Beats Music: The Latest In Music Pairing Technology

January 20, 2014 § Leave a comment

photo credit: sarmaaye.com

photo credit: sarmaaye.com

Beats by Dre has been working on a new music service that launches tomorrow (Tuesday, January 21) and it stands to rival the services of Spotify and paid music pairing by Pandora.

I love everything out of the veteran rap star’s headphone empire, so I can’t wait to see what his team has done in terms of advancing music algorithms.

Beats Music Technology

Beats Music Technology

According to Wired, “Your age is especially important to Beats Music. Tell it when you were born, and it figures out when you were in high school. The music of your youth — the stuff that was popular when you first got a Walkman or an iPod, the band that made it big when you got your driver’s license, the record that was all over MTV just before your freshman year of college — is the music with the strongest memories for you. It’s a fixed point in time that’s the most culturally and musically relevant to you. And it’s being crunched by the company’s algorithm.”

If that’s the case, I can’t wait to test out its 80’s pop mix.

“Things are coming together magnificently. #BeatsMusic is blowing my mind right now. Its personalized recommendations are perfect,” says Arjan Writes the Head of Pop/Dance Programming at Beats Music.

Give me some Exposé and Taylor Dane, OKAY? In the meantime, do follow all that is relevant to the Beats crew on Twitter.

Have a happy Monday, my babies!

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The Pros of Converting to Digital From a Business Operations Perspective

November 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

I attended a screening of the film “Side By Side” which documents the very heated topic of the film industry’s digital conversion. In it, a number of mainstream directors such as Robert Rodriguez, George Lucas and James Cameron discuss the advantages of digital. Their takeaways include real time re-shooting as opposed to filming then reviewing in a screening room. Instant playback with digital recording saves production time and improves work creativity on set. DI Colorists can manipulate color saturation in very specific areas of scenes. Production crews benefit from not having to transport film to remote locations. So the creatives benefit, but so does production on set. As a former film festival organizer I see a huge advantage to converting to digital.
Let’s say you’re a filmmaker in Spain with one original copy of your 35mm film–in just a metal canister to protect it during its transport to the United States. This one thinner than cardboard can holds your life’s work, maybe your first film; maybe your Oscar contender worthy film and you have no choice but to ship that one piece of your life internationally, not 100% sure the plane won’t crash in the ocean or catch fire or who knows–hit a mountain. Your work may be lost forever.

Another scenario: You’re the organizer of a festival in charge of budgets (like me). You have films coming in from five Latin American and European countries like Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Chile or Spain. Shipment isn’t just costly but it’s risky so you have to spend on the shipment of large film canisters and secure insurance charges of 50 films (worst case scenario, but still). What if the plane goes down, what if the can is mishandled and let’s not mention the stress involved in the process. I’m exaggerating a little of course, but you get the point. Shipping a DVD instead is a much more secure, cost efficient and stress-free transaction for the organizer.

Screeners, the film previews, can and are being viewed online a lot now. During my last year at Cine+Mas I scouted a Chilean film by Nicolas Lopez titled “Que Pena Tu Vida” on Twitter of all places and asked the filmmaker to send a copy for consideration. He was super ahead of the game–sending me a link to the screener online. This might sound old school now but an entire seventeen months ago this seemed completely revolutionary. Just like a lot of technology, I mean we were barley introduced to the luxury of facetime on our iPhones way back then, remember?? It’s not that long ago, but so much has been upgraded in digital distribution since then. You can imagine how much more efficient the programming process is with this nifty upgrade. There is zero wait time to consider courting a filmmaker.

Day to day operations during the actual festival benefit immensely as well. Lugging around film canisters takes man power and skilled projectionists, which becomes a non-issue with feather-light, user-friendly DVDs. The new industry standard consolidates three parts of the budget. Costs for shipping/insurance, day-of transportation and projection–all almost eliminated–which is especially important for many non-profit film festivals that increasingly run the risk of closing their doors.

According to this LA Weekly article, the studios are helping finance the conversion of multi-screen theater houses but smaller theaters are in danger of not weathering the switch. Yes, improving technology is disruptive and it’s a shame. A ton of video stores didn’t survive the VHS/DVD conversion in the early 90s, like my very own family owned video store, but the smaller film houses can survive by becoming awesome repertory theaters! Cinespia for example makes a killing every summer at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, screening classic film. With the right programming and event planning, small theater houses can give 35mm classics a second life.

Ultimately, digital is a step forward. Sure the pixel capture doesn’t quite emulate film grain texture but this is constantly improving like all software technology does. Companies like Sony and Canon make a fortune off of it getting better every year. Cameron and Lucas touched on that fact in the film, so did Rodney Charters during the Q&A panel. It will all eventually improve as technology always does.

Optimize Instagram Posts

October 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

Instagram

As you might know, Instagram is a fairly new photo sharing application on the iPhone. It launched only one year ago and has already accumulated 5 million users and has a photo database of over 200 million which is growing by the million each month according to reports.

If you’re on Instagram, you might have noticed that you can use a variety of tricks like the hashtag, #beach for example, in your comment section and your photo caption to access the entire Instagram audience that searches for that precise keyword. The hashtag that was invented by Twitter has been integrated into this application which makes it very easy to network with other like-minded users. For example, I posted a crisp photo of San Francisco’s Embarcadero something like 13 weeks ago and it hadn’t gotten any likes, maybe my followers didn’t find it interesting. For whatever reason – why not hashtag and share your photography with all of those who will like it? I hashtagged it today, using keywords: #embarcadero, #sf, #sanfrancisco, #financialdistrict, etc. and have already received 10 likes.

You can use the @ replies tool, @ginichavez for example, to address a user directly in any comment section or caption as well. Let’s say you see a photo that, @user2 might like – mention @user2 in the comment section of the photo and that user will be alerted of the mention, creating a little dialogue triangle. It’s just an easy way to share content.

The best way to add more followers, besides adding amazing photos, is to like others’ photos. The more likes you click on, the more users will see your uploads. It’s like social media karma: the more you give, the more you get back. You can also follow more users – sure not all of them will follow back but it will increase your follow numbers versus not doing so. Again the more you give, the more you get in return.

Instagram is exclusive to iPhone users, but there is a web based interface, you can find here hosted by Followgram. According to reports their office is busy developing an Android app and when that goes live, expect their user numbers to surge.

Snow White & the Huntsman

October 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

Hey computer animation techs who engineered this movie, I cannot wait to see this total orgasm for the eyes on the silver screen. Just look carefully at the 3D computer graphics used to manipulate the birds to swarm furiously, the soldier to shatter with the strike of a sword and the infamous mirror on the wall that morphs into a draped figure. I’m sure it will make one hell of a big-screen-show.

UPDATE: It did horribly at the box office, and according to one critic, it didn’t live up to its awesome preview.

Reinvent Your Shopping Experience with Your Phone

January 18, 2009 § Leave a comment

During a recent stroll through Westfield of downtown San Francisco, I wanted to find the best price for a blush applicator. With so many cosmetics counter options in this galleria and Union Square, I wanted to avoid hitting every shop. So I took advantage of my new iPhone application, Where to Shop. It’s a product / store finder that uses GPS to locate whatever you’re shopping for, within your vicinity. It’s a pretty decent tool considering it’s free.

I found a variety of brushes ranging from 45 to 10 bucks. Not bad! The application loads photos of products available, store name, distance and store phone number. However, I highly recommend calling to confirm whether the item is in stock. Some retailers can be a little behind in updating their online inventories.

After a few clicks, I decided on a brush at Sephora. It was a bargain among the several comparable items listed at nearby stores. This shopping application saved the day. It made my shopping search relatively easy. Plus, it saved my feet and new stilettos from stomping from store to store.

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