Embracing Technology

Posted in Uncategorized on April 14, 2015 by sportzpics

The advancements in technology are both exciting and daunting. How do you always stay ahead of the game?  Sometimes it’s pretty hard to just stand still.

Much of our equipment has a shorter life span (camera bodies) and yet costs much more than the older mechanical systems we used to use.

With our WiFi enabled cameras and our portable darkrooms we, as photographers, are not only creating the image, we are editing, post processing, printing and delivering the image direct from the event within seconds. This has become the norm. Pretty much all photographers wire images from their shoot either to clients direct or to social media or to the media in general.

Our clients want images live from events, as soon as possible and yet the images we supply for online use have a much shorter exposure time as they are superceded by the latest image from the same event or from another equally as exciting news event and another photographer.

Take a look at the online news sites. The news media sites have such a short life span for their images. They want to generate online traffic and ultimately increase advertising revenue by bringing people back for more as often as possible.

How do we keep up? How do we try and ensure that our images are at the front of the line?

By working more efficiently and by embracing the technology that is already available and by developing technology to suit our requirements now and in the future.

One thing is real. Technology is not going to stop. It will not slow down and what we think we need to keep up is already being surpassed by the techno bods around the world.

Buy a TV, take it home and turn it on to watch the advert for the new version of your TV already being aired.

So, with the future in mind and the increased development of mobile technology and 20mb pixel cameras on phones etc, We sat back last year and decided to come up with a way to embrace the technology already available to us. This led to the development of the NewsPics App.

An app that enables the user to take, edit, caption and send high res images direct from their phone to a FTP or Email client. The images are geo-tagged and always sent in high res so the client can use the image in print or online. It’s great for news and event photographers. More can be see regarding this app by clicking this link: https://sportzpics.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/fastest-way-from-sensor-to-picture-desk/

For details on how the app could improve your workflow please email me and I will send you the NewsPics App Guide ( ron@newspics.co.za)

Image Distribution in the Digital Age

 The other area I considered was image delivery to multiple clients. Now here I am talking about in excess of 300 separate clients. In the past we would have to send images via FTP or email to each destination. If using email we would have to send multiple emails which was both time consuming and fraught with disaster as emails become blocked due to Spam filters etc. One of our projects requires us to send 25 images a day to over 300 people over 8 days. That is effectively 60,000 images or individual emails. You can imagine the time taken to do this. It would require a member of staff to be dedicated to just that task.

With the assistance of a web developer we have built an online system that will send these emails on our behalf. All the photographer has to do is edit and caption the image then FTP it to the SyndicateSA server and the image will be sent to that events distribution list. There s no other interaction required from the field.

The distribution list is set up in advance for that event. The images are sent from the event via FTP to the server and then our software sends the image on to our end users. This has drastically reduced the amount of man-hours and effort from the personnel working on each project.

These are just two of the projects we have been working on and as technology advances there will be many more. Both of these tools can assist you in your workflow and I would be happy to discuss with you how they can be integrated into your system.

Please contact me at either ron@sportzpics.net or ron@newspics.co.za for more info

Fastest way from sensor to picture desk?

Posted in Uncategorized on January 16, 2015 by sportzpics

NewsPics App brings you the news – Faster

I have been covering news and sports events for the media for the last 15 years.  It has always been a challenge to get the images from camera to picture desk captioned and ready to print or post online.

The current process for photographers is to download an image to a laptop and then edit, caption, find a cellphone signal and send.  This all takes time and, as recent events in France have shown, the faster we get the images to the news channels the faster we make the public aware of what is happening and we beat our rivals.  Better news = better revenue from advertisers etc.

Technology has changed so much in the past few years that images from live news events are needed as quickly as possible, initially online and then in print. With almost everyone having a smart phone or tablet it seems that there are images from almost every newsworthy event available. Our task is to find a way to get the images to the news desk as quickly as possible.

The Solution

The NewsPics app was developed out of a need to streamline and speed up the process of delivering images.

Current technology enables us to transfer the images to our phones or even take some images with our phones.  We can also edit the image using Photoshop Express or Snapseed but until now there was no way to caption the image.  An image coming into the news desk with no caption is almost worthless. In the past we would send the image via email and type the caption in the email.  There would need to be someone at the other end to re-type the caption and then make the image live on the content management system or website.  All of the above delays the process and makes everyone’s job more time consuming.

The NewsPics App enables photographers to shoot with their normal camera and then load the image onto their phone either with Wi-Fi or by using an OTG Card reader (made for smartphones and tablets).  The photographer can then edit the image and open it in the NewsPics App to add the caption.  This caption is embedded in the image just as it would have been in Photo mechanic or Photoshop.  The app then enables the photographer to send the high res image direct from the phone.  There is no downsizing of the image as with Instagram or twitter.

Who is the app for?

The NewsPics App has many uses but for a News Channel or Newspaper there are two main areas where the app can drastically improve the image flow to the picture desk.

Staff Photographers and Freelancers

There are many situations where it is not practical or even possible to use a laptop to edit, caption and send images from the field to the picture desk. By using the NewsPics app you can send high res images fully captioned immediately from your position. Even in the tightest of situations as long as you can access your phone or tablet you can file your images.

During the riots in England in 2011 the rioters were targeting photographers carrying their cameras and laptops. Some were attacked and many had their equipment stolen from them. It was a very difficult situation and yet there was a very real need to get the images edited, captioned and sent to the wires and picture desks.

Using the NewsPics app a photographer can load the images onto their smart device, put the camera away, edit in Photoshop express or similar and then caption and send via the app. They would appear to the public to just be using their phone and would be much less conspicuous and therefore in less danger.

For trusted, staff photographers you could set the images to upload into a LIVE Album so that literally within seconds the images are in from the event and available on the wires. For a stringer the images could be set to upload to a holding folder so they can be edited or verified by a picture editor.

News Feed from the Public

Almost everyone has a smart phone or tablet now and with the device camera’s having up to 20 mega pixels the images are more than adequate for a news channel, newspaper and even some magazines. For online content there is probably no quicker way to generate content.

Using the built in camera on the phone or tablet images can be taken by anyone and supplied from anywhere with only a smart phone.  Suddenly anyone can supply images of news worthy events or celebrities spotted in public direct to your desk.

NewsPics Workflow

The process is simple

Transfer the images from your camera using the camera Wi-Fi, eye-fi card or OTG Card Reader

Do a simple edit using a program such as Photoshop Express or Snapseed

Import the image into the NewsPics App

Name the image and edit the image caption

Choose a category for the image: News, Sport, Pic of the Day, Celebrity

Send the image

The process is even quicker if you are uploading an image taken with the built in phone/ tablet camera.

What’s Unique?

The NewsPics app will embed the image caption in the IPTC files of the image.

Only the high res image is sent. There is no downscaling as with other apps like Instagram or Twitter

Images are sent direct to the picture desk from the event.

Users register their details when they install the app so you can track back where the image came from.

Images taken with the smart device will be geo tagged. (Dependent on on device settings)

The app disclaimer covers image copyright, ownership of image and usage rights. It also indemnifies against incorrect information.

The app is fully customizable for your business. The logo, disclaimer and ftp or email details are tailored to your business. As far as the user is concerned the app is from your company.

Summary

This app has seriously changed the way in which photographers work.  On a personal note, for most events I take my cameras and my HTC phone or a Samsung tablet.  I can shoot, edit and send direct from the event faster than anyone else and I don’t have to carry my laptop around with me.  At the cricket recently I had my camera, 400mm lens and my Samsung tablet.  That is all I needed.

For more information and a demo version please contact ron@newspics.co.za or call +27726974005

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