Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter (for podcasting)

Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter

Although Apple have had a Camera Connection Kit in the past they have not had one included pass-though power that allows for more power hungry devices to work. In the past devices have either not worked or have required all equipment to be all but plugged together with the final connection being the lightning connector to the iPad, often still displaying a warning message.

The USB speed is only supported on the bigger brother iPad Pro and the adapter does not allow pass-through syncing but not only can you use connected cameras to import photos and videos but you can use it with the iPhone 6 as well, allowing you to plug in…

  • USB microphones, such as the Blue Yeti and the Samson Go Mic
  • Midi Interface
  • USB Ethernet adapter
  • Memory Sticks

For me this adapter is great, I can now throw my Samson Go Mic, stand and pop filter in a bag along with a powerpack (Anker are my choice) and I can pretty much record anywhere with my iPhone 6 Plus!

 

Periscope

Streaming is going mainstream with Twitters Periscope, a streaming app that allows for you to title and stream video and audio from you mobile device (both iOS & Android). Followers get notifed of your stream and can comment via text and tap the screen to show appreciation of your content in the form of rising hearts! It’s early days for Periscope but it has already added the functionality of maps to the app so that you can identify stream locations. Other functionality ….

  • Your own streams
    • Provide a stream title
    • Enabling location
    • Restrict to invitees
    • Restrict to followers
    • Tweet new stream
    • Change between front and rear cameras (swipe down)
    • Hide chat (swipe left)
    • Save to camera roll upon completion of stream
    • Identify viewers
    • Identify replays
  • Share watched streams

Currently plans are afoot to “scope” from the upcoming eFair 2015 on the 3rd of July (no necessarily from my Twitter account) #efair2015

I can see in recent weeks that it’s popularity has eased off, my first “scope” had 50 viewers, I’m lucky if I get double figures currently. An interesting video relating to Periscope and its future is worth watching at “The Speed of Outrage: Tom Scott at Thinking Digital 2015“. Whilst I feel it makes valid points regarding reaction times I do disagree with the prediction that Periscope will not be the winner for a number of reasons…

  1. Meerkat was first, clearly stating that Twitters Periscope followed
  2. It is already being further developed
  3. It’s backed by Twitter that have a few pennies in the bank
  4. Twitter was the first “micro-blogging” and seems to have remained relatively stable and the leader (and had evolved since its inception)
  • Will it become as popular as twitter? maybe not.
  • Is streaming going to become mainstream? highly likely.
  • Will something do it better than Periscope? Maybe.

That’s the problem with future tech predictions, they are just predictions. At best they turn out to be right, at worst we laugh at how wrong they were – in the end nobody really cares other than looking for YouTube Clips of Tomorrow’s World and the elusive Hover Car, Personal Jet-pack and Robotic Assistant. For further info see https://www.periscope.tv/

Andy

Green Screen

I moved on with Veescope (recent post) and tried an actually green-screen – so much easier, quicker and better results. The kit I used had:

  • Two stands
  • A crossbar
  • 3 screens
    • Black
    • White
    • Green
  • Carry bag

These are surprisingly quick to put up, less than three minutes in fact, the green-screen (creased from being folded) worked perfectly (no ironing required). The fact that the small investment in time to put up the green-screen up and down, as opposed to finding and filming against a ‘clean’ wall, is far outweighed by the quality of the final recording. I thought that it was worth of seeing how much these actually costed – only £30 (from ebay) with clamps for the material – not a fortune but I wondered if I could find a cheaper alternative…

A recent recording (when experimenting with Microsoft Mix) at home had me hanging a an old ‘blackout’ blind, that had loitered in storage, as a backdrop to hide the kitchen behind me. A spend of  £6 and an aerosol spray can of ‘Canbrush C67 by Orientus Industry’ paint later and I found myself in the garden spraying one side of the blind. It works but I soon ran out of paint, only 75% covered and about 50% of what was covered being patchy and in part pain had run (note to self: lay blind down not hang up next time).  So two things came from this:

  1. The paint was perfect for small areas or items (I have seen people use the inside of pizza boxes for small projects)
  2. buy a green screen kit

The cost of the kits are very similar but found for a smaller increase in price (£40 from ebay) gets you cotton muslin screens that have a stitched pocket for sliding the horizontal pole into, rather than needing clamps, the cloth is woven and better quality and the cheaper non-woven and can be ironed and washed (unlike the non-woven versions) and have a high tear resistance and is long-lasting. Currently at time of writing this post I am awaiting delivery.

Update: Screen arrived, great quality, glad i bought better woven screen. I have no criticism other than it would be nice to have a storage bag for the whole lot (£6 from ebay “speaker stand bag”)

 

Andy

 

Veescope Live Remote Control

The Veescope Green Screen app in a prior post has the ability to be remotely controlled, originally by another iOS device, more recently through the use of the Apple Watch (see screenshot above). I have access to three other iOS devices:

  1. Wifes iPhone (unfortunately with here most of the time!)
  2. iPad classic (does not like anything beyond iOS 5.5, and the Veescope app is iOS 6)
  3. iPad mini (from work and locked down tighter than Southend piers footings – but I am working on it)

I did however pinch the wife’s to have a go, first its a clear simple interface:

  • record
  • snapshot (Apple Watch does not seem to have this? – only going by screenshots seen)
  • next background
  • prior background

My first concern was that I needed to be on the same network and thought this may well cause issues at work (I could at least try out at home) – but fear not as it functions on Bluetooth connectivity, having enabled Bluetooth of both devices, and was a breeze. It may not look fancy or offer obscure options but it works an absolute dream.

I don’t think it’s likely but I would love the option of having this controlled from a Pebble Smartwatch!

 

Andy

Living with the Surface RT [Day 100]

Surface RT

I have hit 100 days with the Surface RT and I can say that they only thing about it that has been an uphill struggle has been this blog (only at times!). I certainly would have liked it to be more educational that it has been but attempting to blog daily has limited that. Id on’t intend to stop blogging, but I do not intend beyond today to blog on a daily (or attempt) basis but I do feel that this entry should look back at what I have tried to do and where i still/want to go with the Surface RT.

  1. Connecting wirelessly to another display
  2. Tethering to my phone for when I cannot get Wifi (made some headway – Bluetooth only real solution from a cost perspective, and so far not needed to!)
  3. Finding at least one good app (and free) for all categories (a bit ambitious now the categories have expanded i.e. sport & government not my thing!)
  4. Trying to write this blog from the Surface itself (setup has been on a PC, entries have been on an iPhone 5)
  5. Not writing this blog retrospectively (which it has up till now!)
  6. Purchase & use a stylus

I still have a few projects/research pieces involving the Surface RT that will be a part of this blog.

  • Tethering to my phone for when I cannot get Wifi (from my original list above)
  • Micro HDMI to mini HDMI adapter (on order)
  • VGA adapter (on order)
  • Working with whole groups of students and staff to utilise tablets in the classroom

I do have to say that I have not powered up my works laptop since July 2013, the Surface RT has been a great replacement and the abilities it has serves it well:

  • light
  • portable
  • Small form factor
  • Amazing battery Life
  • Productive (especially love office and OneNote app)
  • App store is starting to mature

 

I am going to have to dust off the laptop, if only because I’m teaching game engines and the software is on my laptop ready to utilise. I am still holding out hope that miracast will come to the Surface RT (although knowing it not coming), but overall I don’t see myself being drawn back to the iPad.

In fact I would probably be persuaded to move onto a Surface Pro or similar tablet/laptop device.

 

Andy

OneNote App Scanning on the Surface RT [Day 99]

OneNote Screenshot

Now this i can really see a use for, being a ble to effectively scan an image into OneNote, but there is more to it than just inserting a photo.

OneNote will attempt (and very well) to rotate, straighten and crop the image itself as it is placed into OneNote. You also have the ability to recognise the any text and covert in editable/searchable text as well. Great for curating all those board notes and handouts that can so easily get overlooked, lost or forgotten!

 

Andy

Video Blogging on the on the Surface RT [Day 51]

I have a trip to the US pending and as part of the information gathering exercise we have been asked to capture a variety of media from images to video logs (VLOGS) so thought it was worthwhile to do a little test.

I could record at the following (under windows 8.0 RT);

  • 240p (4:3)
  • 360p (16:9)
  • 480p (4:3)
  • 540p (16:9)
  • 720p (16:9)
  • 800p (16:10)

With the 720p setting chosen with the camera facing forward I recorded a 5 minute clip (no I’m not willing to show!) it comes out at approximately 210mb (42mb/min). The same length of video set at 360p is a resulting 52mb (10mb/min). Although the audio does not play back on the surface, on a PC with reasonable speakers it is fine (so no need to use external speaker). I did try out a set of headphones with an inbuilt mic that will be outlined in a future blog that were very good. I do like the fact that you can trim the ends of your recorded video upon review.

The file is stored in your camera roll. I did have issues with uploading the 720p video to SkyDrive, but this could be due to the size as the smaller 52mb file uploaded with no problems at all.

Note: I have tried a number of 5min 360p videos and some come out as 80mb+, so limiting any clip that you want to send to SkyDrive to not much  than 5 mins would be a good recommendation

——————————————–

Update:  Within Windows 8.1 RT you no longer have the options within the camera app to change the resolution of the camera, merely the ratio, so I have noted the resolution below alongside each ratio…

  • 4:3 – 640 x 480p
  • 16:9 – 1280 x 720p 
  • 16:10 – 1280 x 800p 

 

Andy

Surveillance on a Surface RT [Day 35]

Screenshot_132144_1000000

A number of apps I have on my iPhone would be really desirable on my Surface RT. Particularly one for my home security, as I cannot install onto the Surface RT for IE and Firefox and Chrome as yet are not available (if ever).

So stepping up to the plate is “EverView”. A multiple IP Webcam viewer that requires:

  • A name for your feed
  • Camera model (as a drop down list)
    • Generic
    • Foscam FI9820
    • Foscam FI8904
    • Foscam FI8908
    • Foscam FI8910
    • Foscam FI8918
  • IP address (without the HTTP://)
  • Port number
  • Username
  • Password

Although the controls are rudimentary for controlling the Cam (up, down, left, right) it does also allow you to turn on/off the InfraRed LEDs. I do like the fact that all cams are previewed on one screen.

It should be noted that I have yet to find a free app that utilises the two-way audio.

Andy

QR Codes and the Surface RT [Day 34]

2013-09-23 12-11-23

 

Within my organisation we have had another push with QR Codes, many staff have been at a loss on how to read/generate such codes. So I thought a short post on solutions to both sides would be appropriate (as a number of posts have been about familiarisation with the Surface RT not actually educational practice so far). Both apps have been chosen for their simplicity.

Scan [click here for Windows Store info]
Simply aim the rear camera at the QR Code and  you will presented with the interpreted information, if it is a website you are prompted with an option to visit the URL. The App also keeps a history of scan for later retrieval.

QR Creator [click here for Windows Store info]
A clean interface that allows you to quickly choose from a range of QR formats (such as text, URL, SMS, Twitter, etc.).  A dialogue box on the right-hand-side allows for modifying of the QR Code such as content, size, colours and final generation.  What I really like about this App (and puts it above others is that it has the ability to share directly with other apps such as SkyDrive rather than limiting to saving as an image locally). As in the scanning App your history is retained for recall.

 

Andy



Skype on the Surface RT [Day 5]

Due to the fact that my Skype account is linked to my Microsoft account the setting up after downloading the app was automatic, although Skype refused to acknowledge my microphone (and I had confirmed it functioned outside of Skype) it finally turned out be an uninstall, restart and reinstall of the app to correct the issue.

The app is very streamlined for the Surface and I actually prefer it over my desktop version with all its clutter. The only bugbear is finding a contact (which is found from the search button on the charms menu with skype select underneath). But that is more a lack of familiarity with Win8 than Skype. https://support.skype.com/en/faq/FA12107/adding-contacts-windows-8

The camera preview is sharp but the received video is noticeably grainy. However this is down to Skype tech rather than the Surfaces quality of camera (testing was between a Surface and an iPad with similar results either end of the conversation).

Audio quality is sufficiently adequate and I was please to find that the mics (two on the top edge of the surface) did not suffer from speaker pick-up.

A good effort from Microsoft certainly when in a matter of minutes I can have a video conversation with my parents (my dad’s a budding RT’er as well)

Andy