About Paul Worthington

Paul Worthington is a journalist and consumer imaging consultant. He produces the annual Future Imaging Summit at PMA@CES, and writes for PMA Newsline and PMA Magazine, as well as other publications.

How to (not) make your employees’ lives harder

Business Success Logo

Business Success LogoBeing an inspiring and knowledgeable leader can be a long trial-and-error process to figure out how to maintain enough control over your team to ensure their success, but provide enough distance to help them truly grow, writes tech manager Avery Augustine. “It’s not too surprising, then, that during my time working for some a variety of leaders, then becoming a manager myself, I’ve seen (and done) plenty of things that managers do that seem like normal, boss-like duties—but don’t actually help the team along. In fact, they actually make employees’ lives harder.”

She notes five “team-hindering habits” to watch out for:

1. Failing to Give Your Full Attention
2. Talking More Than You Listen
3. Being Constantly Unavailable
4. Making Promises for Your Employees to Deliver On
5. Giving Too Little (or Too Much) Information

Read the full article here for details on these problems — and how to avoid them.


480 cameras snap 3D

carnagie camera dome

carnagie camera dome

Many SFX creations in movies today rely on motion capture, which covers actors in specialized suits with markers to record an their positions and movements. Now researchers at Carnegie Mellon University report they’re capturing 3D motion without the suit — just a new algorithm, and a whole lot of cameras.

The tracking system is housed in a geodesic filled with 480 cameras to track 100,000 different points in motion.

“The 3D tracking is so accurate that it can actually capture the motions of every individual particle in a handful of confetti tossed into the air,” Gizmodo reports. It uses off-the-shelf camera technology, and can be scaled almost indefinitely.

The full article is here.

Carnegie Mellon University’s paper, MAP Visibility Estimation for Large-Scale Dynamic 3D Reconstruction, is here.


Short videos: Use Vine to build your brand

samsung's vine

samsung's vineVine’s looping six-second videos can help marketers spread their messages across social media in innovative ways says author Bob Cargill, who offers 10 ways to use Vine in your own campaign.

“If you really want to make a splash in the social media waters, you should try making videos with the mobile app Vine,” says Cargill, who is director of social media at Overdrive Interactive. “Sure, with more than 1 billion unique users visiting the site each month, your potential audience on YouTube is going to be gargantuan. And with more than 150 million monthly active users on Instagram, you’d be hard-pressed not to experiment there as well, even if your videos can only be up to 15 seconds in length. If you want to socialize with all the cool kids, however, you can’t overlook Vine, where more than 40 million registered users, are telling their stories in short, continuously looping six-second videos.”

Among his 10 tips are:
1. It’s Easy to Use.
2. It’s Quick to Digest.
3. It’s Spur of the Moment.
4. It’s Convenient.
5. It’s Instructional.

Read details on all 10 here — with example videos.


iON camouflages action camera

ion camocam

ion camocam

For fishing and hunting enthusiasts, camouflage gear can be critical to success, says connected camera maker iON America. And so: the CamoCAM.

The $300 model is “skinned with official Realtree XTRA-designed camouflage,” the company says, and it the mount’s “easy lock technology makes it perfect to affix to the barrel of a firearm, fishing net and the stabilizer bar on a compound bow.”

The camera has a 14-megapixel, HD video, a 180-degree lens, and optional WiFi. It also features silent activation so that “unlike other POV cameras, there are no loud beeps to alert game and scare off that trophy buck.” There’s more information here.

ion camocam

iON also signed with MLB.com for its cameras to be the official POV action cameras for such baseball events as the Home Run Derby. “Throughout the rest of the baseball season, starting with this week’s all-star game, there will be a constant stream of fresh content across MLB.com coming from footage shot with iON Air Pro Wi-Fi cameras,” the company says.

Pentax zooms 52x

pentax XG-1

pentax XG-1Ricoh Imaging say its new Pentax XG-1’s 52x optical zoom lens means the “all-in-one model performs superbly in a wide range of shooting opportunities, without the need for lens changes.”

Sensor-shift shake reduction minimizes movement when using the lens’s full telephoto range, the company adds, or when shooting poorly lit locations. The zoom ranges from 24-1248mm. The $400 camera has a 16-megapixel sensor and 3-inch LCD.


Eyefi names most socially influential photographers



A new study “identifies the photographers that are influencing the vast online community of both amateur and professional photographers,” says camera connectivity pioneer Eyefi, which worked with market analysts at EvolvesInc.

The result: the top 30 most socially influential photographers with the greatest online impact and engagement. “These influential photographers are encouraging people to explore photography in new ways, take great photos and share them with the world,” the company says. “New communities are developing as more people discover a passion for taking pictures.”

The top 30 photographers were identified using a broad range of influencer discovery and engagement tools, including Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and a collection of top photographer lists identified by insiders, Eyefi adds. “Candidates were carefully vetted for their topical expertise and scored based on measures such as social footprint, popularity among citizens by industry insiders, retweet frequency and other related social factors.”

The full list is here.


Drones light photo subjects, win awards for image capture

mit drone light

mit drone light

We’ve seen a lot of photos and videos captured by drones lately — but did you know they could also help you capture better shots yourself?

Researchers at MIT and Cornell University think the autonomous vehicles could automatically assume the right positions for photographic lighting.

“Lighting is crucial to the art of photography,” MIT says. “But lights are cumbersome and time-consuming to set up, and outside the studio, it can be prohibitively difficult to position them where, ideally, they ought to go.”

They might change that by providing “squadrons of small, light-equipped autonomous robots that automatically assume the positions necessary to produce lighting effects specified through a simple, intuitive, camera-mounted interface.”

The researchers will present a prototype system at the International Symposium on Computational Aesthetics in Graphics, Visualization, and Imaging in August.

More information is here.

 drone stagram-eagle

That’s how drones might help you take better pictures — but of course, they also take shots “by themselves.” And now they are winning awards for it.

The 2014 Dronestagram Photo Contest “rewards the photos that show the best the fantastic potential offered by drones,” the organizers say.

The contest was sponsored by National Geographic, Go Pro, and others.

The full list of winners — and several amazing photos — are here.


Small 360-degree lens “revolutionizes selfies”

immervision lens

immervision lens

A new thin lens design may enable “every mobile and wearable device to deliver an unprecedented 360-degree experience,” claims optics developer ImmerVision.

The 3.8 mm panomorph (wide-angle panoramic) lens is the world’s smallest, the company adds, and makes “distorted fish-eye views and camera accessories obsolete.” It’s designed for compact phone or wearable devices, “yet it is capable of doing what no other lens can: deliver a distortion-free 360×182-degree view without having to pan the camera.”

Lens manufacturer Kolen is licensed to produce the lens, and plans to make it available by the end of this Summer.


First photo of… Photosynthesis


First photo of photosynthesis

All our vegetation, food, even our carbon-based fuels such as gasoline are all powered by or derived from photosynthesis — the process by which green plants convert sunlight into energy.

It is, surpassingly, a process we do not completely understand. But now, we have photographed it.

Scientists have “caught a central step of photosynthesis in action for the first time,” reports the scientific journal Nature. The team used the world’s most powerful X-ray flashlight at the US National Accelerator Laboratory SLAC “to record still frames of a molecular complex called photosystem II… This is the very first scene of a molecular movie showing light-driven water splitting in photosystem II, the mechanism which makes all oxygen in the atmosphere.”

This could lead to a deeper understanding of photosynthesis, which could aid development of better solar cells, and even “biochemistry’s holy grail, artificial photosynthesis.”

All that said, hey, it’s not much of a photo: “The LCLS provides an exposure time of just 30 femtoseconds (quadrillionths of a second), short enough to freeze-frame the water splitting process at different stages,” the report adds. But the study “also proves that molecular movies of biochemical processes are possible with a X-ray Free-Electron Laser.”

There’s more information here.



Microsoft and Canon cross-license patents


Canon logoMicrosoft and Canon say their “broad patent cross-licensing agreement” shows a “collaborative approach …to deliver inventive technologies that benefit consumers around the world.”

The agreement covers “a broad range of products and services each company offers, including certain digital imaging and mobile consumer products.”

Microsoft adds that since it launched its IP licensing program in December 2003, “the company has entered into more than 1,100 licensing agreements.”

The full announcement is here.