Day in the Life of: Scene Photography

Day in the Life of: Scene Photography

In the first of a new ‘Day in the Life’ series on creatives and creative agencies from around the UK, we go behind the scenes at Nottingham-based studio Scene Photography. Check out the video below for an insight into Rob and Karen Smalley’s creative workflow, and the tools they’re using to help boost productivity.

Throughout our Day in the Life series, we’ll be calling round at other creatives, including graphic design and web design agencies, and more, so you can see some of the great work others in the industry are getting up to, and how they’re making the most of the latest creative tools.

Subscribe on YouTube to keep up with our latest Day in the Life videos, and please feel free to share with other creatives!

Want to know more? Call 03332 409 306, email design@Jigsaw24.com, head on over to our new Design & Publishing home page and don’t forget to check out our Adobe Creative Cloud hub for resources, and updates on all your favourite Adobe apps. For all the latest news and tips follow us on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

4K Shootout: Your guide to the current 4K camera crop

4K Shootout: Your guide to the current 4K camera crop

With our 4K shootout due to mosey into town any day now (well, on 23rd July), we thought it was time to take a closer look at four of the cameras you’ll be able to get hands-on with on the day. Take notes, prepare questions, mentally pick out lenses: anything to ensure you’re not overwhelmed when you get the chance to shoot with all four of them side by side. 

Sony PXW-FS7

First up, the Sony PXW-FS7. As we’ve said before, this Super 35mm 4K handheld takes everything we loved about the FS700, ratchets it up to 11 and then marries it to one of the most ergonomic designs we’ve seen in a long time.

The FS7 is the most flexible workhorse of the bunch, well built enough to function as an excellent ENG and documentary camera. The built-in hand grip serves the dual function of making the camera lighter and easier to balance during long shoots, and means that you don’t have to rig the camera to the extent that you expect in order to get the shots that you want – both big pluses for run and gun shooting.

However, that’s not to discount the quality of images you can get from this camera – it’s capable of shooting beautiful footage, and its support for S-Log3 effectively gives you 1.5 extra stops of dynamic range compared to its predecessor, the FS700, and, as S-Log3 is pretty close to Cineon log, the footage you get is easier to grade and you’ve got more chance of achieving a classic ‘filmic’ look.

Sensor-wise, the PXW-FS7 boasts a Super 35mm CMOS image sensor with 11.6 million pixels in a 4352 x 2662 configuration, including 8.9 million effective pixels. The sensor’s high readout speed means the FS7 can support super slow motion 4K shooting, and its full pixel readout capability and lack of pixel binning mean that jaggies and noir are minimised.

While it’s natively E-mount, an A-mount adaptor is available if you want access to a wider pool of lenses. Plus, Sony are so confident about the quality of their hardware that they’re offering an extended warranty on it, which is always reassuring.

AJA CION

AJA are known for their sturdy, unfussy designs, and the CION follows that pattern exactly: its traditional form factor and lightweight body make it an ergonomic choice for longer shoots. There’s also the usual (but highly practical) fact that it can be stored away while fully rigged, so if you need to shoot with no notice, you can just take it out of its case and go.

Design considerations aside, the CION is able to output 4K raw data at up to 120fps via 4x 3G-SDI outputs (you can shoot directly to edit-ready Apple ProRes 4444 at up to 4K 30fps over Thunderbolt, ProRes 422 at up to 4K 60fps, or output AJA Raw at up to 4K 120fps), and records directly to AJA Pak SSD media at up to 60 frames per second. Its APS-C sized CMOS sensor is backed by great internal processing, meaning your end image is noise-free under most conditions, and it packs in an electronic global shutter and 12 stops of dynamic range.

Given the range of codecs and lens options available to you, the CION is a great choice for anyone who’s looking to achieve a cinematic look under a range of circumstances and workflows. AJA’s hardware is typically built like a tank and rarely goes EOL, so we’re willing to bet the CION will be kept current for a good few years – it’s already had some interesting firmware upgrades – making it a safe investment for anyone who needs their camera to last far longer than it should at its price point.

Blackmagic Design URSA

As we’ve said before, of all this group, the URSA is most suited to multiple operators; you can even split the on-camera controls so that one side of the camera controls audio while the other handles image settings, and can check separate scopes on all three of the URSA’s on-board monitors.

The corollary to this is that the URSA really needs to be rigged on a tripod, being, as it is, one of the heaviest cameras we’ve ever encountered. You’ll also need a good stock of V-lock batteries, as the URSA’s massive internal processing power translates to a constant thirst for power, so grab some batteries and a VTC plate along with the camera body if you’re thinking of buying.

However, it can shoot incredibly flexibly, supports high frame rate and delivers what are team our calling “pretty hardcore” image quality, so if you want 180fps ProRes now, no questions asked, this is the camera to set your sights on.

JVC GY-LS300

Not often mentioned in the same breath as the other three, but we think the LS300 has a lot more to offer than most people assume. First off, this is a Super 35mm 4K camera for under £3K ex VAT, which is extremely good value. And the fact that it supports a wide range of interchangeable lenses means that you can probably save again by reusing your existing still camera lenses to shoot video. Then of course there’s the fact that it shoots 4K Ultra HD, full HD with 4:2:2 sampling, SD and web-friendly proxy files, so you’re not going to need to replace or add to it for some time, meaning you’ll get great ROI.

It also has some very nifty hidden features and, because it has a full frame sensor and lets you scale down the crop factor by percentage, offers you ultimate lens flexibility. If you want to capture a micro 4/3″ or 2/3″ size image, you simply need to scale to the correct size, then carry on shooting as if you were on a smaller sensor camera. And even if you’re attaching the smallest lenses in your collection, you’ll still be able to pull HD images off the camera – in some cases, even 4K.

It also has XLR inputs, so you have plenty of high quality micing options, and will support auto-focus and zoom rocker use on any lenses that have those features enabled, meaning that with the right accessories the LS300 can become a really interesting run and gun camera, perfect for live events and ENG-style shooting – especially given its live streaming and FTP capabilities.

Register for our 4K Shootout

Drop by our Soho office on 23rd July to get hands on with these guys and put your questions to the team – we’ll also have Varicam, DSLRs like the A7S and GH4, the URSA Mini and the XC-10, as well as Zeiss glass, a 4K lighting setup from Cirrolight (and a tutorial on lighting for 4K with cinematographer John Harrison).

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

How many Odysseys can you use on a single shoot?

How many Odysseys can you use on a single shoot?

To celebrate that fact that we have a stash of Convergent Design Odyssey 7Q+s available for just £1199 ex VAT, we’re relaying the tale of heroic filmmaker Jim Arthurs, who set out to discover how many Odysseys one man could use on a single shoot. This Herculean labour was originally documented on Convergent Design’s site

 

 

Filmmaker Jim Arthurs had a dream: just how many Odysseys could he put to work on a single shoot? He came up with the concept for ‘Assignment: Odyssey’ as a visual demonstration of the versatility of the Odyssey7Q+ monitor/recorder.  Eight unique and popular cameras systems (each with Odyssey7Q+s) ranging from inexpensive 4K mirrorless cameras up through high end systems such as the Sony F55 and ARRI ALEXA were deployed on a Convergent Design themed virtual set green screen shoot.

Throughout the day, each camera was chosen for its particular strengths or features, while the Odyssey7Q+ was used to ‘common capture’ to UHD Apple ProRes or a given camera’s unique RAW data stream.

“Here was the opportunity to do what few in our industry have the chance to do,” explained Arthurs. “Custom select a wide range of cameras for a single job, based on their individual strengths, without the concern of handling multiple brands of recording devices and the resulting hassle in post.”

From the portability and fluid motion of the tiny Sony A7s used gimbal-mounted (both hand-held and on a jib), to the low noise characteristics of the Sony F55 for green screen work, to the 120fps in 4K RAW Burst mode of the Sony FS-700 and the unique Canon C500 colour science and smooth continuous 60fps RAW recording, each camera was chosen to overcome a particular production ‘challenge.’  The Odyssey7Q+ UHD to HD Supersampling was demonstrated with the Panasonic GH4.

“The Odyssey7Q+ was the great equaliser,” noted Arthurs, “Allowing green screen shots from both the high and low end of the Sony line – the F55 and the A7s – to intercut back to back in the final product. Every camera has a unique look, but the richness of signal captured by the Odyssey7Q+ in both RAW and Apple ProRes allow me to easily color correct and match the cameras with great results. And I easily pulled great green screen composites off even the most modest of camera kits with the robust signals recorded on the Odyssey7Q+.”

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Apple’s WWDC releases: An over-excited guide

Apple’s WWDC releases: An over-excited guide

In case you missed our over-excited tweeting on the night – we were very into El Capitan, disappointed by the lack of beards and divided about Danny Pudi’s rap – here’s a roundup of Apple’s big announcements from WWDC 2015.

OS X 10.11 El Capitan

User experience and semantics seem to be at the heart of this update, with new gestures, improvements to Safari and a new, more powerful Spotlight that builds on the new, more powerful Spotlight that we got with Yosemite this time last year.

Key gestures we saw demoed at WWDC include shaking your mouse (or scrubbing your trackpad) to enlarge the cursor to make it easier to find, Tinder-esque two-finger swiping left and right to mark email unread or delete it, and the ability to ‘pin’ commonly used sites in Safari by dragging the tab they’re open in to the left corner of your browser.

Safari has also caught up with Chrome in terms of letting you find and mute audio when you’re not sure which tab it’s coming from. (On a personal note, we’re glad that Rickrolling is still a popular enough phenomenon to be included in WWDC. Does this make it the longest-running meme in internet history? Will it ever cease? Will Rick Astley become the Hegelochus of our age? Only time will tell.)

But the update we’re going to rely on most is probably the increasingly powerful search in Spotlight, which can now handle natural language chains like ‘mail I’ve ignored from Phil’ or ‘documents I worked on last June’. Just type in your vague query and El Capitan will pull all the documents and emails that qualify. Now of course, we’re incredibly committed and organised people who know exactly what we were working on 18 months ago, but if we weren’t, this would be a godsend.

Another change that looks like it’s going to do wonders for our productivity is the ability to tab your Compose window in Mail, and drag and drop pictures and attachments from emails you’ve just received into the Compose window – we’re already getting excited about how much easier this is going to make approvals, especially as El Capitan allows you to snap applications to a side-by-side view for easier comparison and drag/dropping.

Metal

Creative users will be pleased to hear that Apple’s graphics acceleration solution, Metal, is making its way to the Mac. This should mean that graphics-heavy applications (and games) will launch and run faster – Apple are reporting a 50% increase in rendering speeds, and a 40% reduction in the amount of power your CPU needs to do that rendering.

Adobe have said that they’ve seen an eightfold increase in rendering performance in After Effects, and seamless interactivity within apps like InDesign, so you can zoom seamlessly and shouldn’t experience any lag when performing common tasks. They’re planning to support Metal on all their OS X 10-compatible apps, so you can check that off the list of things to worry about when you move to El Capitan.

iOS 9

Over the past year, Siri has become 40% more accurate and 40% faster. In iOS 9, she’s going to get proactive, doing things like starting your music player when you plug in your headphones, adding invitations to your calendar automatically, and advising you on the time it will take to get there based on realtime traffic info. She can even suggest who a caller might be by trawling your email for phone numbers hidden in email signatures.

Other highlights include:

– Apple Pay coming to the UK in July.

– Its partner app, Passbook, being renamed Wallet. This is the TfL-compatible app that’s going to let you use your iPhone or Watch as an Oyster card, or a credit card if you’re with one of the eight major banks (more will be supported from the autumn).

– The ability to sketch, create to-do lists and take photos from within the Notes app.

– An extra hour of battery life for your iPhone.

– A new, Flipboard-style app calls News which replaces Newsstand, and organises all your regular reading into a single, simple feed (think of it as an RSS feed that arranges itself like a magazine and has lovely transitions between articles).

– Transit routes added to Maps for 20 cities worldwide, including London.

watchOS

Not to be left out, Apple Watch has seen an update to its operating system, watchOS 2. This is paired with WatchKit, a set of tools that will allow developers access to key hardware like the Digital Crown, Taptic Engine, heart rate sensor, accelerometer and microphone. New software APIs enable audio and video playback and animation, and with the ClockKit framework, developers can represent their data as complications on the watch face. You can download WatchKit here.

The upshot of this? You can now develop more robust apps that will run natively on Apple Watch, and some apps will now be able to run using just your Watch and a known WiFi network, rather than having to do everything through your iPhone.

From an end user point of view, the big new features are:

– Nightstand Mode that transforms Apple Watch into a bedside alarm clock, with the Digital Crown and side button serving as snooze and off buttons for the alarm.

– The ability to use merchant rewards and store-issued credit and debit cards with Apple Pay, which can be added to Wallet (née Passbook).

– Support for Transit in Maps, so you can view detailed transportation maps and schedules, including walking directions to the nearest stations with entrances and exits precisely mapped.

– Workouts from third-party fitness apps contributing to your all-day Move and Exercise goals.

– Using Siri to start specific workouts, launch Glances and reply to email.

– Activation Lock, which lets users secure their Apple Watch with their Apple ID, preventing another user from wiping or activating the device if it is lost or stolen.

Apple Pay

For those of you who have been eagerly awaiting Pay, here’s the official rundown of what will be supported when it launches:

“Starting in July, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch users will be able to make purchases anywhere contactless payments are accepted. In addition to the 39 Apple Stores in the UK, leading locations for everyday shopping that will accept Apple Pay include Boots UK, BP, Costa Coffee, Dune, JD Sports, KFC UK & Ireland, Liberty, LIDL, Marks & Spencer (M&S), McDonald’s UK, Nando’s, New Look, Post Office, Pret A Manger, SPAR, Starbucks, SUBWAY stores, Wagamama and Waitrose. Transport for London will also accept Apple Pay, so you can use your iPhone or Apple Watch to pay for your travel or daily commute.

“We are proud to be one of the first retailers to introduce Apple Pay at our stores across the UK. Whether customers are enjoying our special food range or our clothing collections, our early introduction of Apple Pay will provide them with a seamless and secure way of checking out,” said Marc Bolland, CEO of Marks & Spencer.

“In apps, checkout is simple and there is no need to manually fill out lengthy account forms or repeatedly type in shipping and billing information. Apps that will accept Apple Pay in the UK include Addison Lee, Airbnb, Argos, Booking.com, British Airways, Domino’s, easyJet, Hailo, HotelTonight, hungryhouse, JD Sports, Just Eat, lastminute.com, Miss Selfridge, Ocado, Stubhub, thetrainline.com, Top 10, Topshop, Uncover, Vueling, YPlan, Zalando and Zara, among others. When paying for goods and services within apps, Apple Pay is compatible with iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3.”

Meanwhile, on iPad…

Over on your iPad Air, the new Slide Over feature lets you simultaneously work in a second app without leaving the first. All you need to do is access the same Split View feature thats been promised in El Capitan, and you can work in two apps at the same time, side-by-side. Sadly, pre-Air iPad models won’t be able to support this feature.

Crowd favourite Picture-in-Picture lets you continue a FaceTime call or video while using your favourite apps (so if you want to check your calendar while you’re on a call and trying to arrange a meeting, now you can).

And if you’re particularly fond of the trackpad on your MacBook, you’ll be happy to hear that a new gesture control has been added that will let you open a trackpad over your iPad keyboard, so that you can perform OS X-style gesture controls while moving between apps (great if you’re working in two apps with their own specific gesture controls but just want to perform an iOS function like swiping between apps or tabs).

Swift 2 goes open source

Importantly for developers, APIs for all these new features and controls will be made available. They’ll also get a new version of Swift, Swift 2, the compiler and standard library for which will be made open source later this year. Your new API tools will include:

– Extensible search that deep links directly to content within third-party apps.

– GameplayKit and Model I/O for building better games and ReplayKit for recording gameplay.

– New HomeKit profiles for motorised windows and shades, motion sensors and home security systems.

– Wireless CarPlay and support for auto manufacturers to develop apps within CarPlay.

– New HealthKit data points for reproductive health, UV exposure, water intake and sedentary state.

 And one more thing…

We were hoping it’d be the next generation of Apple TV, but apparently we haven’t earned that yet. Instead, Apple unveiled a new music streaming service, Apple Music, that turns iTunes into a sort of giant, Taylor Swift-rich Spotify rival. As well as listening to your own iTunes library, you can stream any of the 30 million songs Apple has access to, or listen to carefully curated playlists based on your tastes.

Siri is also getting in on the action, and is now able to respond to requests like, ‘play the number one song from August 1987′ or ‘play the best U2 songs’ in order to fire up the appropriate playlist.

Apple Music starts with a free trial, but will be $9.99 per month for an individual and $14.99 a month for a family thereafter.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

iPad for ePOS: the key kit

iPad for ePOS: the key kit

Point of sale is changing. As new software and systems allow you to move away from expensive custom ePOS hardware and toward a more slimline, iPad-driven approach, we look at the available kit. 

Now, until everyone and everything supports Apple Pay, you’re going to need to add a few accessories to your iPad to turn it into a fully functioning till. Here’s a quick guide to the best barcode scanners, most reliable receipt printers and cash drawers our product management team couldn’t jimmy open with a screwdriver.

Barcode scanners

Kicking things off is the Opticon OPN-2001 barcode scanner. This pocket laser scanner is as straightforward as it gets: scan the barcode to store it, press the clear button on the front of the device and re-scan the same barcode to forget it, charge via USB every 1000 scans or so. It can hold up to 10,000 codes with time stamps and weighs just 28 grams, so is great if you’re building a temporary POS and need to keep the weight of your setup down.

 

If you want something a bit more ergonomic, then try the very sleek Socket Mobile CHS 7Ci barcode scanner, which has the added advantage of being certified by Apple for use with iOS devices. It can read printed barcodes and those on screens, so if you’re emailing out offer codes to your customers on a regular basis, this is probably the one for you, especially given its 10 hour/10,000 scan battery life and impressive 508mm scan range.

 

Printers

Star Micronics are our go-to receipt printers, and we’re particularly fond of the SM-S220i and TSP143.

The SM-S220i is a great choice if you need something mobile. A lightweight Bluetooth receipt printer, it’s designed for queue busters and wait staff to take payment wherever the customer happens to be. Compatible with both iOS and Android, it’s the ideal partner for a mobile ePOS solution, and despite being tiny it can crank out an impressive 8cm of 230 dpi receipt per second.

If you’re looking for a fixed printer, try the TSP143. It’s a LAN thermal printer, meaning you get fast long-distance communication over Cat5 LAN cabling (nice and cheap), and includes a ‘print on disconnection’ feature that’ll print you an alert should you have any network issues.

An auto-cutter and all the accessories and software you need to get set up are included in the price (including a wall mount, in case you like your receipt printers vertical). The only thing that might set you back extra is a splash-proof cover that we imagine would be a sound investment if you’re a restaurateur or a particularly clumsy goldfish-seller.

Cash drawers

And now to the most important bit: making sure no-one can run off with your hard-earned dosh. APG’s Vasario series of cash drawers are a popular choice: they rely on the popular MultiPRO interface, so will work with most ePOS systems, and the four-function lock offers you the security of locked closed, locked open, online and manual settings.

The Vasario 1616 offers great bang for your buck, giving you the security of that multifunction lock at a lower price point than usual, plus drawer status reporting and a two year warranty.

If you’re using a Star or Epson printer, a good call is the Star Micronics CB-2002, which is designed specifically to work with these printers and comes in eight note/eight coin and four note/eight coin variations.

It has a three-position lock with drawer release, includes a compulsion switch and RJ12 connection.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email business@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Jigsaw24 recommends: iPad kiosks

Jigsaw24 recommends: iPad kiosks

If you want to set up iPad kiosks in-store there are a number of factors to consider, including physical security, how you’ll charge them and whether you’ll need to sync them remotely. Here are some ideas… 

So you know you want a snazzy interactive kiosk where your customers can find out more about products, staff can present rich content and – gasp – contactless payments may even take place. What you don’t know is how to stop customers running off with your devices and how to make sure they’re always fully charged. Never fear – our retail team have found three ace kiosk-makers with solutions that will sort all of this for you. Here’s the rundown…

Maclocks

There are two solutions we really like from Maclocks – the Space Desk Enclosure and the BrandMe Floorstand (both compatible with iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4 and iPad Air).

The Space Desk Enclosure is a padded aluminium enclosure that stops anyone tampering with your iPad’s home, volume and lock buttons, but still allows data, radio and WiFi signals to filter through, so you can enjoy full access to whichever app you lock the iPad into. (If you don’t know how to lock an iPad with Guided Access, read this.)

If you fancy keeping your iPad on a tabletop, the Space Desk Enclosure can accommodate a cable lock to hold it down, or you can mount the whole thing flush against your showroom wall (you won’t be able to rotate iPad once it’s mounted, though, so pay careful attention to whether your app works best in portrait or landscape mode).

If you want a freestanding kiosk, the BrandMe Floorstand is, as its name suggests, brandable, with dedicated space on the column for your logo. As well as being able to show iPad in portrait and landscape mode, it allows you to hide the charging cable in the base of the stand, so you can charge your iPad discreetly and securely at any time.

Your iPad can attach to the BrandMe stand using a Space enclosure or an ‘Executive Enclosure’ made of tamperproof aluminium screws, which has the advantage of being chic and incredibly thief-resistant.

Bouncepad

If Maclocks’ offering isn’t doing it for you, try Bouncepad. They have a slightly swooshier design (that’s a technical term) and their tabletop option, Bouncepad Desk, has a short ‘stalk’, so that you can display your iPad devices at a conveniently tiled viewing angle without taking up too much space or giving customers the chance to yank the screen around too much.

Bouncepad Desk is available in black or white as standard, though you can add a custom finish if you want a more branded feel, and can be mounted from above or below a surface depend on said surface’s depth. You can also choose from a variety of faceplates that cover different combinations of buttons, depending on how much you want customers to be able to do.

There are a range of extras available that allow you to rotate, tilt and even add headphones to the stand, so that you can customise each Bouncepad Desk to the activity you want it locked to.

In terms of uprights, we like the Bouncepad Floorstanding. Nice and simple and the perfect height at 114cm, its weighted base and lack of complicated setup mean that it’s an ideal solution for exhibitions, event spaces and other temporary displays. (Don’t worry, you can secure it to the floor so that no-one runs off with it.)

A charger cable can be concealed in the base, so you’re able to enjoy continuous power, and the stand will work with the same tilt and rotate add-ons that you can get for the Desk, if you still want that functionality.

Griffin

Look, we’re just really big fans of Griffin gear, OK? And their Kiosk Desktop range is as sturdy as their mobile one, offering you a sleek, stable enclosure that you can mount on any flat surface without having to look at any unsightly mounting screws.

The Kiosk Desktop gives you a shock resistant iPad enclosure and high-strength steel arm, which can also house the cabling and power supply for your iPad. The Kiosk Desktop comes with three faceplates, so you can choose whether to allow customers access to the iPad home button, camera or neither. And as all the faceplates are part of your initial purchase rather than extras, you can swap out plates if you want to repurpose the iPad in a location where users are given more freedom.

There’s also a 119cm Kiosk Floor available, for anyone who wants a freestanding iPad solution. Both can run the Kiosk App (£2.99 from the App Store) that you can use to manage and sync multiple devices, set home pages and iPad behaviour while idle, and even make sure staff are alerted if a device is damaged, unplugged or otherwise brought low by a heavy-handed customer. So useful!

The only downside is that the Kiosk range currently only supports iPad, iPad 2 and iPad 3, but hopefully and iPad Air-friendly version is in the offing.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email business@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Three ways to protect staff iPad

Three ways to protect staff iPad

Dropping your iPhone is unfortunate. Dropping your iPad mid-sale and losing all your customer data is slightly worse. Avoid it by investing in one of these sturdy cases…

Having spent the last three years rolling out iPad in schools and businesses up and down the country, we’ve seen plenty of people learn the hard way how important it is to properly protect your iPad. Luckily, whether you’re worried about staff dropping them or frustrated customers taking out their anger at an iPad POS, someone has made a case to suit your needs. Here are three of our favourites.

Griffin AirStrap

Available for iPad Air, iPad Air 2 and all three iterations of iPad mini, the Griffin AirStrap is great for anyone using iPad to interact with customers on the shop floor. The case is lightweight and unobtrusive, so you still get that nice sleek iPad look, but the key feature is the AirStrap’s rotating strap.

Not only does it make holding iPad one-handed far easier – particularly if you opted for one of the larger models – but the rotating mount means that you can still spin the case from landscape to portrait view, or turn it round completely if you want to show the screen to a customer without letting go of your device.

 Native Union GRIPSTER Wrap

Not content with a mere rotating grip, Native Union up the ante with a grip that not only rotates but which can be locked into eight different positions to keep your iPad stable while you work (or take selfies). It also has a built-in stand that doubles up as a carrying handle, so you can carry your iPad with you around the store or prop it up in order to present solutions to customers, play media, or let them navigate through an app.

And if, like us, you’re very particular about keeping your screen scratch-free, you’ll appreciate the eight-panel wraparound cover that you can draw round the iPad when it’s not in use, like some kind of high tech roman blind.

The GRIPSTER wrap is available for iPad, iPad Air, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 1, 2 and 3.

Griffin Survivor

Are you going onto a building site? Is there a chance that an angry child will hurl your iPad at a wall? Do you plan to drop it six feet onto solid concrete on a regular basis? If the answer to any of these questions is even slightly likely to be yes, opt for a Griffin Survivor case (other colours are available).

griffin_survivor_case_for_ipad_air

With four layers of protection, cushioning foam inserts, shock-absorbing silicone at the corners and a scratch resistant cover for you screen and camera, the Survivor makes you iPad ready for anything – there are even removable covers for all your device’s ports, so you can keep out the dust and rain if you need to send staff outdoors.

The Survivor is available for the second, third and fourth generations of iPad, the iPad mini range, iPad Air and iPad Air 2, but Griffin do also offer Survivor covers for iPhones and Android tablets, so you can equip staff with a range of devices and still achieve a uniform look.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email business@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

 

NewTek NDI: What’s on the way?

NewTek NDI: What’s on the way?

NewTek’s NDI standard for video over IP was one of the big talking points at this year’s NAB Show, with NewTek releasing their own apps and tools alongside some corkers from third party vendors. In case you missed the kerfuffle (we can’t all get to Vegas on expenses, after all) here’s what we know about the key releases.

NewTek’s own apps

NewTek have obviously been hard at work on making their hardware range IP-compatible, and models running the latest firmware should cheerfully support the NDI protocol (give us a call if you’re not sure whether yours qualifies). They’ve also put together an SDK so that third parties can start producing plug-ins and apps. But they’ve also chosen to lead by example and put out a couple of apps of their own.

NewTek Telestrator is NewTek’s own moving image annotation app (and not, as the marketing team thought for one beautiful moment, anything to do with Fender guitars), allowing you to annotate stills and video to your heart’s content. Perfect for post-match analysis, training, and that bit of Strictly that they currently make Zoë Ball do on an interactive whiteboard.

NewTek Transit is an app that allows you to replace the customer-grade pictures you get from the likes of Skype, Google Hangout and various video conferencing apps with a crisp, professional quality NDI signal. If you have a compatible streaming encoder (or other third party production software with a webcam option), Transit will make any NDI video connection on your network appear as a ready-to-use webcam input, regardless of whether it actually is a webcam.

Third party apps

The first big third party announcement to roll out was that Sienna, whose production software pedigree is as long as it is impressive, had used NewTek’s SDK to produce NDI Source and a series of related apps for Mac users. This cunning suite of applications allows you to use NDI, which is a PC-based standard, on Apple computers and devices, and also brings key hardware from Blackmagic Design and AJA into the NDI fold. Once your device is running the correct version of NDI Source, you can connect SDI and HDMI sources to your AJA or BMD video interface and convert them to an NDI IP feed.

Adobe have also been quick to get in on the act, releasing their NDI for Adobe Creative Cloud app (or NDIFACC, as we choose to call it) over the course of NAB. This plug-in is available on a subscription basis from the NewTek store, and will allow you to display full res Premiere Pro and After Effects files on any screen connected to your video IP network.

“NDI for Adobe Creative Cloud transforms the workflows for Adobe Premiere Pro CC and After Effects CC users by making creative elements visible on virtually any screen or any output on their local area network in full resolution,” said Michael Kornet, Executive Vice President of Business Development for NewTek, when the app was first announced. “The creative efficiencies plus time and cost savings to be gained is tremendous and represents a breakthrough across the board in all traditional pre-, live-, and post-production workflows. We are so excited to see how Adobe Creative Cloud customers will utilise the NDI integration to achieve things in ways that until now were unimaginable.”

Storage

GB Labs became the first company to announce NDI-friendly hardware (although a slew of IP-enabled hardware is in the pipeline, ranging from cameras to convertors). Their Space storage range integrates seamlessly with NewTek NDI solutions, and just so happens to be the world’s fastest NAS, capable of pulling data from multiple sources at 9000MBps. So really well worth a look even if you couldn’t give two hoots about NDI (our professional opinion is that you should give several hoots about NDI, for the record).

Want to try these out?

We’ve got a full TriCaster 8000 IP demo system, complete with NewTek’s core apps, ready and raring to go. We even have our very own NewTek Certified Trainer to talk you through it. If you’d like to book a demo or take the unit for a test drive, just get in touch on the details below.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Jigsaw24 ask the experts: Wacom Cintiq 27QHD Touch

Jigsaw24 ask the experts: Wacom Cintiq 27QHD Touch

In this edition of our not-at-all-regular feature, we ask award-winning boudoir and burlesque photographer (and proud Wacom user) Tigz Rice nine niggling questions about the Wacom Cintiq 27QHD, and finally learn why this model comes with a remote. 

Over the course of six highly educational minutes, Tigz gets down to the brass tacks of Wacom Cintiq 27QHD ownership, explaining why she’s pro new features like the edge to edge display, ExpressKeys being on a remote (one of our lot was baffled by this, but it does actually make sense), and the motivational benefits of opting for the touch-enabled version.

Want to know more about the Wacom range? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email wacom@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

How to calculate the real cost of Creative Cloud

How to calculate the real cost of Creative Cloud

Cnet did the maths when Creative Cloud was first released, and two years down the line we think this still holds true – the extra services, the increasingly short lifespan of devices and software versions and the massive amount of time you’ll save all make Creative Cloud a winner for bean counters and creatives alike. 

Free storage

If you (or any members of your team) move between sites a lot, Adobe Creative Cloud‘s 100GB of free, online storage per user is a bit of a godsend, allowing you to store ongoing work in the cloud rather than on physical drives that you have to lug around when you’re on the road/make sure you don’t leave on the train (we’ve all been there). It also allows you to share work automatically with other members of the team, so they can pick up new jobs or amends as soon as you request them, rather than having to wait for you to get back on site.

It includes the cost of font management software

A lot has been said about Adobe Creative Cloud giving you access to more apps (and therefore the chance to bring more work in house), but we’ve not seen much written about TypeKit. This font management solution used to set us back about £100 a year, but is now included free with Adobe Creative Cloud, so you can deduct the cost of a font management solution from your existing software spend.

The beauty of TypeKit – aside from the fact that it gives you access to a library of easily searchable, web-friendly fonts – is that it will sync fonts between your home and work machines (or multiple business machines) for more seamless multi-site working, and there are no plug-ins or servers to manage, so it’s not going to take up your IT team’s time, either.

Increased out of hours work…

We’re not saying that all companies are sinister and determined to trick their employees into doing oodles of unpaid overtime in order to hit unrealistic deadlines, but, well, most design agencies we know do have insane deadlines, and the only way to meet them is for a few brave souls to go above and beyond the call of duty.

The fact that users are able to access Creative Cloud apps, services and shared storage from multiple devices not only makes it more likely that they’ll be able to pick up jobs or approvals after hours, it actually makes that fact far less invasive – rather than being trapped in the office till sun up, you’re now able to review and edit projects on the go, or upload new versions to the team’s shared storage from wherever you happen to be.

…and the end of endless file transfers

Because Creative Cloud apps are designed to work seamlessly together, different departments in your agency can now share files more quickly and easily, without spending hours transferring, transcoding and worrying about version control, meaning less time watching the loading bar and more time doing billable work.

Oh, and if you ever take on 3D work, or would like to start doing so, there’s now a free copy of CINEMA 4D Lite included in After Effects, which has a two way dynamic link with Maxon’s leading 3D software, so changes made to a model in one programme show up instantly when you open it in the other.

You can bring more jobs in-house

Whether you want to take on new types of project, use new tools to refine pitches and win more business (just like our customer Pearlfisher did recently), or simply bring your freelancers in house so you can keep an eye on them, Creative Cloud allows you to bring cross-disciplinary work in-house and develop new skills without a risky upfront investment in new software (you’re getting the entire Adobe range for slightly more than the cost of Creative Suite Design Standard), so you can try new things without putting your cash at risk.

Want to know more about Adobe Creative Cloud? Get in touch with us on 03332 409 306 or email adobe@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and articles, follow us on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook