Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Here's a New Camera Concept Craftperson's Should Love

From the late 1960's to the 1980's I was a video producer.  The term "videographer" hadn't even been coined back then.  In fact, we saw the video camera and the still camera as tools in two different realms requiring relatively different sets of skills.  That all changed with the advent of the digital still camera.

Today my still camera produces HD video images and most video cameras include still image capabilities.

Now I am going to show you something that promises to take us in a whole new direction.  It's a camera that the developers claim will make taking photos out of focus a thing of the past.  It's from Lytro and they call their new concept "Living Pictures".  One doesn't focus when taking the picture. One focuses when viewing or printing the picture.   Here's a sample.

A "Living Picture" allows YOU to determine the focus of the image. This particular picture demonstrates a situation that many of us have faced when having to shoot through a chain link fence. The fence is in focus but we really wanted the players to be in focus. With your current camera this picture would be a total loss. But, that is not true of a Lytro image.

Try it. Simply click on one of the players you want to be in focus and see what happens. Then click on the chain link fence. Notice that YOU are in control of what is in focus. Pretty neat, isn't it?

Let's try another...

In this image we can selectly bring into focus the flowers in the foreground, the seeds right behind the flowers or the foliage in the background. In fact, there are quite a few potential focus selections that you can find by clicking various objects.

You can find out more by going to Lytro's Home Page.

OK. So, it's all very cool. But, how does this help a craftsperson?

It both simplifies and enhances the way we communicate our work to others.  It simplifies by taking away the need to worry about focus and depth of field issues that all of us face when trying to take pictures of our work.  And, this is particularly true of 3D pieces.

But, it also enhances our ability to communicate our work in that the viewer can explore the objects in our image in a highly interactive way.  Ultimately, there are some hints that at least some limited 3D perspective might be possible,  Those of you that make pop-up cards should be very intrigued by what this camera might be able to do for you.

No price or delivery date has been set as yet.  So, I'll keep you posted as things progress.  Sounds like fun!


Denise O'Connor said...

I saw this a few days ago, and I think it is ingenius! I just hope that it is affordable because I would love to have one, not only for crafty pictures, but for pictures of my kids. I just hate it when I try to capture one of those moments and then find out that the focus was not quite right!

Tom Meeks said...

Those who love to create paper crafts do so, I've discovered, largely because they create to express feelings of love and caring. So, it's only natural that they would combine those same loves when it comes to photography.

Even though I have professional camera equipment, I all too often miss a shot of my granddaughters due to focus issues. I would much rather have a modest quality image that I could bring into focus than a 21 megapixel failure when it comes to my grandchildren.

So, the Lytro is VERY appealiog to me for capturing things like ballet and sports. So, let's hope that the shutter speed can be fast enough to stop motion.

Great to hear from you!

Ruthie said...

Wow Tom - this is stunning - my son (11) thought it was brilliant!

As with many things like this, it would be interesting to see what the price is!

Hope all is well with you and yours


Shelley Noble said...

Tom, this is incredible! Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I'm getting extremely excited over the notion of this technology coupled with Jaime Beck's cinemagraphs (long photos) to tell my folktale.

Really glad I follow your blog and that you've had such a diverse wealth of background experiences!

Tom Meeks said...

Glad you like it! I thought it was something creative people like Ruthie and Shelley would enjoy.

Shelley, you paid me a great complement. The opportunities that have come my way in seemingly vastly different disciplines is something for which I am very, very thankful.

As I have pondered WHY that has been true, it seems to me that it's simply because of an inclination to view new information and products with an eye on how they will move us to the next step.

This was true of the first video camera I owned, which was gruesomely awful by today's standards. But, which paved the way for $300.00 HD video cameras! The potential was in the concept even if the first tools to attempt to pull that concept off were crude.

If one focuses on what something cannot do rather than how it can move technology FORWARD then we will stunt our ability to look forward by not exercising one's of humankind's greatest assets... the ability to dream.

Lysa said...

Oh my I love this camera!(without even seeing the housing)I have showed it to the whole family. Could this be my new camera? I guess time will tell. Thanks for sharing the 411 Meeks man. I signed up for their email list.