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Sunday, November 21, 2010

••◊ Web tablets - They do have a use after all.

By way of my day job I picked up an HP eStation printer a few weeks ago, which just happens to come with an Android web pad ("Zeen") as the printer's control panel! Obviously the play here is to get people to print from the web, but as a photographer and cinematographer I'm finally finding out what all the iPad tablet religion is about since the HP device shares many of the same core capabilities. After all, who really need yet another device with a web browser and the ability to play Angry Birds? ...Yes, the HP web pad plays Angry Birds too, but it properly prints just about anything from the web.

In my particular case I was able to take the tablet to a client this week and review some example inspirational pictures before her shoot. Instead of just using words we were able to share a banter back and forth using a hundred images and she clearly told me what she wanted. I could watch her facial expression and eyes to see how she responded to each image...much more powerful than a business conversation with precariously vague descriptions flying around the room. Well known creatives such as Vincent Laforet and Stu Maschwitz have blogged in the past about using an iPad as an collaboration tool with client. I'm slow, but finally catching on.

Another useful feature is while I'm at a client's location I can say..."oh, by the way we shoot video too. Wanna see?" Normally I would have to send them to this blog and they would have to use the left navigation pane to link to the videos. Now I can just say..."oh, by the way we shoot video" and have it playing before they can give me that disdainful look of, "are you really going to make me dig for your video online when I have more important (i.e. interesting) things to do."

All the media is stored an an SD card, so it's just a matter of rendering the pictures out at 800 pixels wide. Same for the video, but the main codec seems to be MPEG-4 (no Quicktime wrappers please) at 2Mbit/s. I believe Microsoft's WMV codec is supported too up to 720p. Unless you're a techie, no one really cares what codec you render too, so I just stick with a straight-up MP4.

Battery life seems to be OK, as I left the eStation tablet (a.k.a. "Zeen") on for half a day at the shoot with Izar a couple weeks ago. It still had battery life to burn.

What's next...making me get a cell phone? Let's not get all crazy here.

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