus. Continue reading Unique Compact Still Camera Captures 52-Megapixel Images

Brands, Marketers Find Success With Snapchat’s Snapcodes

Users have caught on to Snapchat’s Snapcodes, the company’s version of QR codes, scanning over 8 million codes a day. Marketers like how Snapcodes connect traditional and digital advertising and provides data. Even though Snapcodes add production costs and uncertainty about results, Gatorade, Wendy’s and Evian are among an increasing number of brands using Snapcodes which, placed on products and ads, makes it easy for users to use their mobile phones to unlock custom branded filters, lenses, websites and games. Continue reading Brands, Marketers Find Success With Snapchat’s Snapcodes

Magic Leap’s AR Smartglasses Described by Inside Sources

Florida-based startup Magic Leap has kept its augmented reality plans under wraps. But a patent application with drawings featuring smartglasses just surfaced, revealing more information about what the $4.5 billion company is up to. The original design patent, filed in 2015, showed the skinny glasses had sensors on the right and left-hand sides and goggle-like frames. This second public design application may be closer to what the ultimate Magic Leap AR glasses will be, even as a company spokeswoman denied it. Continue reading Magic Leap’s AR Smartglasses Described by Inside Sources

Researchers Focus on Computational Photography Solutions

Google and MIT scientists have collaborated to explore how computational photography, which uses machine learning and specialized algorithms, can be used to retouch photos in real time. The team trained neural networks via 5,000 images created by Adobe and MIT; five different photographers retouched each image, teaching the software the various ways a photo could be improved. Elsewhere, Nvidia and UC Santa Barbara created a computational zoom for photographers that lets them change a photo’s perspective in post production. Continue reading Researchers Focus on Computational Photography Solutions

Sony Reveals Details of its Full Frame Digital Cinema Camera

At Sony’s Cine Gear Expo press conference, marketing and production manager Peter Crithary outlined available details of the company’s upcoming addition to its CineAlta line of digital cinema cameras. Key to this CineAlta is that the entire camera is being built new, from the ground up, and that it will feature a large full frame sensor, the first of its kind aimed at professional movie makers. The full sensor, at 36x24mm compares to the more commonly used Super 35mm sensor, at 24x18mm. The camera will be available in early 2018. Continue reading Sony Reveals Details of its Full Frame Digital Cinema Camera

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