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iPhone x

Ok so the iPhone x has been released what are your thoughts? Let me share mine.

I’ve been critical to Apple ever since the mbp. Since than my Apple Watch has been switched and even my Macpro and iPad are replaced. The reasons….. very simple.

Where Apple always was first and best it’s now the best in build quality and probably experience but it’s running behind on things that are already available with the competition.

So what are my thoughts.

Don’t worry this will be short.

Love love the iPhone x

Let’s be honest it’s gorgeous it’s amazing and incredible, almost magical (like Apple said) the design is really nice and I like the new camera options although in all honesty you can do the same very quickly in Lightroom mobile or other apps.

Love the depth effect on the front camera

Love wireless charging, although I don’t see me doing this at home. But at Starbucks, airports etc it’s very handy

Face recognition is WOW and I mean WOW. Awesome and magical.

And that’s about it.

I don’t care about animojis. Yeah it’s fun and I would love to use it for fun.

Now in all honesty I was almost planning on not switching to the Samsung note 8. I’m still a bit terrified to do it because I only had ios smart phones. But my experiences with the Samsung tab s2 has been nothing less than good and very positive.

So what did me change my mind…..

Something I never expected to say, the design of Apple iPhone x has a MAJOR flaw and I can’t believe that they did this.

We have all seen the mock ups with the top part where all the cameras are housed. My expectations were that when you watch a video or look at a photo that this part would be totally black. To my horror it isn’t. At first annewiek told me that that would be something I could get used to…… heck no. Never. It’s like a dust particle under my protector. My eyes just drift towards that gaping gap where video or photos are supposed to be…… it’s not the way I would expect a end design team to work. I’m actually quite shocked.

So what next

I’ve been waiting for a new phone because I wanted to do more with video on the phone and IS on the tele is very welcome plus external audio. The note 8 caught my attention to the very bright screen (1200 nits vs 750) which is awesome when flying my drone in the sun. Als the Samsung supports external mics

I love the depth effect but also want raw support and of course being able to alter the effect after taking the shot. Samsung offers this including the option to take both wide and tele shots and altering the effects afterwards.

AR looked awesome but in reality I will never use it. I’m just not a gamer. I shoot and edit photos and video, I consume media, do mail and social media and I love the idea of the spen for video editing. (Love iMovie but with your fingers on the iPhone 7plus was not really handy. With the iPad Pro it’s awesome).

So……

After many many years of Apple iPhones which I absolutely loved it’s now time to say farewell to my beloved iPhone series. And even when you take out the idea of the gap the pricing Is just insane. 999.00 will be 1159 euros in the Netherlands which means the 256gb will probably be 1350. The note 8 retails for 999 plus a free dex station valued at 159.00. Saves me a lot of money.

What will I spend that money on…..

On the Apple TV 😉

Finally 4k and hdr and with Apple TV you know for sure that Netflix and youtube will be supported plus I found a good working remote on android 😉

So what are your ideas?

Don’t get me wrong. I still love the whole Apple feel and mood. And will probably always be an Apple fanboy. Only now without Apple products.

Man it feels weird.

One more thing….

4k 60fps is superb but my other video material is all 4k 25fps so I have to integrate it into that timeline. Also 1080p 240fps is great but I hardly use it for “real” material. But hey that’s me. Your opinion might be totally different.

First impressions of the DJI mavic

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (if you are interested in drones that is) you must have heard about the new DJI mavic pro. A very small drone that you can fold up and that is supposed to be rock solid with video/photography and flight. It’s jampacked with special features including anti collision sensors in the front and bottom, several follow/cine etc. modes, a sport modes and…… much much more, it doesn’t make sense to repeat the flyer in my blog 😀

 

I’ve been flying a Yuneec 4K for a while and it’s a great drone but the major problem I have with it is that the video signal is not incredibly stable, up till 200-300 mtrs no problems but after that it can show some hiccups, although I once (under good conditions and safely) flew it 800 mtrs with video link, although it did loose video sometimes but it always came back, also the display on the remote is not very good. Let me put it this way… it works great and it does the job. But time progresses. The main reason I bought the Yuneec and not a Phantom (DJI) was the noise level, the Yuneec is a wonderful drone and when it’s 50-100 mtrs away you already hardly hear it, something a lot of people appreciate A LOT when you fly somewhere, also the image quality was very good.
Now that I’m doing more and more with the vlog I love to include a bit more drone footage (it’s great “filler” material) and travelling with the Yuneec, let me put it this way, NO WAY, it’s too big, I never understood people dragging around Phantoms and Yuneecs on trips, we are already on the limit of what we can carry in both weight and volume and filling a suitcase just with a drone didn’t make any sense, however often I’ve been on location where I wished I brought it. So everything about the Mavic just screamed…. BUY ME BUY ME. And eventually today it was “that” time and picked the mavic up at Cameranu.nl. This is my very first impression after running 1 battery, so expect more but this is a VERY quick impression. I compare it to the Yuneec.

 

Flight is VERY stable and its fast enough for whatever you want to do, unless if you want to chase a car I guess (didn’t try sports mode yet, but it should be able to achieve app 65km/h)
The video link is rock solid and very detailed/sharp
Pans are a bit “nervous” but that’s me, just adjusting to a faster drone and even after 10 minutes of flying the pans were already smoother, but the Yuneec was incredibly good with this, I did see you can fine tune the gimbal and controls so I think you can pretty much ignore this remark.
Image quality for photos is better than the Yuneec
Video quality I’m not yet sure, but if it’s worse or better it’s not much than the Yuneec, and that sounds like a negative but it’s actually a very big plus, let me explain.

 

When creating content for a vlog or BTS video there is one thing incredibly important and that’s speed and easy of use, of course an Inspire will give me MUCH better video and image quality but in all honesty I would hardly ever use it, probably never, when creating the vlog I need something that fits a small bag (preferably my pocket) and give me great quality, if the quality is on par for example with my iPhone for video I would already be happy. So I expected actually that the Yuneec would win hands down, the difference however is MUCH smaller than I expected so that’s a huge plus, in fact I was planning on keeping my Yuneec for shots where I could carry the bigger drone, but I’ve probably decided that I’m gonna sell the Yuneec. The difference is just too small, if there is any.

 

Now if you read online there are some complaints about softness and image quality and I think that I know what’s going on, let me explain.
The lens on the Mavic is a more “tele” lens than on most other drones, this means your field of view is narrower, and as you might or might not know this also means that you’re DOF (Depth Of Field) is different. In previous firmwares there was only manual focus and often people didn’t know how to select the hyperfocal point I guess (focussing on infinity is not a good idea unless you’re way up in the air), in the new firmware there is center autofocus and also a button with which you can force autofocus, or check, or double check or whatever you press the button and it focusses. The thing is that if you do this correctly I find the focus fall off of the Mavic MUCH more pleasing than from the Yuneec, it gives everything a bit more 3D look, and when hovering closer to larger objects you can play with a more blurred background, so for me it’s a HUGE plus that the Mavic isn’t a Fixed focus or full auto focus drone, for a beginner I guess this is different but I love the control over what I see sharp and what not.
Also the video and photo quality of the Mavic has in the correct settings a nice clean look, where some other drones (not the Yuneec btw) could feel a tad oversharpened, this often throws people off. Video quality that is sharpened inside a camera or drone looks MUCH better at first glance but quickly you will find some nasty ringing around small details (white borders from over sharpening), I prefer a “softer” image that I can sharpen in post, and I put softer between “” because it’s actually not softer, it’s…… well not sharpened.

 

Also I feel a lot more secure flying the Mavic. The problem I had with the Yuneec was that as soon as it was a bit further away the video sometimes had hickups and that gave me the feeling something would go wrong, which never happened but still…. the Mavic was app 800 mtrs away and 75 mtrs high (open field, and still in sight (a bit)) this is MUCH further than I normally fly, I normally always have the drone not further than eye sight, but the video quality was rock solid at that distance, there are videos of Mavics flying 10-12kms away but I personally will never test this for the simple reason it’s against the law and you don’t need that distance for good shots normally.

 

So first impressions more than positive.
Only problem is that my iPhone needs to be out of the case, so I’m looking for another solution for that, the Ottercase I use is pretty stiff, but I think I’m gonna add it just to the front with some clamp or something else (any ideas are welcome). The usage of the iPhone is great, remember I did not own another DJI drone, but coming from the Yuneec it feels lightyears ahead, the display is clean but still shows a lot of detail, switching between camera and video is very fast, the buttons are in the right places to press, you can see the video and the map and the iPhone is bright enough to see what you’re doing, which with the Yuneec in sunny weather was a REAL problem.

 

I still have to try out the cinematic, follow etc. modes at the moment I just threw it in the air and ran some quick tests to see how it flew in an completely open area so I could also test the range safely.

 

here are some shots I just took.
Nothing spectacular, it’s just close to my home and it’s an open area so I could test the range a bit further, with 800mtrs I’ve hit MORE than what I need so I’m more than satisfied. Low light performance was ok I think, in any way much better than the Yuneec, I never fly at night, but for the testing I did one very quick up for the shot and down as you can see in the images below, it was shot while it was still a bit light outside and I darkened the shot just a tad to make it look later (flying after dark is not allowed over here) so I think if you want to fly the Mavic really after sundown and it’s very dark you’ll end up with unusable footage, but as far as I know it’s prohibited in most countries to fly in the dark anyway and pushing the time limit just before or just after sunset will yield some good results. I won’t be doing any night shots due to the law so don’t ask.

 

More video/photography will follow in the vlogs and other videos, review will be in a few weeks because we have several tradeshows coming up, but as you probably already read, for now I’m totally in love with this little drone, it’s pretty windy at the moment and I only saw the props once very quickly in the frame and the Mavic was rock solid in the sky, earning my nickname for it “the Tripod in the sky”. More will follow.

 

One quick note on drone usage.
I love drones and flying them, they give an unique view on the world and can be incredibly creative for both video and photography. If you fly drones PLEASE obey the laws in your area, in essence the good ones will suffer under the bad ones, yes the Mavic can fly probably 12KM (according to videos online) and yes it will give you great shots when you fly in a city due to the slightly more tele lens, but just don’t risk it. Also keep in mind the speed, the mavic is an incredibly fast drone but don’t use it as a race drone, the reason I love that extra speed is very simple, if you fly in a more windy situation you can at least get it back easier, a slower drone will loose from the wind. A drone is a flying circular saw and with that kind of “killing potential” you don’t want to take any risk, it’s great to have a long range option and speed because that means that under less perfect circumstances there is more than enough “headroom” to get your drone back home.

 

Feel free to add your ideas, suggestions and questions (and tips).

the future of computing a few more thoughts

Recently I already posted some thoughts about the future of computing on my blog and the more I think about it the more I’m starting to see that for me this might be the perfect solution, and in my head I already made the following setup which I want to post here for your input, tips, comments etc.

Having 2 computers is a norm for many working professionals, one powerhouse in the studio and one mobile device for the stuff you can’t do on your iPhone or iPad, traveling often means you have to make sure your laptop and desktop are in sync, which of course now a days are not really a problem, and although some programs can be very tricky there is always a solution, which sometimes means paying an extra license (like for example with screen flow). When returning home copying from the mobile device to the studio machine is not really problematic, it’s a simple manner of connecting the thunderbolt cable between the two and there you go. For years this was my workflow and I never thought it would change.

However as an Apple user there are a few things that have struck me as odd, and even got me worried.
Apple always was the pro supporter, the one where the creatives went, it might not have always had the fastest hardware but thanks to a killer OS and great software my mac always felt much faster than any PC I worked on, but over the years things have changed… Apple seems to be losing track and although they still have a killer OS and great software like Final Cut Pro X (which is getting better over time) and of course plugins like Macphun which are Apple only it is getting harder to see a future where pros keep using Macs. Where windows users get more and more cool devices with touch, tablets, digitizers built in and INSANE speeds….. mac users get….. well a touch strip……. *play the pacman dies music…..

 

So do we abandon Apple?
Well no not yet.
The MacPro hasn’t been updated for a LONG time, I bought it the moment it was released and I’m glad I bought it with 2xD700 videocards because in all honesty working with the MacPro is still like a dream, the machine is blazingly fast… but with 4K it’s showing it’s age, I can still edit 4K without any problem even multicam, but rendering it and adding effects really shows the age of the machine, so at this moment in time I would be looking for an upgrade within 1 year. Seeing how Apple is performing at the moment I’m afraid that we can expect NO upgrade for the MacPro OR an upgrade that’s so expensive that if I would do that I would have to get another job next to my current job, which pays the bills but doesn’t make me able to shelve out 5000.00 in a heartbeat for some speed gain.
So let’s say the MacPro is out, this is my last MacPro, what now…
Well for mobile use I’m switching to Windows, I’ve tried it a few times which made me go back to MacOs within 6 months for the simple reason I couldn’t get the workflow right, the screens were too small, battery life sucked with no option for external power like the hyper juice, and the digitizers were VERY poor. But things change.

 

This could/should be your setup
Ok I know this is bold statement but I think when you read this you’ll agree or might at least think… “he has a thing going”.
As working photographers and educators we all need a mobile device that’s fast, handles all the files we shoot, can edit photos and videos and most of all is portable. For years this was the MacBookPro, but using a dedicated laptop means we also have to carry with us a Wacom tablet, and this means… editing in the field for a quick demo is out of the question, same as editing on a plane, in the passenger seat of the RV etc. And with Surface book pro’s coming out and similar devices it really really started to annoy me, long story short, when Apple didn’t incorporate the apple pencil in some form in the new MBP I knew I was going to skip that one (but I’m not quite… read on). My new mobile device will be the Wacom Mobile Studio Pro 16, not the 13 but the 16, I don’t just want to look cool in a coffeeshop checking my mail (that’s my iPhone or iPad pro) but I want real estate, and I need hardkeys for editing and retouching (a bit miss on the Surface pros, two buttons just doesn’t do it, and software solutions are cool for consumers but I need that room and tactile feel for speed), so that’s my new laptop.

v16mu

Now that we have mobile complete let’s look at home/studio
I’m now running a 4500.00 euro MacPro which still works, but has to be replaced within let’s say 1 year.
I could build a PC with killer specs, but that would mean loosing the system I’m used to, so that’s a “no go”, “thought about it for a second and woke up” scenario. Also I love using MacOs and Final Cut Pro X and MacPhun so MacOs it is. But what options do we have left as pro users…. And that’s were it actually get’s interesting.

Let’s say we buy a 15″ MBP with 16GB and a 512GB SSD. This is a very powerful machine, it has dedicated video that’s pretty fast and can do almost anything you throw at it, unless it’s the real power hungry stuff. I hear you saying… “Hey Frank you just told us you’re gonna switch to the Wacom for mobile use….?” yes indeed you’re right… I’m not going to use the MacBookPro for mobile use like the Wacom.

The MacBookPro will be placed in a dock (closed lid) and connected to 1-2 hubs, this would give me enough USB ports to connect all the gear I’m used to having and give me 2 TB2 ports for my external drive bays which I’m not willing to replace because they work great and in my opinion is a waste of money to upgrade. Also we connect a keyboard and the magic touchpad (which I absolutely love) with the new MacBookPro we can connect the 3 displays I’m using at the moment so also that is solved, this could be enough but it won’t beat my 2013 MacPro (R2D2) so how can we achieve this?

 

And this is where it get’s interesting
We need that extra speed for intense stuff like rendering, video effects, filters etc. now all/most of these work not on the CPU but on the GPU, meaning the videocards. The last few days I’ve been looking into the options for external GPU units and found that although there isn’t a lot of information about it online, there actually is some information which looks very promising. In the past most of these solutions were not easy to install and mostly just worked under Windows, which would make no sense, however things change and there are now solutions that actually are almost plug and play and also work under MacOs. And that’s where I started to think…… These boxes can make your mac up to 10x faster in heavy rendering solutions and filters, which is a HUGE boost compared to the MacPro I’m now using, even twice the speed would be awesome. BUT cost…..

arc-hub-image-_5_-0

And now for the finale…. which is more interesting
If you read this far trust me you will be rewarded.
Let’s look at what we have now.
A Mac Pro which retails for 4500.00
A MacBook Pro which retails for 3500.00 (complete)
A Wacom cintiq which retails for 2500.00 (27″)
Total costs : 10.500 EURO

 

Now let’s look at the alternative solution
MBP 15″ 2016 : 3500.00
External GPU : 800.00 (they start at 599.00 actually)
Wacom Mobile studio Pro 16 totally specked out : 3100.00
Add some accessories like a dock, stand etc. : 500.00 
And we now have a total cost of : 7900.00

 

Ok so we save : 2600.00 which is already a lot of money, but we get a lot more.
As you see I left out my Wacom Cintiq 27″.
Now in all honesty I’m in love with the 27″ and don’t see myself replacing that one very quickly but for most photographers a 16″ 4K cintiq will be more than enough, and most of those people don’t even own a cintiq yet because they don’t have the budget for it. HOWEVER most of you will very quickly reach that 6000-7000 euro range when you add your laptop and Mac Pro together (if you use those of course).

The cool thing about this second solution is that for 2900.00 less you still have the cintiq….

 

Combining the best of both worlds
With the Mobile studio pro 16 from wacom you get something a lot of Macusers have been wanting, a bigger screen than the 15″ and touch/digitzer (this means you can draw on the screen), and it’s still a mobile device with loads of power, if you format your drives in exfat PCs and Macs pretty much understand each other and when you mostly run Creative Cloud and Capture One (like most of us do) you won’t really notice any difference in your workflow. But the Wacom can also be connected to a PC or Mac via a special link that makes it behave as a full blown 16″ 4K cintiq, which makes it possible to mirror your main screen for critical color editing and still have all the benefits of working on a cintiq.

The MacBookPro will be mostly used in it’s dock where it has a very powerful external GPU, a 16″ cintiq and 3 screens.
HOWEVER, when needed you can take it out and continue your work somewhere else.
So in essence you have a MacPro replacement, a mobile device, a Cintiq AND a tablet with digitizer all in 2 devices.

 

Situations where it saves you even more
Now if 2600.00 doesn’t really do it for you… let’s take a look at my situation.
If we want to do what we want to do….. which means also be able to broadcast during live events, workshops on locations etc. we need the following.

 

MacPro in the studio
1 laptop running wirecast (and that has to be a specked out one, the 13″ MBP 2015 actually didn’t really work)
1 laptop for shooting tethered and retouching
And an extra license for Wirecast and screen flow if we also want to use both machines, so add another 4000.00 euro to the 10.500.

 

By using the solution with the MBP and the external GPU we can do the following.
Run wirecast on the MBP in the dock and connected to the GPU during live broadcasts in the studio and shoot to the Wacom and retouch on the Wacom. Now when we visit a trade show or workshop on location we disconnect the MBP from the dock and take it with is while I still shoot on the Wacom.

 

Not all roses and fun
Of course I’m not living in a dream world and I for 100% know that this setup will have it’s drawbacks and problems.
For example when using the Wacom I still have to copy the files to my Mac setup, but that’s in my situation, if you can handle everything with a MBP you don’t than it’s just a matter of connecting it to the dock of course. And don’t even start about using Windows 10 pro on a daily basis, it’s probably a great Windows version but I’m 100% aware that it’s a far cry from what I’m used to on MacOs in user friendliness and stability, and yeah I also run a Windows 10 notebook so I know what I’m talking about. In reality I never have real problems with windows but I know that IF it goes wrong… well it REALLY goes wrong and with Mac the worst thing that can happen is just reinstall your OS (happend twice to me in 10 years) and all apps/programs just keep on working.

Also finding ways to connect everything together will be easy at first and then small things will start to happen that you didn’t think about. For example how about a shared agenda when using iCloud… well there are solutions but we actually switched to Google agenda a few years ago when I did my first windows experiment and we never switched back. Contacts however is slightly different, for webmail no problem but we also have some .com domains I have to use…. well we will see how that turns out, in all honestly most of my mails I actually answer via my iPhone and iPad so I don’t really see why I should change that.

 

I was deeply worried about the future (sounds much darker than it is), I don’t have gear that REALLY needs replacing, but I do feel that my MacPro is still worth money and is fast enough for what I do but that if I want to keep value I do have to upgrade within 1-2 years max. And where there is no new MacPro what do you do…. with the external GPU and the new Wacom Mobile studio Pro 16 I think a lot of fellow photographers and video editors can have the best of both worlds if combined with the MBP and an external GPU.

 

Would love to hear your thoughts, opinions, tips, tricks etc.
As soon as the Wacom is in we will start a video series on the transition of workflow so you guys can help out and see what we do.

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Support us on Patreon

NEWS : Learning with Frank Doorhof on Patreon.

We know you guys love the videos we release and our activity on social media. Now we love to give you everything for free (except of course our full length instructional videos) but producing everything is a lot of work and we see that we are producing more and more and in all honesty we want to do even more. But at the moment we are at a point where we have 2 people almost 100% dedicated to social media and video. And somehow we have to make that work to continue our free material and grow in the direction where we want to go, and trust me it’s going to be interesting and fun, but most of all educational.

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You can still watch all our content for free of course, we won’t put anything behind the “decoder” (as we say in the Netherlands) however by “pledging” for a certain amount per month (starting at $5.00) you can now support us in the work we do. We didn’t choose for the pledge per video option because we release a lot of material and we wanted to make it as easy as possible.

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