LYTRO – GIMMICK OR REVOLUTIONARY PRODUCT?

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I remember the first time I found out about the lytro, I was super excited about the gadget and thought it would be a great addition to the ever crowded field of photography.

I consider myself a photography enthusiast and I am always on the lookout for new technology in that field. I usually prefer using portable cameras to the bulky DSLRs that most professional photographers use. I know when it comes to resolution and such, DSLRs generally trump their smaller counterparts. With that said, after reading about the lytro, I thought to myself, is it possible that this device could make up for all the lost pixels that smaller cameras are inevitably plagued with?

The only way I was going to find this out was to get a hold of a lytro and test it out myself. Approximately 3 years later, I was finally able to get a hold of one, and in this article I will try to give an objective review of the gadget. Is it a gimmick? A one trick pony that only offers one feature, or is it something that could seriously challenge the major Cameras in the industry and convince me to look into seriously buying one?

Before I go any further, the reader might be wondering what a lytro is.

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It is basically a camera that specifically works with light field technology to enable the user change or alter the depth of field after the picture has been taken.

According to this article, the lytro has been in the works for almost 20 years. Light field photography, the underlying factor behind the lytro is also not new. Whilst it remains a field of photography without much acclaim, the idea behind it is something we will most likely be seeing a lot in our mobile cameras down the line. Light field photography gives photographers, both professional and amateur, the ability to enhance and alter everything from focus to after the picture has been taken.

Here’s a better quote from the Spectrum website, “Instead of merely recording the sum of all the light rays falling on each photosite, a light-field camera aims to measure the intensity and direction of every incoming ray. With that information, you can generate not just one but every possible image of whatever is within the camera’s field of view at that moment. For example, a portrait photographer often adjusts the lens of the camera so that the subject’s face is in focus, leaving what’s behind purposefully blurry. Others might want to blur the face and make a tree in the background razor sharp. With light-field photography, you can attain either effect from the very same snapshot.”


Many photo-editing apps and websites like Flickr, Fotor, Instagram and the likes, to some extent, utilize light field technology by allowing the user to edit and alter a picture or multiple pictures after it has been taking. It only adds credence to the earlier point that the technology might not be very popular right now, but it seems to be making the upwards climb to prominence.

So is the lytro worth buying? Does it pass my test?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. My plan was to use it for three days and then write this review. But after spending a day with it, I don’t think an additional two days will matter.

The lytro as far as design looks portable and can be carried around with ease, but because of said size, it makes it hard to take good pictures. I mostly use my IPhone for pictures, and I will argue all day about how great it is, so it was a bit of a letdown trying to use the lytro take pictures and not getting the desired outcome.

The screen is too small, and the touch screen functions aren’t as responsive as I’d hoped. The picture quality also leaves a lot to be desired.

The picture below was taken with a lytro to emphasize my above point.

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 The one below was taken with an IPhone

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Whilst comparing both is subjective depending on who is viewing, I would say that the IPhone delivers the better picture.

Below are more pictures taken with the Lytro, to further prove that the camera needs more work at least resolution wise. Even with the advertised light field technology, the quality and resolution of pictures taken could use some serious tweaking.

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CONCLUSION

All in all, I think the lytro is a promising tool. The ability to alter depth perception and exposure after taking a picture cannot be understated. Whereas DSLRs give you this function prior to shooting, most if not all smart phones could definitely use with post editing.

This is what I think the lytro makers should look into. Using this technology on smart phones or licensing it to photo editing software and applications. That would truly improve the mobile photography industry. As of now, the lytro is nothing more than a gimmick. It looks fancy, but the field of photography requires more than just a cute looking toy.

References

Lytro camera review. (n.d.). Engadget. Retrieved June 29, 2014, from http://www.engadget.com/2012/03/08/lytro-camera-review/

Light-Field Photography Revolutionizes Imaging. (n.d.). – IEEE Spectrum. Retrieved June 29, 2014, from http://spectrum.ieee.org/consumer-electronics/gadgets/lightfield-photography-revolutionizes-imaging

Lytro’s light field camera captures ‘unprecedented’ images, lets you choose focus later. (n.d.). Engadget. Retrieved June 29, 2014, from http://www.engadget.com/2011/06/22/light-field-camera-captures-unprecedented-images-lets-you-cho/

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World’s toughest job seeks applicants

By Matt Gillis

Well, if you thought that advertisers had used every trick up their sleeves to gain the attention of consumers, think again. After learning in every single communications class that the key to reaching modern consumers is via digital platforms, it seems fitting that companies have embraced the art of viral videos. While it may seem like creating a viral video is an objective out of the hands of advertisers, using real people, shock value and human emotion seems to be a sure formula to creating a successful viral advertisement.

On April 14, American Greetings, a greeting card company, released an advertisement via YouTube that has since accumulated over 7.8 million views as of today. So, how has the company achieved viral video status you may ask?

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Boston-based agency, Mullen, created a fake job listing for a position titled “director of operations” for a fictional company called Rehtom Inc. They released paid advertisements digitally for the position and received over 2.7 million impressions.

Of those who viewed the job listing advertisements, 24 people inquired about interviewing for the position. They were interviewed via webcam and their real-time reactions were recorded on video and featured in the YouTube advertisement. The video shows the interviewer revealing the position’s job requirements including standing up almost all the time; constantly exerting yourself; working from 135 to unlimited hours per week; degrees in medicine, finance and culinary arts necessary; no vacations; the work load goes up on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and other holidays; no time to sleep; and a salary of zero dollars.

After watching the advertisement, viewers understand that the position of “director of operations” is for the position of a mother, whose responsibilities match those listed by the interviewer. At first, the job requirements sound outrageous, but once it is revealed that the advertisement is in promotion of mothers and purchasing cards for Mother’s Day, it becomes an eye-opening message.

This advertisement covers all the bases of a viral video including the use of real people, the revelation of a surprising message and the inclusion of real and relatable human emotions. It’s actually nothing short of genius. I mean, who would have thought that a bunch of fake job interviews could be used to effectively promote a greeting cards company?

So, I guess the moral of the story is that creativity is a skill worth investing in. Not only did American Greetings take a creative chance on this advertisement, but they also blended it flawlessly with their wholesome, caring and loving brand identity.

Reference list:

–       Cardstore Blog. (n.d.). #WorldsToughestJob. Cardstore Blog. Retrieved April 16, 2014, from http://www.cardstore.com/blog/worlds-toughest-job/

–       Nudd, T. (2014, April 14). 24 People Who Applied for the World’s Toughest Job Were In for Quite a Surprise. AdWeek. Retrieved April 16, 2014, from http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/24-people-who-applied-worlds-toughest-job-were-quite-surprise-157028

Blog Posting #1

Twitter: The Outlet to Watch in 2014

Melissa Mandarino

January 22, 2013

 With the start of the new year, we should all be looking out for the next “big thing” in advertising technology. 2014 is predicted to be Twitter’s year, reaching consumers differently than any other social media outlet has been able to do; and now that Twitter is going public, it is ready to make some big changes and improvements. In Garett Sloane’s Advertising Week article, “Twitter’s Tailored Audiences Program Gets More Targeted”, he explains that marketers will be able to “retarget ads to website visitors who also use twitter.” This will give brands the ability to increase exposure of their product or service through a secondary outlet, reinforcing the message. Brands will also be able to communicate directly with their target with something called “Twitter ID”, which is when brands “compile lists of Twitter accounts – based on keywords in users’ bios and their past Tweets – to send Promoted Account messages.” Another strategy according to Sloane in a second Advertising Week article entitled, “Twitter’s 2014 Strategy: The Intersection of Video and Data”, will allow Twitter to become a second screen. Basically, Twitter would have the ability to “harness data and insights from conversations surrounding specific TV shows and then allow brands to reach those viewers.” (Sloane, 2014). This would allow people to interact with their shows as they are watching them. Advertising budgets will increase significantly in 2014 because of this new way of advertising and creating an experience for the consumer. This is an exciting step towards giving consumers what they are asking for. According to an article entitled, “2014: The Year Online Closes the Budget Gap (The Ad-budget Gap!), by Jon Steinberg, media is finally starting to expand their budgets to accommodate online vehicles such as Twitter or Facebook. In previous years, the amount of money spent on digital advertising was not proportional to how much time people were spending online. Steinberg states that, “In the US, people are now spending 5 hours and 16 minutes a day on the Internet…yet digital only gets 22 percent of ad dollars.” In the video discussing advertising with Steinberg, he answers several very good points about why current digital advertising is not successful and how brand sales can grow if we invest in new media. (Steinberg, 2014). 2014 will be an exciting year for Twitter, who will open up a new platform for bridging the gap between consumer and brand with it’s abilities to target consumers and allow them to interact with their favorite programs from traditional media.

 

Video link below! 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwDwILxpjoo

 

 

Sloane, G. (2014, January 14). Twitter’s tailored audiences program get more targeted. Advertising Week, Retrieved from http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/twitters-tailored-audiences- program-gets-more-targeted-154977

`Sloane, G. (2014, January 20). Twitter’s 2014 strategy: The intersection of video and data. Advertising Week, Retrieved from http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/twitter-s-2014-strategy- intersection-video-and-data-155067

 Steinberg, J. (2014, January 2). 2014: The year online closes the budget gap (the ad-budget gap!). CNBC News, Retrieved from http://www.cnbc.com/id/101305512

 Steinberg, J. (Producer). (2014, January 2). Jon Steinberg on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street 1-2-14 [Web Video]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwDwILxpjoo