Saturday, June 28, 2008

Quick highlight recovery from RAW files

On a recent trip to Yosemite to capture the waterfalls, I used an ND4 on my D300 to give a slower shutter speed. In some shots the mixed (full sun and shade) lighting caused the highlights to blow.

The RAW converter supplied, Capture NX has highlight recovery capability of up to 2 stops.

Here's the original jpg (I always shoot RAW + basic jpg).

and here's the detail of the blown area

photoshop levels shows the damage

Here's what it looks like in Capture NX

First save the file as .tif with no adjustment.

Then we need to recover the highlights and save as a different file. We'll combine them later.

Drill down into RAW adjustment

and move the slider to -2

gives the following result

Save as .tif, and then open both files in photoshop. On the file that was converted with no changes, drag the layer onto the the file that we converted with the recovery ie put the straight conversion over the recovered highlights layer.

Add a layer mask, and then paint on the mask to selectively reveal the recovered layer below. I use a brush with about 30% opacity and 30% flow. Zoom in and use a brush size to allow you to gradually build up the effect. I found 50 pixels about the right size.

And here's the final result

Friday, June 27, 2008

Slow motion / speeding up with Quicktime Pro

Usually if you want to slow mo or speed up a clip you need a full editor eg Final Cut. Thats expensive for an occasional requirement.

There is a way to do this usng only Quicktime Pro.

Say your movie lasts 30 seconds, but you want to stretch it to 1 minute.

1 - create a new empty movie from file>new player

2 - in your source, select all and the select copy

3 - swith to the new player and paste, and then paste again

this gives you a 1 minute movie, but everything doubled.

4 - in the new player do apple-j, click on the video track, and press delete

5 - switch back to the source and copy again

6 - switch back to the new player and this time from the edit menu select "add to selection & scale"

This causes your pasted movie to be stretch (scaled) to the length of the new player, which we made double.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Blackberry auto on / off problems

It seems people fall into 2 categories when it comes to Blackberries. Either use them 24/7 or can leave them.

I'm in the latter category so I use the auto on / of feature.
But I was having problems, especially when I changed timezone. Basically it seemed that the Blackberry would turn on at some time of its own choosing, which if you are say 8 timezones away meant it was coming on at midnight, and then buzzing through the night.

After some investigation it seems that its the calendar application that does this, basically the OS overrides the on/off setting to wake you up for meetings you will not attend.

There is a way to avoid this, which is to turn off the reminder for these middle of the night events.

Or, you can have your Blackberry out of its leather case so it doesn't buzz.

Or, you can pull the battery, if you don't mind the 5 minute start up.