Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cellphone Array Camera

Pelican's prototype cellphone camera array
Question:  What is the best camera for taking a picture?

Answer: The one you have with you!

 Since most of us carry our cellphone with us all the time, cellphone cameras have been quickly overtaking other imaging devices. Infotrends reports that 42% of people with a camera phone use it as their primary camera.

Although the resolution of camera phones has been steadily increasing, they have remained limited in their ability to capture pictures in low light situations or zoom in well on distant subjects.  These capabilities required large lenses which don't fit into a camera phone. This is about to change.

Mountain View, California based Pelican Imaging Corporation has built a prototype of an array of 25 cameras that can easily fit into a smartphone. With 25 imaging sensors, far more light can be captured, greatly improving the performance in low light conditions. The data from all the individual sensors can be combined to compute an image far sharper and with a greater dynamic range than any single sensor could produce.

A large array of cameras for research at Stanford University
Since the images are being captured from different angles, it would also be easy to compute a pair of stereo 3D images or a set of multiple views for lenticular 3D prints. 

The limitations of  the current camera phones are part of the reason why serious photography enthusiasts still buy digital single lens reflex cameras, micro four thirds systems and other high end image capture tools. These limitations also help preserve the market for professional photography by preventing the average camera phone user from capturing a great image.

The reduction of quality differences between consumer cameras and professional cameras have been already changed the professional photography market significantly. The introduction of array cameras on cellphones will accelerate that trend.

What is your favorite image capture device?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Disney's 3D Philosophy

Tangle's Rapunzel from DisneyPicture.Net
Last week I had the opportunity to attend the SIGGRAPH convention in Vancouver, British Columbia. SIGGRAPH is the primary organization supporting research and education in the field of computer imaging and their annual convention is the place to keep abreast of the newest technological breakthroughs in the field of imaging. One of my favorite sessions this year included a presentation by Robert Neuman of Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Every major film studio remains committed to making 3D movies, but many seem to agree with their critics that much of the content released so far has not been very good. A great deal of time at the convention was spent on teaching 3D cinematography techniques in an attempt to improve future content. Most of the practitioners make analogies to the introduction of color and feel that it will take a while before screenwriters, directors and cinematographers master the new medium.

Many of the 3D tutorials explained methods and mathematics to calculate parallax, determine a comfortable depth budget and ways to prevent and correct window violations. Neuman focused more on the impact of depth on the storyline of the film.

Disney's guidelines for 3D are:

    1.   Keep the viewing experience comfortable
    2.   Avoid gimmicks
    3.   Use depth to enhance storytelling

Disney sees depth as a way to enhance the emotional impact of a scene. In scenes with low emotion levels, the total depth is kept shallow. As the emotion levels build, the depth is increased with the most depth reserved for the highest impact scenes. Disney has also observed that increasing the distance of a character from the audience increases their emotional distance as well. Characters that are positioned in front of the screen are literally "on our side.

I believe that 3D is the next evolution in imaging and those of us in the imaging field need to remain alert for opportunities to incorporate it into our product and service portfolios.

Some of the movies that I believe have made great use of 3D are Avatar, How to Train Your Dragon and Tangled.  What are your favorite 3D movies?

How to Train Your Dragon Blu Ray (Single Disc Blu-Ray 2010)Avatar (Original Theatrical Edition)
Tangled (Four-Disc Combo: Blu-ray 3D / Blu-ray / DVD / Digital Copy)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Your First Impression

Humorist and Philosopher Will Rogers
"You never get a second chance to make a first impression."
often attributed to Will Rogers

You never get a second chance to make a first impression and often, you will make your first impression online through your LinkedIn profile.  Your profile needs to convey your unique skills and experience in a way that makes people want to hire you or do business with you.

Here are twelve key elements to include in your profile:

1. Your name.

The first things that people see when they pull up your profile are your name and picture. This is your profile, so use your own name; LinkedIn is not the place to use an alias.  Don’t use your company name either; there is a separate LinkedIn area for company profiles.

2. Your picture.

A profile without a picture signals that you are a LinkedIn novice and don’t really care about connecting with others.  People like to associate a face with the people they know and the picture also helps people who have met you in person know that they have found the correct person’s profile.  Use a professionally posed, well exposed headshot with a warm, businesslike expression.

3. Summary

The summary should include an enthusiastic overview of your skills, accomplishments and interests. It must convey who you are and what types of challenges excite you. The summary is also a great place to include a list of “specialties” featuring some of your most valuable skills.

4. Experience.

The experience section should include all of your current and past positions. As with a resume, you want to use powerful verbs that emphasize your accomplishments at each position.  Also, specific results  are more compelling than general ones. For example, “Increased sales by 43%” is better than “impacted revenue positively.”

5. Education.

Here you should enter each of the schools where you studied, the degrees completed and any special accomplishments.  Recent graduates without a lot of work experience, should pay particular attention to this section.

6. Recommendations.

Your recommendations must be written by other LinkedIn users. Ask your LinkedIn connections who have worked closely with you to write a recommendation for you.  You can also encourage people to write a recommendation by writing one for them.

7. Websites.

If someone goes to the trouble to search for you on LinkedIn, they probably want to learn more about your company too.  Include your current company website and other websites relevant to your experience.  If you do any business related blogging, be sure to include the URL to your personal blog.

8.  Twitter.

Include your Twitter handle so people can easily find you and follow you.

9. Events.

Add the Events application and use it to display the trade shows and other industry events where you will be attending, exhibiting or presenting.  This is a great way to let people know where they can meet you in person.  To install Events and the applications below, look under the “more” menu.

10. Blog Link.

If you have a personal blog or your company has a blog, install the Blog Link application to display a summary and link to current posts on your LinkedIn profile. This can drive traffic to your blog and improve your search engine performance.

11. Reading List by Amazon.

Does your reading list include business or technical books?  Let people see what you are reading by adding the Reading List by Amazon application.

12.  Slideshare.

Slideshare is an application that allows you to display presentation slides on your LinkedIn profile. If you have relevant multimedia content, this is a great way to share it. 

Create your LinkedIn profile today, and start using LinkedIn daily in the ways I explained last week. These simple steps will increase your influence in your industry and may open up some remarkable new opportunities.

If you would like, you can see how I have incorporated these elements on my own LinkedIn profile at .

Whose LinkedIn profile impresses you the most?

You may also want to check out these Creativity Paradox posts:
Be Interesting and Interested on LinkedIn
Retweet or Retire
The Blogosphere and Twitterverse

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Be Interesting and Interested on LinkedIn

In the last few weeks, the buzz about the LinkedIn IPO has generated a great deal of conversation about the company and I am seeing a lot more of my old business associates joining the business oriented social network.  As I connect with these people, they often ask me what they can or should do on LinkedIn.

Perhaps the best answer is summed up by a recent post on Seth Goden’s blog.  Since Seth was particularly concise, here is the entire post:

"Interesting & Interested"

"... it helps to be both. These are the two ways you earn attention.
If it's so obvious, why is it so difficult?"

Here are nine great ways to become more interested and interesting on LinkedIn.

1.  Learn about people you plan to meet.  

When you know you have an upcoming meeting or conference call with someone, you can check LinkedIn to learn about their company, projects, employment history and other details that they have shared on their profile. This may give you important insights to make the meeting more productive.

Keep in mind that LinkedIn is designed for connecting with people you already know. So don’t send a connection request to someone until you have actually had a meeting, call or some kind of discussion with them.

2.  Reconnect with old friends and collegues.

If you allow LinkedIn to access your contacts, it will show you which of your contacts are already on the network.  By sending an invitation to connect, you can rekindle the friendship and learn how your friend's career has progressed since you last worked together. Once you are connected, you can usually view their connects to see and connect to other people you know.

3.  Link with new people you meet.

Whenever you meet someone at a tradeshow or business meeting, search to see if they are on LinkedIn.  If you find their profile, send an invitation to connect.  These days however, they might send you one first and if they do, accept right away.

4.  Browse the status updates.

At least once every day, browse through all the updates on your LinkedIn home page.  This will let you know when one of your contacts meets someone new, changes position, or posts an interesting link or comment. These insights into the activities and interests of your associates can strengthen your relationship both online and off.  

5.  Send and receive messages.

As you become known within your LinkedIn community, some of your connections will send you messages using LinkedIn instead of email. Be sure to respond to these quickly, just as you would an email message.  If you are not checking your LinkedIn messages frequently, make sure you set LinkedIn to send you an email notification when you get a LinkedIn message.

6.  Highlight your own expertise and interests.

When people look at your profile, they should get excited about learning more about you and from you.  When you initially join LinkedIn, put some real time and effort into building a complete profile then keep it regularly updated.  Creating your profile is so important that I will dedicate a complete post to it next week.

7.  Share interesting links.

Whenever you find new and interesting articles about developments in your field of expertise, share those links as status updates on LinkedIn.  This helps establish your expertise and authority while providing valuable information to you associates.

8.  Join in the discussion.

Join LinkedIn groups focused on your field.  This will help you stay up-to-date on current hot topics and it's a great way to discover people with similar interests and concerns.  Any comments that you add to the discussion can also help build your reputation as an industry expert.

9.  Ask or answer a question.

LinkedIn’s answer page is a powerful way to leverage the expertise of the LinkedIn community by asking a specific question. Or demonstrate your own expertise with an insightful answer to someone else’s question.

These are just a few ways to use LinkedIn to become more interested in the people you meet and more interesting to them.  The first step is creating a LinkedIn account and building your profile. Check here next week for tips on a creating a compelling profile.

How are you using LinkedIn?

Here is a brief video from GrowSocially on getting started on LinkedIn:

You may also want to check out these Creativity Paradox posts:

Retweet or Retire

The Blogosphere and Twitterverse