Chicago gets smart cities boost with CIVIQ Wi-Fi project

first_imgDonal Power Tags:#AT&T#CES2017#Chicago#CIVIQ#IoT#Smart Cities#smart city How Connected Communities Can Bolster Your Busi… Related Posts How IoT Will Play an Important Role in Traffic …center_img Surveillance at the Heart of Smart Cities Chicago will be the site of another smart city initiative as CIVIQ Smartscapes announced plans to launch a new Wi-Fi powered pilot project.Milford, Ma.-based CIVIQ will install interactive devices in downtown Chicago that offer high-speed public Wi-Fi.On top of wireless connectivity, the Waypoint devices will also provide such digital services as wayfinding, safety alerts and interactive information about transportation services.“Cities across the world are focused on transforming urban landscapes into hyper-connected smartscapes,” said CIVIQ Smartscapes Managing Director of Global Government Development & Innovation George Burciaga. “Connecting smart devices, services and people will allow cities to react to human occurrences in real time, while becoming more efficient and sustainable.”The devices will also allow direct citizen engagement with the city of Chicago through CIVIQ’s Mobility Experience. This solution allows residents to connect with the city in order to enable municipal staff and elected officials to respond better to pressing issues.“The City of Chicago and the Mayor are focused on building a safer and smarter Chicago, this technology improves the way residents communicate and is the first step of many within the City of Chicago,” said Alderman Daniel Solis.Helping the Windy City save cashThe pilot project is part of Chicago’s focus as an AT&T spotlight city under its smart cities framework. The AT&T framework aims to leverage the company’s IoT expertise to help targeted cities save money, preserve natural resources and improve the quality of life for their citizens.The CIVIQ project follows the recently announced news that AT&T and Chicago are deepening their smart city partnership with a pilot project for smart kiosks and bus shelters.The telecoms giant announced this expansion of its smart cities work in Chicago at the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2017 in Las Vegas.As well, AT&T Smart Cities it also revealed it is expanding its presence at O’Hare International Airport beyond its digital displays that show real-time ground transport information.The airport expansion involves a project that will capture passenger data as they move around the airport to improve customer service. For Self-Driving Systems, Infrastructure and In…last_img read more

4 promising open source projects for 2018

first_imgThis year has been a year of massive growth in open source. While almost any developer knows frameworks such as React and projects like Docker (moby), in 2017 the number of open source projects on GitHub grew from around 35 million to over 62 million.See also: Is IoT all about low-tech and simple APIsAs open source is expected to continue to grow and standardize more development fields, here is a short preview of some of the most promising candidates to rise in 2018. Most of them were built around the growing realization that the age of components has just begun and that applications in 2018 will be built using encapsulated, composable and styled components as building blocks – which should be easily shared and used in our different applications.1. VueAlthough already widely known and very buzzy, Vue is increasing in adoption in the community and organizations and might very well become an even competitor for frameworks such as React in 2018. It is a library for building interactive web interfaces and provides a simple, flexible API for its data-reactive components. It has a simple, minimal core with an incrementally adoptable stack that can handle apps of any scale. It’s lightweight, simplicity and community adoption position it as one of the most promising candidates for massive growth in 2018.2. BitBit is an extension for your Git repositories that enables you to share parts from their existing source-code and natively integrate them into other repos, without having to set up and maintain additional repositories/packages.Any subset of files from your Git repo can be easily tracked and shared as a reusable component, creating a playlist-like collection of components to be used by different team members and projects. You and your team can share and discover components, collaborate, get updates and stay in sync.3. Styled ComponentsWith over 10k stars in just a few months (and keeps gaining popularity), this project allows you to write actual CSS code to style your components. It also removes the mapping between components and styles, so using components as a low-level styling construct becomes very simple. This is nothing less than a milestone in the upcoming future of styling components.4. Apollo GraphQL (with React)Apollo is a A fully-featured, production-ready caching GraphQL client for every server or UI frameworkReact-Apollo is a convenient yet powerful way to bind GraphQL queries to your React components so that you can focus on developing your UI while data fetching and management get out of the way. At the same time, it has all of the hooks and extension points for you to be fully in control. Tags:#api#Bit#featured#Internet of Things#IoT#vue Jonathan Saring Related Posts How APIs and Machine Learning are Evolving The Fast Pace of Facial Recognition Innovation Websockets and IoT: Why don’t the two go together? Joni Sar is on the www.bitsrc.io team, working to build great open-source things with and for the community. Feel free to get in touch. Building a Predictive Analytics Model From Scratchlast_img read more

Smart data exchange will bring value to smart city innovation

first_imgRelated Posts When it comes to smart city innovation, it’s arguable that most use cases are not that exciting to the average resident. A connected garbage bin, traffic light or parking meter is not going to cause applause and adoration for city officials at least in the first instance. But as more and more local systems start to communicate, it will start to make more sense and increase consumer satisfaction, at least until residents forget a life before they existed.I spoke to Peeter Kivestu, director of travel industry solutions and marketing from analytics solutions and consulting services company, Teradata.  Kivestu believes that much of the focus has been on connecting the ‘things’ rather than the data within. The value of data grows with use according to Kivestu: “If you have data and you use it, it increases in value, particularly if you curate it, integrate it or get to use it in a purposeful way.”He believes that there’s an opportunity for cities to embrace a platform business model where the city enables a level of connectivity around its data. Inherent to this is what he calls a smart data exchange, a new kind of asset that enables cities to evolve into a new way of delivering value for its citizens so this when it gets back to the social economic benefits.Smart data from cities is, for the most part, siloed and fragmentedAccording to Kivestu:“A city is working when all of its systems work together and when all of its people benefit in some way. But when systems are disconnected or parts of the population are disconnected and not able to access value, then the city is dysfunctional. A city is a system of systems. Yes the systems themselves are physically connected. So you’ve got highways, energy systems and buildings and city services they’re all there happily coexisting in the real universe, but digitally they’re not connected at all.”Kivestu offers the example of wanting to attend a football game at a local stadium, mindful that traffic around the stadium will be at capacity:“I’m just going to drive my car to a local parking lot and park there and take transit. So that’s a reasonable thing to do and I can do that in the physical world. Digitally I can find out when the transit is leaving, the departure times and so forth. But I really don’t have any idea about the situation in the parking lot so I drive my car to the parking lot. I find out the parking lot is full and therefore I miss the transit and I miss the football game.”This kind of technology in progress and shared data would increase opportunities for innovation in this space. For example, smart app, Just Park, that sells parking spaces that guide you not only to the stadium but your seat. Smart stadiums can also benefit staff and officials through accurate real-time data such as the number of people present and their locations, tools that are useful in case of an emergency or a missing child. Smart surveillance can also be utilized to provide safety evacuation information such as instructions and directions in the case of an emergency analytics can be coordinated with weather and traffic information outside of the stadium. This means fans can leave happy, with the knowledge of their fastest route home.Connecting Commercial and Public InfrastructureHowever, for this to happen outside of the commercial arena, like smart stadiums, the data needs to be connected across the city and commercial infrastructure. As Kivestu explains:“There are lots of cases where we have data but it resides in silos as it was built for different purposes. For example, there are safety implications to create variable speed limits on highways. If there’s been a blockage on the highway up ahead of you then the variable speed limit sign shows a lower speed to warn drivers that ahead of traffic congestion.However, the two systems of data that collect the blockage on the highway and determine the speed shown on the highway live in two different environments. So if somebody comes along and asks a question ‘Do variable speed limits work?’ The next thing they find it will not be easy to answer not knowing that they operate in two different systems. Then, in the process of bringing the data together, you find that the data is measured in different units or the speed limits are on roadway mile markers and the highway speed data is referenced in some other way making them difficult to compare from a data perspective.” Good data is open data with cities setting their own needs based local agendaIntegral to the notion of a shared data repository is accessible open data, a concept embraced in many cities including LA, Barcelona and New York. Many cities are opening their data to both businesses, universities, and citizens to enable them to gain in-depth insight into the lived reality of the city.  Every guy who wants to build an app like that if they have to go build their own data systems it is going to take longer.”Ultimately, Kivestu believes that each city needs to determine what data is most fundamental to the life of their city.“It may be sustainability, greenhouse gases, the best way to distribute electric vehicle charging stations or what should be built and where. The growth of electric vehicles means that it makes sense for car and electricity grid data to be connected.You want to give developers the information so that they have so that they are encouraged to do the right thing. Smart cities need to make life better in the city especially with an aging population base. These problems are not going to go away.” Cate Lawrence Tags:#connect stadium#data exchange#open data#smart city#smart transport#Teradata How Data Analytics Can Save Livescenter_img AI: How it’s Impacting Surveillance Data Storage Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Follow the Pucklast_img read more

From Lip Reading to Google Glass and Beyond: The Evolution of Wearable IoT Devices

first_imgRelated Posts Ryan Ayers Small Business Cybersecurity Threats and How to… Tags:#Future#IoT#Trending Ryan Ayers is a researcher and consultant within multiple industries including information technology, blockchain and business development. Always up for a challenge, Ayers enjoys working with startups as well as Fortune 500 companies. When not at work, Ayers loves reading science fiction novels and watching the LA Clippers. Up until a few years ago, interconnected devices were more dream than reality, and it’s easy to feel like the fitness tracker fad was the beginning of wearables. In reality, of course, the groundwork was laid decades before— years even before the Internet was launched.With all the amazing potential for wearable IoT devices, it’s important to realize how far we’ve come—and how many devices didn’t end up changing the world, but did make important contributions to the future of IoT. Even dreams of the future in culture and art laid the framework for one of the world’s most exciting industries. Let’s take a look at how we got to today’s incredible wearables—wearables that will one day be replaced by even more sophisticated technology.The First Wearable ComputerSurprisingly, the first wearable computer on record was created in 1955—and was designed to predict roulette wheels. The developer, Edward O. Thorp, used the device secretly in the early 60s. It was not known to exist until 1966, though it was developed years earlier.Early Wearable IoT: Head-Mounted DisplaysBack when televisions were still a marvel of engineering, head-mounted displays were already piquing the interest of enterprising minds.In 1960 Morton Heilig received a patent for head-mounted display technology, but it was not until 1968 that the first head-mounted virtual reality system was built. The Sword of Damocles was a rudimentary headset developed by computer scientist Ivan Sutherland, and had to be suspended from the ceiling as it was too heavy to wear. Though the graphics were very simple, the fact that this early VR device was created nearly 50 years ago is incredible. The year before, in 1967, Hubert Upton used the head-mounted display concept for a more practical purpose: aiding in lip reading. His device was mounted using glasses, and was one of the first wearable computers.Sega’s VR Glasses and Google Glass Consumer VR devices had several flops before they started to become successful in recent years. In 1993, Sega’s prototype VR glasses never made it to market and cost the company a huge amount of money. Google’s much-anticipated Google Glass headset (a complete wearable computer with displays designed as a pair of glasses) came on the public market in 2014, but soon lost momentum, since it struggled with technical difficulties. Recently, however, it has successfully reemerged with an Enterprise Edition as a tool for workers in industries like manufacturing.Fitness Trackers & Beyond Fitness trackers like FitBit didn’t really introduce new technology of their own—but they fused several technologies together into one wearable device. GPS, pedometer functions, heartrate monitor, and other sensors heralded the future of wearables—multi-function trackers.Wearables used to track health and fitness are common among people who are watching their weight and trying to live healthier lives, but they’re also beginning to emerge in healthcare settings. By helping patients monitor their health more closely and making healthcare professionals more efficient, wearable technology could reduce healthcare costs by $200 billion in the next 25 years.Present and Future Applications for Wearable IoT Obviously, we’re only beginning to scratch the surface when it comes to practical applications for wearable IoT. There’s a lot more that can be done with sensors and IoT technology than tracking our steps and sleep.One area that could see incredible benefit from wearables is emergency management. Hurricanes in the 1960s and 1970s caused trillions of dollars in damage, and spurred the growth of the emergency management field. With hurricanes causing extensive damage each year, disaster relief is more important than ever. Now, IoT wearables could help get relief to victims and help them find their loved ones or their way to safety when phone lines and other methods of communication are shut down.Wearables are also becoming popular for personal safety—people who are out late on their own can call for help at the press of a button. Some of these devices even record audio that can help loved ones gain context about the danger.History Illustrates IoT’s Potential The great minds of the 20th century set the stage for a boom in VR devices and other wearable technology that’s helping us live better lives. With all the progress that’s been made in the last 50 years, it’s exciting to think about how far we still have to go—and about all the devices we’ll one day be able to wear. Follow the Puck Top 5 Areas Where Companies Want IoT Solutions Internet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You…last_img read more

Celebrating the Month of the Military Child

first_imgThis blog post was written by Kathy Reschke,  Child Care Leader at Military Families Learning Network. April is fast approaching and it’s a very special month! It’s the Month of the Military Child and April 14-20 is the Week of the Young Child. So it’s the perfect time to make plans to shine the spotlight on all of the young children who have parents serving in the military.In most ways young children from military families are no different than any other young children. They laugh and play, cry and whine, get silly, angry and scared. Like every other child, they learn through experience and they seek out the comfort and joy of the company of others.On the other hand, the experiences of the military child can be very different. Having a parent in the military might mean that:A baby is several months old before she is held in father’s arms“Flat Daddy” must be included in every holiday or special event.All of a child’s extended family live far away.A toddler is frightened when he sees his mother in uniform with full gear, including a rifleBedtime stories are told by way of videoA child’s vocabulary includes PCS, Afghanistan, deployedGrandma and Grandpa are the primary caregivers while mom is deployed, and when mom comes home, they go back to their house.Dad is different when he comes home.A child gets lots of practice in making a new place “home”The highlight of a child’s day is talking with mom via SkypePretending includes shooting, rescuing, combat gear and helicoptersMom cries a lot and Dad’s not coming home.“Hero” applies to someone a child knows and loves.One of the simplest but most profound ways we can show young military children that we value them is by listening….Listening to their stories and their worries, the things that they’re excited about and the things that they’re angry about…Listening without correcting or diverting or minimizing or making light of…Listening with our full attention as often as we can.I know it doesn’t seem like much, but don’t underestimate the power of being listened to. A quote I saw recently says it well:Listen earnestly to anything that children want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.  Catherine M. WallaceDuring this special month when we recognize and celebrate young children from military families, it seems appropriate to invite them to share their stories, experiences, thoughts and feelings with us and with the other children in their child care community. By listening we learn, we show respect, and we place value on their experiences. And that is a profoundly meaningful way to honor military-connected children.On the lighter side, there are many other fun things we can do to recognize and celebrate the military-connected children in our programs:Encourage everyone to wear purple on “Purple Up! For Military Kids Day.” Some states will be celebrating on Friday, April 12, and others will be celebrating on Monday, April 15. Check your state’s Operation Military Kids webpage (see link below) for the date in your state, as well as info on any events that are scheduled.Invite a service member or veteran to come visit your program (a parent would be the best choice). Ask them to wear their uniform and bring some of the gear that they use in their job, photos of themselves at work, etc.Incorporate military-themed children’s books into your read-aloud times and into your book collection that children can access throughout the day (see the resource links below for a list of books).However you choose to celebrate and honor young military children this month, I hope you’ll also recognize and value the important role that you play in serving these families who sacrifice so much on our behalf.Let us know in the comments how you are planning to celebrate the Month of the Military Child – we’d love to hear!Resources: Info and ideas about the Week of the Young ChildInfo on each state’s Month of the Military Child activitiesList of children’s books with military themesFor info and resources to support you as you work with military families, “like” the Child Care and Military Families Facebook pagelast_img read more

VC17 Day 2: MFLN Virtual Conference Conversation

first_imgWelcome to day two of the MFLN Virtual Conference! Today’s sessions cover a wide variety of perspectives, from personal change right on through to organizational change.Barbara Thompson and Judi Dekle start our day with discussions about change from a policy standpoint, particularly within the military landscape. They sift through the challenges, opportunities, and benefits related to policy changes supporting military family readiness, and remind us of the value and power of DoD’s Family Readiness System.Christian Waugh then brings the conversation to a personal level as he addresses the connections between positive emotions and resilience, as well as the importance of positive emotions in stress management during times of change.We’re covering lots of ground today! What are you learning? Do you have a “change story” to share, whether from a personal growth experience, from an organization-wide shift, or on any level in between? What are you taking with you from these sessions today?Please share your thoughts below as a comment! We look forward to hearing from you!-Brigitte Scott,Director of Program Development and Evaluation, MFLNlast_img read more

Effective Pre-Production: Collaboration Between the Cinematographer and Editor

first_imgAlthough the cinematographer and editor work in different phases of projects, by collaborating early, their synched efforts will result in a better final film.It doesn’t matter if you’re shooting a $250 million blockbuster or a micro-budget short, filmmaking is a collaborative art form. Directors rely on their crew and must coordinate the efforts of each person, in particular the department heads, in order to see their vision to fruition.Two of these key personnel on any movie are the cinematographer and editor. Let’s get the basics out of the way first, and look at what each of these positions does. If you’re more of an industry vet jump down to the next section, “Planning the Shots”.Cinematographers and Film EditorsThe cinematographer, also known as the director of photography (D.P.), is responsible for photographing the motion picture and overseeing the camera crew and lighting team. On low-budget films, the D.P. might be the sole person responsible for lighting and may also act as the camera operator. The cinematographer’s primary responsibility occurs during the principal photography stage of production, but they must also spend a great deal of effort during prep and may even oversee the color grading during post production.Image from Tamara Podolchak (Wikimedia)The editor, on the other hand, mostly works during post-production by taking the shot footage and making decisions on how to best put the project together. During principal photography, the editor’s main responsibility is to organize the dailies and sync the sound. On larger productions, you’ll have an entire team of people handling picture edit, sound and color grading, but on smaller films, you may have a single person responsible for all of the post-production. The final product is in the hands of the editor.It seems that these two critical jobs would not overlap—the D.P. shoots and the editor takes the footage and turns it into a movie. However, the one phase where they should collaborate is pre-production, which Alfred Hitchcock considered to be the most important stage of filmmaking.Some low budget filmmakers prefer to do one or both of these jobs in addition to directing, as it saves money and resources and is often perceived as preserving the director’s vision. However, it is better to have different people serve as the D.P. and editor. The D.P. will carry out the director’s wishes with lighting schemes and angles, but can also offer a second set of eyes to make sure all of the technical aspects of the shots are completed while the director focuses on the overall picture, including talent, art direction, continuity, etc. An editor brings in objectivity to post-production and can “kill the darlings” — cutting shots and scenes that the director can’t bear to part with but need to go for the sake of the film.Planning the ShotsDuring pre-production, the D.P. must work with the director to know what style of filmmaking they should use in the making of their movie, as well as how to plan the day-to-day activities. The D.P. will know how long certain shots will take to set up and can schedule accordingly. But where does the editor fit into this?If the editor participates with developing the shot list, he or she will have a clear understanding of what to expect upon delivery of the footage. Oftentimes the editor sees the footage for the first time while watching the dailies and then must make sense of all the disparate images they receive. However, if the editor participates in pre-production, then he or she has a clear sense of what the director wants in the final film.Editors are storytellers, but from a technical end. They know how the pieces fit together to effectively communicate dramatic and emotional expression to the audience, as well as determining proper pacing of the story. All films will benefit if the editor is involved in the early stages of planning, working with the cinematographer so that both are on the same page about how the director wants the story to unfold visually.Traditionally, the shots are planned by the director through developing a shot list and then commissioning storyboards to illustrate those shots. Storyboards are made either by hand-drawing them, using computer-aided programs like FrameForge 3D or taking still photographs to replicate what will be shot on set. Both the D.P. and the editor can add their expertise during the storyboarding stage to ensure the proper footage is acquired during principal photography.Correcting Problems in AdvanceOne of the biggest problems facing filmmakers is whether or not the footage they shoot will actually cut well together. A lot rides on this, including consistent performance from the actors and continuity of props, costumes, hair and makeup, actor placement, etc. The director of photography needs to worry about camera placement and gathering appropriate footage that the editor can use.For instance, the camera crew has to adhere to the 180 degree rule, otherwise editing becomes much more difficult. The D.P. and camera operator should be aware of this, yet mistakes are constantly made that require the editor to “fix it in post.” With the editor’s help in pre-production, shots can be properly planned to avoid these types of situations. While it’s easy for the D.P. to pass off problems to the editor to handle after photography is completed, doing so can create problems that are detrimental to the finished film. You don’t want to have to salvage a scene through clumsy editing. It’s better to have the scene play out naturally without any distracting edits that pull the audience out of the story.Additionally, an editor can identify other potential editing problems ahead of time and suggest supplementary ideas for coverage. For instance, if the director is planning an extended take, an editor can see opportunities for alternate shots to cut to in case the extended take doesn’t work. The editor can also point out places where insert shots and cutaways can be used for the best effect.Getting the Right LookThe director of photography works hard to create a specific look for the film by choosing angles, lenses and lighting schemes. Not only does the lighting provide illumination for the actors, but it also creates a mood through brightness level, direction of the light and color—all of which, to varying degrees, can be altered in post-production. During pre-production, the D.P. should communicate his or her intentions to the editor who can then plan out how to approach the final color correction and grading.Image from Blackmagic Design for DaVinci ResolveAnother person, other than the picture editor, may be the one responsible for performing the color correction and grading after the picture lock is complete, but the editor will probably oversee this process (especially in lower budget projects). The editor and D.P. should collaborate on what color design would be best for the film. Also, the editor can discuss what tools he has available, which will allow the D.P. to use the proper settings on the camera to effectively capture the image in the best way for use in the post-production programs.Successful CollaborationThe director needs to act as a ringmaster in coordinating the efforts of all the various departments, especially cinematography and editorial. These department heads need to be brought in as early as possible to prep the film and work out any potential problems, provide a unified effort toward the completion of the movie and to support each other with their duties and responsibilities. Your film and your audience will appreciate it.last_img read more

Why ‘The Force Awakens’ Feels Like ‘A New Hope’

first_imgAs Disney prepares to release quite possibly the biggest film of all time, let’s take a look at why and how The Force Awakens feels like A New Hope.Top image via Nerdist.comWhen word came down that George Lucas had sold Lucasfilm to Walt Disney in an amazing $4 Billion deal, nerds around the world rejoiced, as many believed Disney would give Star Wars the Marvel treatment. This belief was fully realized within moments of the official word from Disney CEO Bob Iger. From that point on, fans of the saga hoped that the franchise would get back to its roots and away from the digital spectacle that was the prequel trilogy.Many believed and hoped that legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg would helm the relaunch of the franchise, but that was quickly shot down by Spielberg himself. However, Spielberg did have someone in mind to take the director’s chair, though Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy didn’t think this director would want to revitalize another franchise. It took some coaxing from Spielberg and Kennedy, but J.J. Abrams jumped on board, and along with him came the classic characters from the original trilogy.J.J. Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy and Lawrence Kasdan with the cast of Star Wars: The Force Awakens via Star WarsAbrams knew that authenticity was paramount, and to ensure that The Force Awakens would satisfy fans around the world, he worked tirelessly to craft the new film with the original film in mind. Let’s take a look at exactly how Abrams crafted The Force Awakens using A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi as his benchmarks.Pre-Production BeginsDirector JJ Abrams and Writer Lawrence Kasdan on set of Star Wars: The Force Awakens via Star Wars Crafting the StoryOne of the factors that pushed Abrams to finally join as director of the newest Star Wars film was Kathleen Kennedy’s ability to hire legendary screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, who penned The Empire Strikes Back as well as Raiders of the Lost Ark.For the next full year, Abrams and Kasdan worked diligently to craft a story rooted in the original trilogy that could also lay the groundwork for future films. This process was incredibly difficult, but as Abrams recently said to AOL Build, their first goal was to create the main characters, create their motivation, figure out why the audience would care, and then develop the conflict.However, in order to appeal to a broad audience, the writing duo knew they needed to emulate one major success of the original trilogy — the youthful main characters.Casting Youthful HeroesWhen Star Wars: A New Hope debuted in 1977, the cast of main characters was populated by young and largely unknown actors. Another aspect of these characters is that each one was flawed and not perfect, thus emulating the real struggles of the youth watching the film. Luke Skywalker was a young teenager who dreamed of big things, but felt stuck in a small town seemingly going nowhere. This resonated deeply with many viewers.It was brilliant not having to cast someone from the same old list of names. You don’t want somebody who was ‘that guy from some other franchise.’ You want them to entirely belong to this world. – Casting Director Nina Gold via IndependentDaisy Ridley and John Boyega in Star Wars: The Force Awakens via Star WarsWith this in mind, Abrams and casting director Nina Gold began looking for largely unknown actors to play the main characters. The result is a mixture of actors that, in the end, mirror the cast of the original trilogy — a strong female lead accompanied by two male leads, one of which is confident while the other is unsure of himself. But the thing that worked the best for the cast of the original trilogy is that they were largely unknown, which allowed the characters to belong almost entirely to the Star Wars Universe. For Abrams, it’s about sparking the imagination of today’s youth today, showing them they’re capable of anything, as he said to Good Morning America recently.I’m looking forward to kids seeing this movie and to seeing themselves in it, and seeing that they’re capable of doing what they could never imagine was possible. – JJ AbramsDesigning a New World Based on the Old OneIn keeping with the creative decision to use the original trilogy as the foundation and model for the new film, Abrams and his pre-vis team began developing the design and concept of the film. To help them achieve this, Abrams and his team employed many of the unused concept designs from original Star Wars concept artist Ralph McQuarrie.Concept art from Star Wars: The Force Unleashed via Industrial Light & Magic.As is evident in these pieces of concept art (and from what we’ve seen in the trailers for the film), the film nails the gritty aesthetic of the original trilogy. Everything feels old, worn, and past its warranty date.Concept art from Star Wars: The Force Unleashed via Industrial Light & MagicFraming a Galaxy Far, Far AwayNext up, let’s take a look at the gear Abrams used to capture The Force Awakens. As was the case with the pre-production process, the director and his crew looked back to the original trilogy for inspiration here as well.If you’re a fan of J.J. Abrams, then you’ll know he’s a huge advocate for film. While the vast majority of the film was shot using 35mm film stock, there were a few sections filmed in IMAX, as well as some composite shots done using both a RED EPIC and ARRI ALEXA.But again, the majority of the film as shot using the classic Panavision 35mm camera, which is the same brand of camera and film stock that was used on the original trilogy.Director JJ Abrams and actress Daisy Ridley on set of Star Wars: The Force Awakens via ColliderFinding the Right LocationsRemember the saying “location, location, location?” Well, it applies greatly to film production. Luckily for Abrams, he had one of the very best location managers in the biz in Martin Joy, who oversaw the locations for Batman Begins, Skyfall, and War Horse.Joy and his team scoured the earth looking for the right locations for specific scenes, eventually visiting Abu Dhabi, Berkshire, the United Kingdom, Iceland, Skellig Michael, and more.John Boyega on location in Abu Dhabi for The Force Awakens via Star WarsEven more interesting than the actual physical locations for the film are the narrative locations. As Empire Magazine released back in late November, the planets we’ll see in the film are Jakku, Takodana, D’Qar and Hosnian Prime. We see three of these planets in the trailers for the film as one is a desert planet, one is lush with thick forests, while another is a frozen tundra.Skellig Michael located off the coast of Ireland via Star Wars NetWhat makes these locations so interesting is that they again mirror the original trilogy. In A New Hope we found ourselves on the desert planet of Tatooine, then in The Empire Strikes Back we started things off on the ice planet of Hoth. Finally, in Return of the Jedi, we visited the Ewoks on the forest moon of Endor. This is just another glaring example of Abrams using the original trilogy as a foundation.Building a Tactile WorldWith the right camera equipment in hand and the perfect locations scouted, all that was left to do for the crew of The Force Awakens was to bring those environments to life — but in a tactile way. As with every part of the process, Abrams once again tapped into the success of the original trilogy and, with a large team of skilled craftsmen, began actually building the worlds of the film.For Abrams, this was one of the most important pieces of the process and what made the originals so special… the fact that the worlds felt real and that they actually existed.BB-8 and J.J. Abrams via Star WarsWhile practical effects and sets aren’t used as much anymore due to the advancements in computer graphic technology, there’s just no way a CGI model can beat a well-crafted practical set. In fact, production designer Darren Gilford, who worked on Oblivion and Tron: Legacy, told IndieWire that Abrams directed them to craft the sets based off of the original designs.J.J.’s mandate from day one was authenticity and being as true to the original trilogy as possible. And he felt the prequels were flawed by the fact that they had every [CG] tool known to mankind and used everything at their disposal. I use the metaphor of disco when the synthesizer came about and everyone was using it in any way possible. And I think J.J. wanted to reconnect with how the original films were made. – Darren Gilford via IndieWireVideo via Star WarsThis firm foundation that is rooted in the massive success of the original trilogy should be one of the major reason why The Force Awakens will resonate well with fans, but also spark a revolution in the world of post-production.As it stands now, there have been countless arguments made on the over reliance of CGI and less of a reliance on practical effects and sets. However, when practical effects and sets are used more abundantly, with CGI acting as a visual support, things seem to go extremely well and audiences sense the magic they once did. For production designer Darren Gilford, recapturing that child-like magic is key.…it was about reconnecting with my childhood and playing with those toys and helping steer that for the next generation [so] some kid has the same experience that I had. – Darren Gilford via IndieWireAdding the Finishing TouchesWhile the post-production process was the most vastly different portion of the film from the originals, it still retained the spirit of the originals. Abrams put a limit on the number of VFX shots in the film at 28 out of 357 total scenes. This number is strikingly low compared to other big-budget films of today.Editors Maryann Brandon (Left) and Mary Jo Markey (Right) at Bad Robot via Geek & SundryBeyond the VFX of the film, the process to edit this epic took some time… and for Bad Robot editors Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey, time was not something they had a lot of. Because of this, the editors and the entire sound and design team at Bad Robot relied heavily on Avid and its host of software, from Media Composer to Pro Tools, all running on the Avid ISIS Storage System, which allowed network-based integrated collaboration between the different post-production departments.Classic Millennium Falcon action via Star WarsIn the end, the team at Bad Robot was able to finish the fine cut of the film with plenty of time to spare — and then used that extra time to perfect upon what they believed was perfect.The Same Old Galaxy Far, Far, Away That You Know and LoveFor Abrams and company, using the original trilogy of films as a base to begin development was crucial, as this set a tone for the rest of the production process. Hopefully, starting today, we’ll be able to see those efforts pay off in a big way as we return to a universe that we know well.Dogfighting starfighters via Star WarsWith any luck, the next line of filmmakers who are taking on Star Wars films (like Gareth Edwards, Rian Johnson, and Colin Trevorrow) will see what Abrams has done and utilize the original trilogy as the foundation on which to build the franchise’s future.Are you bored with all the Star Wares hype? Or are you like us and can’t get enough? Share your position in the comments below!last_img read more

PluralEyes: The Best Workflow for Syncing Audio

first_imgDo you love to use PluralEyes? Let us know in the comments. Step One: Import Your Footage into Premiere ProUpload your footage onto your computer. For tips on how to organize, here’s a great article. Once you have your footage where you want to work with it, open Premiere Pro as you normally would with your ideal sequence settings.Note: For newer PluralEyes editions, you can sync directly in PluralEyes or in Premiere Pro — whichever you prefer.Step Two: Create a Timeline and Lay Out All Cameras and AudioCreate your sequence, and drag all your footage and audio onto the timeline. Be sure to arrange each one (if you’re using multiple cameras) onto their own level. Place the audio in the bottommost level. Make sure all the footage is back to back.Step Three: Open PluralEyes in Premiere ProTo open PluralEyes, go to Window -> Extensions -> PluralEyes, and PluralEyes will launch a smaller window in Premiere Pro for your sync. If you have multiple timelines open, it will ask you to choose which one you’d like to work with, so make sure you name your timelines appropriately.Step Four: Synchronize and ExportOne you have PluralEyes open, you’ll see your footage and audio files show up as PluralEyes scans them. You’ll need to wait until they’re all scanned before you can sync (but you can still go ahead and click sync right away). Once they’re scanned and you’ve clicked, you’ll watch as they arrange to match. Next, click export, and a new synced timeline will open in Premiere Pro for you.In the PluralEyes options, you can choose to have your footage and audio simply matched next to each other, or to replace and connect the external audio with your video. Streamline your audio sync workflow in Premiere Pro with PluralEyes.Cover image via Red Giant.Syncing audio doesn’t need to be stressful. If you shoot DSLR, mirrorless, or on any mainstream camera that doesn’t offer high-quality in-camera recording options, you know how long it can take to sync your video and externally recorded audio.PluralEyes is a quality third-party plug-in from Red Giant that simplifies the task. While there are plenty of workarounds, for those who have made the investment and are to streamline, here are some tips for maximizing your PluralEyes workflow in Premiere Pro. If you’re interested, you can get a free trail of PluralEyes on their website before buying the program.Check out the step-by-step syncing process from FILM IT VFX STUDIOS.last_img read more

Create and Animate the Facebook UI in Adobe After Effects

first_imgLearn how to break down the elements of the Facebook user interface, and create your own custom story with your own posts.Cover image via Shutterstock.Maybe you’ve heard that Facebook is the most popular social media site on the internet. That’s why we think it is important to be able to break the site down and recreate its UI for animation. You may have a client who wants to showcase their business on Facebook, or you may want to be creative with your social media bumper. Either way, this Adobe After Effects tutorial covers what you need to know when it comes to the UI of Facebook.Why Recreate The Facebook UI?There are endless ways to establish full control of the user interface. Creating the Facebooks UI allows you to draw attention to specific elements, like a call-to-action. You can craft a story from each animated post. On top of that, you can fully animate the UI and showcase an awesome motion graphics video. No more screenshots or video captures!What You Will Learn From This Adobe After Effects TutorialWhether you are new to After Effects or have been using it for some time, there are several great takeaways from this tutorial:Design the Facebook user interface.Quickly recreate elements.Duplicate your workflow to design and animate the layout.Draw attention to specific elements.Download the Free After Effects Project File and Follow AlongGet a free copy of the project AE project file by clicking on the button below.DOWNLOAD FREE FACEBOOK AE PROJECT FILEReady to get started? Enjoy the tutorial and good luck! Want To Recreate Other Social Media Pages?If you’re in to re-creations, we also recently ran a tutorial on how to recreate the YouTube layout.last_img read more

The 7 Things You Must Leave Behind to Get Ahead

first_img Get the Free eBook! Learn how to sell without a sales manager. Download my free eBook! You need to make sales. You need help now. We’ve got you covered. This eBook will help you Seize Your Sales Destiny, with or without a manager. Download Now To move forward, you have to leave some things behind.Beliefs That No Longer Serve You: If you want to move forward, you have to be willing to shed the old beliefs that you hold but that no longer serve you. It’s difficult to abandon some of your longest-held beliefs. But your beliefs are why you are who you are–and what you are–right now. What part of your life do you wish to be different? Examine your beliefs around this area, and you will find the beliefs you need to abandon and replace with beliefs that serve you.And remember, to say you believe something without acting in accordance with that belief is the same as not believing it.Your Willingness To Rationalize: It’s easy to find something external on which to place the blame for the areas where your results aren’t what you want them to be. There are countless excuses available to you. You don’t have enough time. You don’t have the right resources. Rationalizing away your failures may make you feel better, but they don’t absolve you of your responsibility.You are the only one with the power to change your life. This is your story, and you have to write it yourself.Your Willingness to Procrastinate: You are not a procrastinator. So many people say this about themselves that you would think “procrastinator” was a race or a religion. Procrastination is easily defeated by strong reasons. If you had a burning reason “why,” nothing could stop you from taking action now.There is no someday. There is no tomorrow (certainly not one that is guaranteed). You are running out of time. Act now.Making Small Choices: Most television is a small choice. Spending time arguing about politics is a small choice. Mindlessly browsing the web for some new distraction is a small choice. The work that you do that produces no results yet makes you appear to be busy is a small choice. If you are going to get ahead, you have to make bigger choices.Is what you are doing right now the biggest choice you can make?Your Desire for Comfort: If you are reading this, you are probably pretty comfortable. You have heat, light, shelter, food, water, and love. That’s all you really need to survive. Once you reach this point, you’re comfortable. And comfort is a dangerous state. You were born hungry. You are going to have to leave comfort for discomfort. You are going to have to leave satiated for hungry.It’s okay to be pleased and proud. But you can never be fully satisfied.Your Fears: This is a big one. The one thing most likely to keep you from success is fear. You might be afraid of what other people will think. You might be afraid of failure. You might be afraid you aren’t ready, and you might be afraid that you aren’t good enough. These are fears, and they aren’t real. Danger is real; fear is a state of mind, and one that will keep you locked solid right where you are.You must step into your fears. You must step through your fears to become more. Fear is a cruel and ruthless governor. It will limit you as much as it can, unless you burn it down.People Who Don’t Support You: There are some people that can’t be happy for your success. Some of them love you and fear losing you. Some of them have too small visions and their vision limits yours. Some of them are petty, small-minded folks who only feel good about themselves by trying to make others feel smaller.I have no idea whether or not you become a composite of your five closest friends or not, but I do know that people who don’t support you do in fact hold you back.If you want to transform yourself, you are going to need to leave part of your old self behind. That’s the price you pay for transformation, and the price you pay for becoming the person you were born to be.last_img read more

Offering Values-Based Decisions

first_imgThe reason to offer your dream client a decision around what is more important, price or cost, is that it helps them think through what is more important, why it’s more important, and what will best serve their needs. This is a value-based decision. If price is more important, the outcomes are not important enough to make the appropriate investment. If the outcomes are more valuable, then it’s worth paying more.When you ask your prospective client for a meeting by trading the value of an executive briefing designed to help them make new distinctions about their business and the choices they’ll need to make in the not too distant future, you are asking them which they value more, their 20-minutes or ideas that will help them improve their performance.Asking to bring additional stakeholders and the other people who will help your contact decide what to do and who to choose as a partner often causes them to be concerned about the challenges ahead. When you share that leaving them out means those whose needs were ignored or intentionally removed have the moral high ground and the case that they shouldn’t be forced to go along will have a strong case, something avoided by engaging them. This choice is about whether the outcome is worth the effort to bring their team along.Consultative selling isn’t easy. You have to provide insight, ideas, vision, and wisdom. One of the ways you help people make the best decision and take action is to illuminate the choices available to them—along with the potential consequences. When those choices are around values, the choices become clearer, as do the decisions. When values are in conflict, clarifying the higher value tends to make decisions easier. Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Nowlast_img read more

Separatist leader told to appear before ED

first_imgThe Enforcement Directorate has served fresh summons on Kashmiri separatist leader Shabir Ahmed Shah in connection with an alleged terror financing case, as he did not turn up for recording his statement last month.Mr. Shah has been asked to appear before the investigating officer on June 6. He was earlier told to come on May 25, but he did not turn up. Money launderingThe money laundering investigation pertains to a case registered by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police in August 2005 when it had arrested one alleged hawala operator, Mohammed Aslam Wani, who purportedly disclosed that he had routed ₹2.25 crore for Mr. Shah and his kin. The Separatist leader has, in the past, dismissed the charge, terming it politically motivated.The “hawala” operator was arrested with a large cache of ammunition and ₹63 lakh in cash, which he allegedly received through his contacts in the Middle East. During questioning, he allegedly disclosed that ₹50 lakh was to be delivered to Mr. Shah and ₹10 lakh to Abu Baqr, a Jaish-e-Mohammed area commander in Srinagar.last_img read more

ED summons Misa Bharti in PMLA case

first_imgThe Enforcement Directorate has summoned Misa Bharti, daughter of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad, for recording her statement on Tuesday under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in connection with a case involving shell companies.The agency had issued summons to Ms. Bharti’s husband, Shailesh Kumar, for questioning on Monday. However, he failed to turn up. “We will summon him again,” an official said. The move comes after the ED raids on the premises of Ms. Bharti, an RJD MP, her husband and their company Mishail Packers and Printers in the national capital on July 8. Money launderingThe searches were part of an investigation related to a charge sheet filed by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office against Surendra and his brother Virendra Jain for alleged money laundering using shell companies.The ED says four shell companies allegedly controlled by the Jains had bought 1.2 lakh shares of Mishail Packers and Printers at ₹100 each in in 2007-08. The shares were later allegedly bought back by Ms. Bharti at ₹10 a unit. The agency has alleged that Rajesh Agarwal, a chartered accountant and mediator, provided ₹90 lakh in cash to the Jain brothers in advance for investments in Mishail Packers and Printers as share premium. The Jains purportedly disclosed that they would receive cash and invest it as share premium.last_img read more

U.P. police book 22 for putting up poster comparing Modi with Kim

first_imgThe Uttar Pradesh police have arrested a person and booked 22 others, mostly traders, in Kanpur on charges of likening Prime Minister Narendra Modi to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in posters and hoardings.An FIR was registered at the Govind Nagar police station in Kanpur against the traders under Sections 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) and 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot) of the Indian Penal Code, and Section 32(2) of the UP Special Powers Act. Unable to smoothly operate their businesses due to the high circulation of coins in the market post-demonetisation, traders and hawkers in Kanpur had put up posters and hoardings to draw the attention of the government after their pleas to the local authorities and branches of the RBI had gone unheeded.On the controversial posters and hoardings, Mr. Kim and Mr. Modi were placed on either side, while mentioning that the former would not rest till he destroyed the world, while the latter till he destroyed businesses or trade. “Mein vyapar ko mitake dum lunga [I will not rest till I destroy businesses],” the caption under Mr. Modi read in Hindi.The posters also appeal Mr. Modi to explain through his ‘Mann ki Baat’ programme what small traders should do with the huge supply of rezgaari (small change).Ashok Verma, Kanpur South SP, said the posters were a “provocation to hurting public sentiments and threat to public order”.last_img read more

349 candidates in fray in Himachal Pradesh

first_imgA number of candidates withdrew their nominations on the last day of withdrawal for the November 9 Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh. Now 349 candidates are left in fray for the 68 Vidhan Sabha seats. Senior Congress leaders and Ministers like Kaul Singh Thakur in Drang, T.S. Bharmauri in Bharmaur, Harbhajan Singh Bhajji in Shimla, Nand Lal in Rampur, Ravi Thakur in Lahaul Spiti, Lakhwinder Rana in Nalagarh and Satpal Raizada in Una will still face the party rebels. Prominent BJP leader Indu Goswami in Palampur would also face Praveen Sharma, a party rebel.last_img

Cong.-PAAS pact in jeopardy

first_imgJust before the Gujarat Congress announced its first list of candidates, the Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) had announced that it had reached an agreement with the Opposition party on the quota issue. But soon after the list was released, the agreement appeared to be unravelling as there were only two persons associated with PAAS in the list against an expected 8-9 names.Angry PAAS members went berserk, vandalised Congress offices in several places and slammed its leaders for not “honouring the commitments” made during their series of meetings to discuss the quota issue and finalise the seat-sharing formula.Damage controlPAAS convenor Hardik Patel, who was to officially announce the tie-up with the Congress in Rajkot, cancelled his rally. His close aides declared that if the Congress did not change the names, PAAS would oppose its candidates as it did the BJP’s.Sensing big trouble, the Congress launched a damage control exercise and promised to accommodate more PAAS members in its list. The party is now reportedly changing the candidates in as many as six seats.However, the party’s new list is yet to be made public. Tuesday is the last day for filing of nominations in 89 constituencies falling in Saurashtra & Kutch and South Gujarat, two regions going to the polls in the first phase on December 9.Hopes beliedAccording to insiders, the PAAS had demanded over a dozen seats in Patidar-dominated pockets in Saurashtra and Surat city.But the Congress fielded only two PAAS associates — Lalit Vasoya from Dhoraji and Amit Thummar from Junagadh. The two are among 18 Patidars fielded by the party.Sources said that changes are likely in Junagadh, Botad and a few other seats in Surat.The names of probable replacements were discussed at a meeting between Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Gujarat election-in-charge Ashok Gehlot in New Delhi.The party faced protests over the choice of candidates in several places, including Bharuch where Kiran Thakor was replaced by Jayesh Patel at the last moment.last_img read more

Biplab Deb to be sworn in Tripura CM

first_imgBiplab Deb will be sworn in as the Chief Minister of Tripura at the Assam Rifles ground here on Friday, which will usher in the first Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the northeastern State. The 48-year-old Mr. Deb staked his claim with Governor Tathagata Roy on March 6 to form the government in the State. The governor then invited him to do so. The BJP-Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) combine swept to power in the State last week, ending 25 years of uninterrupted rule by the Communist Party of India-Marxist-led (CPI-M) Left Front.last_img

Milk, vegetables supply further hit in Rajasthan as farmers’ agitation continues

first_imgPrices of vegetables soared amid disruptions in supplies while procurement of milk was also hit in parts of Rajasthan as farmers’ agitation entered the fourth day on Monday.“Jaipur Dairy alone has suffered a loss of nearly ₹1 crore as ‘anti-social elements’ spilled nearly 60,000 litres of milk on roads. Twelve tankers were vandalised. Jaipur Dairy has lodged 8-9 FIRs for damaging and manhandling employees,” Jaipur Dairy chairman Om Prakash Punia told PTI. He said that problems are being witnessed in Sikar, Chomu, Kaladera and parts of Jaipur. Vegetable prices have shot up by 25-30% in Jaipur due to ongoing farmers’ agitation. The prices of vegetables have increased by 25-30% in the last three days because of restricted supply due to the farmers’ agitation, a vegetable vendor at Muhana vegetable market said. Vegetables are supplied in Muhana mandi, Lal Kothi mandi and to other retail markets in the city from areas like Sanganer and Chomu (Jaipur) but farmers are not supplying to the mandis (large wholesale markets), he added. Meanwhile, farmers’ body holding agitation in the State has blamed “anti-social elements” for spilling milk on roads and disrupting milk procurement.Protests have been peaceful and successful. Anti-social elements are behind disrupting milk procurement and spilling it on roads. We have set up milk points for consumers outside city limits for urban population, a core committee member of the Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh said. The 10-day Gaon Bandh (rural shutdown) farmer protest was called ahead of the first anniversary of the death of several farmers in police firing in Mandsaur of Madhya Pradesh, which sections of farmers supported in Rajasthan as well. The protest started on Friday demanding loan waiver, higher prices for their produce and immediate implementation of the Swaminathan Commission report on farming.last_img read more

Maharashtra did not give any fresh information to Centre on Sanatan Sanstha

first_imgDespite claims by the State government of providing information to the Union government with regard to banning the right wing Sanatan Sanstha, it may have actually failed to provide adequate information for the Centre to ban this controversial organisation. In February 2017, the Union government said in the Bombay High Court that the material provided by the State Government was not sufficient for it to come to a conclusion that the activities of Sanatan Sanstha fall within the scope of the words “terrorist organisation”.‘Answers provided’Minister of State for Home Deepak Kesarkar, while speaking to media persons earlier this week, had said that the State has already provided necessary answers to the queries raised by the Centre. Sources in the Home Department told The Hindu that since February 2017 no new information on the organisation has been submitted to the Centre.Mr. Kesarkar was not available for comments, despite repeated attempts. The February 2017 submission in court by the Union government came during the hearing of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by one Vijay Rokade in 2011 seeking ban on the Sanstha. The petitioner, while listing out instances of bomb blasts in Thane’s Gadkari theatre, Vashi, and Madgoan (Goa) had claimed that the organisation is against “sound principles of democratic system”. Quoting from the Sanstha’s literature, the petitioner had contended that it was engaged in overthrowing the Government of India. The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad had on August 10 arrested three people, with alleged links to Sanatan Sanstha, from Nallasopara and Pune, and recovered a huge cache of arms and explosives. Their interrogation led to the arrest by Central Bureau of Investigation of one Sachin Andure for his role in the murder of rationalist Dr. Narendra Dabholkar in Pune on August 20, 2013.last_img read more