Study: Using filters on your photos means more views.

Did you know that adding filters to your photos can result in more views and comments? Well the clever bods at Yahoo Labs have just released a very interesting study on ‘Why We Filter Our Photos and How It Impacts Engagement’ and having crunched a whole lot of numbers they found that “filtered photos are 21% more likely to be viewed and 45% more likely to be commented on by consumers of photographs.”

“We analyzed how filters affect a photo’s engagement (consumers’ perspective) using a corpus of 7.6 million Flickr photos. We find two groups of serious and casual photographers among filter users. The serious see filters as correction tools and prefer milder effects. Casual photographers, by contrast, use filters to significantly transform their photos with bolder effects. We also find that filtered photos are 21% more likely to be viewed and 45% more likely to be commented on by consumers of photographs.”

Wow! When the sheer volume of smartphone images shared online is so massive (apparently Instagram averages 60 million images uploaded a day, and the iPhone is Flickr‘s most popular camera), will a little filtering really help you get noticed amongst all those pictures?

A lack of views can leave you feeling deflated.
A lack of views can leave you feeling deflated.

There are other elements to take into account of course. The number of followers you have and having an image with a lot of views already automatically puts you high up in the social networking charts and makes sure even more people see your images. Plus, a high level of social interactivity online will also result in more views and more comments on your own work but still, that’s quite some quantitative analysis they’ve done there!

The study found two distinct groups amongst the filter-using photographers on Flickr – the serious hobbyist and the casual photographer – and according to their study the serious photographer uses a more delicate touch, preferring to use correction tools and less obvious filters while the casual photographers like a big, bold, image changing effect on their pictures.  Continue reading

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Amateur Astronomer Detects Exoplanet using low-end DSLR and $92 Lens

This DIY rig and some free software is all David Schneider needed to detect a known exoplanet.
This DIY rig and some free software is all David Schneider needed to detect a known exoplanet.

Just five years ago NASA launched the Keplar spacecraft into orbit at a cost of $600 million dollars on a quest to search our Milky Way galaxy for signs of exoplanets, or planets orbiting stars other than our own. In November, amateur astronomer David Schneider managed to detect one in his back yard using less than $500 of DSLR equipment. In fact, he didn’t even use a telescope.

Schneider, also a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum like the rest of us thought that only hardcore astronomers using expensive imaging and radio equipment had the tools to detect exoplanets. That was until he came across the KELT-North project by Ohio State university. whereby a group of students who had repurposed a CCD sensor to a high end camera lens and were able to detect several previously known exoplanets. With the amateur astrophotographer in mind, Schneider challenged himself with visualising an exoplanet with standard camera equipment.

Apart from requiring a standard sky tracker mount – An electronic geared system that guides your camera along the equatorial, thereby following the night sky – which would cost anywhere between $100-$1000 the only tools needed for the job were a DSLR camera, tripod and telephoto lens. What makes this even more remarkable is that Schneider used a $72 Nikon lens, with a Canon convertor ring to do the job – Heath Robinson or what?

Schneiders DIY Exoplanet Detecting Kit
Schneiders DIY Exoplanet Detecting Kit

The star chosen in question was HD189733, known to home a massive Jupiter sized planet that orbits the star once every three days. Perfect for this experiment. What Schneider would be looking out for is the transit period, where the planet passes in front of its home star thus causing a dip in brightness. This is known as transit photometry, the most commonly known way to discover exoplanets.

The dip in brightness is unfortunately too insignificant to visualise in a pair of photo frames, not to mention the many variables that would effect any attempt at detection this way, so Schneider downloaded some free software to automatically analyse the different frames taken which revealed, as expected a transit period of about 1 hour and 48 minutes. The data visualised into a photometry chart reveals, with no stretch of the imagination a dip in brightness. We are sure that if the experiment was repeated several times the curve would only get more apparent.

Light Curve Obtained during Exoplanet Transit
Light Curve Obtained during Exoplanet Transit

What I feel is most important about Schneider’s ‘discovery’ is that even though this particular exoplanet is a well known object, it proves that anybody with a camera and just enough knowledge can search for their very own exoplanets. I hope, no, I expect the first completely amateur exoplanet discovery to be made soon and I believe David Schneider will be able to take some credit in that.

h/t Petapixel via Spectrum IEEE

The ‘Wobble’ Made Whilst Holding a Video Camera is as Unique as a Fingerprint

Remember this? Go-Pro wearing robber terrofies shoppers in Italy.
Remember this? Go-Pro wearing robber terrofies shoppers in Italy.

Surveillance just added another weapon to its growing arsenal; identification by wobble, or as described in the recently published paper in Egocentric Video Biometrics “a person’s gait.”

Using data compiled from videos created by GoPro cameras mounted onto the helmets of 34 different subjects, researchers Yedid Hoshen & Shmuel Peleg of Cornell University were able to identify unique signatures in the differentiating wobble from just four seconds of camera footage. This, they say will compromise ego-centric (mounted) camera wearers anonymity, although it could have some benevolent uses. Your newly purchased camera can be tailored to recognise only your movements which may prevent some thefts, or user analytics on video sharing websites.

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One of the Go-Pro Hero3 cameras mounted to a baseball cap.

The experiment has only so far been performed with baseball cap mounted Go-Pro cameras but researchers plan on expanding the tests to include Google Glass and body mounted surveillance cameras such as those soon to be in use after the order of 50,000 units for the US police force was approved.

Perhaps we can finally learn the truth behind the Italy Go-Pro camera robbery in which an armed robber enters a supermarket and terrifies the public whilst looting. If you’ve not seen that, you’re in for a thrill:

We’re one step closer to Completing the Circle, although I have to admit to not considering this method of surveillance before. Scary stuff or much needed improvements in tech? Leave your comments below.

h/t The Verge