Saturday, 28 June 2014

Amateur Photography: As Others See It. Annebella Pollen and Either/And

You do not find this topic in the photographic magazines. It will be obvious why this is so when you read what is said on the website with the link below. Annebella Pollen of the University of Brighton has an entire online project (Either/And) devoted essentially to the sociology of amateur photography, including the role of magazines like Amateur Photographer. While I find some of it irritating because of its use of social 'science' speak when plain English would do,  the contributions to this topic are well worth reading. Many aspects are covered. One example the authors picked up on was the massive amount of advertising in AP (not so much now as the photographic trade has contracted dramatically) and the encouragement of consumption in the articles.

The link is:
and then read the articles under Reconsidering Amateur Photography

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Video in Amateur Photographer? Perhaps Not Really

A letter from Stuart Smith, also I see writing from Ayrshire, to Amateur Photographer (31 May) welcomed the news that the magazine would give more attention to videography. Like me he finds 'it odd there has never been a magazine for the amateur in this field'. However, the reply from the Group Editor (I am not sure one can edit a group) backtracked: 'we are not going to start writing about camcorders but we will be offering advice on getting more from the movie-mode button on still cameras'.

How can one describe the performance of  a still camera's 'movie mode' without comparing it to a proper, made for the job, high-level camcorder? The video performance of many if not most still cameras on the market seems to be pretty poor, judging from experience and comments on the internet.

Will then AP take on the task of explaining the simple language of cinephotography? One has only to look at amateur video on YouTube to see that such guidance is desperately needed.

Before the now-defunct camcorder magazines of the 1990s, AP itself embraced cinephotography. In the 1950s and 1960s pages were devoted to the topic in most issues. Much of the advertising then was devoted to cine cameras and projectors. With the decline in sales of amateur, low-end camcorders (as 'movie mode' has appeared increasingly on still cameras), leaving just a few 'pro-sumer' and professional camcorders at the high end of the market, perhaps AP feels there is not enough advertising revenue to justify the proper treatment of moving pictures.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Video from DVD to External Hard Drive and Memory Stick on an iMac

All my early videos from the early 1990s on were stored on playable DVDs. Digital storage in the days of Hi-8 and then miniDV tape was very expensive. DVDs deteriorate with time and with ‘smart’ televisions having USB sockets and streaming from macs to televisions being a matter of routine, I decided to transfer all the completed videos on DVD to hard drives and memory sticks.

All the information on the best way to do this on the Mac can be found on web sites. However, I never did find it all in one place. This is the routine I eventually used for DVDs having no menus or only one item in the menu.

1 Copy the VIDEO_TS folder from the DVD to the desktop

2 Use the VIDEO_TS folder as the Source in the free software, Handbrake, and Desktop as the destination

3 Copy the resulting .mp4 file to two external hard drives

Large files cannot be copied to the standard format (FAT32) of a USB memory stick on a Mac. Our ‘smart’ television (a Samsung that with its video recorder has the worst user interface I have ever known and wish I had never bought) uses Windows compatible memory sticks that cannot be produced by the standard software on the Mac. I therefore bought Paragon’s NTFS for Mac OS X which adds the option to format any drive to the Windows NT filesystem in Disk Utility. Windows NT Filesystem appears as an option when using Erase to reformat a drive, in this case a memory stick, in Disk Utility.

4 Plug in a new USB memory stick and format it using Disk Utility to Windows NT Filesystem

5 Copy the .mp4 file, or collection of files depending on the storage capacity, to the usb memory stick

The only complication comes with the different items of a DVD with a menu of more than one item. The different menu items will appear as options in the source window in Handbrake but can only be converted one at a time. In other words, the different Menu items are output as distinct .mp4 files. This did not affect me since the few DVDs with such menus held separate files anyway and had only been lumped onto one DVD for convenience. If the items are related or follow on one from the other, then the separate .mp4 files can be recombined in Quicktime Player and saved (a slow process) or using video editing software.

In the end I finished the job over several days and now have all my early videos on two external hard drives and on memory stick, the latter being very convenient for playing on a smart TV.

Paragon NTFS for Mac OS X (US $ 19.95):