|Volume 6, Number 6||19 March 2004|
Welcome to the 119th edition of the Imaging Resource Newsletter. So what can you do with Movie mode? We tell all. Dave's review of Sony's fashionable new subcompact will make you want to get two (one for each ear). Next, we divulge what we learned trying to salvage prints damaged in a flood. And finally we reveal how to get iDVD to burn DVD slideshows to CDs. All in less time than it takes to recharge four AA batteries!
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There are two kinds of people in this world: the Dr. Jekylls and the Mr. Hydes. The Jekylls shoot stills and the Hydes shoot video. And even though they've never met, a little of each is in all of us.
Jekyll was content with his powders, which concocted the raging Hyde using, no doubt, some variant of Dektol. But poor Hyde. Raging about yelling, "Cut!" he had no antidote for his craft but the final one.
Although we've discussed the movie making ability of your digicam in a couple of articles ("Video Haiku" and "The Toughest Shot We Ever Captured"), it's time to take a more comprehensive look at viewing and working with digicam movies.
After all, it beats messing with powders and staying up all night.
ABOUT MOVIE MODE
If the Mode dial on your digicam sports a little movie camera icon (or your Shooting menu in Setup has a Movie option), you're in business. Your digicam has a movie mode.
Movie modes vary tremendously between models. At the high end, models from a handful of manufacturers (Olympus, FujiFilm, Minolta Sanyo and Sony) take digital video that competes with any digital camcorder. At the low end, you have the Web cam limbo bar. Most digicams, however, fall between those extremes. But how they fall varies amusingly.
Format. Digicams capture a sequence of unrasterized digital images that are recorded in only one of several formats. The possibilities include AVI, MPEG or QuickTime format files. Windows Media Player handles .AVI files, Apple's QuickTime Player (http://quicktime.apple.com) handles MPEG (.MPG or .MPEG) files and .MOV (QuickTime) files.
Image Size. A 640x480 image is rare in movie mode. More likely you'll find a quarter of that at 320x240. An even lower quality mode may be as crude as 160x112 (for emailing).
Duration. The advantage of smaller image sizes is that they allow you to record longer sequences. The limit is either the camera's buffer size or the size of the storage card. In either case, it's finite. Using a smaller image size will extend recording time at the expense of quality.
Frame Rate. Also hidden away in your Movie mode specs is the frame rate. Standard video production requires 29.9 frames per second. While a few high-end digicams can manage that, most shoot at 15 fps. Lower frame rates make the action look choppy. To record at 30 fps, you may have to invest in storage media with the fastest write times.
Sound. You might expect any camera that shoots video to record sound, too. But many digicams -- even quite nice ones -- don't record sound. The primary reason for their silence is the zoom motor, which would add an annoying buzz to your video. And what's worse than lousy sound? In fact, not all sound is created equal. Your digicam may record 16-bit sound at 22 khz or, more commonly, 8-bit sound at 11 khz.
Zoom. In an effort to deliver audio recording, some digicam manufacturers simply disable zoom. No zoom, no hum. Ah, there's too much zooming in video, anyway.
Video Out. Digicams with a video out port can broadcast live video, turning them into party appliances (when hooked up to a television), security devices (with optional VCR recording) and Web cams.
RECORDING & TRANSFER
To record a movie using your digicam, you simply enter Movie mode. On some digicams, you have to do this in the Setup menu, but most models now include the mode on the Mode dial.
Pressing the shutter in Movie mode starts recording. Pressing it while in Record mode stops recording. If the buffer or available memory fills, recording stops automatically.
The movie file, in the format supported by your digicam, is stored on your flash memory card. Exactly where it is stored depends on whether your camera conforms to the Design rule for Camera File system. A DCF-compatible digicam stores movies in a special folder at the root level of the memory card. Other digicams store movies in the same folder as still images.
You transfer movies from your camera to your computer just as you do your stills. Many applications that import stills handle movie files just as adroitly as still images in cataloging and displaying thumbnails. Adobe's Photoshop Album [W], for example. On the Mac, iPhoto won't import movies, but Image Capture and iMovie will. Cataloging programs that offer slide show capabilities do as well (QPict [M] plays movies in slide shows; iView MediaPro [MW] catalogs them but skips them in slide shows).
Digicams that record movies can also play them back in Playback mode. You can view your movies on a big screen by connecting the camera's video-out port to the television's yellow RCA plug with the appropriate cable. Make sure the television has been switched to its External input. Use your camera's Control button to Pause/Play, Rewind and Fast Forward. Hit the Display button to clear the screen of data first.
Once you transfer your movie file to your computer, your playback options multiply. Using the appropriate playback software (Windows Media Player for .AVI files or Apple's QuickTime Player for .MPEG and .MOV files), you can watch them on your monitor. Copy the file to a CD and you can easily share it, too. You can also email them, but be wary of your recipient's download time.
If you aren't sure how to playback a movie file on your computer, one simple trick is to drag the file into the active window on your browser. Most Web browsers have the necessary plug-ins to play movie files in several formats.
Slide show software can also often playback movie files. Dropping a movie into the middle of a slide show can make a refreshing change of pace, avoiding the hypnotic pace of that progression of stills.
EDITING IN CAMERA
Some digicams let you edit movies in the camera by dividing long movies into smaller ones.
In-camera editing options are different for each manufacturer. But in general, to edit a movie, you select it in Playback mode. Press the Menu button to see your editing options (like Divide).
Then play your movie until you get to the place you want to make a cut. You don't have to be very precise because after hitting the Control button to pause the movie, you can usually step backwards and forwards frame by frame to find just the spot to make the cut.
The original movie is then deleted and two new movies are written to your storage medium.
But you aren't limited to rudimentary in-camera edits. You can tap into the potent world of video editing software to massage your digicam movies.
If you've recently bought a computer, you probably have free video editing software all ready to go. On the Macintosh use iMovie and on Windows use Movie Maker.
To video editing software, your digicam movies look like individual clips. You can use the editor to cut them into smaller clips, add transitions, introduce special effects and edit or add sound, too.
Some digicams record MPEG-1 video with audio and video muxed on the same track. Muxed MPEG-1 files can confuse some video editors. But there are utilities to demux the tracks (do a keyword search at Google (http://www.google.com) for "demux MPEG," adding your operating system to the keywords).
Video editing software also lets you save individual frames as JPEG images. The image size of movie frames does not contain enough data to make large prints -- but you can certainly print small ones.
We've made nice presentations of a set of three to five images laid out in a single frame with a custom mat. The images are small (2x3 inches) and printed on a dye sub printer (four up on a 4x6) but they don't exhibit any video traits. They look like prints. Frames made for the APS panorama aspect ratio are perfect for a sequence of these.
Because they can't stand much enlargement, shooting in Movie mode really isn't (as you might hope) a workaround for shutter lag when capturing fast action. Your best bet there is to use Continuous shooting mode, half-press the shutter button and anticipate the action.
You can also combine the JPEGs into an animated GIF using most photo editing software. Color fidelity suffers when converting to GIF, but it can make an amusing addition to your home page.
Whether you're a Jekyll or a Hyde, capturing a movie with your digicam rounds out its personality with a charm all its own. The movies are easily shared, fun to edit and yield stills with a unique perspective. Best of all, you may already have everything you need to take advantage of your digicam's ability to capture motion. So why not get moving?
By DAVE ETCHELLS(Excerpted from the full review posted at http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/T1/T1A.HTM on the Web site.)
The $549.95 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T1 looks nothing like any of its predecessors. It's actually one of the most compact Cyber-shots available (not counting the very tiny "U" series). While the camera's thin profile is chic and attractive, its all-metal body conveys a convincing impression of ruggedness.
The T1's vertical lens design (similar to Minolta's DiMAGE X series digicams) eliminates any lens protrusion on the front panel. With almost the same outline as a credit card, it's definitely pocket friendly and travel-worthy. Sony even offers an underwater housing as a separate accessory, so you really can take it just about anywhere.
Though small, the T1 doesn't skimp on features, offering a 3x optical zoom lens with a range of focus options, a 5.1-megapixel CCD for high-resolution images and a host of preset shooting modes and exposure options.
The T1 uses a Carl Zeiss Vario Tessar 3x, 6.7-20.1mm lens, equivalent to a 38-114mm lens on a 35mm camera. Normal focus ranges from about 1.6 feet to infinity, with a Macro setting that lets you get within 3.25 inches when the lens is zoomed to wide-angle and 9.8 inches at telephoto. A Magnifying Glass scene mode gets even closer, focusing as close as one centimeter (though it also uses digital zoom to enlarge detail). Besides its default automatic focus control, the T1 offers a range of fixed focus settings, as well as Center AF, Spot AF and Multi AF focus area options.
You can also select Single, Continuous or Monitoring AF modes. Both the Monitoring and Continuous modes adjust focus continuously, though the Continuous setting is better for tracking moving subjects. An AF illuminator lamp on the front of the camera helps focus at low light levels, a very handy feature I wish more digicam manufacturers would add.
In addition to the camera's 3x optical zoom, the T1 offers a maximum of 2x Precision Digital Zoom. Sony's Precision Digital Zoom does an excellent job of minimizing loss of quality, although there's no getting around the tradeoff between resolution and magnification that Digital Zoom implies. There's also an option to use Sony's Smart Zoom digital zoom up to 4x, which simply crops out the central portion of the CCD's image, without interpolating it to a larger-size file. This means the maximum digital zoom varies with the image size setting, so the greatest zoom is only available at the smallest image size. It has the advantage though of avoiding any interpolation artifacts.
The prominent 2.5-inch LCD monitor is the only viewfinder but its generous size definitely helps with framing. Unlike most digicam LCDs, the screen on the T1 is "transflective," which means that it functions every bit as well in full sunlight as it does under indoor conditions. This is one of the best LCD screens I've seen. The informative display reports a variety of camera settings (including aperture and shutter speed when the Shutter button is halfway pressed) and features an optional live histogram display in both Playback and Record modes. An additional display mode turns off the backlight, presumably saving battery power without eliminating the display entirely. The battery-life info overlay is disabled in this mode, but it can increase battery life about 25 percent.
Exposure is always automatically controlled but a range of seven preset Scene modes is available, as well as a handful of adjustable exposure options. You can select Automatic, Program AE, Twilight, Twilight Portrait, Landscape, Snow, Beach, High Speed Shutter, Fireworks or Magnifying Glass exposure modes.
Automatic takes away all user control, with the exception of flash, macro and resolution settings. Program AE keeps exposure control automatic, but allows user control over all other exposure variables. Both Twilight modes optimize the camera for low-light shooting by allowing shutter times as long as two seconds, while Landscape mode sets the camera up for shooting broad vistas. Snow mode enhances saturation to prevent loss of color in bright white snowscapes, while Beach mode ensures blue tones are recorded accurately in lakeside or seaside photos. Both Snow and Beach modes avoid the underexposure problems most cameras have with overall-bright scenes of this sort. High Speed Shutter mode is best for moving subjects, using faster shutter speeds to freeze action. Fireworks mode preserves color with a slower shutter speed and smaller aperture setting. Magnifying Glass mode magnifies the subject on the LCD display up to 3.3x (a separate function from Macro mode) but uses digital zoom, which may degrade image quality slightly.
Although the camera always controls aperture and shutter speed, it reports the settings on the LCD. By default, the 49-segment Multi metering system determines exposure. Spot metering mode is available for high-contrast or off-center subjects. You can manually increase or decrease overall exposure from -2 to +2 exposure equivalents and sensitivity is adjustable to ISO equivalents of 100, 200 or 400, with an Auto setting as well. When shooting at slower shutter speeds or higher ISO settings, the T1 automatically enables a Noise Reduction system.
The T1 offers Saturation, Sharpness and Contrast adjustments, as well as a Picture Effects setting to record images in black and white or sepia monotones or select the Solarize or Negative Art options for creative effects. White Balance options include Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent, Incandescent and Flash modes. The T1's flash operates in Forced, Suppressed, Auto, Red-Eye Reduction and Slow-Sync modes.
In Movie mode, the camera captures image sizes of either 640x480 or 160x112 pixels with sound for as long as the memory card has space. At the 640x480 setting, you can choose between Standard (16 frames per second) and Fine (30 fps) quality options. Fine requires Memory Stick PRO Duo media to support the necessary data rates.
The T1 also offers a Multi Burst mode, which captures an extremely rapid 16-frame burst of images, at 7.5, 15 or 30 fps. Multi Burst shots are played back as a slow-motion animation on the camera, but appear as a single large file with 16 sub-images in it when viewed on a computer.
The camera also offers Voice, Email, Exposure Bracketing, Burst, Framing Burst and Speed Burst options. Voice mode records a short sound clip to accompany an image, while Email mode records an additional 320x240-pixel image. Exposure Bracketing mode captures a series of three images at different exposure settings and you can set the exposure step size. Burst mode works like a motor drive on a traditional 35mm camera, capturing a maximum of four images in rapid succession. You can choose between Speed Priority Burst and Framing Priority Burst modes, the former focusing more on speed while the latter captures a slower series so you can change framing more easily between shots.
A Self-Timer mode provides a 10-second delay between the time the Shutter button is pressed and the time the camera actually takes the picture.
The T1 stores images on Sony Memory Stick Duo and Memory Stick PRO Duo memory cards, available separately in capacities as large as 128-MB for standard Duo cards and 512-MB for PRO versions. A 32-MB Memory Stick Duo comes with the camera, but I recommend immediately purchasing a larger capacity card so you don't miss any shots. For power, the T1 uses a single NP-FT1 Info-Lithium battery pack, which accompanies the camera. An included USB cradle also acts as the battery charger and AC adapter and also connects the camera to a computer. The T1 doesn't have any standard connection terminals itself, though the cradle features USB, DC In and AV Out connector jacks. A software CD includes Pixela Image Mixer software and USB drivers.
Color: A slightly warm color balance, with both the Auto and Daylight white balance settings. I typically used Auto, as it usually offered the least warm cast. Indoors, the Incandescent setting produced the best color under the tough incandescent lighting of the Indoor Portrait (without flash). Other than that, the T1 delivered good-looking color, with accurate hue and good saturation. It had a slight tendency to oversaturate bright primary colors, particularly reds, but with more subdued tones, it responded very well. Skin tones were quite good, with just a bit of a yellowish cast and the camera handled the always-difficult blue flowers of the Outdoor Portrait shot quite well.
Exposure: The automatic exposure system performed very well, requiring much less positive exposure compensation in both the Outdoor and Indoor Portrait shots than most cameras. My two complaints both relate to low-light conditions. Its flash is somewhat underpowered (a common failing) and its maximum exposure time and light sensitivity make it barely adequate for shooting outdoor night scenes under typical city lighting.
Resolution/Sharpness: The T1 started showing artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as low as 1,000 lines per picture height, in both horizontal and vertical directions. I found strong detail out to about 1,350 lines. Extinction of the target patterns didn't occur until 1,600-1,650 lines.
Image Noise: Image noise on the T1 is a little hard to quantify. On the one hand, the flat tints showed relatively little noise, but the credit for that goes to Sony's noise-suppression technology. Significant amounts of noise were visible around the edges of flat tint blocks and in other areas where there was more subject contrast. I also saw significant loss of detail in subject areas with subtle contrast. Overall, not bad (Sony's engineers deserve a lot of credit for that noise-suppression processing), but there should be less noise in the sensor data in the first place.
Close-Ups: The T1 performed pretty well in the macro category, capturing a minimum area of only 1.82x1.36 inches. Resolution was high, with a lot of fine detail. However, details were rather soft throughout the frame, especially in the corners. Color looked good though and the exposure was about right.
Night Shots: The T1 operates under automatic exposure control, though you can manually adjust the ISO setting. Still, low-light shooting is a bit limited. The T1 produced usable images only down to the 1 foot-candle (11 lux) light level at ISO 400 and in Twilight mode, the images at that level were darker than I'd consider acceptable. Color balance was pretty good though, just slightly blue. Sony's noise-suppression processing worked hard in my low-light shots, but generally did a good job.
Viewfinder Accuracy: The T1 offers a very large, 2.5-inch LCD monitor for framing, which is nearly 100 percent accurate at both wide-angle and telephoto. And its transflective LCD is remarkably visible even in direct sunlight, dramatically more so than most digicams.
Optical Distortion: Generally good sharpness across the frame. Optical distortion was average at the wide-angle end with approximately 0.8 percent barrel distortion. The telephoto end did only slightly better though with 0.6 percent pincushion distortion there. Chromatic aberration was moderate, showing about six pixels of coloration on either side of the target lines. Although I saw a little softening in some images, most shots showed relatively little of the corner softness I've come to expect from subcompacts.
Shutter Response: Sony seems to have really gotten a handle on autofocus speed. Its flagship DSC-F828 is one of the fastest prosumer cameras I've tested and the T1 is even faster. Full-autofocus shutter lag ranged from 0.28 to 0.32 seconds depending on the zoom setting and pre-focus shutter lag was a blazing 14 milliseconds. Big kudos to Sony for getting one of the most annoying digicam shortcomings under control.
Battery Life: Fairly typical (e.g., short) battery life for a subcompact model. With worst-case run time of 81 minutes in capture mode with the backlight on, battery life is decent for a subcompact model. But it definitely justifies purchasing a second battery, particularly since there's no alternative to the LCD monitor for framing shots.
Sony's Cyber-shot digicams have consistently proven to be versatile performers, with high build quality and numerous innovations. The T1 breaks new ground in the subcompact category, packing more features into a smaller space than anything else out there.
Most impressive is how few tradeoffs Sony made relative to full-sized 5-Mp models. The T1 shows good image quality, with good color, high resolution and excellent sharpness from corner to corner. Its image sharpness and noise levels aren't quite up to the best full-sized 5-Mp cameras, but they're impressive for a subcompact. The other tradeoffs are limited low-light capability, limited flash power and relatively short battery life.
While offering the ease of use of a fully point-and-shoot model in Auto mode, the T1 provides enough flexibility and image control to satisfy even relatively sophisticated users. Its combination of small size, build quality, image quality and rich feature set make the T1 an easy Dave's Pick. If you're in the market for a really compact digicam but don't want to give up key features to get there, the T1 should be on your (very) short list of prospects.
A recent storm brought the hillside down for a visit in the family room at the old homestead. Muddy water rose between two and three feet through the first level of the house before emergency crews could open the floodgates. That was enough time to damage a few dozen priceless old black and white prints.
We mentioned the problem in last issue's Letters column and a number of readers responded with helpful advice. So we thought we'd share it here, in an easy-to-find article. You never know when you'll need it.
The first issue to clarify is what we mean by prints. In the world of digital imaging, prints are made on specially treated papers. Dye sublimation prints require a paper with a coating to absorb the dye. Photo quality inkjet prints use a gel to absorb the ink (although you can print on anything with an inkjet).
But conventional photographic prints are made using either fiber-based paper or resin-coated paper. Fiber papers lay an emulsion protected by a gelatin overcoat on a smooth clay layer that adheres to the paper base itself. RC paper skips the clay layer in favor of a polyethylene coating on both sides of the paper base that keeps the processing chemicals out of the paper.
With digital images you printed yourself, the simplest solution is to reprint. Dye sublimation printers may survive a flood and be salvageable but inkjet prints don't handle submersion well. An offsite CD collection of your prints is invaluable, but if you can find your onsite CDs in the mud, they should wash up by hand just fine.
Conventional prints were once all happily submerged in developer, acetic acid, hypo and a long water wash. So washing the prints of their mud is a feasible approach. Even if they are stuck together, just submerge them in a tray and let 65 to 70 degree water circulate.
That temperature is important. A cold wash is inefficient and a warm wash may soften the emulsion.
The big problem is usually drying fiber prints, especially if they are lightweight papers. When they finished their original wash, they were squeegeed and placed on a drum dryer to bake between its hot chrome surface and canvas cover. You probably won't have a drum dryer handy -- or even a smaller print dryer.
There are several alternatives to a dryer, fortunately, but the trick is to get the prints to dry flat. And the larger the print, the harder it is. With the exception of RC prints, which can be hung from a clothesline to dry.
Let's look at our reader recommendations and a couple of useful Web sites.
Executive Editor Kim Brady responded first, but she's always the first to read the newsletter. "I went through a similar event about a year ago. I didn't have all that many 'old' pictures that got wet, but many 4x6 prints. I peeled them apart carefully while they were still wet and spread them out over a table, using bed sheets between layers to keep them apart and soak up some of the moisture. There is a product on the market that is supposed to save old prints stuck in magnetic albums. I've been told it works miracles. It's either a spray or liquid, sold in scrapbooking stores (or Web sites). Can't remember the name, something like Picture Saver."
Archie wrote, "I had a problem several years back where a bunch of old photos got wet and stuck together. Glossy photos are the worst. I used some Photoflo, a Kodak product (but I'm told that a few drops of dish washing liquid works, too) in a large bowl of warm water and added a few stuck photos into the mix. After they had soaked for a longish while (with me poking them with a finger, to keep things moving, from time to time) they started to separate. Once apart, I laid them on paper towels (face up) where they dried with a bit if a curl. A friend lent me an old photo dryer, which I used on a few more with really nice results. I did not manage to save them all, but was able to rescue most of them this way."
And finally, we heard from Dennis. "In another life, I was the plant manager for two different photo processing labs. From time to time we would get in some prints that had been in a flood and have various 'things' now stuck to the surface.
"We would put these prints in a tray containing a wetting solution (http://commerce5.pair.com/hunts/Merchant/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=HPAV&Product_Code=WETAGENT1&Category_Code=SPRINT) (http://www.kodak.com/U.S./plugins/acrobat/en/health/pdf/tiDocs/ti0688/ti0688.pdf) and let them soak according to the manufacturer's instructions. Be careful of using a squeegee as the friction can scratch the surface if there is any foreign matter still attached. It may take a few soakings to remove all of the matter, but the prints can be saved."
Kim pointed us to an Oregon State University press release on the subject (http://oregonstate.edu/Dept/ncs/newsarch/1996/96November/salvphoto.htm). The article recommends freezing prints that can't be dealt with immediately. It also points out that prints above the water line are endangered by the extra humidity left behind by the receding waters. In our case, normal 8 percent levels in the studs and floor exceed 30 percent moisture even after a couple of weeks. Paper works exposed to air are happy to absorb that extra moisture.
U Design Image Works (http://www.udesignimageworks.com) devotes a section of their site to the subject. They cover how to freeze photos, how to handle images stuck together, dealing with mold and mildew damage, saving moldy photos and more.
For general preservation tips, visit the National Archives (http://www.archives.gov/preservation/caring_for_your_family_archives.html).
Finally, Michael Farrington recommended the expertise of the George Eastman House in Rochester, N.Y. "They have been conserving photos for decades," he noted. For those really important prints, you might inquire at your local art museum, particularly if it collects photography.
Here's a summation of the key points above:
- If you can't wash the damaged prints immediately, put them in a freezer.
- Wash prints in a bath of running water at 65 to 70 degrees until they no longer stick to each other and all debris has been removed. At the correct temperature, you can wash the prints for up to an hour.
- After washing, immerse the prints in a tray filled with water and a few drops of wetting agent like Photoflo or liquid dishwashing soap. Agitate and remove.
- Drain the print, then lay it on a freshly-squeegeed piece of glass, emulsion side down and lightly squeegee the back. Avoid using the squeegee on the emulsion.
- Dry the prints out of the sun on racks if they are heavyweight or using blotters with a weight or a dryer if they are lightweight.
- Copy the dry prints with your digicam and archive them to CD.
Dealing with a flood means rolling up your jeans and getting the water out of the house, then hosing mud out, then opening up the walls to remove insulation so mold can't grow and the framing can dry before disinfecting everything. While you're busy with that, you may notice a precious print or two float by. Don't worry, it can be saved. First, make sure you don't throw it out. Then put it in the freezer until you have a chance to wash and dry it. After all, you'll need something to hang on your new walls when everything has been repaired.
At http://www.imaging-resource.com/NEW1.HTM you can keep track of what's new on our main site. Among the highlights since the last issue:
- Review Updated: Olympus E-1 dSLR (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/E1/E1A.HTM)
- Reviewed: Konica Minolta E323 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/E323/E323A.HTM)
- Reviewed: Sony DSC-T1 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/T1/T1A.HTM)
- Reviewed: Fuji Finepix A205 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/A205/A205A.HTM)
We're big big fans of iDVD. We've tried a lot of DVD authoring software but nothing has approached iDVD's elegance or ease of use.
With the release of iDVD 4 in Apple's iLife '04 suite, mere nobodies like ourselves (who don't have a SuperDrive DVD burner handy) can tap into the rich themes and simple interface that make the program famous. You don't need a SuperDrive to run iDVD 4.
But why would you want to?
Well, we thought innocently, to burn DVD software to a CD to play the most stunning slide shows ever seen on a television, that's why. But, we soon learned, iDVD 4 doesn't burn to CD writers.
Until that is last week, when we ran across an interesting posting at The Firmware Page (http://forum.rpc1.org/portal.php). The posting (http://forum.rpc1.org/viewtopic.php?t=23370) linked to HPfurz (PHfart, in English), a download that patches iDVD to write to external DVD writers or to write a disc image.
Those of us with mere CD writers just have to burn a disc image (which takes a while) and burn that image to a CD. Slip the CD into a computer with DVD player software (Macintosh or Windows) or a DVD player that can read CD media and you've got a DVD presentation on the cheap.
No, it isn't a 4.7-GB DVD disc, but for your average slide show, the 700-MB of a CD is plenty -- particularly at DVD resolution.
Using the patch wasn't quite as intuitive as one might hope, so here are a few tips. Use StuffIt Expander to unstuff the BinHex download, then move the two PICT files (they're disguised as PICTs for some reason) to your home folder (the one with your user name). Don't leave them in their unstuffed folder, but let them run loose in your home directory.
Then launch iDVD (which, mysteriously, opened normally -- we'd complained that without a Project file, it failed to launch, noting we didn't have a SuperDrive). Hold down the Control key and click on the burn icon to get the menu allowing you to select an external burner or a disc image as the output.
We used Toast to burn our disc image to a CD-RW. Then we played the slide show in a handful of different devices. Jubilation!
Why isn't this part of the standard iLife distribution? One theory is that it was just a kludge to make it convenient to test a number of DVD writers without taking apart the test computer. But it also lets us create slide shows in iDVD and burn them to efficient media like CD-R and CD-RW instead of DVDs.
Now if someone would just patch iPhoto....
Visit the Imaging Resource discussion forums at http://www.photo-forums.com to find out what people are saying about the latest digicams, hard-to-find accessories, friendly suppliers, clever techniques, you name it! Recent hot topics include:
Read comments about the Olympus C-8080 Zoom at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?50@@.ee97eae
Visit the Nikon Forum at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?14@@.ee6f781
Jessica asks about camera filter rings at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?50@@.ee98635/0
Mahikoa asks about USB driver installs at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?50@@.ee98471/0
Visit the Printers Forum at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?14@@.ee6b2b8
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RE: Wife Saves Digicam
Two years ago I spilled (gulp) a glass of sauvignon blanc into my laptop keyboard. Needless to say, that seemed to "Deep Six" it. So I opened it up and tried to dry it out in front of fan for a day to no avail. Then I borrowed my wife's hair dryer. After 30 minutes of careful application making sure I did not melt something, the computer came up running fine and still is, two years later! If I ever do something like that with one of my digital cameras I will certainly try "The Old Hair dryer" trick.
-- Bill Coakley(Yet another one of the benefits of marriage. -- Editor)(The problem with a spill is generally not the liquid itself, but the conductive (or possibly even corrosive) residue it leaves behind. A wash with distilled water, followed by a long, gentle drying cycle can remove the residue, leaving your device as good as new. But this is only true for purely electronic devices. Digicams have optics in them that should never be immersed. Moisture trapped in the lens can condense on the optical surfaces and be impossible to get rid of. -- Dave)(Which is where a dehumidifying (er, frost free) refrigerator comes in handy. -- Editor)
RE: CRT & LCD Monitors
Do you have a recommendation for a CRT Monitor? I have been upgrading my system and now it is time to address the monitor. I am under the impression that CRTs are more accurate than flat panel monitors. Is this correct?
I already have an Optical Spyder.
Thanks in advance for your help. You produce a great product in the form of your newsletter.
-- Mike Maracci(I wrote about this for the June 1, 2001 issue ("The Sudden Rise of LCD Displays") and it's still worth reading for a summary of the relative advantages (http://www.imaging-resource.com/IRNEWS/index-arch.html). But just off the press is Tim Grey's "Color Confidence," published by Sybex. Tim comparison of CRTs and LCDs is as comprehensive as it gets. But frankly, we don't find the distinctions important. If you want your monitor to inform your tonal and color editing for photo prints or press work, high-end CRTs and LCDs both have the brightness and gamut to handle the task. And neither can show you everything you've got in a 16-bit channel. Given that, the other advantages of the LCD make it a pretty compelling choice. In fact, we've been using an LCD for a couple of years now, calibrated with the Spyder's LCD attachment every six months (rather than monthly for our CRT). We really appreciate the even brightness and the clarity from edge to edge. Sure, the old CRT still has a romantic glow, but we can get that from an incandescent bulb <g>. -- Editor)
RE: Character Assassination
You published some info from Spam Assassin which had blocked some of your issues. I had the same problem, but just added the address to my whitelist in the home directory and no more problem with the newsletter.
-- Neal Koss(Thanks, Neil! -- Editor)
I read with interest and humor the feedback from readers whose newsletters are being classified as SPAM by their ISP and/or software. I laughed when I read what exactly it was in the IR newsletter that triggered certain scores.
A visit to http://www.mailwasher.net (http://www.mailwasher.net) will solve all their troubles. Stop spam before it gets anywhere near your PC. I use the freeware version and never have to deal with spam on my PC because MailWasher checks my email while it's still on the mail server. It detects 95 percent of spam right off the bat, marks those red and sends them to the bottom of the list, marked for deletion. My nominated Friends (Imaging Resource included :-) ) are marked green and go to the top of the list. Any it's unsure of (2-3 percent) I just tick the check box to choose Friends List or Blacklist and Mailwasher does the rest. It deletes spam from the email server at the ISP and bounces the senders. It even opens my mail program and downloads the "good" emails.
-- Tim(Thanks, Tim! MailWasher is free for one account (except Hotmail accounts). A Pro version handles multiple accounts (and Hotmail). -- Editor)
RE: A Late Oscar Nominee
I just bought Scott Kelby's tome The Photoshop Elements Book for Digital Photographers at Border's. Had I bought it sooner, I would have also nominated it for the missing Oscar. Just where does Scott find the time to be such a prolific writer?
-- Charlie Young(Our bet is that he cheats by using all ten fingers on the keyboard. Real writers, we're told, only use two. Which may explain why we resort to our toes as deadline approaches. -- Editor)
While many professional photographers use digital technology to capture at least some of their images, 52 percent continue to shoot images only with film, a Kodak survey (http://www.kodak.com/go/professional) concluded. Of the survey's respondents, 43 percent use both film and digital and only 5 percent use just digital. But within five years, those who use both will climb to 67 percent, the study predicted. Of those who currently use both, 36 percent claim creativity and a greater variety of images is the biggest benefit, while 12 percent cite lower costs and a more efficient workflow. Another 11 percent say film and digital imaging broaden their customer base and the types of jobs they can handle.
Deke Press/O'Reilly (http://www.oreilly.com) has released the $39.95 Adobe Photoshop CS One-on-One by Deke McClelland, the first in a series of highly visual, full-color titles that combine step-by-step lessons with two hours of video instruction.
dotPhoto (http://www.dotphoto.com) has introduced its 4xD Format, a new print size of 4x5.33 inches designed specifically for digicam images. 4xD Format addresses a long-standing digicam aspect ratio problem, the mismatch between digicams that use a 4:3 aspect ratio and prints processed using 35mm's 3:2 aspect ratio, dotPhoto said.
Shapiro Consulting (http://www.asiva.com) has released version 2.0 of its Correct+Apply Photoshop plug-in.
Care to cannibalize a $200 MP3 player for its 4-GB Microdrive? A Wired News article (http://www.wired.com/news) noted the drive, worth $500 retail, can be swapped into your digicam and that measly 1-GB card into the MP3 player.
Lemke Software (http://lemkesoft.com) has released GraphicConverter 5.0.1 [M]. The latest release adds browser searching, lossless JPEG cropping and CMYK conversion.
Kodak (http://www.imaging-resource.com/NEWS/1079600492.html) has introduced a Canon-mount model of its 14-Mp dSLR, the Kodak DCS Pro SLR/c.
Apple (http://www.apple.com) has updated OS X to version 10.3.3, addressing the failure of iPhoto and Image Capture to "recognize instructions or tags from certain cameras that tell iPhoto to rotate an image when it's imported."
Kodak Austin Development Center (http://argon.asf.com) has released updates for its suite of Applied Science Fiction plug-ins. The updates feature better memory handling, enhanced preview functionality, a better registration/installation process and other improvements.
Photoflex (http://www.photoflex.com) is offering MultiDome softbox kits for greater versatility and more cost-effective use of strobes. Four kits are available for the medium-size MultiDome (24x32x17 inches): Medium MultiDome Kit, Medium MultiDome Kit with carry bag, Medium MultiDome Kit with Profoto Connector and MultiDome Kit with Profoto Connector and carry bag. The kits include an instructional CD with assembly information and 22 lessons with photo-by-photo setups.
How2Share (http://www.pixpo.com) has released it $29.99 PiXPO [W] for sharing pictures online directly from another PiXPO user's computer. The company said their secure peer-to-peer sharing technology makes it "easier, safer and at least 10 times faster than other [sharing] technologies."
Reindeer Graphics (http://www.reindeergraphics.com) has announced the release of Optipix 2.0.1 [MW] and is offering 10 percent off Optipix until April 15. The free update provides performance improvements and reduced memory usage.
Intuitex Software (http://www.picsprint.com) has released its $32.50 Pics Print 2 [W] to format and print photos, greeting cards, contact sheets and albums using wizards and templates.
Information Management Institute (http://www.imiconf.com) will hold its 13th annual Ink Jet Printing Conference April 19-21 in St. Pete Beach, Fla.
Hamrick Software (http://www.hamrick.com) has released VueScan 7.6.79 with support for infrared scanning on the Epson Perfection 4870 Scanner, which aids in identifying dust and scratches.
For just $150 per insertion you can list your URL or 800 number here (up to a maximum of 70 text characters).
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Mike Pasini, Editor
Dave Etchells, Publisher