Sony's range of video marketi... ahem... tutorials

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Oh Sony, you get my hopes up, and then you dash them. Actually, you’ve done more than dash my hopes, you’ve disappointed me. I was so excited by the prospect of the Sony HowTo videos that you released today. People seem to love video tutorials and I really thought that you were on to a winner with your series of four minute shorts to help people get the most out of their cameras. ‘Aha!’ I naively thought, ‘Somewhere I can direct newbies to help them out a bit!’ But I’m hanging my head here.

You see, I don’t want to watch a four minute advertisement for a Sony product. And I can pretty much guarantee that people who already own the product – and are looking to make the most out of it – really don’t need any adverts for it. No, if I watch a four minute video called Learn to shoot in low light, I’m expecting a quick fire session in shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and the benefits of using a tripod. I don’t want to be preached at about the benefits of Sony lenses and sensors and the Auto HDR mode on some its cameras.

Get better results from your digital camera shows me how to shoot large or small resolution images, obviously on a Sony camera. Is that the best that you can manage in four minutes? Really?

There are more, but I can’t face wading through any more Sony adverts.

You’ve missed a trick here, Sony, and made fools of yourselves. Shame on you for calling them tutorial videos. That would be about helping people to become better photographers. These are self-promotional guff. Educate people for education’s sake, not for advertisement. It’ll serve you far, far better in the long run.

ClusterShot closes its doors

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The guys over at ClusterShot – the website that made it easy for people to sell their images, be they of their hamster of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, to anyone that wanted them – have decided to call it a day. In their own words, ClusterShot was an experiment for their company and its business model, and the experiment hasn’t been quite successful enough.

The idea that it should be simple for people to sell their photos at a price they set, and for people to be able to find and buy the images that they want and need is a damn good one. So it’s a shame that it didn’t work out for these guys and the people that used the site.

As of the end of last week, account creation and photo-uploading have been suspended and refunds are being offered on pro-accounts. (Accounts over two months old will receive a pro-rated refund; accounts under two months old will be fully reimbursed.) You can still buy images right up until they turn off the lights and close the door behind them on 21 February, though.

Unless, that is, someone steps forward to buy ClusterShot. silverorange, the brains behind the website, have received quite a bit of interest in the site. So they’re planning on selling it by private auction. The highest bidder gets the whole kit and kaboodle, from the code to the content, to the FaceBook page to the reputation. But they also have to honour ClusterShot’s current terms and conditions and user privacy agreement.

Fancy becoming the proud new owner of a photo-dealing website? All the details of how the auction will work and what exactly is up for grabs are here.

The 10 Second Pre-Shoot Camera Check


I’ve been there many times – half way through a photo shoot you suddenly stop and think. “Oh… no.. I did a photo shoot in the dark yesterday. Please don’t tell me my ISO is still set to 800″… And some times, it turns out that yes, I really am that stupid.

A pre-shoot camera check makes a lot of sense, but what should you check before you run off to do a shoot? Myself, I’ve gotten in the habit of taking a single photo. If the camera shows me the photo afterwards, it means that I’ve remembered to put a memory card in the camera, I’ve got my battery, and there’s a lens attached (No, I don’t forget attaching a lens very often. But, to my gravest of shame, it has happened once that I rocked up at a shoot without a lens. Luckily, I did have one in my camera bag. That could’ve gotten very very embarrassing.)

Anyway, there’s a small list of stuff worth checking before you get all snapper-happy, and my good mate Brian Auer is more than happy to run us through it..

Read the full 10-second camera check over on Epic Edits!