Monday, December 20, 2010

Free High Definition Screensaver

Christmas is at the door, so I decided to put on line for my readers a relaxing and soothing screensaver made from a HD video I recorded this year in a Buddhist temple in Asia. You just have to download the file (71 MB), copy it somewhere on your computer, right click to install et Voila!. Hope you wil enjoy it and I wish you happy holidays!

Visit my special Collection at StockPhotoMotion

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Multimedia Tour of Downtown Los Angeles

Los Angeles, second largest city in the United States stretches on an amazing 80 kilometers from north to south.  As a former New Yorker, the first thing that struck me  is that everybody has its own car and drive it even within walking distance. It is then  not too surprising to learn that the first metro line was built only in 1990. It is good to know that trains   do not run on a tight schedule  so you have to expect some waiting time at the platform, enough to take pictures:)

Detail of a subway car in Los Angeles California

Entrance of Hollywood Highland  Metro Rail in Los Angeles

Detail of Los Angeles downtown metro system

Exiting the Metro Rail’s red line at Persching square and you are in the heart of LA’s historic downtown. If you walk west towards the financial district, you will be meet by impressive soaring skyscrapers.

Walking only few  block  east from Persching square and you will be in narrow  streets  where you might do feel  noticeably less secure. Do not forget to look up, to catch some interesting views on  historic buildings.

Modern skyscrapers soaring in downtown Los Angeles HDR processed, Modern skyscrapers soaring in downtown Los Angeles HDR processed

Old building in the historic district of Los Angeles

Going back to Persching square and walking towards the Civic center metro  station, the futurist Wall Disney Concert Hall is hard to miss. A visual delight for photographers, this building is the work of Pritzker Prize-winning architect Franck Ghery who also designed the  Guggenheim museum in Bilbao. Walking along  South Grand  avenue gives you an always changing perspective on the beautiful facade and at night, the building reveals its golden  metallic beauty.

Los Angeles Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles  finished in 2003 and designed by Franck Ghery

Los Angeles Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles  finished in 2003 and designed by Franck Ghery

details of a modern building in downtown Los Angeles

Los Angeles California City Hall  at dusk 

From the top of the stairs on the left side of the building, you can get a good view of the City Hall. And walking to the back of a building  will surprise you with a nice touch of nature.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

New microstock distribution tools

Distribution is  very important in  stock photography and a  quite  time  consuming task. when uploading to multiple agencies.  Isyndica lead the way but unfortunately closed down in 2010. Since then   some new tools are available either online or via a desktop program.

  • Microstocksubmitter

Microstocksubmitter, developed by microstock contributor Yermolayev Konstantin is a standalone application capable of  uploading  pictures to many stock agencies. It is not an "upload once "product, however the  big advantage  is that, you can  (for 7 agencies so far) select categories  and  your attach model releases from the application itself  which  is a real time saver. Pop up window sale reports are also available and are working  for DT,SS,FT,CSP, 123RF,IS, Veer at the moment.

Automatic  submission  (model release attached and submitted)
Shutterstock,Fotolia,Dreamstime,DepositPhoto,Veer, Canstockphoto,Bigstockphoto,123RF,Istock,Graphic Leftovers.

Final submission and upload of  model releases necessary: Stockfresh,Scanstockphoto,Yaymicro,Zoonar,
(MR not needed), mostphotos (MR not needed).
With the free version of Microstocksubmitter, you can distribute up to 50 files per channel per month. If needed, you can upgrade your account to submit up to 333 files  for  $7  a  month or  choose  the   unlimited uploads option for $15 a month. A version for unlimited uploads  not limited in time can be purchased for $250.

Pros: free account available, automatic final submission (categories,  model release) for the main 4 stock agencies. Frequent updates.
Cons: the same has to be uploading to each channel

If you are interested by  Microstocksubmitter I will appreciate if you sign up under my email Thanks:)

  • PicWorkflow

 PicWorkflow (referral link included)  was developped by  Robert  Davies, also behind the development of Picniche. Taking the philosophy of Isyndica PicWorkflow is a powerful platform to upload once and distribute to multiple agencies. Statistics and promoting tools as well as retouching are also avalaible.
For cost calculation, files are segmented by 22MB blocks so most of pictures will cost 1 credit (1 US cent) to distribute to one channel and a 35MB photo for example will cost 2 credits to distribute. A 500MB movie file would cost 25 credits (25 US cents) to distribute per channel.
Once uploaded using an ftp client like Filezilla,  files are stored seven days and subsequently deleted.It is however possible to extend their storage life by paying an additional fee. I am using picWorkflow to syndicate videos to Pond5, Clipcanvas, Shutterstock  and Revostock and as a former Isyndica user, I am very pleased with the service so far.

Pros:  Upload once, multichannel distribution. Footage distribution. Storage option available.
Cons: Login necessary for final submission of pictures. no IPTC reading for footage. Interface not so intuitive.

  • LightBurner

LighBurner, like picWorkflow, is another  ''upload once'' distribution tool developed by David Mail already behind  Prostockmaster and Pixamba. It is hard to believe but Lightburner is free so far to distribute pictures to 13 photo agencies.  Like picWorfkflow, you have to  send your files by ftp then login into the online platform to distribute your work. Lightburner looks  promising as Analytics and  promotion tools will be included soon as well as a  full integration  with Prostockmaster. I expect also the platform to be capable to distribute footage in the near future and it will be interesting  then to compare  fees with picWorkflow.

Pros: Free. Upload once, multichannel distribution.No upload limits. Automatic final submission fo some agencies.
Cons:  No footage distribution. Pictures get erased from the server after 3 days with no option available for permanent storage. Bugs still exist (duplicates).

  • What are the challenges for distributors?
Challenges are both technical and financial. for distributors. We saw in the past with Isyndica that a great distribution platform alone is not enough, the venture has to be profitable as well. Due to the small amount of contributors willing to pay for this service   and the because of the small margins, it has either has to be a one man operation or one of the tool of an existing company.
Distributors can also provide promotion, keywording, statistics, retouching  tools which can add value to their product and increase their margin.

Regarding the technical part, contributors with paid accounts expect a reliable good technical support and frequent updates from the distributor and it is not easy task as agencies do not not really support them.
Due to the storage place, distribution  is expected  to be a challenge as well especially with heavy contributors who have 1000's of clips ready to upload.