Evan J Palmer's Blog

A blog about learning (code, improv, film and, anything else).

Month: April, 2014

Fixing Focus in Post with Adobe Premiere

I’m not a very good film maker… yet.

I’m bad.

I went out to shoot with some friends – sixteen hours away by car – and when I reviewed the footage at home (yes, I waited until I got home to review) I found that one of my main shots was not in focus like I had expected.

I’m sure there are lots of other things wrong with the shot, but hey, it’s all learning!

Anyway Here’s the original shot (poke the image with your mouse to upsize):
Without Sharpen

You can see the actor’s melon, in particular his hair, is not in focus at all. Check out his poorly focused shoes too. I was bummed but luckily a friend of mine told me to try the “Sharpen Tool” in Premiere.

I was sure this wouldn’t work, because I mean, if the information isn’t there, it’s just not frikken there. We can’t fix it in post. I mean, that’s like in CSI when they zoom in on a blurry face on a security camera and all of a sudden we can see the mole on the murderer’s right cheek aaaaaaaaaaand he’s guilty! Welll…IT DOESN’T WORK LIKE THAT!!! Right!

… right?

Luckily I’m a big dummy, and it does work like that.

Here is the same frame with the sharpen applied (click for embiggification):

With Sharpen

Note the actors shoes and shoe laces, and his hair. Not perfect, but good enough for an amateur, like me.

Now I know why Adobe’s slogan is “Making Dreams Come True”…. at least that should be their slogan.

For more information on using the sharpen tool, give this a click!

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Logging into Visual Studio 2013 – forms done wrong

So I thought I’d have a bit of a play with Visual Studio 2013.

Here’s my experience

I download, install and, run.

It prompts me with a login screen. Hmmm.. I’m not a member… that’s cool I’ll sign up. *click*

Now I fill out a long scrolling form and fill out the captcha *click*.

ERROR! Ah, I forgot to put in my post code because hardly any of the form fits in the miniature space they’ve allowed.

That’s cool… filling it in… *click*.

ERROR! Oh, they cleared out my CAPCHA… okay, filling that back in. *click*

ERROR: did I get that wrong? was that ‘p’ or a ‘b’? That ‘j’ kinda looks like an ‘s’. I’ll try the audio version *click*.

Listening… nope that. Doesn’t make sense to me. back to the written version *click*

ERROR! Ooh, I got the CAPCHA right! (Wooott!) but my email address is already registered. Thanks Microsoft, you could have told me earlier. Oh well that’s cool. Back to the log in screen. *click*

Filling in my details… guess my password *click*

ERROR! I guessed wrong. Well I’ve been trying to use different passwords for different sites for a while now. So that’s not surprising. I’ll just click the reset password button *cliiii…… nope that button doesn’t exist.

Okay… I pull up Chrome and go to the MS site. And am logging in automatically.

Okay. So I log out, try to log back in again, and FIND THE RESET PASSWORD BUTTON!

And it’s smooth sailing from here.

What I think, in order of importance:

1) Make the form smaller. Is that really the minimum amount of info needed?
2) Have a reset password link on or near the error
3) Asynchronously check my user id as I’m filling out the massive form
4) Make better CAPCHAs. Surely we have a better alternative… ?
5) Make it more obvious that the log in optional ? I just ran through the process again, and noticed a small “skip” link under the sign in button on the first screen. That’s cool, but there’s no skip button on any subsequent screens.

Popcorn Time – Awesome Illegal Netflix/Plex Alternative

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If you’re familiar with Netflix, or Plex, or XBMC, you’ll get a kick out of Popcorn Time. It’s this great program that acts like a slick media player with a basically complete library, but instead of hooking into a legitimate library (like Netflix) or your local files (like Plex/XBMC) it STREAMS TORRENT FILES! …hence the illegality.

Well, I guess it’s illegal… if the country you live honours American copyright law… and only if you choose to download content that is under copyright (there’s a lot of public domain stuff out there too).

But whatever. I love this thing  – even though it’s not finished yet (IMO… and it’s in beta). They still need to get the search a bit better, give us some preferences around quality and, make some kind of offline mode (so we can choose some poor-health-torrent flicks to download now, and watch them when we get home).

I’d also love to see offline mode integrated with tablets and phone devices, like Plex does.

Having said all that, this is such a massive awesome step in the right direction, I’m very excited about the future.

One other interesting thing to note is it’s lack of adverts in the app. If there are no adverts to pay the pirateers, and the movies aren’t being paid for by subscribers or movie-goers… I guess no one makes money. Not a problem, since the share of Popcorn Time users is basically nil at the moment, but interesting none-the-less.

Ideally, I’d love to see something like this take off, where the movie industry can still make some money and keep making stuff I love – HAVE THE SCIENTIST WORKING ON THAT IMMEDIATELY!