How to Use Games, Hacking Contests To Find Workers

first_imgA Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Tags:#hacking#web Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Related Posts While college recruitment and job fairs still have a place in the employment world, a little bit of creativity and social media know-how is worth its weight in talent if done the right way. Bringing new and creative people into a business is a difficult task, so some agencies are using social media and games to draw in exactly what they need.What’s the best way to attract creative interns? A advertising firm in the Netherlands used the game “Draw Something” to bring in artistic interns by getting them to… draw something. Potential interns got onto Muse Amsterdam‘s radar by downloading the game and logging on to play with “Drawsome intern.” It played out like a regular game, but instead of earning points, players with the most interesting drawings got an opportunity to interview for an internship.Lourens Keers, Strategist at Muse Amsterdam explained the choice to use the game in an e-mail saying, “The people who use DrawSomething are not per se the talented people that we would like to work with, yet it is used by people that are into mobile applications. We’re looking for creatives with interest for innovative media, so that’s a match.” This brings to light different ways agencies are trying to find exactly the kind of talent they want in their business. And it’s not just ad agencies that are doing this, Keers pointed out that the British intelligence agency, GCHQ has also used technology recently to bring in new applicants. GCHQ made news last year by running an anonymous campaign that offered computer hackers the opportunity to get an interview by breaking a code. Typically, agencies like this get applicants straight from college, but with the increase in self-taught hackers, there was new a pool of talent to choose from. They used social media, Twitter and blogs to redirect potential hackers to a site and crack their code. Doing so (legally and ethically) redirected the user to a site with information on cybersecurity career opportunities within the agency. Closer to home, Mountain View programming startup Interviewstreet hosted a coding challenge called CodeSprint earlier this year. Participants were given the chance to solve real-world coding challenges over a two-day period to earn points and a possible interview with one of the 65 participating tech companies. Companies ranged from Facebook to Dropbox. The technological age is changing how a business finds new employees. As long as it looks like they’re thinking outside of the box and not like they are desperate for young blood, it could boost a company’s image.  It also doesn’t hurt if your method of finding new employees is different and interesting enough to get a couple of news outlets to cover it…Photo by allibean.center_img Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… christina ortiz 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Foxconn Riots Halt Apple Production

first_imgA workers’ riot at a Foxconn Technologies factory in China has stopped production at the facility, which supplies many of the world’s major tech companies, including Apple.Police were reportedly sent in to the factory in the central Chinese city of Taiyuan after a riot broke out Sunday, leaving an unknown number of workers hospitalized or detained by police. The plant was closed as of Monday.Foxconn issued a statement saying that more than 1,000 workers allegedly rioted after police arrived to subdue an earlier, smaller fracas between workers and security guards.  The plant employs 79,000 people, and Foxconn employs more than 1 million people in China. China’s state-run news media has reported that 5,000 police officers were called in to quell rioters who destroyed guard booths and other propety. Foxconn has stated that no “production facilities or equipment has been affected.”The Taiyuan factory made headlines earlier this year when NPR’s “This American Life” reported inhumane work conditions at the factory. While most of those claims were later proved false other news media have found a factual basis for some statements. Labor unrest has become more common in China of late. At least some worker protests have revolved around wage disputes and unpaid salaries. American Public Media’s Marketplace China correspondent Rob Schmitz reported that because Foxconn is a Taiwanese company run by non-Chinese, the results of the police investigation will be published in China’s state press.Below are two videos published late last night, alledgely of the Foxconn riot, although its authenticity has yet to be proven. In the first video, workers chant and yell as police arrive.  adam popescu A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#Apple#web Lead image via Wikimedia Commons Related Posts 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Business Cloud Computing: Privacy Is Just As Important As Security

first_imgluke burns Tags:#cloud computing#enterprise#privacy#saas#security How Intelligent Data Addresses the Chasm in Cloud Related Posts Cloud Hosting for WordPress: Why Everyone is Mo…center_img Serverless Backups: Viable Data Protection for … Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Guest author Luke Burns is a partner at Ascent Venture Partners.Security and privacy are often mentioned in the same breath, but when it comes to cloud computing, security tends to be the dominant subject. But should it be? While there are seemingly endless security threats, cloud providers are becoming increasingly sophisticated and capable in addressing them.When it comes to privacy, though, cloud vendors have not made the same progress. In fact, it’s more than likely that Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies breach the customer’s perception of data privacy regularly.I’m not referring simply to consumer companies and their problems with privacy, e.g. Facebook sharing personal data with advertisers. Enterprise SaaS companies face their own unique challenges around customer data usage, even though those issues have not received the same level of scrutiny.Enterprise Services Know A Lot About Their CustomersThe challenging aspects of SaaS privacy arise from the close relationship between vendor and customer – a situation vastly different than in days of on-premise software. As the name suggests, SaaS vendors provide a service, and with that service comes the ability to log every keystroke and mouse click that a customer makes using their software.Why would a SaaS vendor do that?Think about customer relationship management (CRM) software as an example. What would you think if your CRM took note every time you updated a contact, and then made that updated contact information available to other users with that same business connection? Sounds like a pretty useful service for customers, doesn’t it?What Are Your Expectations For Data Privacy?But does it breach your expectation of data privacy? SaaS opens up the door to increased interaction and partnership between a customer and a vendor, but it also opens the door for misuse.One particularly interesting area with privacy concerns is the use of the metadata (data about the data). Let’s say, for example, there is a clear agreement that all data is owned by the customer and can’t be used by the vendor. But would that agreement also include things like the number of users (salespeople) actively using a CRM system or the number of new sales leads entered in a given quarter or the number of meetings booked?This type of data could yield tremendous insight to an individual trying to gauge sales activity at a given company or within a given sector. Would use of this metadata be covered under data ownership or could the SaaS vendor sell those insights to the highest bidder with a clear conscience?Then there’s obfuscated or anonymized data. Is it OK for a SaaS provider to use your data to create unattributed market statistics? Imagine a financial SaaS vendor that could create a composite view of all the private companies using its system and publish average earnings growth over various periods of time. Or a customer-service SaaS vendor that could create benchmarks on average time to close a trouble ticket. In each case, the vendor is producing valuable data points it can use for profit. Should there be any type of reimbursement for customers, or is it just a cost of doing business?Who Owns The Intellectual Property?Many SaaS platforms offer robust tools to customize the experience for individual customers and companies. These customizations often reflect significant investment in design and development and sometimes reflect proprietary business processes. How much exposure to these customizations does a SaaS vendor have? Could it use these customizations as templates for future product enhancements that might be offered to competitors of the customers that originally created them?We’re just scratching the surface of potential privacy issues that can arise with SaaS vendor relationships.Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying companies should avoid SaaS. In fact, I think the benefits of embracing software in the cloud far outweigh the potential risks. The close relationship developed between a SaaS vendor and its customers has the potential to deliver significant payback, especially for companies embracing SaaS not for cost savings, but for business transformation.But both sides of that equation, the vendor and the customer, need to fully understand the bargain and the trade-offs made between privacy and business value.Asking The Tough Privacy QuestionsSimilar to their IT security due diligence, companies need to ask questions about the privacy of their data before they enter into a cloud vendor relationship.Who owns the data? How many copies of the data are there? How can you ensure that data is erased or unreadable in the event that a customer chooses to decommission or change service providers? And especially, What is the vendor’s acceptable use of a company’s cloud-based data?Hopefully, better awareness and transparency about these issues will build trust and help business-facing cloud vendors avoid the lawsuits that have afflicted their consumer-facing cousins.last_img read more

Apps To Make Your Great American Road Trip Even More Enjoyable

first_imgWaze (Free—iOS, Android) is a community-based navigation app that I also recommend. Waze incorporates GPS data and real-time information from its 50 million users to alert drivers about current road conditions. Use it and you won’t be surprised why Google spent a small fortune for it.FoodHappy Cow ($2.99 iOS, $2.49 Android) is a vegan-friendly restaurant guide. My son and I are strict vegetarians, so during our long drive …No, I’m just kidding. We plan to eat the greasiest, tastiest, most delicious local fare we can find, be it at a tavern, old-school drive-in, or some hidden regional gem tucked away that only the locals know about. We are relying on two apps to help with this culinary journey of discovery. A few I recommend include:Best Road Trip Ever ($0.99—iOS) includes location and details on “10,000 offbeat destinations.”History Here (Free—iOS, Android) has information on, that’s right, historical sites and landmarks throughout America.Roadside America ($2.99—iOS) will set you back a few dollars but, like Best Road Trip Ever, contains information on all those cool things—like a giant ball of twine—that may only be found in just one place.Sleep Tight Related Posts For both iPhone and Android, there are numerous apps to help you find just the right hotel for your needs with Hotels.com (Free—iOS, Android), or enable you to score a unique lodging experience using Airbnb (Free—iOS, Android). There are also Camp & RV ($9.99—iOS, Android) to help you find nearby campgrounds. If a bed and breakfast is what you prefer, InnTouch and others have you covered.Since we are driving a car across country over 10 days, we will most likely spend our nights in standard roadside hotels.Be Prepared And OrganizedI am not expecting any roadside emergencies; I doubt anyone ever does. But, the free RepairPal (Free—iOS, Android) app sold me with its blurb:  the “RepairPal app tells you the right price to pay for your repair, finds you a great mechanic in the area, tracks all your repairs, and gives you one-touch access to roadside assistance.” Seems wrong to not have this with me.I also have Weather Underground (Free—iOS, Android) to keep me posted on what the weather will be as we journey along.To track expenses, including fuel, food, snacks and lodging, I have purchased the Road Trip ($4.99—iOS app.  Eyes on the RoadWe are often told that people have their attention focused on their smartphone screen, missing what’s happening all around them. Perhaps. In this case, however, smartphones will make our trip more fun, possibly more memorable, and offer us an opportunity to visit unique spots and meet people we might otherwise never have met.I can’t wait for the trip to start.Image of highway courtesy of Wikimedia. Image of giant ball of twine courtesy of peachsmack, via Creative Commons license. Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Tags:#Android#iPhone#Pause#travel What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech …center_img brian s hall For check-ins, I am using Foursquare (Free—iOS, Android), linked to Facebook (Free—iOS, Android). For sharing pictures, I will post to Instagram (Free—iOS, Android), also linked to my Facebook account. I plan to create several short videos as well, using Vine (Free—iOS, Android). These will be posted to my Twitter feed. I will also use Soundcloud (Free—iOS, Android) to record and then share the various interesting, funny or just plain odd sounds I hear. Maybe it’s from an AM-radio preacher, a crowded diner or just the sound of frogs and crickets at night.The JourneyOf America’s many gifts to the world—and to the future—none are so perfect as baseball. As avid baseball fans, we are using the MiLB (Free—iOS) app to guide us to every Double-A and Triple-A game along our route. This is a must.If, inexplicably, baseball is not for you, there are numerous apps which will guide you to famous landmarks, national parks, local oddities, museums and more.  Food Network On the Road (Free—iOS, Android) includes all those spots from its shows such as Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and The Best Thing I Ever Ate. I am hungry just thinking about this.Yelp (Free—iOS, Android) is always at my side, and never more useful than when I am traveling. In fact, Yelp has probably changed how I eat. It tells me what restaurants are nearby, lets me select by food type, includes extremely useful reviews on most of the establishments – many of which I would not otherwise even know about. This is a must-have for our road trip. Never again stop at a chain restaurant.Wish You Were HereAs I expect to have many grand thoughts while on the road, I have paid for the well-designed Voice Record Pro (Free—iOS) app to record my brilliance.Of course, we aren’t only going to document our trip in words, sounds and pictures for posterity. We plan to share our adventures in real-time with friends and family. Road Trip! That quintessential American adventure, experiencing the nation via automobile, is about to begin for many of us this summer, myself included.Readers may know I’m using my smartphone to help me find a new home. That new home is thousands of miles away. My teenage son and I have decided that we will make the move on wheels. My wife, his mother, insists this is crazy. Accordingly, she has booked a flight.Her loss. We aren’t driving the Interstates, either. That’s for truckers. Instead, we’re taking the historic U.S. Route 50: Jump on in Ohio, drive through the plains, into Dodge City, across the Continental Divide, over the Rockies and through the stretch known as the “loneliest road in America” before arriving (almost) in San Francisco.We intend to eat great local food, stop at unique spots along the way, take in the history, have fun, make it memorable and stay safe. To that end, apps will definitely help.I have an iPhone. He has an Android. We share a Kindle Fire. With those platforms in hand, these are the apps we are using to help make this little adventure that much more enjoyable.Dad Needs His Coffee The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Priorities. Before mile 1, I must know that coffee is always nearby. Find Me Coffee (Free—iOS, Android)is a free app that will, yes, help me find coffee whenever I need it. Which is always.Don’t Make Me Stop This CarLet’s face it, driving along an old American highway across the country, for all its sights and sounds, hour after hour, day after day, means we will almost certainly hit more than one achingly long dull patch. We will need ways to lessen our boredom while inside the car. I’m not naive. With the miracle of technology, we have hours of video, thousands of pages and more games than we will ever need, all inside our smartphone. I recommend these, in particular:Amazon Instant Video (Free—iOS, Android).On both the iPhone and Kindle Fire, we have downloaded several hours of our favorite television series and movies, at reasonable prices. Kindle (Free—iOS, Android) We have already downloaded several books. Hint: we share a single Kindle account on both the Kindle Fire and iPhone. Bonus hint: I scored a great deal on the entire series of original James Bond novels last month.Card Games (Free—iOS) The smartphone is the perfect gaming console and we both already have several games on our devices. However, I find that card games are a great way for me to keep boredom at bay while still keeping enough of my brain focused on my surroundings. This app includes several card games.On The RoadGetting lost can be fun. Not finding your way back, less so. To combat this, I have installed Google Maps (Free—iOS, Android) on my iPhone.Fact is, Google’s free mapping data is amazing, and the turn-by-turn directions and real-time traffic data can be a godsend. One issue keeps popping up: I have yet to figure out to tell the app that I never want to venture off Highway 50—it insists I take the Interstate highways. last_img read more

MySQL Vs. MariaDB: Power Plays By Expanding Communities

first_imgbrian proffitt Tags:#MariaDB#MySQL#Oracle Related Posts David Axmark and Monty WideniusMariaDB, the open source fork of the popular MySQL relational database, is slowly but surely making inroads in the MySQL user base by building a stronger community. Clear evidence of that comes with the report from The Register today that Google is assigning a full-time engineer to the MariaDB Foundation. But Oracle is responding with its own plans to diversify its own MySQL developer community.In itself, Google sending a single developer to MariaDB might not seem like big news, but it points to a growing trend for MariaDB in its battle against predecessor MySQL. MySQL has become increasingly isolated as an open source project since the open-source database was acquired by Oracle when the software giant purchased Sun Microsystems.“Isolated,” in this case, points to the growing perception that Oracle does not accept many outside contributions for the MySQL database, which is dual-licensed under the GNU General Public License for developers and a commercial license for customers. The GPL is key here: any project that forks away from MySQL and makes code changes to improve upon the original MySQL code is required to publish the source code for those changes somewhere, presumably for the benefit of the MySQL team.This is the very heart of free software “copyleft” development: it ensures that improvements can be shared among many related projects. But critics such as Monty Widenius  the original creator of MySQL and the newer MariaDB project, maintain that Oracle is deliberately keeping the number of accepted contributions low. There is no rule in the GPL, after all, that says code changes have to be accepted by the parent project.The effect of such policies, critics charge, is that as forked versions of MySQL like MariaDB are changed, it is increasingly difficult to maintain compatibility with MySQL. While some forked projects in the open source world don’t give a flying fig about compatibility  MariaDB most certainly does—otherwise, it would not be able to be a one-to-one replacement for existing MySQL databases.This is why Widenius and his MariaDB team are geared up about Google’s participation: they believe that strength in diversity will make MariaDB a better project and one not controlled solely by a single commercial entity. Indeed, the Register article speculates that this is why Google is coming on board: their own Cloud SQL product is based on MySQL, and therefore has its destiny tied to the whims of Oracle. Getting more involved with MariaDB is a good piece of insurance, should Oracle get squirrelly.SkySQL CEO Patrik Sallner gave The Reg his theory on why he thinks Google is joining in. ‘There are quite a few companies not financially sponsoring the Foundation but [which] are providing resources, because they see the value of being part of the community. That’s another thing we learned from MySQL, to make sure there are enough contributors. At MySQL there were not that many externally,’ he said.‘None, none,’ Widenus [sic] chipped in during our conversation.Did Oracle Pick Up The Clue Phone?Widenius may have gotten ahead of himself with that statement to the Register, as Oracle may be wising up to the fact that if it wants to keep interest going in MySQL as an open source project, it has better start opening the shell a little. As recently as last month, MySQL Community Manager Dave Stokes made a public call for external contributors for MySQL.Stokes’ request was met with some derision, with complaints about his mentioned requirement for contributors to sign the Oracle Contributors Agreement. Such agreements can rankle those in the open source development community, since they usually mean giving up license control and even intellectual property rights for submitted code to the project host.Former MySQL Community Manager Giuseppe Maxia came to Oracle’s defense a few days later.“I may not like it, but licensing was still a consistent part of the business when I left Oracle, and I assume it still is. Since this “feature” helps paying the developers that create open source software, I believe it is a reasonable trade-off.“Besides, also MontyProgram asks the same thing, and so does Apache and Canonical,” Maxia wrote.Maxia also cited that in his experience, contributing to MySQL code is more difficult than other projects, due to the intricacy of the database’s source code itself.If Oracle’s call to action has the intended effect, it should increase the diversity of the MySQL community, and perhaps allay ongoing fears that Oracle will always dominate the destiny of MySQL and can’t be trusted.But that won’t stop the MariaDB team from using the “more open than MySQL” tactic to win over business customers and their developers. Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo…center_img Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of… 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now IT + Project Management: A Love Affairlast_img read more

This startup lets you use your smartphone to reduce 3D printing costs

first_imgTags:#3d printing#smart clothing#wearables#Wiivv Wearables Related Posts David Curry Online clothes shopping has surged in the past few years, as consumers become more confident buying before trying. However, everyone has had one bad experience with size, length or fit and had to return or live with the mistake.Wiivv Wearables wants to make the fear of a wrong size a thing of the past, by combining a 3D printer scanner with a smartphone. The measurements are then sent to the cloud, manufactured on a 3D printer, and sent to the customer.See Also: GE spends billions to print 3D piles of IIoT moneyThe Vancouver-based startup only sells insoles at the moment, but the team is interested in expanding to fashion and sportswear in the future.Cuts costs from $300 to $753D printing reduces the costs of insoles by nearly half, from $300-600 at an orthotics to $75 from the app. Wiivv also claims that the scanner is more accurate than an orthotics, so the insole may provide even more comfort to the customer.The system only requires five photos of the foot at different positions to build an accurate model. We could see the same functionality being applied to the waist, chest, or legs to obtain accurate body measurements in a few minutes, though jackets and jeans may require more data than an insole.3D printing has not democratized manufacturing in the way some would have liked, 3D printers are still too expensive for most people and too complex for beginners. Wiivv could be a nice midway point for manufacturing, allowing customers to customize their clothes to fit and look exactly how they want, and get them shipped at a reasonable price. Internet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You…center_img Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Follow the Puck Small Business Cybersecurity Threats and How to…last_img read more

How San Leandro is using IoT to transform itself

first_imgSmall Business Cybersecurity Threats and How to… Internet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You… Tags:#California#energy#Internet of Things#IoT#San Leandro#Smart Cities Related Posts Follow the Puckcenter_img David Curry San Leandro, a suburban city in California, plans to integrate a 10-gigabit fiber loop into public infrastructure and services, in a move to evolve the city from its industrial roots.The fiber loop is capable of connecting thousands of Internet of Things (IoT) devices together, sending all the data back to servers where it can be analyzed.See Also: California parking garage operator prepares for self-driving revolutionThe city’s LED streetlights and controlled irrigation are already connected to the IoT system. The LED lights are expected to save $8 million in the next 15 years and will reduce San Leandro’s dependence on nonrenewable energy.“Smart city and IoT technologies are important because they’re going to enable us to gather data about things we couldn’t know about in the past, which allows us to make better decisions,” said Debbie Acosta, the city’s chief information officer, to StateScoop.San Leandro is planning two new projects using the IoT system, a distributed energy network and an infrastructure project to connect all the city’s services.The energy network will connect the electric grid to hundreds of solar panels across the city. Connected devices assess how much energy is created and sorted in a building, and any excess can be redistributed to other buildings.Big energy boostsExcessive energy creation from solar panels has already caused the price of electricity to plummet in California. A way to distribute the energy more evenly could reduce the frequency of blackouts and potentially make San Leandro 100 percent renewable.San Leandro’s longer term plan, dubbed the ‘fiber master plan’, aims to integrate all sorts of applications and services into the IoT system. The massive collection of data could provide all sorts of advantages to the city.At the present time, the city is looking for guidance on how to design the fiber network, monetize it, and integrate IoT and wireless networks into it.The U.S. Economic Development Administration provided the $2.1 million grant to get the fiber loop built and the California Energy Commission is sending $1.5 million to the energy network. If all goes well, the city might receive an $8 million grant in 2018 to continue building out the network. Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaceslast_img read more

In an Experiential-Obsessed Marketplace, Surkus Uses Tech to Stand Out

first_imgAI: How it’s Impacting Surveillance Data Storage Brad is the editor overseeing contributed content at ReadWrite.com. He previously worked as an editor at PayPal and Crunchbase. You can reach him at brad at readwrite.com. Experiences have flooded the marketplace. Whether they’re investing in pop-up stores or festivals, brands have recognized the major shift happening. The IPA Bellwether Report found that in the U.K., experiential marketing was the only area to experience significant growth in spend in 2017 besides internet marketing.Similarly, EventTrack found that American consumers gravitated toward the brands that gave them experiences to savor, with 74 percent reporting they were more likely to purchase from brands engaging them with experiences. In fact, 98 percent admitted they created social content when they participated in these experiences — and all of those who created content also shared content.The writing’s on the wall for companies that have paid attention. These experiences can be beneficial to brands of every type, and Surkus is determined to use technology to make experiential accessible.Abandoning the Spray-and-Pray ModelSurkus classifies three major areas as experiential: branding experiential (such as pop-ups), ticketed experiences (such as concerts or festivals), and immersive experiences (such as VR). In working with brands that launch experiences in every category, Surkus focuses on making the strongest matches it can between its members and its clients.It does that through technology. The brand’s platform uses an algorithm to identify the right audience members for each experience being offered. By curating a group that’s expressed interest in a certain subject or a similar brand, Surkus pinpoints the members who will feel excited about the opportunity.That translates to a win for Surkus’ client companies. Surkus’ focus on targeting the right audience makes both attendance and engagement possible. Clients can ask for a variety of engagements — social content, surveys, market research — with Surkus enabling communication between clients and members throughout every point of a campaign.“We don’t need to complicate things, but simplify them,” explains Stephen George, Surkus’ CEO. “We want to make sure the right audience is attending and engaging, and we know the little things are our clients’ entire objective in working with us. It doesn’t have to be complex.”Capitalizing on What They’ve GotSurkus’ knowledge of where members are at every touchpoint is valuable: By tracking members’ locations and activity, the platform can nudge them and offer reminders. The platform, designed for Instagram posts, can point out that a member, still at an event, just took 50 photos and should post one of them. If the member exited the venue, the client can ask questions to get real-time feedback on how the installation or product played in front of its audience.“It’s important to be able to time our interactions and engagements correctly,” George says. “In the moment, members shouldn’t be interrupted so they can absorb the experience. But there hasn’t been an easy way to transfer instantaneous reactions. Brands don’t want to target people when they walk in or when they’re in the middle of a performance — they’re not going to get very good information.”But good information is there for the taking. George points to concerts as an example: If a concert producer spent the majority of his budget on the closing act and the grand finale fireworks, but 40 percent of concertgoers left two hours before the encore, Surkus can provide that data to the producer so he can reconsider where he’s spending his money. While Surkus’ goal with members is to provide them with compelling experiences, the brand’s focus for clients is driving long-term value.“If brands have already planned out the production of their events and are wasting money at certain times, we need to be able to tell them,” George explains. “They may be able to restructure the production to use the same layout of money but increase engagement. And the longer we can keep people engaged, the more ancillary revenue that drives — but there’s also a better experience because there’s no lag in the event itself.”Bringing Experiential to the MassesTechnology has made things more affordable, particularly through automation. Surkus itself thrives on this fact: While a PR agency helping with experiential activations can handle 20 clients at one time, Surkus can work with 10,000. “Bodies just aren’t as efficient as our algorithm,” George says.This sheer volume helps every activation under Surkus’ umbrella — as its base grows, so does its data collection. This enables Surkus to give first-timers a head start by giving them insight into what’s worked well for similar types of events or which types of audience members responded best. But, as George says, that data becomes more meaningful as clients repeatedly work with Surkus to launch experiences; the brand can provide continuous data on who engaged or took actions so constant tweaks can occur.The affordability and ease created by technology hasn’t completely trickled down, and George says that’s created a misconception that lingers among small brands. “There’s a perception that events have to be grandiose, multimillion-dollar affairs that only global brands can afford,” he says. “It can be a small mom-and-pop retailer with a pop-up event, and that can be just as enticing as Under Armour launching a $1 million activation at its store. The point is targeting the people who will respond.”Brands from small businesses to international conglomerates should be fitting experiential into their budgets, regardless of the size. While attention is paid to experiences offered by Netflix, Anheuser-Busch, or LiveNation, anyone can do it, George points out, and platforms like Surkus enable the same types of results for brands of every size.Smaller brands that refuse to invest in experiential, in fact, will run into a universal problem: ad blockers and other tools that allow consumers to bypass marketing. With people skipping commercials regularly and billboards simply not having the reach they should for their cost, experiential has become a more affordable way to stick in consumers’ minds. Surkus’ platform offers a la carte services, allowing clients to determine what’s most important in terms of engagement and what fits within their budget. Getting one attendee to walk through the door at an event can cost as little as $3. After an era of spray-and-pray advertising, with money sprinkled everywhere, experiential can result in reverse sticker shock.What’s NextBringing experiential to the masses also means expanding markets, and that’s next on Surkus’ agenda. George, the former co-founder and head of operations for Groupon, says the Los Angeles-based business launched in Boston last month and is “relaunching” in San Francisco in October.“A lot of our markets in the past grew organically, but now we’re announcing launches in targeted areas — we’re highly dedicated to these new markets,” George says. The brand also has an eye on global growth and serving its clients in any market they’re operating in; beyond its office in Hong Kong, Surkus plans to expand to Singapore in the next few months.That reinforces the company’s belief that experiential isn’t necessarily what people think it is — and it’s not outside anyone’s reach. By incorporating technology to make experiential activations more affordable and accessible, Surkus just may have found a way to bring personalized experiences to the masses. Trends Driving the Loyalty Marketing Industry Brad AndersonEditor In Chief at ReadWrite Tags:#branding#customer experience#CX#event marketing#experiential marketing#festival#marketing#pop-up shop How Data Analytics Can Save Lives AI is Not the Holy Grail of Sales, at Least Not… Related Posts last_img read more

MFLN “Network News” – June 2016

first_imgSpotlight: Virtual Learning EventsThe Military Families Learning Network provides virtual learning events (VLEs) for military family service providers and other interested professionals serving military families. Our VLEs consist of several sessions centered around a common theme, providing unique engagement and in-depth discussion opportunities. This year we are offering three VLEs hosted by the Personal Finance, Military Caregiving and Family Development concentration areas. For this edition of “Network News,” we are highlighting the Personal Finance VLE taking place June 14-16. Be sure to subscribe to the MFLN monthly email update to receive news on the other VLEs as well as our regularly scheduled programming. Personal Finance VLE: “Enhancing Financial Fitness”The Personal Finance VLE is a three-day web-based event aimed at connecting personal finance managers and educators working with military service members with research, resources, and each other. Taking place June 14-16, this event will focus on the research, traits, and behaviors that lead to financial success. Being “financially fit” means having financial understanding and the capability to make positive financial decisions. Visit the VLE homepage or check out the individual sessions below.Tuesday, June 14, 11 am-12:30 pm ET: What is Financial Fitness & How is it Measured?Wednesday, June 15, 11 am-12:30 pm ET: Positive Personality Traits of Financially Fit PeopleThursday, June 16, 11 am-12:30 pm ET: Wealth Building with Savings, Investing & WindfallsThursday, June 16, 1 pm-1:30 pm ET: VLE wrap-up sessionDid you miss last year’s virtual learning events? Not to worry! You can still view them in our archives to obtain continuing education credit.Personal Finance: Motivating Clients to Develop Positive Financial BehaviorsMilitary Caregiving: Reimagine Your Skills as a Helping Professional: Working with Military Family CaregiversFamily Development: Family Violence: Increasing Professional Knowledge, Prevention & IntegrationJune is chock full of professional development opportunities. We invite you to join us for any or all of them!last_img read more

Meet Our Presenter for the February 14th Webinar “The Scoop on Gluten Free: Research and Practice Tips”

first_imgAmy Jones, M.S., R.D., L.DChief Clinical DietitianMary Rutan Hospital, Ohioby Krystle K. BinkowskiRegister for The Scoop on Gluten Free: Research and Practice Tips webinar Tuesday, February 14 at 11:00 am EST. RDN will earn 1.0 CPEUs.Amy Jones received her Master’s degree from Ball State in Nutrition after receiving her Bachelor’s degree from West Virginia Wesleyan College in Nutrition. She continued her education with training in Celiac Disease at the University of Chicago. Amy practices in community hospitals specializing in Celiac Disease. Currently she is on the chair for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics with dietitians in the Gluten Intolerance Disorders practice group. Amy founded Logan County Celiac Support group in 2010 and she enjoys speaking at regional and national celiac disease events. Some of these events include Nationwide Children’s Hospital Celiac Conference, ExpoWest, and the Gluten Free Allergen Free Fest.  Besides speaking at events, Amy Jones is also on the Gluten Free Living magazine’s dietetic advisory board. Through this role she continues to contribute her knowledge on this topic to the magazine. The Diabetes Spectrum has just recently accepted Amy’s Article on Celiac Disease for publication and she also was contributing author to another article published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.Tune in to learn more about Amy Jones and Celiac Disease by joining us for her webinar titled The Scoop on Gluten Free: Research and Practice Tips on Tuesday, February 14th, at 11:00 am ET. This was posted by Robin Allen, a member of the Military Families Learning Network (MFLN) Nutrition and Wellness team that aims to support the development of professionals working with military families.  Find out more about the MFLN Nutrition and Wellness concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, and LinkedIn.last_img read more

WIC and Members of the Military

first_imgBy Carol ChurchAs discussed in Can Members of the Military Get SNAP Benefits? we typically hope and believe that members of the military and their families will be provided for when it comes to food, shelter, and medical care. Most of the time, this is the case. However, occasionally families of lower-paid members or families in various special circumstances (such as those with many children or those with a disabled member) need assistance. The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program provides specific nutritional support for pregnant and postpartum women and young children, and it is easier to qualify for than Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).What is WIC?WIC provides redeemable vouchers for specific types of nutritious food to pregnant and nursing women and to infants and children under age 5. Examples of the types of food covered include fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy, eggs, meat, nuts, beans, and grains. Families can also receive vouchers for infant formula, an expensive product.Participants also have regular appointments with WIC staff to talk about nutrition and check in on their health. They will receive nutritional counseling, recipes, and other useful information. The point of the program is to make sure pregnant and postpartum women, infants, and young children who are at nutritional risk are eating well and doing well physically.How Do You Qualify?Typically, the family income for WIC applicants must be no more than 185% of the federal poverty line. You can see those numbers here. However, things are somewhat different for members of the military. Individual states have the option of excluding certain important military payments when calculating whether a family is eligible for WIC. These include, but may not be limited to:Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH)Family Separation Housing (FSH)Overseas Housing Allowances (OHA)Overseas Continental U.S. (OCONUS) Cost-of-Living Allowances (COLA)BAH, in particular, is typically not used when determining WIC eligibility. Thus, depending on which state the service member lives in, it may be possible to obtain WIC benefits even if total pay package is significantly higher than 185% of federal poverty.Pexels/Pixabay.com, CC0Members serving overseas may be particularly likely to be eligible for WIC due to how eligibility is calculated. This TRICARE page goes into detail about the Women, Infants and Children Overseas Program, which is relatrively new and offers WIC benefits to those overseas. This benefit may be quite important to young families living outside the United States.To ApplyTo apply for WIC, service members serving on base should first find out if there is a WIC office on base. Otherwise, visit this site to find out how to contact the appropriate WIC state agency.WIC is a modest program that provides healthful foods for growing families. It can temporarily fill financial gaps for families, especially those who struggle due to underemployment or unemployment of a military spouse. Since this is a common issue for military families, WIC has an important role to play.For more information on government programs that can assist military families with food needs, visit this FDA page. References:Lightfoot, L. (2017). How WIC Benefits Military Families. Retrieved from https://themilitarywallet.com/wic-benefits-military-families/National Military Family Association. (2016). No Child Should Ever Go Hungry—Nutrition Assistance Programs For Military Families. Retrieved from http://www.militaryfamily.org/featured-news/no-child-should-ever-go-hungry.htmlTricare. (2016). Women, Infants and Children Overseas Program. Retrieved from https://tricare.mil/wic/USDA. (2016). Women, Infants and Children (WIC). Retrieved from https://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/who-gets-wic-and-how-applylast_img read more

Budgeting Strategies That Work

first_imgBy Barbara O’Neill, Ph.D., CFP®, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, boneill@njaes.rutgers.eduA budget (a.k.a., spending plan) is a plan for spending future income and expenses, including setting aside savings for future financial goals. Ideally, a budget should be written (paper, computer spreadsheet, etc.) with specific categories of income, spending, and dollar amounts. Benefits of budgeting include providing “guardrails” for spending, achieving financial goals (if savings is included), and for peace of mind. https://pixabay.com/photos/shopping-spending-till-slip-879498/ Return to article. Long Descriptionstevepb/Pixabay.com, CC0Budgets project future income and expenses with a goal of achieving positive cash flow. Therefore, developing and following a budget requires a level of attention to detail (e.g., recording and adjusting expenses). Below are four recommendations to develop a budget that works:Define Your Income– Base a budget on average monthly take-home income. Multiply weekly pay by 4.3 to get a monthly amount. This accounts for “extra” income months (e.g., months with five Friday paydays).Pay Yourself First– Ask yourself if you can live on 80% to 90% of your income with 10% to 20% of income set aside for savings goals. The 20% amount is meant for long-term savings and includes tax-deferred retirement savings plan contributions. Savings is the most difficult “expense” to budget.Set Aside Reserves– Plan ahead for occasional expenses by setting aside money monthly for them. Examples include insurance premiums, home and car maintenance, pets, and property taxes if not escrowed.Follow the “2x Gas” Rule– Set aside twice the amount that you spend monthly on gas for car maintenance and repair expenses. Drivers who buy more gas put more “wear and tear” on their car. You will not have expenses every month, but when you do, the money will be there.Food is a major recurring expense in family budgets. It may not be the largest expense (dollar wise) compared to housing costs, income and property taxes, child care, and transportation, but people still spend a lot of money buying food. Below are seven smart ways to cut food costs to get your budget numbers to balance:Make a Shopping List– List items to buy and their approximate cost before you go food shopping. Then stick to the list. Include “miscellaneous” and a dollar amount (e.g., $5) so impulse buying is built in.Use Coupons Wisely- Redeem coupons from newspapers and online platforms, but only on products that you plan to buy anyway and only when the after-coupon cost is cheaper than alternative products.Search for Bargains– Look for marked down bakery items, meat/seafood, and other supermarket “clearance” foods. If the packaging is intact, it is generally safe to buy these foods if used immediately.Double (or Triple) Your Savings– Take advantage of double or triple the savings on manufacturer’s coupons and supermarkets that allow you to combine a store coupon and a manufacturer’s coupon.Join the Club- Sign up for supermarket “shoppers’ cards” that provide access to special sales promotions and/or an opportunity to earn points toward free or reduced price food items (e.g., a free Easter ham).Stock Up to Save– Buy (or grow in a home garden) fresh fruits and vegetables when they are in season and freeze, can, or dry them for use at a later date.Cut Up Your Own Food- The more preparation that a store does (e.g., cutting up stew beef, making meat and vegetable kabobs, and slicing fruit or making fruit salads), the more consumers generally need to pay.To prepare you own personalized budget, download this Spending Plan Worksheet from Rutgers Cooperative Extension that includes spaces to list income and fixed, variable, and occasional expenses.last_img read more

Festival News: The Winners of Sundance 2014

first_imgCinematography Award: U. S. DocumentaryE-TEAM / Ross Kauffman & Rachel Beth Anderson Screenwriting Award: World Cinema DramaticBlind / Eskil Vogt U. S. Grand Jury Prize: DocumentaryRich Hill U. S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Musical ScoreKumiko, the Treasure Hunter / The Octopus Project A record audience welcomes the winners of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.Every year the film industry descends on Park City, Utah for the Sundance Film Festival. The festival, which began in 1978, has become one of the worlds most prestigious and talked about film events…and this year was no exception.With a record number of submissions, 2014 was a great year for Sundance. Fierce weather and even fiercer competition was on display all across the beehive state (I kid you not…Utah is really called The Beehive State!) The winners were crowned, gaining film immortality and most importantly, they can put those festival laurels on their DVD cover!Here are the winners of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival: Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: U.S. DramaticThe Skeleton Twins / Craig Johnson & Mark Heyman Short Film Special Jury Award for Direction and Ensemble ActingBurger Editing Award: U. S. DocumentaryWatchers of the Sky World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: DocumentaryReturn to Homs Short Film Grand Jury PrizeOf God and Dogs Directing Award: U. S. DramaticFishing Without Nets / Cutter Hodierne World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Ensemble PerformanceGod Help the Girl Cinematography Award: World Cinema DramaticLilting / Ula Pontikos Short Film Special Jury Award for NonfictionLove. Love. Love. Audience Award: Best of NEXTImperial Dreams Directing Award: World Cinema Documentary20,000 Days on Earth / Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard Audience Award: World Cinema DramaticDifret U. S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Intuitive FilmmakingThe Overnighters Directing Award: U. S. DocumentaryThe Case Against 8 / Ben Cotner & Ryan White Directing Award: World Cinema Dramatic52 Tuesdays / Sophie Hyde Editing Award: World Cinema Documentary20,000 Days on Earth Short Film Jury Award: AnimationYearbook Cinematography Award: U. S. DramaticLow Down / Christopher Blauvelt World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Cinematic BraveryWe Come as Friends U. S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Use of AnimationWatchers of the Sky Short Film Jury Award: NonfictionI Think This is the Closest to How the Footage Looked For more info on Sundance including how to submit your film to be screened in 2015 check out the Sundance website.Let the countdown begin until next year:COUNTDOWN WEBSITEWhat was your favorite film of Sundance 2014? Should someone else have been in the list of winners? Share your thoughts in the Comments below! Audience Award: U. S. DramaticWhiplash Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film PrizeI Origins Audience Award: U.S. DocumentaryAlive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory Short Film Jury Award: US FictionGregory Go Boom Short Film Jury Award: International FictionThe Cut Audience Award: World Cinema: DocumentaryThe Green Prince World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: DramaticTo Kill a Man Short Film Special Jury Award for Unique VisionRat Pack Rat U. S. Grand Jury Prize: DramaticWhiplash U. S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Breakthrough TalentDear White People / Justin Simien Short Film Audience AwardChapel Perilous Cinematography Award: World Cinema DocumentaryHappiness / Thomas Balmès & Nina Bernfeldlast_img read more

Look Away! Practical Horror Effects in Classic Films

first_imgCelebrate the remake of Poltergeist with this ghastly collection of classic practical horror effects!The original Poltergeist scared (and scarred) a generation with its gruesome practical horror effects and chilling imagery. Frankly, it ruined me forever on demonic clowns, carnivorous trees, and Native American burial grounds. This week sees the release of the Poltergeist remake starring Sam Rockwell. We doubt that this new version will be as reliant on practical effects, and that’s fine… Because we’ll always have the classic gore of the 70s and 80s. Below, you’ll find ten grisly examples of a lost art: Practical horror effects, crafted by hand and designed to disturb. These legendary practical horror effects inspired many a filmmaker, especially considering that a lot of these practical horror effects could be replicated in a suburban garage after a trip to the hardware store.A word of warning before we begin…  This content is way more graphic than what we usually share here on PremiumBeat, but we feel like the creativity, ingenuity, and imagination that went into these scenes is second to none. These videos are not for the faint of heart. Squeamish readers are advised to proceed with caution! Enjoy!Poltergeist: That’s Gonna Leave a MarkThis scene is disgusting. It starts with a maggot-infested steak and ends with a guy tearing his own face off. It’s worth pointing out that the hands digging into actor Martin Casella’s flesh belong to none other than Steven Spielberg!Alien: Introducing the ChestbursterThis scene played a big part in Alien winning the Oscar for Best Visual Effects. Ridley Scott shot this in one take using four cameras for coverage and for good reason. John Hurt’s artificial torso was filled with cow blood and guts — and legend has it that the actors were not informed as to how messy the scene would be. The result? Legit reactions of shock from the cast. Well played, Ridley Scott. Well played. An American Werewolf in London: The TransformationAn American Werewolf in London won Rick Baker the Oscar for Outstanding Achievement in Makeup. In fact, he was actually the first person to ever win the award. The following clip will show you why. The Fly: The Brundlefly Falls ApartSpecial effects wizard Chris Walas won the Oscar for turning Jeff Goldblum into a throbbing lump of insectoid gore. Some might consider that to be his greatest achievement, but I disagree. The reason: Walas created the Gremlins!John Carpenter’s The Thing: The Defibrillator SceneThe effects in this scene were created by Rob Bottin, who was mentored by Rick Baker. Clearly the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Bottin didn’t win the Oscar for his iconic work on The Thing. In fact, he wasn’t even nominated. Instead, the Academy gave the special effects award to the Daryl Hannah caveman film Quest for Fire.  Scanners: You’re Blowing My MindThis brief moment from David Cronenberg’s 1981 psychic horror film Scanners has lived on as a gif and a meme. To create the cranial catastrophe, special effects mastermind Dick Smith filled a fake head full of dog food and rabbit livers and then shot it with a shotgun. Which sounds like a pretty sweet way to spend an afternoon.Raiders of the Lost Ark: Melting NazisSure, technically Raiders of the Lost Ark isn’t a horror film. But try telling that to six-year-old me in 1981 after I saw this scene. I strongly encourage you to spend a few minutes reading this page, where the special effects team discusses the ins and outs of making Nazis melt.If you’re interested in more behind-the-scenes practical effects magic, be sure to check out the following articles on PremiumBeat:Top 10 Best and Worst Practical Effects in Movie HistoryThe Old School Practical Effects of the Star Wars UniverseCineFix Presents a Collection of the Best Visual EffectsWhat’s your favorite scary movie? What’s the most disgusting effect you’ve ever seen in a film? Share in the comments below!last_img read more

The Amazing Cinematography of Emmanuel Lubezki

first_imgLet’s take a look at the amazing cinematic touch of back-to-back Oscar winner and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki.Emmanuel Lubezki, or “Chivo” as he is sometimes called, is a brilliant cinematographer whose uncanny eye for framing and sense of movement is quite possibly unmatched. I’ve been aware of Lubezki for many years through his work on Sleepy Hollow and Meet Joe Black, but it wasn’t until The New World and Children of Men that I stopped to admire and love the way he uses the camera like a painter does a brush on a canvas.Here is a fantastic video that highlights the cinematic work of Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki, presented by Borealisk.Trademarks of a Master CraftsmanLet’s take a look at the trademarks of Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki. These trademarks can be seen in just about every single film he participates in. We will hit specifically on Lubezki’s use of natural lighting, framing, long takes, motion, and film language.Taking Advantage of Natural LightingIn 2011, I was able to see a special screening of Terrence Malick‘s The Tree of Life. Lubezki’s ability to utilize and take advantage of natural light was astonishing. This is probably my favorite skill of Lubezki’s. I say this because I had to make due with natural lighting early in my career. Not because I wanted to, but because I had to, as I could not afford the lights.Lubezki waits for his shots. He utilizes the space around him and how it’s affected by the light. You can see this process clearly in The Tree of Life. In fact, when speaking with A.S.C. on the use of natural lighting during The Tree of Life, Lubezki had this to say:When you put someone in front of a window, you’re getting the reflection from the blue sky and the clouds and the sun bouncing on the grass and in the room. You’re getting all these colors and a different quality of light. It’s very hard to go back to artificial light in the same movie. It’s like you’re setting a tone, and artificial light feels weird and awkward [after that].Framing the MomentLubezki has always had a great feel for framing the characters of the film. Many times we see him employ a very documentary style approach when framing. This style is very evident in films like Children of Men, The New World, The Tree of Life, Gravity, and Birdman. This could be correlated to the idea of natural space and natural setting, which he uses quite often for lighting, as we touched on above. Could this stem from his time working with Terrence Malick? Possibly, as Malick is very keen on this style and approach. In an article for the A.S.C., Lubezki quotes Malick:…act like a documentary filmmaker and come onto the locations and capture these ideas we’ve been talking about.After a successful collaboration on Birdman, Lubezki has teamed up once more with Alejandro Iñárritu for the The Revenant. In this trailer for the film from 20th Century Fox, we can clearly see Lubezki’s use of documentary style framing.Here is another great example of Lubezki using that documentary style camera work, except this time it’s for use in an iPad commercial entitled Your Verse. This clip is from Labhouse and Park Pictures.Long, Smooth, and Fluid MotionLubezki is no stranger to long takes. Well before Birdman came along, he developed the long intro for the film The Birdcage, which clocks in at over 2 minutes before a real visible cut is seen. Of course, with Lubezki it’s not just about the long take… it’s about the motion during that take, whether it’s a long take or not.For instance here is the “Coffee” scene from Birdman, where Lubezki and Iñárritu use fluid camera motion to ensure the audience is focused on the character speaking or the other character’s reaction. This video is courtesy of Movieclips Coming Soon.Lubezki had this to say about Birdman’s long takes:We added a couple of cuts, but the movements help get the audience into the world of the characters so the movie feels immersive and immediate. Again, using fluid motion and the long take, Lubezki and director Alfonso Cuaron seamlessly change the audience’s perspective from moment to moment and character to character. This intense opening sequence from Gravity is courtesy of Alexander Pavlichuk.Film as an Art FormFilm is without question an art form. That’s a given. But very rarely can you find a director and cinematographer combination that can generate and craft a series of images that can stand alone without the aid of large sections of dialogue. Malick and Lubeski have this ability, and by the looks of The Revenant trailer, Iñárritu and Lubezki have developed a very similar rapport.Allowing the imagery to guide the audience rather than the narrative dialogue is no easy task, but when it’s done well, it can be extremely powerful. Images that flow together much like a string of notes in a musical composition can sometimes elicit an emotional response more powerful than a line of dialogue. This is something that Lubezki knows well.The language of film is further and further away from the language of theater and is closer to music. It’s abstract but still narrative. Everything feels less rehearsed. It’s more experimental than classical.What are your thoughts on Emmanuel Lubezki? Has his work inspired you? Are there things about his work that you dislike? Let us know in the comments below!last_img read more

How to Find Beauty in the Ordinary with Filmmaker Mathieu Provost

first_imgLets take a look at how to capture amazing footage in everyday situations with these insights from professional video producer Mathieu Provost.As filmmakers and video producers we’re often forced to shoot in less-than-ideal situations. It’s not uncommon to have to shoot in an ugly office, echo-filled room, or dark interior. But good filmmakers know how to bring out the best in every situations. Through creative camera work and a fundamental knowledge of composition you can get extraordinary shots in everyday locations.One filmmaker with a keen eye for finding beauty in everyday situations is Mathieu Provost. The Canadian filmmaker uses a combination of everyday filmmaking tools to draw out hidden beauty in seemingly everyday locations. I recently came across Mathieu’s aerial reel on Vimeo and was instantly blown away by the footage quality.In fact, one of the most impressive things about the work that Mathieu is doing is the fact that it is seemingly everyday work, yet the result is amazingly striking footage. His setups aren’t complex or expensive. I asked Mathieu a few questions about his work and he was kind enough to share his insights with us.Q&A with Mathieu ProvostWhat tools do you use to capture your amazing footage?On a shoot I always bring two cameras, different lenses, and, of course, the drone. I have the regular phantom made by DJI, but most of the time I prefer the DJI Inspire 1. More powerful, more stable, and more variety of lenses as well. On the ground, I always have my Sony a7RII with the 70-200 and 24-105. My colleague also uses the Canon lens 11-24 for really wide and cool shots on the ground with glide cam. And, of course, slider and tripod!How much of your cinematography is planned out before the day of the shoot? Before each shooting (ground and in flight) I really like to go on Google Maps to check the exact location of the shoot and the environment around. That will help me to know a few things about the area (permit needed, obstacles, etc.) Also, if we can have access to the location, I will go first by myself and take pictures of the environment, beauty shot, sun position, and everything related to the shoot. I also try to find information on the web about the location, the stories… Once I’m back home, the movies start playing in my head… Visualization for me is the key. I also produce a production plan/document with the different kind of footage I imagined, and information that I think is important on the location etc. Once we are there, it’s easier to follow this kind of bible to make sure that we covered every aspect. We are also really sensible for each little intuitive moment that can happen on a set. Sometimes, theses moments are keepers for sure.You’re exceptionally good at finding hidden beauty in everyday moments. How can other filmmakers develop an eye for shooting great shots in everyday situations?Life is full of small moments that we can immortalize with our camera. I think that each person has their own way to see the world and be amazed by little things. That’s how the images will show on a film. I had this gift in my life to find everything nice around me. I always look everywhere in case that I found the perfect amount of light, the perfect amount of wind, etc… For me, each situation, each moment, each flower, each river deserves to be on film with their beauty. The only thing I can say is just look around you. I don’t think we can learn how to be sensible for things. Challenge yourself by creating a nice video with small little things around you. Do you have any tips for someone looking to shoot awesome drone footage?The more you shoot, the more comfortable you will be when flying your drone. You need to know your drone by heart. You need to know your limit and your drone’s limit as well. Play with the sunset and sunrise, play with trees, with textures, rivers, etc… And the most important, fly your drone smoothly and slowly on any shots. For me, smooth and slow is the key… Bring your viewers somewhere else.If they take time to watch your video, give them at least a free ride, a free flight with emotions. Take your time to shoot. You never know if you will have the chance to come back where you are and in the same light situation etc. Sometimes I use the entire battery lifetime on filming only one shot! So almost 20 minutes! I want to have the perfect shot for me, for my eyes, for the vision I have at that perfect moment. Also, try to film different points of view to do variety into your shot. I also really like to include ground shots with drone shots.How do you determine your color palette when grading?I usually don’t use a lot of color correction in post. I really like natural colors and clean images. I play a lot with the natural effect of light, golden hour, etc. Contrast and saturation sometimes, but most of my video doesn’t have any color correction… Or almost.What role does music play in telling your videos story?For me, the most important thing in cinema is the choice of the music. This will drive all your images, the feeling you want to demonstrate, and, of course, the sensibility. Sometimes I can spend hours searching for music. All that time spent will make the difference at the end. Before filming, I was a music composer for TV commercials, short films, and other commercial stuff.In my time off, I was always playing with World War footage. I was trying to reproduce different kinds of music on the same footage (classical and heavy metal) to show people the important place that music can have in a film. When you have a chance, try this test at home. You will find that combining World War footage and classical music is almost artistic.What resources/websites/courses have helped you the most as a filmmaker?Our X generation is really lucky to have all the internet options/access to learn from everywhere and from everybody in the world. I really take advantage of this every time I can. I think that everybody needs to learn from different tutorials, at least the basic rules of film and/or photo. YouTube and Vimeo have been great friends for me, of course!When we want to buy new equipment, we check all reviews before to make sure we have the best possible gear for our need, etc.  I also spent a lot of time with really good cinematographers that share the same vision that I have… I learned bags of information with these people, for sure. Don’t be shy about asking questions. When you have your answer, work on it, try to find information on it, try different ways to practice, etc. Practice makes perfect, there is no doubt! This sentence will help you to understand more the vision I have about filmmaking… I read this quote a few years ago: “Work until your idols become your rivals.”What is the most important lesson you’ve learned as a filmmaker?All filmmakers have their own way to learn. For me, learning from people, experience, and technique and, of course, practice was the key. Be curious. If you have questions, ask people or go find by yourself what you looking for on YouTube, Vimeo or other platform available to you. Also, be patient… There are thousands of filmmakers all around the world who produce fantastic footage…But one day, somebody will knock at your door to tell you that your work is also fantastic… That was my case a few days ago with the PremiumBeat team. So everything is possible. Be respectful for the talent you have in life… This is a gift. You need to feed it with passion.Where can people go if they want see more of your work?Subscribe to our Vimeo and YouTube, follow us on Twitter and Facebook channel. We’d be happy to answer any questions you have! Have any questions for Mathieu? Share in the comments below.last_img read more

Why You Should Master the Under-Appreciated Art of a Good Pre-Edit

first_imgLooking to streamline your workflow? Here’s everything you should do to prepare your footage before you edit.Cover image via Shutterstock.For those looking to improve their video production workflow, there are plenty of resources online with actual production tips for pragmatic filmmaking. There are also lots of resources for editing effectively, including plenty of tips, tricks, and pointers.However, what you do between the stages of a project can be just as important. Let’s explore the under-appreciated art of the pre-edit and how it can streamline your work across the board.Upload from FootageImage via Shutterstock.Once you’ve wrapped production, you stow your cards and head to your edit space. Your first step is going to be getting your footage off your cards and onto your computer. This process  is pretty straightforward, but it varies based on card (or drive) type.SD Cards: these are standard for most DSLR and prosumer cameras, and most Macs and PCs have SD card slots these days. If not, you’ll need to get a card reader that connects via USB.CF Cards: another industry standard for many cameras, CF card slots are not usually built in to most computers, so a card reader (preferably one with multiple and different ports) is a must.Solid State Drives: for many higher-end cameras that record RAW footage, SD and CF cards are simply not large or fast enough to write what you recorded. Solid state drives (which can be quite expensive) operate as independent hard drives.Create and Organize FoldersImage via Shutterstock.If you haven’t already, it’s important to establish a system for organizing your footage and assets. Besides, footage, you’ll often find yourself with a mix additional assets and files to organize. You should organize everything from audio tracks to GFX to important documents in the same master folder (especially for backing up — see below).Here are some resources to keep your projects and files organized.Keeping Your Video Editing Projects Organized5 Tips to Organize and Customize Premiere Pro6 Easy Steps for Logging FootageBack Up as Soon as PossibleImage via Shutterstock.After you upload your footage to your organized folders, you’ll need to back everything up as soon as possible — either on your computer or an external hard drive. (Here are some recommended external hard drives to store your backups.)Editing Software and SyncOnly after you have safely stored and organized your footage should you bring it into your NLE. Here are some tutorials for uploading footage to Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut X.Adobe Premiere ProFinal Cut Pro XOnce you have your footage in your editing software, you can start your review process. I’d personally recommend going through all your footage and either using a colored marking system or pulling clips into different timelines or bins.If you’re working with separate audio and video files, you can sync manually or use programs like Pluraleyes to create new timelines with your preferred audio.Save Your Pre-Edit and BeginOnly after you’ve successfully uploaded, organized, backed up, and synced would I consider a pre-edit finished. You can even save your pre-edit as its own project file so you have it to go back to or transfer over to someone else later.In some organizations, junior editors handle pre-edits before senior editors take over. If you’re working solo, it can be helpful to keep that mindset to get all everything perfectly lined up before you dive in.last_img read more

Tutorial: Getting Started with Content-Aware Fill in After Effects

first_imgCreating a Reference FrameIn some cases, when Content-Aware Fill isn’t giving you the results you want, you may have better luck using a Reference Frame. (I find this ideal when removing static objects from footage, such as a cell tower or a parked car.) When you select Create Reference Frame, After Effects automatically exports a frame from your video to Photoshop. You can then use the Clone-Stamp tool to fill in the removed area. Then save and close the image in Photoshop.That reference image will automatically import back into After Effects and into your composition. Content-Aware Fill will now take that reference image into account when it generates the fill throughout the video.Extra TipsFrom my experience with Content-Aware Fill, it seems to work best on objects moving through your footage. This allows After Effects to “see” what the video should look like when the object isn’t supposed to be there. When removing static objects in the scene, results will vary. I recommend using the Create Reference Frame option in those cases. Also, I got the best results when I put a small amount of feathering on my removal masks. It doesn’t take much — usually about 2-8 pixels of feathering.Interested in the tracks we used to make this video?“Retro Vibes” by Wolves“Don’t Forget” by Marc WallochLooking for more video tutorials? Check these out.5 Ways to Animate with Trim Paths in Adobe After EffectsHow to Create the Double Exposure Effect in Four Manageable StepsVideo Tutorial: How to Create a Seamless Foreground TransitionHow to Export with Transparency from Adobe After EffectsHow to Properly Pancake Timelines in Adobe Premiere Pro In this video tutorial, learn the basics of the brand new Content-Aware Fill in After Effects — including a free project file!Adobe set the internet ablaze with the announcement of the new Content-Aware Fill feature in the latest After Effects CC release. Now, let’s see if this new feature lives up to the hype. (Spoiler alert: Yes, it does.) In this tutorial, we’re going to cover how to use the new Content-Aware Fill feature in After Effects CC.So, let’s get started! (Be sure to download the project file, which includes footage to follow along!)Download the project fileThis project file is free for personal or commercial use. By downloading, you agree not to redistribute this file.What Is Content-Aware Fill?Content-Aware Fill in After Effects lets you remove unwanted areas or objects in video footage, while automatically filling in the area of the removal. It analyzes frames over time to fill in missing pixels by pulling them from other frames in the footage. It’s similar to the Content-Aware Fill in Photoshop, except in After Effects, it’s temporally aware, and it works on video footage. How to Start Using Content-Aware FillTo begin using Content-Aware Fill in After Effects, navigate to the Window tab at the top of the screen, then select Content-Aware Fill. This will open up the Content-Aware Fill panel in your workspace. You will then need to mask out the object you want to remove from your footage. (You may need to keyframe the placement of your mask if your object is moving throughout.) Set the mask to Subtract so that you now have a transparent alpha channel where that mask is on your footage. You should be able to see a mini-preview of where that mask is on your footage in the Content-Aware Fill panel.You can now select Generate Fill Layer in the Content-Aware Fill panel. After Effects will then analyze the footage and render a .PNG sequence, which it places in the composition. That .PNG sequence fills in the masks/gaps in the footage.If everything worked correctly, the unwanted objects should no longer be in your footage.center_img Different Fill MethodsThere are three different fill methods you can select from when you use Content-Aware Fill. They are named Object, Surface, and Edge Blend. The Object Fill method will likely be the most commonly used, and it is the default fill method.Object Fill: Great for removing moving objects in your footage.Surface: Ideal for removing stickers, decals, or logos on a smooth surface.Edge Blend: Fast method, best used on low-detail surfaces like paper.last_img read more

Being Responsive Versus Being Reactive

first_img Get the Free eBook! Want to master cold calling? Download my free eBook! Many would have you believe that cold calling is dead, but the successful have no fear of the phone; they use it to outproduce their competitors. Download Now If you are waiting for your clients to need something, you’re being reactive.If you can’t shut down your email and turn off your phone for a couple hours at a time, you’re completely reactive. If you can shut down distractions long enough to do big blocks of focused work, only calling or emailing your clients back when you’re finished, you are being responsive.If you help your clients solve their service issues when they call or email you, you are being reactive. When you help your clients get to the person that owns the transaction on their first call, only escalating calls to you when they need a new outcome, you are being responsive to their real needs. (Hint: You own the outcomes, not the transactions. You don’t often add value as an intermediary)If you wait until your client decides on their next big initiative and bring it to you, you are being reactive. It’s proactive when you respond to the changes you notice in their business and bring them the new big ideas.The problem with being reactive instead of being responsive is that you’re always waiting for something to happen. You’re waiting for the world to act on you before you respond. Something happens and you react. While it’s necessary for you take action when your clients have a need, this is the opposite of being proactive and taking initiative.How much better could you serve your clients if you were responsive instead of reactive? How much more value could you create if you found a way to limit what you have to react to so you can be more proactive?The more reactive you are, the less responsive you can be. You’re too busy reacting to what comes your way instead of doing your most important work.QuestionsHow much of your day is spent on outcomes you were determined to take, not a reaction to what someone else dropped in your lap?Can you be responsive without being reactive?Do you answer your email and your voicemail before you start working on your most important outcomes? How much of you inbox is made up of things that require you to react?What do you need to do to be more proactive and less reactive?last_img read more

Go Ahead, Convince Me You’re Better

first_imgThe prospective client said that the salesperson was going to have thirty minutes to convince him that she was better than her competitor, a competitor that the prospective client had partnered with for eleven years.The prospective client wasn’t really interested in hearing how the salesperson and her company were different. He didn’t want to know what they believed made them better. In fact, he had already told his boss, the real decision-maker, that he didn’t believe any of the salesperson’s differentiators made a difference. He had a long relationship with their competitor, and he was comfortable with their people and their results.The salesperson made a list of defining differentiators going into the call. She carefully prepared her arguments until she believed they were airtight and unassailable. She was prepared to do battle, even though she didn’t sleep the night before because she was so worried.The morning of her thirty minute meeting, she shared her plan with her sales manager. Her sales manager listened carefully, and then she said, “Those are all good points and good arguments. But before you make that call, can I share another idea with you?” The salesperson eagerly agreed to hear he manager’s idea.Her manager said, “By so aggressively making your case, your prospective client may feel the need to defend our competitor. He’s had a long relationship with them. He knows the people and he trusts them. He might feel like you are attacking them, or worse still, he may feel that you are attacking his decision to partner with them.” Her manager paused to let the point sink in.She continued, “Another choice might be to not try to draw such a bright line between us and them. Instead, when he asks why we are better, maybe you could say, ‘Well, we know a lot of people that work over there and they’re all very good. They’re really a very good company. We have different business models, and we do a few things differently to make a difference for our clients. Can you share with me the things that you really need from a partner, and I’ll share how we might approach those needs? Maybe we can help determine if we are a good fit?’”The salesperson followed her manager’s advice. The prospective client was delightful. There was no battle. Instead, the prospective client shared his needs, he asked good questions, and his responses were very positive. He was impressed with the differentiators.Sometimes the very worst thing you can do is argue your case. You don’t need your client to entrench in defending your competitor or their prior decisions. You need a better conversation.QuestionsWhat are some effective choices for differentiating your offering when your prospective client challenges you?What are the risks of attacking your competitors directly?How can you draw distinctions without making your prospective client defensive?Is differentiating your offering the only outcome you need from a challenge like this? What are some other important outcomes?last_img read more