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Lights, Camera, Capture! – iPad App of the Week

Lights, Camera, Capture! – iPad App of the Week

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at the various iPhone and iPad Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive. Though called iPhone App of the Week, most of these apps will work on the iPod touch or the iPad, some will be iPad only apps.

This week’s App is Lights, Camera, Capture!

Lights, Camera, Capture! for iPad is based on the popular book by Bob Davis. Like the book, it helps aspiring photographers learn to achieve the best possible images with minimal lighting equipment. The app features over 100 videos, compelling interactive diagrams to help you understand the effect of lighting and equipment settings, workshop videos, high resolution images, and the full text of the original book, integrated seamlessly.

The author is a professional photographer whose high-profile clients include Oprah Winfrey and Eva Longoria Parker, and whose work has appeared in Time, O, and People magazines. Along with his invaluable advice, this beautiful and engaging app includes hundreds of video clips with Bob teaching you how to see the light so you can achieve studio-quality images in any situation. He covers the elements of lighting, shows his lighting setups, and shares his two-strobe technique that lets you create studio-quality lighting anywhere with minimal equipment.

The title includes incredible interactive exhibits to help you understand the effect of f-stop settings, lighting positions, light strength ratios and more.

This book covers and includes:
* Professional tips and stunning full-color images
* All the key elements of photographic lighting, with informative illustrations and lighting grids
* The author’s pioneering two-strobe technique
* The relationship between aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and the effects of different lenses
* Tips on how to achieve studio-quality lighting outside the studio
* Videos from the author’s three-day lighting and photography workshop
* Author commentary on his photography and how he captures his images

Note that video streaming requires an active Internet connection.


In many of my previous blog posts and presentations I have given over the last year, I have written and spoken about how devices such as the iPad will allow books, magazines and newspapers to evolve. To provide a different and more enhanced reading experience.

One publisher I have mentioned before is Inkling. Lights, Camera, Capture! is the first of their “books” I have downloaded and looked at. Unlike their Inkling App, this book is a standalone App, however it is also available within the Inkling App too.

So how does the reading experience shape up?

Well like any good book, it has an index, making it very easy to find different chapters and sections within those chapters.

You can highlight sections, access a glossary, make notes, add bookmarks and see where you have been. Now you can do some of that with a printed book, however this iPad version allows you to do some of it quicker and smarter.

Not all good news, though as every time I tried to add a note it crashed the App on one of my iPads, however I could get it to work on the other!

As you might expect with a book on photography there are a fair few photographs. With virtually all of these you can click on them to make them larger, but not that much larger!

There are also videos of Bob Davis explaining how he took particular shots. Now this is where I think they missed a trick. These videos are very simple video clips (well the ones I watched and I have not read the whole book at this time). They are simply Bob in front of a computer screen explaining how he took the shot. Personally I would have liked to have seen him taking the actual shot, where the camera actually was, the lighting, models, etc… All I actually get is a talking head, a diagram and the actual photograph.

Or are videos of presentations from workshops, where the quality is quite poor in terms of what you can see and hear.

In other words it doesn’t add much to the experience of reading, it becomes listening, rather than watching and understanding. The reason you use video in a book is not to duplicate what is written, but to enhance and enrich what is written to improve understanding.

I am also surprised that the videos are online and not part of the App, I am surprised as the app is in excess of 300MB in size, which is huge, and I thought this was down to the videos, it isn’t! So if you are not on wifi or want to watch your 3G data limits, then this App may not be as good as you thought it might be.

As for the actual written content? Which is the main reason for buying such a book.

Well I have learnt a fair bit about various things, especially lighting that I didn’t know (and I do take a fair few photographs).

However I think it could be a lot better, as I said above, don’t just have a talking head, use the power of video to show and explain how to do things that are difficult to explain in just text or with diagrams. It would have been nice to see more interactive diagrams to show the impact of changing lighting, exposure or aperture. This is something again which is difficult to explain with plain diagrams in my opinion. There were some, but not as many I would like.

So is it value for money, well the print version of the book has a RRP of £29.99 though you can get it on Amazon for £15.00. So for £5.99 I do think this is value for money compared to the print version.

Overall, a good first attempt at an enhanced book, but in my opinion it could be so much better than it is.

I have an inkling…

In many recent presentations I have given on e-books I have said that the way publishers market their publications needs to change. Just “digitising” traditional books as e-books is not necessarily the way forward for e-books.

If we look at other traditional media and see how they have evolved in new digital forms it may give us an idea about the future of books.

Watching films use to mean going to the cinema, sitting down through adverts and trailer before the main presentation, oh and popcorn. Through television, VHS rental, purchasing video tapes, DVD, Blu-Ray and now iTunes downloads, the way in which we consume films has changed. In many ways television has changed even more fundamentally. Digital TV means for many, many more channels and choice. A lot of TV series are now viewed by DVD box set over watching it when originally broadcast. Services such as YouTube, iTunes and BBC iPlayer have allowed us very different ways in which to consume television. Even with iTunes it is now possible to buy an individual episode of a TV series.

When we first started watching postage stamped sized video on our Windows 95 PCs, I expect very few of us had any inkling about how we would be watching video via our computer fifteen years later. It was very easy to consume video through physical media such as DVD or Blu-Ray, but it is now even easier to consume video over the web, either through iTunes or services like BBC iPlayer.

We use to buy music either as albums or singles, now with the iTunes Store or Amazon we can buy individual tracks from albums.

I am sure similar changes will happen with books, with e-books just been the start of this process.

One thing I have said is that publishers need to move away from the traditional approach of selling the whole text book as an e-book and start thinking about selling individual chapters to users, in the same way that we can buy individual episodes of a TV series.

I have said we should move away from digitised versions of print books and take advanatage of the digital medium with interactive content and media.

So I was pleased to see that at least one publisher, Inkling, is going to go down this road. As Gigaom reports:

The company believes the iPad — for now, at least — is the future of the textbook. Inkling’s software turns textbooks into interactive content, with video, hyperlinks between text and images, notes that can be shared between students and teachers, and even 3-D molecules that can be viewed from any angle.

In addition you can buy individual chapters or the whole book.

The company’s interactive textbooks can be downloaded by the chapter for an introductory price of $2.99 each, or the entire book can be downloaded and installed at a price of $69.99

This is just the start for digital textbooks.