• October 11, 2013 /  Geeking Out, Photography, Tech Stuff

    Have you been looking at that GoPro Hero3 Black Edition but can’t afford its P18,000+ price tag?

    Do you want something that shoots just as good, and sometimes better, than the GoPro Hero3 Black?

    Then the ION Air Pro Plus is for YOU!

    Here, Blunty puts the Ion Air Pro HD, which is an older version before the Air Pro Plus, head-to-head with a GoPro Hero3 Black Edition. While the Hero3 Black is the king of the hill Surprisingly, the Ion Air Pro HD holds its own well enough in terms of video quality.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  • iStabilizer Smartphone Dolly for Smooth Panning Shots

    iStabilizer Smartphone Dolly for Smooth Panning Shots

    Want to shoot those amazingly smooth, dramatic panning shots you see in wedding videos and movies but don’t have any professional equipment?

    Create captivating cinematic videos and panning shots using your iPhone / iPod Touch or other mobile devices like the GoPro. (GoPro camera requires the GoPro tripod mount that is sold separately by GoPro) Read the rest of this entry »

  • April 3, 2009 /  Lifestyle, Photography, Tools
    Editing Project Victory with Blender

    Editing Project Victory with Blender

    After 9 months in the making, Project Victory is finally completed! It tooks us 6 months to shoot, spread over 2 countries in 6 different locations, and 3 months of post-processing the images building the three collages and getting everyone’s approval, editing and re-editing the video, implementing new ideas, and having fun all the way.

    You can watch the video over at the Project Victory website.

    Project Victory was a photo project that my batchmates did over the last couple of months, and we recorded most of everything that happened along the way. It was created with a mix of open-source and closed-source software in Ubuntu, using BibblePro for RAW conversion, GIMP for some graphics and editing, and Blender for the 3D scenes and the video sequence editing. Read more at the Project Victory website.

  • November 5, 2008 /  Lifestyle, Photography, Tools

    I was in the market for a new bag to hold my suddenly increasing gear. If ever you’ve tried traveling by plane, you’ll know how difficult it is to lug your gear around in your backpack. It’s heavy enough to break your back. And checking them in isn’t always an option because it’ll surely bring your luggage to the weight limit.

    Enter the airport-friendly bags for the modern photographer. There were several brands that I was choosing from: Pelican 1514, Lowepro ProRoller Mini, ThinkTank Airport Security and a cheap Nikon rolling backpack that I found in one of the stores, among others. All of these choices offered two things I was looking for:

    1. Easy to lug around; can’t get any easier than wheels
    2. I can bring at as carry-on luggage
    3. Price vs. quality and features

    Read the rest of this entry »

  • September 12, 2008 /  Games, Photography

    Geekmadness has now moved to its own private server! What does this mean? Well, for one we can have more control over how the blog shows up, and we can put in more stuff like different plugins and themes. It’s all about improving the audience’s experience. In celebration of our server shift, we have TWO awesome posts, instead of the usual once in a month, hehe. I really need to post more often…anyway, just read on!

    LucasArts is once again giving us a treat with a new game from the Star Wars franchise. This time though, you’ll be able to wield a really powerful Sith/Jedi. As opposed to the wimpy neophyte Kyle Katarn in Jedi Knight, the improved but still a bit weak Kyle Katarn in Jedi Knight II, or even any of the Jedis you’ve played it from Jedy Academy up to the present, none will be able to compare to Vader’s secret apprentice (although the jury’s still out if he’s stronger than the pre-Episode-3-mutilation-Anakin; we think he is). And what better way to wield all these force than none other than…wielding them. Forget about mashing buttons and thumb-dexterity, you’ll be swinging your Wiimote as if it were a real lightsaber, and force-pushing your opponents THROUGH WALLS quite literally with your nunchuck. Seeing is believing, so you better just watch the video yourself.  (Note: for those of you who are behind a proxy, and YouTube is blocked, here’s the link to the GameTrailers video)

    <a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=F7BQB1wAyNs">http://youtube.com/watch?v=F7BQB1wAyNs</a>

    Alternatively, you could go to Miro Guide and search for “gametrailers wii” and add the GameTrailers Wii channel and look for the video through Miro. If you have no idea what I just said, read up on our introduction to Miro


    Star Wars: The Force Unleashed comes out this Tuesday, September 16 so be sure to head on over to your local game retailer or order online now through Play-Asia. Play Asia offers free delivery to most Asian countries. So if you’re stuck with a US Wii in Japan, you no longer have to contend with the exorbitant import prices. If you don’t have a Wii, you should get one. But if you’re content of pushing buttons, Force Unleashed is also available for Xbox 360, PS2, PS3, PSP, and the DS.

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  • June 3, 2008 /  Lifestyle, Photography, Tech Stuff

    Underwater DSLR CasingFor our 15th year company outing, we were headed off to beautiful Dos Palmas Beach Resort and Spa in Palawan. And my camera gear couldn’t have been more ready. The timing was excellent: the 18-135mm lenses that I bought used from a friend as well as the MB-D200 Battery Grip was hand-delivered from Japan just the day before our outing, as well as a DicaPac WP-S10 DSLR underwater pack I had ordered and delivered to my office.

    Here is the official list of gear I brought with me:

    Read the rest of this entry »

  • February 25, 2008 /  Photography, Tech Stuff, Tools

    I’ve added a new page to this blog, the Photo Gear page. Over there, I’ve written some insights and opinions on what type of gear you’ll need to start off shooting. Nothing specific, really, just what kind of gear, what to look for, etc. Hopefully, you’ll find something useful there. I’ve also upped some of my own gear over there in the form of photos. If you wanna know more about them, just click on the thumbnails. I’ll be uploading more of ‘em as soon as I get around to taking shots of them, so check back often. That’s it for now, need to rush to my day job. Till next post!

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  • February 6, 2008 /  Lifestyle, Photography, Tech Stuff

    As I mentioned last post, I bought myself a real goodie from Akihabara. Something I’ve long been working for so it was high time to reward myself with this, ehem, investment.

    D200 Body (Front)
    D200 Body (Back)

    Ta da! Introducing the D200 from Nikon’s prosumer line. This hefty monster feels right in my hands, and the magnesium alloy body really feels solid, sturdy and can take a real beating before giving up the ghost.

    I was able to pick one up from Sofmap in Akihabara second-hand for a price almost half off of a tag price on the cheap price range (Hint: brand new body-only price is around Y160K). So why did I pick up a 2nd hand D200 instead of a brand new D40x which I could get for even less, lens included (I think I could have also afforded the D80 kit as well)?

    I was not looking for an entry-level camera. I’ve had prior practice on film with my trusty, if not comparitively simplistic, F55D film camera. So, while I knew that a ton of features do not a good picture make, at the very least I needed camera that can keep up with my needs.

    The D40 was also much more pickier with lenses, since their lens mounts do not have the built-in focus drive motors, and since I had a few lenses already, I did not want to put them out of use and invest in new AF-S and AF-I lenses. And while I often do manual focus, you will have to love the autofocus speed and control you get with the D200′s 11-area TTL focus.

    The D200′s built-in flash can also be used as a commander unit for use with Nikon’s Creative Lighting System. In other words, you can control an SB-600/SB-800 flash remotely without the need for additional equipment, save for the flash unit itself of course. The only other cameras that can do this is the D70, but it was already aging and has a smaller LCD screen.

    D200 As Commander

    So why buy a 2-year old product second-hand? Simply put, it gets all the technology I need in my hands at the right price. Since the D300 just got introduced, people who have lots of money or people who think they need features that the D200 lacks would be strolling off with their new buys. I on the other hand have done my homework and am confident to say I don’t need those 3 or 4 bells and whistles for more than twice the price. Besides, I’m in Japan so I’m pretty confident when the tag doesn’t indicate any damage that the previous owner took care of this D200. Plus Japanese are known to be prone to upgrade quickly, so that’s good enough for me. :)

    Edit: I just found out that my D200′s shutter actuations was only less than 28K when I bought it! Yippee!:D

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  • January 27, 2008 /  Lifestyle, Photography, Tech Stuff

    Akihabara Adventure Begins!Well, so I was in Tokyo, THE big city of Japan.

    First stop, of course, as the owner of this blog, has to be one of the key destinations in Tokyo, Akihabara Electric Town or Akiba for short. Well, actually, we were supposed to go to Tokyo Disneyland first but tickets were sold out so…

    Anyway, it was just after Christmas, and right before New Year and me and my girlfriend’s 3rd Anniversary (yup, same day), so for a gift that can cover all three bases,

    Canon TX1

    the Canon TX1 more than just handles that requirement, topping off even the Sony T70. Both had face recognition and image stabilization. It wasn’t an easy decision, with the ultra-sleek design and touch screen of the T70, and being cheaper by Y10,000 further compounded the difficulty of that decision. But ultimately, it came down to the nitty-gritty specs and practical capabilities of the Canon TX1 that subdued all the glitz and glamor of the T70. While it sounds cool to control your camera via a touch-screen LCD, it’s use was just not practical enough to replace solid physical controls, of which the TX1 has plenty. The TX1 not only had better optical zoom and larger optics, a separate video record button, the capability to record 16:9 videos, a solid body and a form-factor most suited for taking steady photos and videos. And while the LCD screen is smaller, it can however swivel around, useful when you’re shooting above your head, shooting yourself, or if you just need a mirror. Of course, the Y10,000 discount we got was certainly a big bonus and bumped the T70 out the window.:)

    Aside from the TX1, I also bought myself my own Christmas/New Year/Anniversary present, but I’ll tell you more about it in my next post. For now, here’s a picture of Akihabara at night, taken from the TX1.

    (Click on the thumbnail for the bigger picture)Akiba At Night

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  • I went to my brother’s wedding last week. During the reception was a slide show of their pictures, coupled with music. It was a great presentation. But what I noticed was that I could do this as well. The music wasn’t attached to the slide show, it was a separately playing live music. F-Spot TransitionAnd the slide show, which was run on a Mac laptop, was the built-in Mac slide show utility. F-Spot, GThumb, or the image viewer, which are all built into Ubuntu, can do the same thing that that Mac was doing–fading in and out picture after consecutive picture. And with RhythmBox, XMMS, or your favorite media player playing in the background, you got yourself a whole Linux roadshow. Of course, getting great pictures to show is another matter altogether, but a matter out of the scope of this post.

    During that trip as well, I visited an old friend that now runs Photo Story Creations, a shop that puts your pictures on mugs, pillows, even tiles, as a mosaic or just a straightforward picture. Imagination’s the limit to what you can do with their products, you just need to tell them what you want to be done with your pictures. Having previously used trialware mosaic programs during my Windows days, I poked around in Synaptics Package Manager to see if I can find a mosaic application for Linux.

    Sure enough, there was a fast, little program called Metapixel. It´s actually two small programs: metapixel-prepare and the main metapixel program. Sample Metapixel OutputThe metapixel-prepare program lets you choose a source directory of pictures and a target directory to use as a picture library for metapixel. Creating a mosaic takes around 3 1/2 minutes, which is already comparatively faster to other mosaic programs. But this speed advantage really comes in handy when you´re making mosaics using the library, since only half a minute is used for the actual creation of the mosaic. The other 3 minutes is used for preparing the library, which is a one time deal in this case.

    One thing that might turn off some users is that Metapixel is a command-line program. But it’s not really that hard to use. To prepare the library, you use the following command: metapixel-prepare Desktop/sourcepictures Desktop/librarydir Afterwards, just type in
    metapixel --metapixel input.jpg output.png --library Desktop/librarydir --cheat=30 The input file is the target image that you want your mosaic will look like and the output is, of course, the final image that will be produced. Notice that I put in a –cheat=30. What that actually does is overlay a 30%-opaque final image on to the mosaic, similar to the flower mosaic above. Unless you have a really vast library of pictures with all possible colors and you’re going to create a pretty big mosaic, this option can come in pretty handy. There are also other options, like the collage option. The difference between a collage and a classic mosaic is that the classic mosaic lays out your pictures in a perfect grid, while pictures in a collage can overlap each other.

    Another cool tool that should be in the toolbox of the Linux photographer is Hugin Panorama Photo Stitcher. It features tools for correcting perspective, and of course, stitching tools for creating panoramas.

    Hugin Panorama

    To stitch photos, all you need to do is create points in your pictures to help the program automatically stitch your photos. In the example above, Hugin automatically adjusted for the perspective distortion effect of my camera, stitching three photos seamlessly. You may also want to check out the official Hugin stitching online tutorial.

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