The Solution to Vertical Video

The introduction of video on the iPhone 3GS introduced an issue into society: vertical video. If you’re reading this online, then you’ve likely seen a vertical video. The iPhone 3GS only recorded SD (640×480) video. Now, iPhones record HD (1080p). Thus, people are sharing around huge vertical videos via social media, SMS, etc. If you’re unfamiliar with this, then watch the following video.

This has been prevalent since 2009, but has increased exponentially in the past 3-4 years. It seems educating people on the matter is a lost cause; (non-technical) people are complacent. (Snapchat also isn’t helping the situation.)

I have a solution which doesn’t require people to learn anything new. (Plus, it will make Instagram users squeal.) Device manufacturers just need to place a square imaging sensor inside phones, tablets, and any devices which people tend to primarily hold in a vertical orientation. Most imaging sensors in cameras (DSLRs, camcorders, REDs, etc.) are in a 4:3 or 16:9 (wider than they are tall) aspect ratio. Cameras were built to be held in a certain way. Phones were also built to be handled in a certain way. If manufacturers just place a square sensor in devices held in a portrait fashion, then the software can determine whether to record with a widescreen crop on the sensor, or not. Vine and Instagram have exploded the square (1:1) content market. I don’t like the limitation of a square (especially in video), but it’s far better than vertical videos.

iPhone 5 iOS 8 UI - Video Camera modeWith a square sensor, you would load the built-in camera app and it would function the same way it does now. However, when you switch to video mode and hold the device vertically, it will display a dark, translucent overlay on the live view from the sensor. That overlay will appear on more of the screen than the clear portion representing the content which will be captured (see image left). This may entice people to rotate the device horizontally — so they can see a larger image of what is being recorded. Even if they continue to hold it vertically, the video recorded will be horizontal. Huzzah!

So, Apple, Google, Motorola, LG, and all you folks. Get Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, and all those image sensor manufacturers to make you square sensors. Then spend a day tweaking the software to support it. Then give yourselves a big hug as you witness vertical videos being less and less viewed online.

From an art perspective, I have no issue with vertical video. I haven’t not seen it used in a creative, artistic way though. Enlighten me, if you have.

Oh, and Instagram users. You’ll be sharing photos created by capturing light to every single pixel on that sensor. Congratulations.

Graphic created by me using iOS 8 Illustrator Vector UI Kit, screenshots from my phone, and a frame from a vertical video Kali sent me. 

Review: Me And You And Everyone We Know

I am not a movie reviewer/critic. I just like to share my enthusiasm for some movies and hopefully my giddyness interests you to seek the movie for your own visual stimulation.

Now, since I love storytelling let’s start at the beginning.

The Story

The other day I was reblogging a couple of posts on my Tumblr and changing some of the CSS. When I went back to my dashboard I skimmed a few of the latest posts from those that I follow (something I rarely do these days), and I saw this one from Meaghan. It caught my attention because of the colourful books on a stove. I thought: Are they going to burn those? Is this Fahrenheit 451 (another must-see movie)?

As I started to read the post I clicked the first link — This is where/how Miranda July promotes her book of short stories titled “No one belongs here more than you.”. It’s a simple yet clever site that just requires you to click and read intriguing messages written on a “whiteboard”.

From there I went on to the Amazon page for the book. After that… blank. I’m not entirely sure how I ended up discovering that Miranda directed (and acted in) “Me And You And Everyone We Know” in 2005, but here I am; I’ve seen it.

The Review

I like to watch movie trailers. Apple’s Trailer page provides some superb high-quality visuals to treat the eyes. Lately, I have done to see movies without even watching the trailer. This gives an element of surprise; I don’t know what to expect. I like this.

Me And You posterI watched the trailer to “Me And You And Everyone We Know”, but still didn’t know too much about it. Nevertheless, Rachel, Mitch, and I sat down and watched it together last night. In some ways reminded me of “Little Miss Sunshine“. And reminding me of that meant the word “sunshine” also reminded me of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (and movie I adore). However, “Me You And— let’s just call it “MAYAEWK” from now on, okay?

However, “MAYAEWK” has it’s own unique style and story.

It’s awkward, romantic, inspiring, and all-around life exploding content. This is the kind of movie that makes you want to live life. I could care less about ramming into a bunch of cars and jumping off a bridge like Angelina Jolie did in “Salt”. No. “MAYAEWK” is something you can appreciate. “MAYAEWK” is a movie you can share with the whole family (as long as your family has mature-aged brains).

Rachel and Mitch were frustrated that they didn’t know what the movie was about prior to watching. At around the half-way point of the movie Rachel left the room to go do things on her computer. Mitch left soon after.

As I wrote in my Scott Pilgrim review, I laughed at that movie quite a lot. Often at times when no one else did; I find the funny in everything. That was equally true for “MAYAEWK”. I laughed harder than I have in a long time. Really hard. I laughed on top of laughs on top of laughs. You know when something is just so outrageous that you can’t help but laugh and then something funnier happens and you have to laugh louder and harder? Yeah, that was me.

The movie is open-ended. (If Rachel had hung around to the end, then she would have hated that.) It leaves you to fill in the gaps with your own life.

I invite you to visit the MAYAEWK website (flash site) to discover more about the film.

Buy the DVD or rent via Amazon OnDemand.
Download and keep or rent via iTunes.


Thoughts on Food, Inc

Last night I watched the documentary movie, “Food, Inc“, with Rachel.

In past years I’ve watched movies such as “Super Size Me” and “Fast Food Nation“. Such films can gross people out and even change the foods they choose to eat.

I’m happy to say that I stopped eating McDonalds when I was about 17 (2003; before “Super Size Me” was released). Yes, since then I’ve bought the occasional box of cookies or a drink, but I avoid McDonalds at all costs.

I generally avoid fast food places that I consider similar to McDonalds; such as, In-N-Out, Arby’s, etc. I know the fact that I don’t like In-N-Out will shock some people, but seriously, there’s a huge lack of a menu and it’s all quite boring. No, I don’t even like the fries.

NB: I’m not a vegetarian, but I rarely eat any meat other than chicken.

I digress.

Throughout much of my life my Mom has been persistent to only buy free range chicken and eggs. I never really cared that much about that fact until my Mom explained what it meant: “The chickens get to roam around and be happy.” The way I see it, if you’re happy before you die, then whomever eats you will receive those happy genes. Was that too creepy? It makes sense though; don’t you think?

Yes, I’ve seen those horrid videos of chickens that end up at KFC. Though, they’re just some poor attempts from activists; I never know how valid they are.

Food, Inc really shows how animals and vegetables are treated like food from the moment they sprout to the moment they’re packaged for consumption.

In nature, cows eat grass and their manure fertilises the grass for it to gain nutrients and continue to grow. In these mass-produced farms, cows eat corn, there is no grass, and they walk on feces. By the way, corn costs money and is trucked in from hundreds of miles away; grass is free and grows anywhere. That’s just a teeny tiny part of what Food, Inc touches on.

As soon as the movie was over, Rachel and I started researching places nearby where we could obtain organic meat and vegetables. Sadly, this isn’t always available at the supermarket. (According to Food, Inc., Wal-Mart now stocks organic meat and vegetables — but we all know how we feel about Wal-Mart’s ethics. I have been able to buy free range organic eggs from Wal-Mart though.)

Surprisingly, there are many organic farms all over the United States. I’m sure there’s many in your country too! Most of the time organic food is going to cost more money, but if it keeps you healthier (read: the way nature built humans, not the way “man” has changed humans into the pill-popping, fast-food-obsessed people that many of us are), then you’ll probably end up paying less for medical costs.

Go to to search for organic farms in your US state or your country.

Don’t take my word for it. Watch Food, Inc. now.

Rent or stream Food, Inc. on Netflix | Rent or buy Food, Inc. via Amazon OnDemand


Avatar and the Cinemas

I must have seen the trailer to Avatar a year or more ago.

I believe it was one of those films where they release a trailer over a year before the actual film is released. You know, you watch it, think ‘that looks awesome’, and then forget about it until the trailer is re-released.

I go through most of the new trailers on every month or two, so I’m pretty sure I saw the Avatar trailer a long time ago.

When all the hype about Avatar started cropping up in the middle of 2009 I decided to watch the trailer again. I remembered it. I also remembered how it didn’t do much for me.

I decided to discover what all the hype was about. I read a couple of reviews1 online, but most of the information I received was from the short reviews people gave on twitter.


Okay, so the storyline isn’t amazing, but the computer-generated effects are supposed to be mind-blowing. Sure, I’ll see it just for that, but do I really need to? NB: I’m in the digital/new media business. Would it be important for me to see it in 3D on an IMAX screen the size of a sky scraper?

For an adult to see a movie at a major cinema it costs AUD$17.00 (US$15.00; $C16.00; 10€; 1,425¥). Obviously, concessions are less, and on ‘Cheap Tuesday’ you can get a ticket for about AUD$11. That’s expensive!

I’m told it’s between US$5-$10 to see a movie at the cinemas in the USA. (La dee da; everything is cheaper there; blah blah.) That’s not a bad price!

Price aside, there really isn’t much that excites me about the cinemas anymore. The popcorn is covered in butter and I don’t care for that; I don’t drink soft drinks (water is $5+ per bottle); I buy my lollies/candy elsewhere; even the seats in Cinemaxx don’t excite me that much anymore.

I like my couch, our large LCD screen (or even my computer screen), and my loved ones by my side. I LIKE THE PAUSE BUTTON!!!!! 😉

Alrighty, back to Avatar.

Maybe the fact that I can’t get 3D at home (yet) is reason enough to go see it. I saw Final Fantasy in 2001 (wow, has it been that long?) with my Dad and we were pretty amazed at how realistic the animated human characters looked. Is Avatar any better?

Despite all the amazing reviews, I don’t plan on seeing Avatar at the cinemas. I’m sorry if that upsets you. (Change my mind? Or try to.)

Avatar reviews I’ve read: Quick review of Avatar by Dave Winer, Maria and I went to see Avatar… by bloodtasteslikepennies, and this funny tweet from Phillip Ryu.