Solar Power Fees Are an Issue in Spain, Too

first_imgU.S. electric utilities aren’t the only ones worried about the impact of renewable energy on their long-term ability to pay grid operating costs.A number of utilities here are worried that as more homeowners install photovoltaic systems at home, income will fall. That’s not only because solar customers buy less power, but also because utilities have been buying their surplus power at retail rates under net-metering programs.These trends have shifted more of the costs of maintaining the grid to non-solar customers, and some utilities fear the trend is a long term threat to maintaining the grid. Utilities in some states are seeking changes in net-metering rules that would help their bottom lines.Now, as The Wall Street Journal reports, the government in Spain also is worried about coming up with the money to pay for the grid. The immediate cause was an economic slump that reduced power use, not a tidal wave of PV installations. But it’s coming at a time of increased interest in renewables, and the dampening effect on homeowners may be the same.In July, the government, proposed a new fee on renewable energy systems that is expected to win approval from the Parliament and go into effect on Jan. 1, the newspaper said in a story published Oct. 21. It’s part of an effort to come up with as much as 5 billion Euros a year for the electrical grid. Installations on the risePV installations in Spain seem tiny compared with some other European countries. According to the newspaper, just 5,000 homes and businesses have gone to “self-production” since it was authorized in 2011 and solar electricity amounts to less than 0.1% of the country’s total. However, that was expected to grow 10 times by 2020.Now that’s in doubt. Under the new rules, those with grid-tied systems will be charged a fee for the electricity they generate for use at home or their place of business. Fines for scofflaws or those who fail to register are steep.The newspaper said the fees have been defended by the country’s energy minister as a way of helping to pay for the operating and fixed costs of the grid, which he says homeowners with grid-tied systems still need. Spain’s largest solar industry trade group criticized the pending change.Some homeowners and businesses that invested in solar panels say the fees will eat into projected savings. One architect in Madrid said the three panels he bought should have paid for themselves in eight years. Now it looks like it will be 17 to 19 years, so he gave the panels away.last_img read more

ReadWrite DeathWatch: Feature Phones

first_imgWhy IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology The ProblemDurable, cheap phones that don’t use expensive data don’t add up to a very good business. The last thing anyone on the sell side wants is users who talk on their cellphones – and do little else.Feature phones leave little room beyond ringtones and text messaging for up-sells. Without apps and zippy interfaces for accessing them, theres little differentiation, no long-term platform lock-in and almost no carrier value. That’s why Motorola recently joined Sony in winding down feature phone production. (In the short term, that helps Nokia, which is seeing modest growth in feature phone sales, but even it knows the money’s in Windows.)It’s not all a supply issue. There’s also legitimate demand for smartphones. In the developing world, mobile networks are often the most reliable form of Internet access, and having a phone that can take advantage of those networks is often critical. In the U.S. and Europe, the spread of social networks is helping drive smartphone adoption. And with the cheapest 4G prepaid phones dropping below $100, there’s little reason to settle for an old-fashioned burner.The Prognosis The BasicsAfter the Blackberry and then the iPhone created the “smartphone” category, we needed to call the rest of our cellphones something, and “dumbphones” sounded, well, dumb. Thus was born the “feature phone.”While some initially viewed feature phones as an in-between category describing something more than a basic mobile device and less than a full-powered smartphone, the term has generally come to represent everything south of the portable computer-as-cellphone Apple/Android/Windows/Blackberry kinds of devices that get all the media attention. There’s still some disagreement, but for the sake of this post, we’re talking about anything “non-smart.” Mass adoption of smartphones continues to drive down component costs, making feature phones even less attractive. By 2020 – even sooner in richer areas – you’ll be hard pressed to find them on the street. Within a few years, the TracFone racks at Wal-Mart will be full of low-end and mid-range Android smartphones.Can This Technology Be Saved?There will always be a small market for stripped-down phones, particularly in the industrial sector, where rugged design and reliable voice calls trump gesture-aware touchscreens and consumer-friendly glitter. Think Nextel. Still, the clamshells-of-the-future will probably come packed with high-end features, and the average consumer will walk straight past them to the fun stuff.Previous ReadWrite Technology DeathwatchesOne Laptop Per Child (OLPC): No changeIn-House Data Centers: No changePoint-and-Shoot Cameras: No changeVideo Game Consoles: The utility of bundles apps like Netflix and Vudu seems to be slipping. An NPD Study showed that one in five consumers who view streaming video on their TVs do so without a peripheral device.Blu-Ray: The same NPD study reveals that “online video is maturing” as users migrate to watching streaming media on their TVs.QR Codes: It’s been a mixed bag. While Bank of America is testing QR codes for mobile payments (good news for the technology), a security researcher demonstrated how a malicious QR code could be used to wipe a Samsung smartphone.Company DeathwatchesFor an update on ReadWrite’s baker’s dozen of company Deathwatches, check out our updated ReadWriteWeb DeathWatch Update: The Unlucky 13.Smartphone/feature phone image from Boost Mobile.  In the U.S., we most frequently associate feature phones with cheap prepaid plans and stubborn parents who refuse to upgrade, but in the majority of the world, low-tech (and low priced) remains king. According to Gartner, more than 63% of mobile devices sold in the second quarter of 2012 were feature phones.Cost is the main reason, followed by durability. In countries without massive carrier subsidies of handsets, both advantages are magnified. And feature phones are also generally better at being, well, phones. If you spend a lot of time actually talking, aclamshell phone feels a lot more natural than squishing a Galaxy Note II up to your cheek.They’re cheap, they’re durable, and they work. So why are they on the Deathwatch?For starters, they’ve peaked. Feature phones are quickly losing ground to their cleverer cousins. According to that Gartner report, while overall mobile phone device sales were actually down in Q2, smartphone sales jumped 42.7%. While smartphones currently account for only 21% of handsets in the Middle East and Africa, they’re on pace to break 50% in just two2 years. In Southeast Asia, smartphones are currently outsold 3-to-1, but sales are growing at 78% per year. Tags:#Deathwatch#feature phone#smartphone center_img cormac foster Related Posts If it’s not a smartphone, it’s dumb. Despite current global dominance, basic “feature phones” will give up the ghost in just a few years. What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagementlast_img read more

SMS Turns 20, Marches Towards Irrelevance

first_imgThis week, the old standby for mobile communication, the text message, turned 20 years old. The very first SMS (which stands for Short Message Service) was sent from Neil Papworth of Sema Group from his computer to Richard Jarvis of Vodafone in the United Kingdom. It ready, simply, “Merry Christmas.”A merry Christmas it must have been. That text message was the harbinger of a revolution in communication that has redefined how people talk to each other. The old telecommunications standby, the phone call, has decreased in relevance since the rise of SMS and most young people these days prefer the text over a call. SMS was instrumental in the popularization of the Internet-based pidgin language as people across the world replaced numbers for words and truncated whole sentences to fit into 160-character messages. Love it or hate it, but the pervasiveness of SMS has forever ingrained “LOL,” “OMG” and “4ever” into the English lexicon.Yet, the question for SMS on its birthday week is simple: how long will it remain a relevant communications platform?A Little Gray Hair, But Still Going StrongAccording to research from Simmons National Consumer Study from Experian Marketing Services, 48% of adults aged 18-24 say that text messaging is just as meaningful as a phone call. The same study shows that 59% of cellphone-using adults text during any given week. The same study shows that 95% of people use cellphones to talk in a week. Only 8% of adults use their cellphones to instant message or chat.  Those numbers tell us that the text message is not on the verge of collapse, but the elements that will lead to its demise are certainly available, and growing. Text messaging is not going to “die” any time soon, like so many other woebegone technologies of yore. The SMS will live on people’s smartphones for years, perhaps decades, in one shape or another. But the services that will replace it are already on users cellphones and will continue to grow in importance. Smartphones Offer Texting AlternativesThe harbinger of the fall of the text is the smartphone. The following notion cannot be overstated: Smartphones are the equivalent of powerful computers that go wherever we do. As such, almost anything that can be done on a computer can now be done on a smartphone or a tablet. That means popular chat and instant messaging services that were once the domain of the PC are now available to anybody with a smartphone and a data connection.Almost all of the major smartphone operating systems now have their own proprietary messaging services. For Android, that means Google Talk (also referred to as GChat, but Google does not actually call it that). For Apple’s iOS that means iMessage. Microsoft has its Windows Live Messenger. Research In Motion has BlackBerry Messenger (BBM). These services are used by hundreds of millions of people across the globe. Several of these services integrate texting into a unified messaging system, such as the message service in Windows Phone 8 as well as iMessage. Outside of platform-specific messaging systems, services like Skype or Facebook Messenger can work across any mobile device that has the app installed. In addition, there are many different enterprise-grade communication services from the likes of Citrix, Cisco and Fuze (among many others). Many of these also offer traditional unified communications (UC) features like voice and video calling, tele-presence and chat-based messaging.Then there are cross-platform apps that can be used by any smartphone. One of the biggest is called WhatsApp, a popular service that offers cross-platform messaging on any device that has a data plan (see WhatsApp Denies Facebook Deal Rumor – But It Still Makes Sense). Pinger is a similar cross-messaging service. There are also apps that mimic old push-to-talk (PTT) walkie-talkie like services, such as Voxer, an app that allows you to leave a text or voice message to another user. The fact of the matter is that traditional phone services like the call or the text are beginning to be pushed to the wayside as telephones become more like computers. That does not necessarily mean that texting is doomed, but it decreases its relevance and may eventually push it to the margin of mobile communications.Facebook’s Big Messenger PlayOn Tuesday, Facebook announced an interesting move that could end up being a significant blow to the future of texting. The social network released a new Messenger app for Android that allows people to use Facebook’s communication service without a Facebook account. All you need to do is download the Facebook Messenger app on Android, enter your phone number, and begin texting all of your mobile contacts. The new Messenger for Android will be able to communicate with any of your contacts, start group chats and share pictures. Eventually, Facebook Messenger will come to feature (non-smart) phones as well. What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … dan rowinski Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Related Posts center_img Facebook has 604 million monthly active mobile users as of Sept. 30, 2012. As we noted yesterday, the social network may have saturated its mobile user base in the United States, but it believes that it can still make a huge impact in the rest of the world, especially growing countries like India and in the Middle East. The release of Messenger without a Facebook account will go to India first before heading to other locations.Marginalization Is InevitableIn the end, texting may prove to be one of those types of technologies that never fully dies. As its name implies, it is fairly simple and works wherever there is a cellular connection around the world. As such, it has all the ingredients to be a backbone of communications infrastructure for a long time. In addition, companies like Twilio or Media Friends (through its HeyWire service) make SMS capabilities available to a plethora of businesses and apps that might require that type of communication capabilities.In the long run though, texting is going to be replaced by the data plan on your smartphone. Oh, there will probably always be an SMS icon somewhere on your phone, but in the years and decades to come, it will become a relic of a bygone era, a reminder of the technology that helped spur this Mobile Revolution and change the very nature of communication. But, as your smartphone becomes more like your computer and the proliferation of data services like “4G” LTE become ubiquitous, the texting will become a marginal feature. That is not a sad fate for SMS, but a byproduct of innovation and evolution. Lead image courtesy Shutterstock. Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Tags:#Communications#Facebook The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

There’s A Boom In Teaching People How To Code

first_imgRelated Posts How to Write a Welcome Email to New Employees? lauren orsini Growing Phone Scams: 5 Tips To Avoid Tags:#code#education#programming#women in tech center_img Until last February, Janine Holsinger had never typed a single line of code. But the Columbus, Ohio, entrepreneur wasn’t going to let that get in the way of her dreams. She signed up for a service called Treehouse, paid the monthly fee of $25, and devoted 8-10 hours a day to learning Ruby on Rails. “Within a few days, I was building my own Rails application,” she said. “Within 30 days, I’d launched my company website, NextChapter.”Holsinger’s experience shows just how empowering and lucrative learning to code can be. But some startups are learning there’s even more to be made in teaching the skill to others. Code Breaking RecordsWithin the last two years, more and more companies have saturated the market with the express purpose of teaching everyone and anyone our generation’s hottest new job skill: programming. Now it’s become a fundraising race to the top of the pile. This April, learn-to-code startup Treehouse announced that it raised a “war chest” of new funding. In a Series B round led by Kaplan Ventures, the Portland, Ore., company added another $7 million, for a total of $12.35 million. For CEO and founder Ryan Carson, the money couldn’t have come at a better time. Competition between learn-to-code startups is rising, and Carson plans to press his advantage by adding more employees to Treehouse’s current 55 workers.One of Treehouse’s biggest competitors is the omnipresent Codecademy. Founded by 22-year-old Zach Sims, Codecademy has been heralded as the leader of a “movement” in code education. The startup’s most recent Series B funding round, in July 2012, brought the company $10 million. With just nine employees, Codeacademy is just a fraction the size of Treehouse size, but it boasts “millions” of students, including the mayor of New York City.The newest startup on the playing field is Tynker, launched just last week with $3 million in seed funding. Like many programming apps aimed at young children, Tynker uses a visual programming language designed to get kids comfortable with coding. Even though Tynker doesn’t have a product yet, angel investors like 500 Startups are already comfortable funding it into the millions.It’s Not Just Venture Money, EitherEven learn-to-code startups who aren’t looking for venture capital are finding that money is easy to come by. When Code School wanted to crowdfund an iPhone app development course, it turned to Kickstarter and earned triple its $50,000 goal. Meanwhile Girls Who Code, a nonprofit that targets the gender gap in the tech industry, received a quarter-of-a-million Knight Foundation grant last year. The startups named above are all less than two years old, but the market’s education giants already know that programming tutorials are a goldmine. Udemy raised $12 million in a December funding round, and tech education oldtimer Lynda raised $103 million this January.It’s hard to say how long the money will keep flying at this rate. But it’s clear the race to dominate coding education is on — and still wide open. 7 Types of Video that will Make a Massive Impac… Why You Love Online Quizzeslast_img read more

NBA and players’ union pushing for wearable tech on the court

first_imgInternet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You… How Myia Health’s Partnership with Mercy Virtua… Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Follow the Puck Tags:#Internet of Things#IoT#Motus#NBA#wearables center_img Ryan Matthew Pierson Related Posts Reports out of the tentative negotiations for the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the NBA and players union indicate that a wearables committee is set to be formed. This committee made up of NBA officials and representatives of the players will determine how and where wearable technology will be used to track and record player biometric data.This move is intended to reduce the number of injuries and overexertion issues that players experience throughout the season. Playing your best players throughout most of the game is a good idea on paper. After all, shouldn’t you put the players that score the most in the game?In practice, this doesn’t work out very well at all. As the season goes on, prolonged exertion and intense workloads take a toll on the players. Top names like LeBron James and Kyrie Irving end up sitting out key games to rest. If there was a way to track these player’s exertion levels, the coaches would be able to better manage the team’s time in the game in order to improve player longevity.What about long-term player health?Another important factor to consider is long-term player health. In a recent report in Undefeated, the Retired Players Association is discussing additional screening for retirees after a series of deaths involving young former professional players.As of right now, biometric trackers are banned in the NBA as part of its equipment regulations. However, this committee would enable players’ representatives to work out a new agreement to enable their use in the court.This data would provide a valuable insight to players, their trainers, and their medical team(s). This technology is already approved for Major League Baseball players. These teams use a system called Motus.Meanwhile, the NBA, NHL, and NFL continue to ban these devices during games… for now.last_img read more

What are the pros and cons of being a self-driving car engineer?

first_imgRelated Posts AI: How it’s Impacting Surveillance Data Storage A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Tags:#AI#driveless cars#featured#Internet of Things#IoT#Self-Driving#tech careers#top#Uber#Waymo AI Will Empower Leaders, Not Replace Them Dr. Michael Garbade Dr. Michael is the CEO of the Los Angeles-based blockchain education company LiveEdu. It’s the world’s leading project learning platform that equips people with practical skills on creating complete products in future technological fields. “Self-driving car engineer” is one of the latest buzzwords in the market. Many engineers are leaving their current job as they want to contribute to the autonomous car space or secure their future by working on cutting-edge technology.Autonomous cars popularity has also reflected on the learning platforms where content creators are eagerly sharing their knowledge regarding autonomous vehicles. The influx of learning material also reflects on the popularity of autonomous car technology.The top 5 companies that are working in the trade are Ford, General Motors, Waymo, Uber, and Tesla. They are focused on bringing autonomous cars by the year 2018 – 2025. All of them have already spent millions of dollars for developing the self-driving car technology for their vehicles and aim to release the truly autonomous vehicles by the end of 2015.For many of us, there is no doubt in our mind that becoming a self-driving car engineer is one of the lucrative professions right now. However, it is not always the case. Just like any other idea, there is always a flip side. The same applies when it comes to being a self-driving car engineer.First, the good newsLet’s look at the pros of being a self-driving car engineer first:#1. Work on the most interesting technology in the worldSelf-driving car is the technology of the future. In simple terms, self-driving cars are not perfect, but they are better than human drivers. Coming to the point, if you decide to work as a self-driving car engineer, you are working on the leading technology in the market. The self-driving car tech is evolving every day with more and more startups coming up with unique ideas to improve the ecosystem.An interesting article by Wired.com lists 263 startups and companies that are currently working on self-driving cars. They are divided by hardware, service, software and much more. The future of transportation is going to be glorious, and so is the future of a self-driving car engineer.#2. Work with the best talent and expertsWith companies fighting for the best talent in the market, a self-driving car engineer is bound to land in the team where almost everyone is a genius. Autonomous car tech is complex and requires extensive skills to prove one’s worth. Moreover, due to the complexity, you might be working on a sub-problem. This leads you to interact with other peers or experts, opening doors for networking and learning.Companies such as Waymo, Tesla, and Google are spending billions of dollars to win the autonomous car race. Companies that are behind the big giants are paying more to get the talent to their company improving their tech team to new heights.#3. Continuously learn and self-improve When you work on cutting-edge technology, you are bound to improve. The story is true for self-driving car engineers. They work on new things all the time. The demand for creative and innovative thinking is a must in this field and if you have them, you will be blessed with interesting problems to solve. In the end, you create yourself a path of self-improvement.Outside of job, self-driving car engineers always focus on improving their skills by taking courses from popular online platforms such as LiveEdu.tv and Udacity.#4. Huge pay packages and respect from peersSelf-driving car engineers earn the best packages, and it can range from $232,000 to as much as $405,000. The high salary is justified as there is low talent pool for autonomous cars. News like Google self-driving car engineers leaving their job because they are paid too much shows how much money the trade holds.And now the downsideSo, you are now thinking what the cons of being a self-driving car engineer are? Or is there any? Also, is it cons even worth discussing when compared to the Pros? Let’s try to answer it.Self-driving car technology is evolving at a rapid pace. New products, services or any hardware related to self-driving can become obsolete as fast they appeared on the market. There can be many reasons. Either a better solution comes to the market, or the solution just didn’t find any traction. The uncertainty can easily be equated to a con for a self-driving car engineer. Anyone who is working with a startup already knows the challenges that come with it.Self-driving car laws are complex, and if you are working in the industry, you need to always keep up with the diverse advancement by the laws associated with it. This can easily add stress and more workload on your work.The last two points are related to the stress and the ethical burden associated with working as a self-driving car engineer. Stress is just part of the game. However, things change when top companies are fighting it out to bring the best autonomous technology or service on the road. The ethical burden is a more personal approach, and it depends on how a person thinks. The ethical burden comes from the fact that majority of individuals who rely on driving skills will lose their jobs to autonomous vehicles.All of the above discussion leads us to one question: Should you become a self-driving car engineer? The profession is one of the top-paid and in-demand ones in the market. It also gives you the ability to change the world by creating something that everyone will use in the future. China and America want the AI Prize Title: Who …last_img read more

How Tech Is Shaking Up the Modern-Day Ad Agency

first_imgAs WPP looks for a replacement for Sorrell, the company is exploring what assets it can divest in order to make way for investments that will keep it competitive. The next WPP leader will not only need to be well-versed in evaluating these investments, but he or she will need to be willing to take up Sorrell’s sword when it comes to tech behemoths. Sorrell was fond of criticizing tech frenemies as he tried to beat them at their game. With WPP seeking a new chief executive, the company is struggling to hold the business together. At the same time, it’s not giving up the ghost — nor should it. Congress’s public tongue-lashing of Mark Zuckerberg shows that even the mighty can tumble. Tags:#ad#advertising By acquiring Acxiom as part of a multibillion-dollar deal that’s expected to close by the end of the year, Interpublic showed its true colors. If the Acxiom acquisition comes to pass, Interpublic will have tremendous access to a wealth of target persona data and information. The agency won’t just be able to shout out messages, it will be able to precisely send them to people when and where they’re most receptive. This move shows the growing importance of data to the ad giant. Omnicom is apparently on the hunt for new partners, according to its CFO Phil Angelastro. After getting rid of Novus and Sellbytel, the agency is in a good financial position to make acquisitions. In fact, revenue for Omnicom climbed 1.8 percent during the second quarter of 2018. By divesting its underperforming services, the company is ready to undertake a massive transformation that includes upping its tech and data game. Publicis has focused on digital investments for several years, but its “Power of One” restructuring has placed it firmly ahead of the pack in terms of digital transformation. By centralizing its internal capabilities, the emerging Publicis looks to be efficient, productive, and disruptive. In addition, the company’s relationship with Sapient enables Publicis to more powerfully work with C-suite executives to help its clients better face digital challenges.As the saying goes, “Better late than never.” For ad agencies confronted by the need for digital transformation, “never” isn’t an option. Those that want to get in the game need to start playing soon. Otherwise, they’ll likely be blindsided when the rules change again. How do you get noticed when your audience is more mobile, digital, and finicky than ever? That’s what the major players in the ad industry are trying to figure out.Not only are brands moving their media operations in-house, but many companies are embracing IT consulting firms in lieu of paying ad agencies. Why? It seems that old-fashioned advertising just doesn’t cut it anymore. The arrival of ad blocking and the decline of TV ratings have led brands to turn away from digital spots and TV ads, both of which have been the bread and butter of ad agencies.Consequently, the big four ad agencies are seriously shaking up their protocols.Out With the Old, In With the TechThis shakeup escalated after Martin Sorrell, the top dog at WPP, one of the world’s four biggest advertising holding companies, resigned in April amidst an investigation into personal misconduct. Sorrell was the brains behind the industry’s modern practice of acquiring smaller competitors, and he built WPP into the giant it is today.But make no mistake: The loss of WPP’s head doesn’t mean smoother sailing for the three other biggies — Interpublic, Omnicom, and Publicis. Instead, it opens up more possibilities for industry shifts. And the big players are in a raft on choppy waters, watching as Google and Facebook gobbled up market share, followed by Amazon and digital consulting firms like Accenture.Consulting firms with digital know-how are becoming increasingly serious competition for ad agencies as the firms woo clients with their ability to reach consumers more effectively and cheaply thanks to data and machine learning. The only way for major ad agencies to compete at this point is to acquire digital knowledge through creation and acquisition, according to Alberto Cabezas-Castellanos, founder and CEO of Gauss & Neumann, a research laboratory with a team of Ph.D.s that work on SEM/PPC architecture and technologies.“I believe that the group that will end up winning in the long run is the one able to create a native digital culture through internal research labs that spread knowledge across every internal office,” Cabezas-Castellanos explains. “Big groups should stop using borrowed management technologies and become hybrid software companies that create code.”Some of the ad world’s biggest players are coming around to that very idea at seemingly just the right moment. Facebook recently lost advertising shares for the first time, meaning ad agencies willing to boldly advance can make strides. Ivan Pollard, former senior VP-strategic marketing at The Coca-Cola Co., sees this move as an important step forward — while noting that consultants and ad agencies both have something to learn from each other.“The big consultancies are underestimating the value of creativity [and] the agencies are under- exploiting the value of business analytics,” he told AdAge. “Someone’s going to crack that soon because data plus creativity is the future.”Daring Data and Tech Moves in the Advertising WorldWe’ve already seen some exciting changes coming from advertising agencies, and there’s no doubt we’ll see some more. Their common theme? Tech and data. Here’s how that theme is showing up in moves the four big players are making: A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… China and America want the AI Prize Title: Who … Publicis: Transforming Its Relationship With Digital AI Will Empower Leaders, Not Replace Them WPP: Down to Diversify Its Portfolio Frank Landman Related Posts AI: How it’s Impacting Surveillance Data Storage Interpublic: Courting Acxiom for Its Consumer Data Frank is a freelance journalist who has worked in various editorial capacities for over 10 years. He covers trends in technology as they relate to business. Omnicom: Swiping Right on Tech and Data Acquisitionslast_img read more

Resource Discovery: NCTIC’s Manual on Trauma-Informed Care

first_imgBy Jay Morse & Kacy Mixon, PhD, LMFTAs we’ve highlighted in previous posts, trauma can have adverse effects on the developing brain and can permeate many aspects of personal, work and school life. We’ve also discussed how military personnel and their families are particularly vulnerable to this issue in previous posts. The impact of trauma has also been found to have devastating effects on communities and organizations leading to an increased interest in trauma-informed care [1].Today’s Resource Discovery features information provided by SAMHSA’s National Center for Trauma-Informed Care (NCTIC) and the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS). This 2012 manual introduces readers to trauma-informed care by outlining the history, key principles and NCTIC’s role in shaping this treatment approach. Trauma-informed care was first defined and developed by Maxine Harris and Roger Fallot [2]. Developers of this treatment approach believe that everyone can benefit from learning about trauma [1].[Flickr, Operation Lone Star 2012 by Texas Military Forces, CC BY-ND 2.0] Retrieved on September 17, 2015Did You Know?The trauma-informed services movement has its roots in early research on survivors of captivity and war during the 1960’s and 70’s. During the 1080’s, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) diagnosis and treatment were pioneered and the Victims of Crime Act was passed by Congress.  Also in the 1990’s, the Adverse Childhood Experience study documented the prevalence and impact of childhood trauma. During the last two decades, neurological research has documented pathways through which trauma affects the brain, SAMHSA established centers on trauma-specific issues (e.g. child trauma, community disasters) , and national professional associations and media have increased their focus on trauma [2].Since their founding in 2005, NCTIC has worked within a wide range of service systems including health and behavioral health, military, justice, housing and homelessness, education and child welfare, women’s services, developmental disabilities, and various advocacy and governmental agencies to help prepare professionals who work with individuals and families affected by trauma.  More detailed information on NCTIC activities, consultants, and products can be found at this webpage.Professionals working with military families can find this manual especially helpful for providing key principles of trauma-informed care as well as a brief summary of the history of trauma-informed services and key facts about trauma. Below we’ve listed more information on our previous blogs and webinars on trauma.Webinar:Trauma in Young Children Under 4-Years of Age: Attachment, Neurobiology and InterventionsBlogs:  What are Dual Trauma Couples?Women’s Trauma-Informed CareExperiencing PTSDEFT for Couples Affected by Trauma. References[1] National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors. (2012, September). Changing communities, changing lives. Report prepared for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Center for Trauma-Informed Care. Alexandria, VA: (Joan Gillece, Project Director), (Andrea Blanch, Author)[2] Harris, M. & Fallot, R. (2001) Using Trauma Theory to Design Service Systems: New Directions for Mental Health Services, Number 89. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.This post was written by Jay Morse and Kacy Mixon, PhD, LMFT. Both are members of the MFLN Family Development (FD) that aims to support the development of professionals working with military families.  Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network  FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.last_img read more

Is there conflict being a caregiver and a wife (mother, sister, brother, etc.)?

first_imgBlog post written by Mary Brintnall-Peterson, Ph.D., MBP Consulting, LLC, Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin-ExtensionYes, indeed I have experienced conflict between being a wife and a caregiver! First off, I had to accept the fact that I am not only a wife but also a caregiver. Both of these roles make up who I am and my identity. My role as a wife and my role as a caregiver have rules dictating how I behave. The caregiver role is different than the wife role and sometimes my rules for each are in conflict. Here’s an example—my husband was put on a specific diet which he doesn’t follow.  He complains about the new diet because he can’t eat some of his favorite foods. As a caregiver I know he should follow the diet because if he doesn’t he could be ill again, but as his wife I want to give him his favorite foods.So, which role do I pick? Do I function as a caregiver and monitor his eating, making sure his favorite foods aren’t in the house, etc. or do I let him eat what he wants especially since his favorite foods are important to him. I’m sure you have your own examples of when your wife and caregiver role are in conflict with each other. So what causes this conflict between being a wife and a caregiver? The answer is—the rules we have for each role guides our decisions and actions.I have different rules for being a wife and for my caregiver role. When my rules are in conflict I experience stress. When I am stressed, I try to figure out what rules are guiding my thoughts and actions. To understand my rules a nurse (who recognized how stressed out I was) drew a circle, with three circles inside of it, and explained where my rules come from.The outside circle represents rules from society. For example, you wear clothing when you are in public, you drive on the right side of the road, and stealing is against the law. These rules are usually understood and followed by everyone. The next circle is all the communities you are a part of. These include but are not limited to your faith community, fraternal organizations, ethnic communities and your heritage.The military is a community many of you are in or have been in. As you know the military has its own ways, rules or expectations for enlisted individuals, officers, and family members. One military rule I often hear is the wife or significant other takes care of the “home front” when the service member is away.  Another military rule is the military community takes care of its own people, especially in time of crisis.  I’m sure you can identify other “rules” within the military community which can be helpful or not.The next circle is our family. Within every family there are rules such as we don’t talk about money, sex or share what happens in our family with others. In many families women are the nurturers and show emotion while the men are responsible for manly things and don’t show or share their emotions. The last circle is your current situation such as your health, finances, help/assistance, medical condition of your husband, living arrangement, etc. As you can imagine when your situation changes it influences your rules as a wife and caregiver. These four circles provide insights into where your rules come from and why we react the way we do in certain situations. It also explains why everyone reacts to situations differently.Whenever I have a conflict between being a caregiver and a wife I attempt to do the following:Figure out what rules are guiding my thoughts and feelings.Determine if the rules are from my caregiver role or wife role.Decide if the rules are helpful or not.If the rule is not helpful, throw it out or change it.If the rule is helpful, keep it or tweak it. It is not necessarily easy or natural to do this, but I try. By figuring out which rules are creating conflict between being a wife or a caregiver, I gain an understanding of why I experience stress.This MFLN-Military Caregiving concentration blog post was published on September 15, 2015.last_img read more

Retirement Planning Over the Life Cycle

first_imgBy Barbara O’Neill, Ph.D., CFP®, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, oneill@aesop.rutgers.eduThe Military Families Learning Network will host Retirement Ready? Effective Strategies for Military Families webinar on November 1. This 90-minute webinar will Include a segment about personal finances and how people at different stages of the life cycle view retirement planning.Join Retirement Ready? Effective Strategies for Military Families on Nov. 1 at 11 a.m. ET. Image created by Bari SobelsonAs described in a presentation by Professor William Klinger of Raritan Valley (NJ) Community College to the New Jersey Coalition for Financial Education, these generational reactions can be summarized as follows:Age 20-35– What, me, worry? I’ve got plenty of time.Age 35-55– Too many expenses. I’ll save later versus now.Age 55-70- Yikes! I have no savings. It’s catch-up time.Age 70+- How can I make my retirement savings last?At age 20-35, the key thing to remember is that time is on your side. For example, college students graduating at age 22 have 45 years of compound interest on their savings before they’re eligible for full Social Security benefits at age 67. In addition to saving early, it is also important to keep spending in check so that savings can get an early start. Some young adults, unfortunately, procrastinate by thinking “I’ll start saving later when I pay off student loans” or “I’ll save when I make more money.”In the “middle years,” age 35 to 55, emphasis should be on continued savings, especially in tax-deferred retirement savings accounts such as 401(k) and 403(b) plans. Be sure to take full advantage of the maximum available employer matching, such as 6% of your pay if you invest 6%, and track your annual progress by preparing a net worth statement that takes a “snapshot” of your current assets and debts.In later adulthood, age 55 to 70, people are (hopefully!) empty nesters and can accelerate their savings even further. According to research by Fidelity investments, people should have 5 times their salary saved at age 55, 6 times at age 60, 7 times at age 65, and 8 times at age 67 to be considered “on track” for a comfortable retirement. Unfortunately, the 2016 Retirement Confidence Survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute indicates that only 14% of workers have more than $250,000 saved for retirement and 54% have less than $25,000 in savings, including 26% that have less than 1,000.A primary retirement planning concern of people age 70+ is having their savings last throughout their lifetime. High health care and long-term care costs in later life are also major concerns. A body of research suggests that initially withdrawing 4% of savings (whatever the dollar amount) and increasing it annually for inflation has about an 85% success rate (i.e., chance of not running out of money) over a 30-year period based on past investment performance data. New research findings with “floor and ceiling” withdrawal strategies and “decision rules” (e.g., freezing income during periods of negative investment returns) have been shown to increase success rates even further.To summarize, retirement planning is important throughout adult life and can span a period lasting seven, or even eight, decades. Key messages for people of all generations are as follows:Start saving for retirement as early in life as possible. If it’s too late for you to get an early start, save as much as you can today and encourage your children and/or grandchildren to start saving early.Increase savings as income rises and/or expenses (e.g., child care) and/or debts (e.g., student loans) are reduced or end.Develop an adequate savings nest egg and a strategy for sustainable retirement savings withdrawals in later life. To plan your retirement savings, use the Ballpark Estimate.Enjoy the fruits of your labor in retirement and the journey of life along the way.Register today to join the November 1 webinar Retirement Ready? Strategies for Military Families. CEUs for accredited financial counselors, certified personal finance counselors, marriage and family counselors, social workers and counselors are available.last_img read more

Did you Say Something, Honey? A Look at Distracted Parenting

first_imgBy: David Lee Sexton, Jr. and Bari Sobelson, MS, LMFTPexels[Woman by ViktorHanacek.cz on Nov. 4, 2014, CC0]“Mom!! Can you PLEASE put your phone down and pay attention to me for just a minute? I need your help.”Ouch. That stings. I wish I could tell you that this was the one and only time my 8-year-old son has called me out on the overuse of my phone or other electronics while he has so frustratingly (for him) attempted to get my attention. But, if I told you that, I wouldn’t be telling the truth.  I have found myself in this shameful situation more than I prefer to acknowledge. But, I know I am not alone. And, while I know that I am a good mother, I also admit that I have fallen into the category of sometimes being a distracted parent.We’ve all heard the stories: a busy parent, a child momentarily forgotten in a hot car resulting in a dangerous and potentially horrific situation. According to the Washington Post, death by hyperthermia is the official term for the tragic outcome of distracted parents leaving behind children in parked cars due to distraction, a change in routine, or an unusual amount or type of stress (Weingarten, 2009). Although this occurs about 15 to 25 times per year in the US, it is but an extreme example of the risks of distracted parenting (Weingarten, 2009).Worthen (2012) indicates that there is a possible connection between device (such as mobile phone) distraction and child injuries. In the age of fast-paced technology growth, trends indicate a change of direction in the rates of child injuries; according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 2007 and 2010, nonfatal injuries to children under the age of five increased by 12%, a rapid incline compared to declining rates during the prior decade (Worthen 2012).Meanwhile, phone ownership for Americans 13 and older has increased from 9 million (coinciding with the release of the iPhone in 2007) to 114 million in 2012 (Worthen, 2012). Worthen notes that this connection is merely correlational and points out the difficulty in identifying direct causality due to issues with collecting the appropriate data, such as unlikelihood of parents to self-report their use of a mobile device during the time of their child’s injury. However, research has examined other factors that may emphasize the overall negative outcomes of distracted parenting.McDaniel and Radesky (2017) examine the relationship between distracted parenting caused by interferences (known in the literature as technoference) in parent-child interactions and the externalizing and internalizing of behavior by children. Examples of internalizing behavior are represented by sulking, whining, and easily hurt feelings while externalizing behavior may look like restlessness, an inability to sit still, or proneness to temper tantrums. Interestingly, McDaniel and Radesky found support for the relationship between technoference and both externalized and internalized behaviors of children, reported by both mothers and fathers. However, this result was only found in mother-child interactions. In contrast, father-child interactions did not predict externalizing and internalizing. McDaniel and Radesky offer two compelling explanations for this discrepancy. First, it is possible that children respond differently to maternal and paternal interactions. However,  perhaps the most plausible explanation comes from sample characteristics, as 30% of mothers in the sample worked 30+ hours per week in contrast to 82% of fathers. As such, the fathers in the study sample may have simply had fewer opportunities to interact with their children.While the literature highlighted above is just a mere sampling of research on the topic of distracted parenting, it certainly elicits the question of how technology use is impacting parenting and parent-child interaction. I can see from my own home, how my distracted parenting impacts the behavior of my children and the interactions I have with them.  I can also see it with other parents and their children when we are at the park, at a restaurant, and at a grocery store. So, what does all of this mean? It means that we may need to all take a closer look at our own personal experience with distracted parenting and figure out what works best for our families. It is possible to find that happy medium between the use of technology and non-distracted parenting. The goal is just finding that ‘sweet spot’ within your own household.How do YOU find your ‘sweet spot’? Tell us in the comments below what you do to mitigate your own distracted parenting and what works for you and your family!ReferencesMcDaniel, B. T. & Radesky, J. S. (2017). Technoference: Parent distraction with technology and associations with child behavior problems. Child Development, https://doi.org/10.1111/cdev.12822Weingarten, G. (2009, March 8). Fatal distraction: Forgetting a child in the backseat of a car is a horrifying mistake. Is it a crime? The Washington Post, p. W08. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/fatal-distraction-forgetting-a-child-in-thebackseat-of-a-car-is-a-horrifying-mistake-is-it-a-crime/2014/06/16/8ae0fe3a-f580-11e3-a3a5-42be35962a52_story.html?utm_term=.f8362a52169bWorthen, B. (2012, September 29). The perils of texting while parenting. The Wall Street Journal, p. C1. Retrieved from http://members.aon.at/emarsale/deutsch/Perils_of_texting.pdfThis blog was written by Bari Sobelson, MS, LMFT and David Lee Sexton, Jr, members of the MFLN Family Development Team. The Family Development team aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network Family Development team on our website, Facebook, and Twitter.last_img read more

How to Direct Scenes Containing Minimal Dialogue

first_imgMaster one of a film director’s most important skills: Directing scenes that contain minimal dialogue.Top image from Warner Bros.It may sound like a cliche, but the old adage of “Show, Don’t Tell” is as relevant today as ever. As filmmakers, most of us understand the notion that film is a visual medium and therefore the best stories are often told by tapping into powerful visuals. However, many filmmakers fail to actually put this ideology into practice and their films run the risk of lacking depth.There are countless incredible films that have an abundance of dialogue, and the style or genre that you like to work in may call for more heavy dialogue scenes. Regardless, knowing how to direct scenes with minimal dialogue will inevitably improve your results not only in the more textural moments in your film, but also in the verbal moments too. When visual cues, metaphors, and powerful imagery couple together – the end product can really shine. For example, here are a few notable (and wildly dissimilar) light-on-dialogue scenes from classic films:From Terrence Malick’s Days of HeavenFrom Big Night, directed by Campbell Scott and Stanley TucciFrom Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space OdysseySo whether you are someone that likes to direct content with less dialogue, or simply want to improve your understanding of the visual storytelling as a whole, read on. These tips will help you get great results when transitioning into this type of storytelling.1. Imagine your scenes as dialogue.Image from Film DistrictA huge challenge for many filmmakers is conceptualizing and writing material without a lot of dialogue. More often than not, the dialogue-free scenes in films end up being nothing more than transitional moments with very little inherent value unto themselves, with the exception of helping to glue together other pieces in the film. The mistake that many filmmakers are prone to making is not conceptualizing their dialogue-free scene in the same way they would a verbally driven scene.What I often recommend to filmmakers is that they imagine there is dialogue in a scene that doesn’t have any. I will ask – What do you want to tell the audience? How does this move the story forward? What new character info do we get from this? The same kinds of questions you would consider when writing a dialogue scene… Once these questions have been answered, coming up with concepts for visuals that can illustrate them becomes much easier. You’re no longer just thinking about arbitrary images, but rather meaningful information in a visual format.2. Don’t overdo coverage.Image from Film FocusIn film, a lot of the time less is more. This notion applies very obviously to shooting films without a lot of dialogue, yet this is one area where many filmmakers go very wrong. Inexperienced directors will often feel like they need to build up a certain moment, and overcompensate for the fact that it has no dialogue by over-covering the scene. They will get a dozen angles that they don’t really need and actually prevent the viewer from focusing on some of the important visual cues in the scene.3. Find symbolism.Image from Warner Bros.Every shot that you show in your film needs to be important and relevant to your story or characters or both. While it may be relatively simple and straightforward to direct a dialogue-free scene that’s simply progressing the story, it’s more difficult to execute well on the character level. In order to really tap into something emotionally powerful, your visuals need to have symbolic and metaphorical meanings that ideally are subtle enough to hit the viewer on a subtextual level. It’s amazing how powerful subtext is to the average viewer, and many dialogue-free scenes that make use of symbolic or metaphorical imagery are able to convey far more to the audience than any amount of dialogue would be able to. Always look for ways to add meaning to your scenes through the use of objects, colors, wardrobe, props, or any other vehicle that may allow you to do so.4. Break up important moments.Image from IMDbAnother big trap that filmmakers tend to fall into is trying to cram too much information into a single non-verbal moment. So for example, the filmmaker might want to convey a detail about one of their characters (let’s say that the character is a recovering alcoholic that relapses). That same filmmaker might decide to create one long visual scene that somehow shows the character being tempted by alcohol and then giving in… But placing too much information in one scene like this can feel very cheesy and soap-opera like in many ways. The better option is to break up the moment and tell it in two or three pieces.By planting seeds for the audience and leaving bread crumbs, so to speak, your viewers will be led to their own conclusions about your story and characters — and that will give your film a deeper meaning to them. In the example above, if you were to show a few moments leading up to the character starting to drink again (let’s say, having wine spilled on them, watching their boss drink in front of them, etc.), you are able to nudge the audience to the conclusion you want them to draw without being too forceful.5. Show more characterImage from PixarWhen in doubt, always focus on your character development when working with non-verbal material. The most interesting and dynamic character information can be portrayed best in scenes without dialogue, so always take advantage of this fact. Ask yourself what you can show your audience in this dialogue-free scene, moment, or film that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to in a scene with other characters. Maybe you choose to show your main character alone, and give insight into who they are behind closed doors… Whatever choice you make will work as long as it is centered around conveying character detail in an interesting and visually motivated way.If you’re looking for insight into the world of directing, check out these articles from the PremiumBeat blog:Honing Your Craft: Find Your Voice as a DirectorFilmmaking Tips: Becoming a More Versatile ArtistFeature Filmmaking: Creative Problem SolvingWhat are some of your favorite dialogue-free scenes? How do you approach this style of filmmaking? Let us know in the comments below.last_img read more

Four Reasons You Should Be Renting Your Gear Out on ShareGrid

first_imgThe popular camera-sharing community ShareGrid is expanding into all fifty states. Here’s how you can make their equipment rental model work for you.1. Maximize Your IncomeIn the last few years, ShareGrid has paid millions of dollars in rental revenue to individual equipment owners, while also saving customers 30-50 percent on gear, compared to traditional rental houses.The company started small, building its platform one city at a time to maintain the integrity of the ShareGrid experience. And it proved to be worthwhile: In just seven cities, 50,000 members have listed over 500 million dollars of equipment, with built-in fraud prevention and the option to purchase insurance with a single click at checkout.Now, as ShareGrid goes national, equipment owners across the country can self-design the part-time, full-time, or sometimes jobs of their dreams.Some Facts:ShareGrid is the first company to feature an exclusive insurance partnership; the coverage is sold on the website so renters can rest easy knowing that their equipment is protected against damage, fraud, and theft.ShareGrid’s cut is only 15 percent — that’s less than any other consignment-style rental site on the market.Over 50,000 ShareGrid products are listed on Google.The guessing game is over. Live results of top-searched-for and top-rented gear are available through ShareGrid; this process can actually help you decide which pieces to invest in next in order to turn your collection into a side hustle.On the flip side, renting gear from someone else on the site can offer you the opportunity to try pieces out before you decide to invest in them.The list of popular choices on the site includes not just cinematography but photography equipment as well. Your speciality is someone else’s speciality: ShareGrid’s community can help you find the market that will make you the most money.People who list their gear on ShareGrid report a huge range of monthly earnings, from a few hundred extra bucks to a total annual income of over $100,000. The more time you invest, the greater your earning potential. 2. Let Your Investments Work for YouCinema equipment is expensive, and it often quickly depreciates in value, both through use and due to technological advancement. If a cinematographer purchases an expensive camera and is not constantly booking work, that cinematographer is actively losing money on that investment.But you don’t have to let your equipment sit in your metaphorical (or literal) closet. By renting out gear on ShareGrid, individual equipment owners can turn their investments into assets. This applies to a whole range of equipment types. In fact, some of the most searched-for pieces on the site are mid-range cameras and accessories. Any piece could turn into a big earner when properly curated.Use this sliding calculator to see how much you can potentially earn listing your equipment on the site.3. Reclaim Your TimeThe filmmaking hustle is this: notoriously long hours, heavy competition for jobs, and (at times) lots and lots of “no.” It’s not uncommon for indie filmmakers to find themselves thinking: “What did I do last month? Where did my money go?” With ShareGrid’s equipment-sharing community, your gear can earn you passive income for potentially the first time in your career.Film-worker and ShareGrid veteran Jayson Rahmlow tells us: “I was burnt out after being in L.A. for ten years, and I found myself thinking: ‘What else can I do to make money . . . besides sell every second of my time?’” Rahmlow, like many others, found a solution in renting equipment he wasn’t actively using every day. “Is your gear making you money?” he asks.Long story short: your gear should be making you money.4. Come For The Cash, Stay For The CommunityThe community support experience ShareGrid offers is two-prong. There is a substantial amount of feedback and advice available for renters and customers alike from the ShareGrid team. Then, there’s an entirely separate and more unexpected sense of camaraderie that has sprung up in the camera-sharing community.ShareGrid Perks:The site offers a live-chat feature that is active for more than 12 hours every day. Here, both renters and customers can receive real, thoughtful human advice on how to best rent equipment. In-house tech support (no outsourcing) ensures you’ll receive the most accurate information on the site’s policies and current statistics.The range of tips ShareGrid’s tech gurus can offer renters includes which pieces of yours are in highest demand at any time, which pieces to combine into rental packages, which pieces to invest in to maximize your rental income, and so forth.Alternatively, the range of tips ShareGrid’s tech gurus can offer renters includes which pieces are best for the look you’re going for, which accessories to include, and how to achieve your “10,000 dollar dreams on your 5,000 budget,” so to speak.People Perks:ShareGrid is ultimately a peer-to-peer space. This means that all individual rental transactions will include dialogue and a human discourse that can be valuable for renters and customers alike.Plugging into the ShareGrid community of knowledgable equipment owners and users offers you insight, perspective, advice, and support. “It’s like the human version of insurance,” one ShareGrid community member reports.The ShareGrid community is consistently growing, and with the advent of PRO, those valuable relationships can develop between customers and rental houses as well. The filmmaking and photography worlds can be challenging and incredibly isolating at times. Finding and connecting to like-minded creators can be highly rewarding. The opportunity to find those people is a fortunate side effect of listing your gear on the site. Rahmlow reflects that “I love almost everybody I’ve ever rented to. We’re all in this grind together.”All images via ShareGrid.Looking for more video gear tips and tricks? Check out these articles.Audio Gear: 10 Super Cheap Accessories for Your Audio KitLens Review: How To Shoot Anamorphic with The Atlas Orion LensesHow to Soften Your Sharp 4K DSLR Video FootageHarness the Power of the Canon 5D mk IV’s Built In IntervalometerIs the GH5/LUMIX V-Log Firmware Upgrade Worth the Price Tag?last_img read more

The New ARRI ALEXA Mini LF — Large Format, Little Camera

first_imgARRI has just announced the ARRI ALEXA Mini LF, combining the company’s new large-format sensor with the popular compact body.Well, the rumors were off. Looks like the ARRI ALEXA Mini LF is now a 2019 camera instead of 2020. ARRI just announced the Mini LF, a new ALEXA Mini using the company’s latest large-format sensor.The new camera comes just a year after the release of the ARRI ALEXA LF, and it’s incredibly impressive that the company was able to build a comparable mini version so close to its release. Dedicated regulated 12V and 24V accessory power outletsTwo built-in microphones3 internal large-format FSND filtersND 0.6, 1.2, and 1.8 Prototypes weigh 5.7 lbs (2.6 Kg) for the bodyCompatible with nearly all Alexa Mini devicesARRI also announced the new MCF-2 high-contrast HD viewfinder, which has an HD OLED display and ARRICAM eyepiece. The 4″ flip-out monitor shows image or camera menu, and it includes three operation modes: single operator, crew, or remote.As for glass, you can obviously use ARRI Signature Primes, but the company went on to say the following:Optimized for large-format lenses, the LPL lens mount fitted to ALEXA LF and ALEXA Mini LF cameras accepts ARRI Signature Primes, ARRI Rental DNA LF and 65 format optics, and third-party LPL lenses. The PL-to-LPL adapter, which attaches securely to the LPL lens mount without tools, offers backwards compatibility with all PL mount lenses, be they Super 35 or full frame. LDS-2 or /i lens metadata is accessible via the LPL mount, and LDS-1 or /i via the PL-to-LPL adapter. ARRI’s Frame Line and Lens Illumination Tool, available in the Learn & Help/Tools section of the ARRI website, illustrates how much of the large-format sensor is covered by a given lens.Other manufacturers, such as Panavision and Vantage, offer proprietary lens mounts for the ALEXA LF and ALEXA Mini LF cameras, to support their own lens ranges. Cinematographers therefore have an almost unlimited lens choice when shooting with ARRI large-format cameras.If you’re headed to NAB 2019, be sure to head over to the ARRI booth and see if you can catch a glimpse of the new ALEXA Mini LF — as well as a look at all of their ALEXA and AMIRA cameras.Top image via Michael Trammer/ARRI.Looking for more on filmmaking and video production? Check out these articles.Hands-on Review: Is Syrp’s Genie the Lone Filmmaker’s Ultimate Tool?The Cameras and Lenses Behind HBO’s Original SeriesGear Roundup: The Top Three Audio Recorders Under $3007 Master Cinematography Techniques from Iconic DirectorsHow to Create a Mid-’90s DV Camcorder Look in After Effects LPL and PL mount lenses, Super 35 and full frameSupports all anamorphic de-squeeze ratios New Internal RecordingNew Codex Compact Drive (SSD)1TB driveWrite rate of 8 Gb/sUncompressed and unencrypted MXF/ARRIRAWFast MXF/Apple ProResARRIRAW and ProRes can be recorded on the the same media without reformatting Color OutputRec 709Rec 2020Log CCustom Look (ARRI Look File ALF-2) It was originally believed that the Mini LF was years off, as there were technical challenges in putting a large-format sensor in a smaller body while also maintaining a look that matched the full-size ALEXA LF. The prototype Mini LF is already being tested, and we don’t have a set release date for the final camera body yet.ARRI ALEXA Mini LF Specs:Same sensor and recording formats as the ALEXA LFALEV 3 A2X CMOS sensor36.70 x 25.54 mm4448 x 3096Same photosite size and type as Super 35 ARRI digital cameras0.75 – 90 fpslast_img read more

Industry Insights: Turning Short Stories into Beautiful Feature Films

first_imgAdapting short fiction for the big screen can be challenging. These writers and directors shared their ideas on what worked for them.Arrival | Story of Your Life by Ted ChiangScreenwriter Eric Heisserer insisted on a faithful adaptation of Ted Chiang’s understated sci-fi novella, through years of rejection. Studio reps and producers would only get behind the quiet text if Heisserer would spin it into an action film driven by alien battles. Enter Dan Cohen and Dan Levine, who linked the screenwriter with director Denis Villeneuve. Their collaboration with Heisserer resulted in Arrival. The film saw wide release in 2016, with a few important departures from Story of Your Life.In the novella, aliens distribute screens throughout the world so humans can talk to them via expensive Skype calls. One day, they pack up and leave without disclosing their reasons. The film sees heptapods in a ship, hovering peacefully just above the earth. World leaders argue over their intentions, unknown to Earth because of a language barrier. The physical visitation was needed to organize the movie around an escalating conflict — absent from Chiang’s text. But the polarizing question of the heptapods’ motives, not aggressive alien behavior, would feed the tension. This compromise gave Arrival the fuel it needed to deliver other messages.Louise Banks (Amy Adams) dissects the Heptapods’ visual language in Arrival. (Paramount Pictures).Heisserer was much more interested in the relationship between Louise (Amy Adams) and her ill-fated daughter, Hannah. He wrote their scenes first and gave more pages to the director than he actually knew would be used in the film. This focus helped protect the movie he wanted to make after encountering Chiang’s story, which, as he tells Austin Film Festival in the video above, left him “uplifted, hopeful, and completely shattered.” Heisserer was driven by his desire to recreate that feeling in audiences. He took great care with the script, relying on counsel from physicists and linguists to formulate a language introduced by the heptapods that rewires Louise’s perception of time.“It’s easier when your film is about language and communication, to be picky about those things,” Heisserer tells AFF.Don’t Look Now | So-titled story by Daphne du MaurierSometimes expanding a story can bring out its flaws. While Chiang’s novella positions Hannah in a rock climbing accident that kills her, Arrival’s screenplay solves the problem of Louise’s clairvoyance by giving the daughter a fatal disease that her mother knows will happen but can’t prevent. The 1973 Nicholas Roeg thriller Don’t Look Now makes the opposite adjustment in dealing with the short story by Daphne de Maurier: the daughter who succumbs to illness in the text falls into a stream and drowns just feet from her parents in the film. This event, which opens the movie, validates a constant paranoia in the mother (Julie Christie) and father (Donald Sutherland) that drives the tone of the short story and marks the film.Christine (Sharon Williams) plays behind her house in Don’t Look Now. Still, British Lion Films.The presence of red appears in images throughout the film: the daughter’s hooded jacket, the ball she’s playing with just before she dies, articles of clothing belonging to her parents. This thread defines the movie’s stylistic distinctions from the short story. Roeg’s version is more corporeal and gruesomely traumatic against the backdrop of a foreboding, labyrinthian Venice. Screenwriter Allan Scott reasons through his and his collaborators’ decisions in the TIFF feature above.Certain Women | Three stories by Maile MeloyThis triptych of isolated characters follows Montana native Maile Meloy’s portraits of lonely people in her home state. Director Kelly Reichardt‘s penchant for open skies and characters lost in their own lives drew her to Meloy’s prose. Taken by the notion of tying three stories together, the director spent a year trying to pick which ones. Reichardt told the Village Voice she was “in the weeds for a long time” investigating possible themes for the overall film. The first draw for an adaptation, though, was the evocative sense of place — the way hard land serves the wandering characters’ plight.The third chapter of Certain Women stars Kristen Stewart as a reluctant teacher from the far side of Montana, and Lily Gladstone as a rancher who ends up in her class. In Meloy’s story, “Travis, B.,” the rancher, is a man who takes interest in the road-weary instructor. Reichardt’s adaptation gives the pair of women few words. Repression is implied by the characters’ relationship with space. Because Reichardt honed in on the sounds of distance she felt in Meloy’s text — Certain Women was filmed in Livingston, Montana, known as “The Windiest Place in America” — the film communicated chasms with a multi-sensory experience of stark longing and highway fatigue.In the video above Meloy tells Criteron (in a special edition of Certain Women) about her relationship with Montana as a child and what it means to her writing.Cover image via Arrival (Paramount).Looking for more articles on the filmmaking industry? Check these out.E3 2019: How Video Games Are Changing Cinematic StorytellingIndustry Interview: Documentary Editor Aaron WickendenWhat Is Panavision’s Liquid Crystal Neutral Density (LCND) Filter?Industry Interview: DJ Stipsen, DP of “What We Do in the Shadows”What the Marvel Cinematic Universe Means for the Future of Filmlast_img read more

5 Steps to Finding (and Closing) Video Production Jobs

first_imgLet’s take a look at the five steps to help you find — and more importantly close — jobs and clients for consistent work you can count on.For everyone who’s ever worked in freelance or as part of a video production company knows, the constant chase and struggle of finding (and keeping) clients is truly endless. It can be a boom or bust industry, which means that even while work is flooding in you have to be on your game to make sure you’ll have leads ready for the lean months, too.And while there are plenty of pieces of advice for how you can best position yourself in getting more work by networking, creating solid demo reels, and — you know — consistently doing good work, some of the biggest challenges in the video production world come from closing those connections and setting up jobs and clients for repeat business.Here’s how to lock in your leads.1. Make Yourself a Known CommodityYes, a part of this is networking and meeting people (and don’t get us wrong — networking is a very important part of the process of finding and developing leads). But, perhaps a more important part of the process is making yourself known as a commodity. Not just who you are, but what you do and how well you do it. If you operate in a specific film or video niche, for example, it’ll help if you’re known as a documentarian, or a run-and-gun guru, or the RED Dragon master.2. Check in and Be PersistentImage by G-Stock Studio.Once you have some connections and leads, it’s perfectly alright to be persistent in checking in and making yourself part of their business. Don’t pester. Look for social cues of being intrusive. But, for the most part, sending a text or email every week or so (or heck even a call, if you’re old school) is a great way to stay on your client’s radar, in case a need or problem might come up that you could fill or solve.3. Do Research and Make SuggestionsAnother great way to “close” clients and secure jobs is to do a lot of the research yourself. For many video professionals, the job these days isn’t so much as a day laborer providing a defined service, but more as a marketing consultant who’s there to work with a company in helping them grow their business, impress their own clients, or provide value.If you’re focused on a specific industry (say the legal field, advertising agencies, real estate, etc.) you can and should do your own research. See what their competitors are doing with video. Look for some of the best, most successful examples of a project you’d like to pitch diving into, then provide some solid insights into how and why it would help your clients out.4. Have Your Camera, Gear, and Team ReadyImage by Gerain0812.You also want to be ready for any opportunity the moment one pops up. This is a fast-paced industry, and for better or worse, it’s why a lot of veterans get burned out or simply move on to other, more consistent roles. The young and hungry will always be the ones to be the most successful, mostly due to their eagerness and responsiveness to opportunities.If you’re operating solo, then having your gear organized, charged, and ready to go is a good way to start. But, even if you have a team (or have a group of friends who can help you assemble a crew in a hurry), having those contacts prepared will help you move whenever the ball is suddenly put into motion.5. Don’t Stop After the First ProjectPerhaps the biggest mistake that many freelance videographers make when working with clients is treating every project as a one-off job. There are no one-off jobs in the video world. If a client needs you or your company for one video, there will undoubtedly be more video needs in the future. At worst, it might be a yearly job if it’s for a specific event.But more often than not, if you do a good job and your work gets results, there will most probably be more jobs for you in the future. It’s just up to you to stay engaged, communicative, and always ready and responsive for when that next opportunity presents itself.Cover image by H_Ko.For more video industry advice and tips, check out some of these articles below.5 Quick Tips to Help Gain New Video Production Clients7 Things Clients Look For in a Video Production Company7 Things All Video Professionals Should Share with Clients5 Ways to Add Value to Your Corporate Video Production ProjectsFreelance Tips: 7 Best Practices for Invoicing Clientslast_img read more

3 Unusual Camera Angles to Liven up Your Dialogue Scenes

first_imgThe Pacing QuestionerPulp Fiction was a stylistic tour de force that put Tarantino on the map, introducing us to many of his visual signatures. In one of the first scenes, where Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) interrogates his prey, Brad sits in a seat as Jules paces back and forth in front of him. The camera follows him as he walks, turns, and looms over Brad, before finally shooting him. The tight framing means that the camera pans back and forth as Jules stalks his prey, turning what could have been a straight exchange between two men into a tense standoff.Tarantino’s framing and blocking mirrors the psychological game Jules is playing with Brad, going from friendly to menacing and back to friendly, as the frame goes from wide to extreme closeup and back to wide. French OversFrench overs originally came from the difficulty of getting a camera in front of actors in a car scene. Instead of the kind of typical side coverage you’d shoot of two actors on a couch, French overs capture the scene from behind, so you only get part of the actor’s face in their close-up, and are far from the eyeline.Even outside of the car scenario, French overs are a great way to shoot a scene — making it seem like the two characters have something to hide. It’s perfect for spy thrillers — or anytime the characters know things the audience doesn’t. We are outside of their personal space, peeking into the conversation and unable to read their full expressions. Here are three ways some leading filmmakers have broken new ground and freshened up what could otherwise be shoot-by-numbers footage.If you shoot many dialogue scenes, it’s easy to fall into a routine — a wide to mid shot, then matching over-the-shoulder shots, with some clean singles for coverage. The characters might be facing each other (or side by side), but this formula pretty quickly becomes stale, unless you find new ways to approach it. So here are a few angles you might want to consider to mix things up.High, On-Axis SingleFor the Academy Award-nominated cinematography of The Grandmaster, Philippe Le Sourd decided to shoot some clean singles of the actors, not to one side of their eyeline but above it. The result certainly looks different and is undeniably engaging because it’s in line with the eye. It distorts the face in a new way that makes us feel as though we’re standing behind the character being spoken to, instead of to the side.center_img The Girl in the Spider’s Web.The traditional approaches to shooting a scene can be great to fall back on if time is tight or you don’t have a lot to work with. A scene shot this way allows for plenty of options in the edit, but it’s no substitute for approaching your subjects with imagination and experimentation. Even the most pedestrian dialogue is an opportunity to find and express something about the characters and their world.Cover image via The Girl in the Spider’s Web (Columbia Pictures).Looking for more cinematography tips and tricks? Check these out.Pocket 4k and Pocket 6k Owners – BRAW Comes To Premiere ProHow to Develop and Shoot Memorable Character IntroductionsLearn Francis Ford Coppola’s Signature Dolly MoveIs Autofocus Finally Ready to Take The Filmmaking Field?From “True Lies” to “Die Hard”: Simple-Yet-Brilliant Costume Designslast_img read more

Why You Must Plan Your Sales Calls

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 An ounce of sweat is worth a pint of blood. –George S. PattonI was giving a sales call planning workshop to a group of salespeople. I asked them to take ten minutes to complete a sales call plan for a mock presentation. They had all of the information and tools they needed to complete the exercise. At the ten-minute mark, I called for them to stop working on their plan and present their work to the group.They groaned. The whined. They complained that I didn’t give them enough time to complete the call planning exercise. Now I had them. Feigning anger, I shouted: “Are you kidding me? You guys have never spent ten minutes planning a sales call in your lives. I gave you ten minutes more than you’ve ever taken.” We all busted out laughing because we all knew it was true, and I had made my point.Most salespeople don’t plan their sales calls. They believe that, because they’ve made some great number of sales calls in the past, they don’t need to plan their sales calls. But this is a terrible strategy for creating—or winning—an opportunity. The truth of the matter is that you are much better off planning a sales call, identifying the outcomes you need, aligning your call with your sales process, and preparing to create value for your client.A sales call is a live performance. It’s a good part improvisational, because your client can throw all kinds of things at you. But there isn’t any reason to not to plan how you want the call to go. There is no reason not to spend the ten minutes it takes to plan your parts.You plan your sales call because it makes you a professional. You share your agenda with your client and you give them proof of your professionalism.You plan your sales call because it makes it increases the chances that the call will go the way you intend it to go. If you have defined the outcomes you need, you improve the odds of achieving them.You plan your sales call because it allows you to follow your sales process, completing all of the tasks and gaining all of the commitments you need to increase the odds of actually winning an opportunity.You plan your sales call because it is what professionals do, because it increases the odds that you get the outcomes you need, and because it allows you to create the kind of value for your dream clients that makes it easy for them to agree to the commitments you are asking them to give you.QuestionsDo you plan your sales calls?How much time does it take to plan a sales call?What could you gain by spending ten minutes preparing for a sales call?What would the discipline of planning calls do for your ability to execute on your sales process? How would this discipline help you when you plan for really big calls?last_img read more

Are You Something More Than a Vendor?

first_imgYour clients are either going to believe that you are their strategic partner or that you are their vendor. You determine which of these categories they put you in by your behavior, your actions.If you behave like you are a vendor, then you are going to be treated like a vendor. If you behave like you are their strategic partner, you are going to be treated like you are something much more than a vendor. But it starts and ends with you.Transactional Behavior, Transactional RelationshipIf you treat your clients business like a series of transactions, they will treat your relationship like a transaction, too. They’ll focus on price. They’ll share their spending across other vendors. They won’t take your calls.By never creating anything more than a transactional level of value, you’ll never capture any real value. You’ll never command your client’s wallet share.Value Creating Behavior, Strategic PartnerIf you act like you are your client’s strategic partner, owning your share of the outcomes that you sell, bringing them new ideas, working the relationships within their company to find new ways to create value, they’ll treat you like you are their strategic partner.By taking the actions that a strategic partner would take, you create more value for your client. And by doing so, you capture more value yourself in the way of mind share, wallet share, and profit. They treat you like you are strategic, not transactional.The way your clients perceive you, the way they treat you, is based on the way you behave. You can’t wait for them to treat you like the strategic partner you want to be before you start behaving that way. You are going to get back what you put out. You have to go first.QuestionsWhat set of actions make your relationships transactional?What actions make your relationships strategic?How do you become your client’s strategic partner when the relationship begins as something less than that, like a series of transactions?Why do you have to go first and behave the way you want to be treated? 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 Nowlast_img read more

The Hustler’s Playbook: Friday People and Monday People

first_imgAre you a Monday person?Have you fallen into the trap of thinking like Friday People?What kind of freedom do you really want? Friday PeopleFriday People can’t wait for the weekend. They can’t wait to get away from their jobs. They don’t enjoy their work enough to want to do any work outside of their scheduled hours. For Friday People, the end of the week is freedom.Friday People think of their jobs as “the grind.” They dread Monday, they call Wednesday “hump day” to mark the halfway point of their week, and say “thank God it’s Friday,” to congratulate themselves for having survived another week at their job.This doesn’t make non-hustler Friday People bad people. It mostly means that they don’t find joy in their work, that it doesn’t provide meaning in their life, and that it isn’t something that they feel connects to their greater purpose. But Friday People seek the wrong freedom.Monday PeopleMonday People can’t wait to get back to their work. They enjoy their work and, instead of trying to escape their work, they’re excited by the prospect of another week of producing results.Monday People don’t refer to their work as “the grind,” they don’t say they’re “living the dream,” and they don’t count the hours until Friday at 5:00 PM. Monday People count outcomes, not hours.Monday People think of their jobs as their “work.” A job is something that someone pays you to do. Your work is something that you do because it is where you can make your contribution. It serves to help you live your purpose, and it helps give meaning to your life. Monday People find joy in their work.The results you produce in your life are largely based on what you believe and the actions you take based on those beliefs. If you believe that work is something to be avoided, or tolerated at best, then you will produce a certain set of results. If you believe your work is something to engage your whole, best self in doing, that it is about purpose and meaning, you will produce a very different set of results. You will also experience a greater sense of happiness and fulfillment.Hustlers are Monday People. Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Nowlast_img read more