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Business / Philosophy of Photography Taking pics is one thing, but understanding why we take them, what they mean, what they are best used for, how they effect our reality -- all of these and more are important issues of the Philosophy of Photography. One of the best authors on the subject is Susan Sontag in her book "On Photography."

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Taking away luck in street photography ?
Old 06-23-2014   #1
katrak
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Taking away luck in street photography ?

[I'm not sure if this is the right forum, so please move if not]

I have spent the last few days using a Panasonic GH4.

This camera allows you to shoot video at 4k, [which equates to 24 x 8mp files a second, any of which you can extract from the video feed], so a 40 minute walk down your high street with indiscriminate shooting could give you up to c. 72,000 frames to choose from.

Cameras like this could herald a new era in documentary / street photography (although not necessarily for the better).

With more discriminate use, this technology could dramatically increase the yield of quality street photography - no more closed eyes..catching that decisive moment etc. The quality is also only going to get better with time.

I've written more at http://picabroad.com/panasonic-gh4-t...t-photography/ and will update this page as I get used to this very new and exciting technology.

Oh...and it's an excellent stills camera as well !

Below are a few examples of the video grabs from the camera and a couple of full sized jpegs are on the website.



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Old 06-23-2014   #2
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This looks promising. Love to see more !
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Old 06-23-2014   #3
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It's a different mindset and people will react differently to one constantly rolling video and someone quickly bringing a camera to their eye for a second or two. It's interesting, but there still is room for traditional photo capture.
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Old 06-23-2014   #4
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This technology will not herald a new era of street photography because there is more to the art form then simply putting a photo device on record. OP has shown a few "grabs." Go out for 5 hours, and show us one great shot, or 2 excellent shots, or 5 good shots. As a photographer who shoots digital and film, there is something about martial art like about making each shot on a 12-exposure roll count.
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Old 06-23-2014   #5
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I think the point is being missed, yes you as an individual may well prefer to develop the skill of capturing the single image and draw satisfaction from the idea of it, but if the technology develops so you can pull the same quality of image from a video stream then it is a game changer.
Will the viewer of a great photograph know or care if it's a single capture or pulled from a video stream. It will be interesting to see how these developing technologies are adopted by working professionals. I can't see how being able to pull the optimum single image from a video feed could be bettered by the same operator using a conventional camera, and a good photographer would quickly home in on the worthwhile frames to choose from, you wouldn't be editing 75000 frames.
Like the diffrence from fly fishing to going to sea in a trawler.

Last edited by bobbyrab : 06-23-2014 at 05:09. Reason: Typo
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Old 06-23-2014   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NY_Dan View Post
As a photographer who shoots digital and film, there is something about martial art like about making each shot on a 12-exposure roll count.
Conversely though, there are not any stats connected to photography either... museums, magazines, galleries, etc don't put info like "it took 127 shots to make this photo, therefore it is inferior" or "this fine photo was made using one frame of 35mm film."
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Old 06-23-2014   #7
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Video does not solve the fundamental photographic problem, which is this: what is it that is worth photographing? Sure, use video and you may end up with a lucky shot now and then. (A couple of people have shown this to be possible, using the vast resources of Google street view.) But don't think indiscriminate shooting will be less work. Editing in particular will be a new form of torture.

If you know what you're after, a few shots will be as good as 72,000 frames. And if you don't, 7,200,000 will not be enough.

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Old 06-23-2014   #8
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i think it will lead to further dilution of the "artist" image of the street photographer.
It's already diluted in general about photographer - with today's access to digital cameras of extreme high picture quality by the push of a button, "everybody's a photo artist" i.e. the signal disappears in the noise
this trend will just continue, there'll be plenty browsing thorugh those 72 thousand frames to put the most perfect (boring) in front as "street photography art" by that changing the standards and the perception of the large public on what it "should" look like and shifting focus to technically perfect frames...
A bit like it happened with horror/action movies, from the black and white hitchcock movies to the 3D special-effect-after-special-effect, multi surround standard of today which is almost a requirement for a succesful movie and this leaves no time for character development nor needs any intellectual contribution from the viewer himself.
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Old 06-23-2014   #9
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I enjoy looking at other people's street photographs, but the ones that are most important to me are the one's I take.
And this latest of the "solutions to non-existent problems" that we are bombarded with literally every day by the makers of electronic "devices" will not make any difference in my life.
I'll just continue to take photos with my laughably outdated, hopelessly primitive manual focus film cameras from the previous century, as I've been doing reasonably well for the last 37 years.
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Old 06-23-2014   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NY_Dan View Post
This technology will not herald a new era of street photography because there is more to the art form then simply putting a photo device on record. OP has shown a few "grabs." Go out for 5 hours, and show us one great shot, or 2 excellent shots, or 5 good shots. As a photographer who shoots digital and film, there is something about martial art like about making each shot on a 12-exposure roll count.
Actually, I think OP's #1 is a really excellent image - but I completely agree with your position. I am always cognizant of how many shots are left, and always mindful to connect better with the subject and not waste them. If I was basically an editor looking through hours of footage for the 'magic moments', where would I be in the process? I might as well station some hidden cameras on the street.
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Old 06-23-2014   #11
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New camera excitement
First b/w panorama is good one.

But how boring and time consuming it is to shovel through 72K of frames to find one which is takeible as single shot anyway. Worst than spray shooting. Could you tag, mark in/out instantly while going on this "surveillance" mode around streets corners?
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Old 06-23-2014   #12
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Leaving aside the mindset difference and any personal issues one might have with this technique, I agree that this will not solve some of the fundamental problems with street photography as others have mentioned: what do I photograph, how do I frame it, how do I take a photo that is impactful, etc.
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Old 06-23-2014   #13
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Ok say your favourite photographer sees something they think worthwhile photographing, their normal practise might be to take 3-4 frames then choose at the edit stage which to print, however the shot they like best compositionally, the subject has half blinked and looks odd.
If instead they see something worth photographing they shoot 5 seconds of video which gave them 400 frames, they then review the film in real time, and can identify the specific section they like best, so now they quickly narrow the selection down to the same composition as they had in the previous scenario, but a split second earlier without the blink. Is it now less of a photograph, and more importantly how would you know which scenario was used.
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Old 06-23-2014   #14
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Another thing, why are you all assuming hours of video being shot, this is video used by a photographer looking for single images, you choose what to photograph and how to compose in exactly the same way, you just take a burst of video instead of 1,2 or 3 shots.
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Old 06-23-2014   #15
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Holding this video camera to one's eye continuously and walking the streets negatively affects how subjects behave. It also requires the photographer to constantly operate the camera. This is a disadvantage because before one shoots one needs to observe. One could observe for hours without finding a shot worth taking. So far, OP has not shown a good street photo made from continuous capture. If one wants the in between shots they can use a camera with a motor drive. A short burst of five photos should accomplish this goal.

The primary benefit of high resolution video shooting is for when there are reasons for not having a separate still photographer. One shoots the video -- which is the main product, say at an event, and then later can pull printable frames for publication or in the case of a wedding, an album.

I've examined videos specifically looking for individual frames that would make a great still, and what I notice is that the strength of individual frames are significantly weaker than the product of a still shooter. The video on the surface looks great -- but it is the transition from frame to frame that makes this so. The approach is not equivalent. I put it to the OP, show me the money (shots)
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Old 06-23-2014   #16
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You don't have to video for minutes... you could just take 2-3 second video clips of the same scene you'd photograph and effectively not change a scene since the camera would only be up to your eye for the same amount of time as a still photo. I'm not saying this is what i want to do, but to say this technology could not be used similarly to still photos is simply untrue.
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Old 06-23-2014   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NY_Dan View Post

I've examined videos specifically looking for individual frames that would make a great still, and what I notice is that the strength of individual frames are significantly weaker than the product of a still shooter. The video on the surface looks great -- but it is the transition from frame to frame that makes this so. The approach is not equivalent. I put it to the OP, show me the money (shots)
This is everything to do with the technology and the quality of single frames pulled from video, but if that quality was indistinguishable from a stills camera how would you know how it was shot.
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Old 06-23-2014   #18
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For effective images, the "pick a frame from a video stream" approach doesn't really work. At 24 frames a second at, for example, 1/125 exposure per frame you are actually only recording 20% of the time; at 1/250 it drops to less than 10%. Therefore, there is an extremely high probability that you don't actually capture the good parts...

This, as opposed to consciously shooting single frames where you anticipate the moment all the elements come together is going to be much more fruitful in delivering worthwhile results.
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Old 06-23-2014   #19
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In the hands of a good photographer, I don't see why this technique would not produce good photographs. You do lose one tool, which is control of the shutter speed. You are essentially always shooting at 1/24 (for cameras that shoot 24 frames per second). Not enough to freeze fast moving subjects. Though, of course, not every photo needs this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbyrab View Post
Ok say your favourite photographer sees something they think worthwhile photographing, their normal practise might be to take 3-4 frames then choose at the edit stage which to print, however the shot they like best compositionally, the subject has half blinked and looks odd.
If instead they see something worth photographing they shoot 5 seconds of video which gave them 400 frames, they then review the film in real time, and can identify the specific section they like best, so now they quickly narrow the selection down to the same composition as they had in the previous scenario, but a split second earlier without the blink. Is it now less of a photograph, and more importantly how would you know which scenario was used.
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Old 06-23-2014   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbyrab View Post
This is everything to do with the technology and the quality of single frames pulled from video, but if that quality was indistinguishable from a stills camera how would you know how it was shot.
Well, I believe one of the OP's points is that high res video can make almost anyone capable of producing great street photos -- the premise being that with the camera constantly on something good will be captured, or at the very least, the photographer will not have to choose a perfect/decisive moment to shoot.

Now some have opined that the camera won't be on continuously but only for 2-3 second bursts -- well then, a motor drive still camera would achieve the same result. To use a 4K camera as a still camera is possible, but then why not just use a still with a motor drive. I agree, one can't always tell what recoding medium was used to make an image.
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Old 06-23-2014   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NY_Dan View Post
Well, I believe one of the OP's points is that high res video can make almost anyone capable of producing great street photos -- the premise being that with the camera constantly on something good will be captured, or at the very least, the photographer will not have to choose a perfect/decisive moment to shoot.

Now some have opined that the camera won't be on continuously but only for 2-3 second bursts -- well then, a motor drive still camera would achieve the same result. To use a 4K camera as a still camera is possible, but then why not just use a still with a motor drive. I agree, one can't always tell what recoding medium was used to make an image.
Actually what he said was you could shoot for 40 mins and get 72000 frames, but he then suggested that it could be used by a street photographer using it more discriminately, which I've then hijacked as short video bursts.
I was thinking of how this would play out once the technology improves, who knows where it will be in 20 years, as for now, no, it's not there yet, but if the frame rate could be improved sufficiently it would certainly be quieter than a motor drive.
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Old 06-23-2014   #22
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Spray and Pray taken to the extreme. I like technology and have embraced digital totally but this isn't photography, it'd videography. I have a hard time accepting "the decisive moment" when plucked from a video feed.
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Old 06-23-2014   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by v_roma View Post
You are essentially always shooting at 1/24 (for cameras that shoot 24 frames per second). Not enough to freeze fast moving subjects. Though, of course, not every photo needs this.
This is not correct. Video does not shoot continuously, it shoots discreetly. At 24 frames per second, each frame might, for example be 1/125 each. This would mean that you would have 1/125 of image capture time per frame followed by 4/125 of no capture time between frames. This is why in my previous post I was highlighting the ineffectiveness of this approach - @1/125 you are only capturing images 20% of the time.
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Old 06-23-2014   #24
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Oh, and it isn't luck in the hands of a good street photographer.
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Old 06-23-2014   #25
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Thanks, I stand corrected.

Quote:
Originally Posted by craygc View Post
This is not correct. Video does not shoot continuously, it shoots discreetly. At 24 frames per second, each frame might, for example be 1/125 each. This would mean that you would have 1/125 of image capture time per frame followed by 4/125 of no capture time between frames. This is why in my previous post I was highlighting the ineffectiveness of this approach - @1/125 you are only capturing images 20% of the time.
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Old 06-23-2014   #26
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I read these comments with fascination !

To be clear, anyone who presses record, goes for a walk for an hour and expects a a dozen (or even one) masterpiece(s) awaiting him or her is utterly deluded.

While this technology will eventually make some impact on the street photography genre it will never eradicate the cold hard slog of looking for the elements of composition, sizing up a vantage point, waiting for the actors to appear on stage or for the light to be just right

But capturing fleeing gestures, glances and movements is different. Two people gesticulating wildly on a street corner ? A man running after a dog running after a rat ?

Used with restraint this technology will make a difference (and especially for documentary purposes) and in 5 years time, you could probably extrapolate the current 8mp jpegs to 24mp Raws.

Some technical points you've brought up - although the frame rate is 25 or 30 per second, you can change the duration of each frame's exposure to up to 1/6000 of a second - so in effect you end up with 30 pictures frozen at that speed.

And yes, you could leave the camera running like this until the SD card is full (64GB equates to 40 minutes).

As for editing, using Lightroom you can play the video at normal speed and when something grabs your attention freeze it, jiggle the frames forward and back and then grab the one you want. In this way 72,000 theoretical frames takes about an hour or so to cull.

Don't forget that some of the great street photographer took frame after frame to the point of obsession - Winogrand took 5,000,000 plus pictures in his life time (and died not having looked at 400,000 of them)

But it's early days....I've only been out for 30 minutes with this toy so far...
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Old 06-23-2014   #27
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... but then sometimes street photographers strike back ... and still looked dead cool as they did it

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Old 06-23-2014   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craygc View Post
This is not correct. Video does not shoot continuously, it shoots discreetly. At 24 frames per second, each frame might, for example be 1/125 each. This would mean that you would have 1/125 of image capture time per frame followed by 4/125 of no capture time between frames. This is why in my previous post I was highlighting the ineffectiveness of this approach - @1/125 you are only capturing images 20% of the time.
Good info, thanks for pointimg this out
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Old 06-23-2014   #29
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@NY Dan: With the Lumix G series cameras a person doesn't have to put the camera to one's eye to compose. You can flip out the rear LCD for waist-level viewing. Like Vivian Meier at 24 shots per second!

If I were doing this, I'd only record video when a likely scene was coming together. It would more resemble one of Winogrand's contact sheets.

Of course, someone will likely make an app that uses scene recognition to determine the "best" street composition out of the thousands of likely candidates. Maybe a "Garry Mode," or "Henri Mode," or "Daido Mode" to choose from!

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Old 06-23-2014   #30
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I think technically, if we assume that street photographers capture moments, without interfering too much, then you could get excellent photos just by leaving a few HD cameras on record in strategic places around a city. I can't really think of any reason why that would not be true, perhaps lovers of razor thin DOF might not get what they're after, but other than that, why could it not work?

It does sound like a very tedious hobby though.
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Old 06-23-2014   #31
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Interesting. Will likely have it's uses, like burst mode. Overgaard says he has his M9 shutter release always set to C, continuous. One problem with the video frame approach is the opportunity cost of being pointed in one direction waiting for the decisive momemnt, rather than having the camera inactive, using one's eyes, with FOV of >180˚, ears and nose and other senses to sniff out the next photograph.
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Old 06-24-2014   #32
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I think I will try this technology when it will be a bit more mature for sport. There I can see
a clear advantage since we have only a limited reaction time (going down each year) and athletes and their devices are getting faster and faster every year...

For casual street photography it sounds like a torture to me...and not that fun after all.

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Old 06-25-2014   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darthfeeble View Post
I have a hard time accepting "the decisive moment" when plucked from a video feed.
Was the real purpose of "the decisive moment" to show your prowess at target practice? or was it to make a great photograph using the technology of that time?
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Old 06-25-2014   #34
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I find it painful enough going through the "take" from the day using a still camera. (Digital vs film hasn't made that much difference either: I can recall going through 2-4 rolls of 36 in a day, frequently, when it was much easier to have C-41 developed and scanned in same-day processing.) If going through 140-odd frames is/was scary, the thought of trying the same thing with 387,491 stills captured from a video feed makes various of my parts retract way too far.

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Old 06-26-2014   #35
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A skilled photographer could absolutely produce good images using this method, but the end product is still affected by choice: where the video camera was pointed, lighting, framing, timing, operator skill (exposed well, under/over etc.) - all still apply. And then once this massive pile of visual information is processed, the editing would be the next crucial step determining the nature of the final image. This is of course not a new concept - but taking stills from motion pictures works if the motion pictures are well conceived.
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Old 06-28-2014   #36
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Why not use somebody elses video feed,......stay in and watch the football.
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Old 06-28-2014   #37
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Why not use somebody elses video feed,......stay in and watch the football.
The perfect analysis! Unless you know when to press the button (having THOUGHT beforehand), it doesn't matter whether you take 1 photo/second or 100 photos/second.

Cheers,

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Old 06-28-2014   #38
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Old 06-28-2014   #39
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Quote:
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Of course, someone will likely make an app that uses scene recognition to determine the "best" street composition out of the thousands of likely candidates. Maybe a "Garry Mode," or "Henri Mode," or "Daido Mode" to choose from!

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Agreed. Any idiot can leave their google glasses in record mode all day. The software will determine a 'hit or a miss'. This sort of recognition software could even contain a biomarker of the designer or someone no longer with us. Maybe we could dig up Hank? We're gonna need a dna sample. (lol)
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Old 06-28-2014   #40
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Originally Posted by DougFord View Post
Agreed. Any idiot can leave their google glasses in record mode all day. The software will determine a 'hit or a miss'. This sort of recognition software could even contain a biomarker of the designer or someone no longer with us. Maybe we could dig up Hank? We're gonna need a dna sample. (lol)
Go a step further and put a dozen video cameras on a quadcopter drone and let it roam around the city for an afternoon. Face recognition software will pull out the best stills. Automated scriots will put them together into a blurb book, and publish it for you.

Now that's what I call automation!
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