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Vim Comedy Company ~ Photography News

Vim Comedy Company ~ Photography News

September 24, 2018 /Photography News/ In early years of American movies, Jacksonville, Florida, experienced a brief turn in the spotlight as one of the hubs for filmmaking on the east coast. 

The Vim Comedy Company, based in Jacksonville and New York, was one of several film studios operating in the Jacksonville area in the first three decades of the 20th century. 

Most of the images presented here were collected by one of the Vim actors, William “Billy” Bletcher (September 24, 1894 – January 5, 1979), while working at the studio between 1915 and 1917. 

Before going out of business in 1917, it employed such stars as Oliver “Babe” Hardy, Ethel Burton, Walter Stull, and Kate Price, as well as Swedish-born director Arvid Gillstrom.  

The Florida Photographic Collection contains more than 158,000 images, representing the most complete portrait of Florida available.

Motion picture scene, 1916. This image was collected by filmmaker William "Billy" Bletcher (1894-1979) while working for the Vim Comedy Company between 1915 and 1917. The small film studio was based in Jacksonville and New York. The company produced hundreds of two-reel comedies (over 156 comedies in 1916 alone). Before going out of business in 1917, it employed such stars as Oliver Hardy, Ethel Burton, Walter Stull, Arvid Gillstrom, and Kate Price. Ethel Burton (Palmer) was a popular comedic actress who made her debut with Vitagraph Pictures in 1915. She co-starred in several Billy West comedies (a popular Charlie Chaplin imitator), and was married to director Arvid Gillstrom, a Swedish-born filmmaker who directed many of the West comedies. Burton did little acting after the 1910s. Most of the films she made in Florida were with the Vim Comedy Company. Tallahassee pennant in the background. L-R: Ethel Burton Palmer, Bobby Burns, and Walter Stull.
Motion picture scene, 1916. This image was collected by filmmaker William “Billy” Bletcher (1894-1979) while working for the Vim Comedy Company between 1915 and 1917. The small film studio was based in Jacksonville and New York. The company produced hundreds of two-reel comedies (over 156 comedies in 1916 alone). Before going out of business in 1917, it employed such stars as Oliver Hardy, Ethel Burton, Walter Stull, Arvid Gillstrom, and Kate Price. Ethel Burton (Palmer) was a popular comedic actress who made her debut with Vitagraph Pictures in 1915. She co-starred in several Billy West comedies (a popular Charlie Chaplin imitator), and was married to director Arvid Gillstrom, a Swedish-born filmmaker who directed many of the West comedies. Burton did little acting after the 1910s. Most of the films she made in Florida were with the Vim Comedy Company. Tallahassee pennant in the background. L-R: Ethel Burton Palmer, Bobby Burns, and Walter Stull.
Motion picture scene, 1916. Harry Naughton, Ethel Burton, and unidentified actors. Unable to tell which individual is which.
Motion picture scene, 1916. Harry Naughton, Ethel Burton, and unidentified actors. Unable to tell which individual is which.
Motion picture scene, 1916.  L-R: Bobbie Burns, Ethel Burton, (?), and Walter Stull.
Motion picture scene, 1916.  L-R: Bobbie Burns, Ethel Burton, (?), and Walter Stull.
Motion picture scene, 1916.  L-R: Rosemary Thebe and Harry Myers.
Motion picture scene, 1916.  L-R: Rosemary Thebe and Harry Myers.
Motion picture scene, 1916.  Ethel Burton Palmer is to the left and an unknown actor to the right. Ethel Burton (Palmer) was a popular comedic actress who made her debut with Vitagraph Pictures in 1915. She co-starred in several Billy West comedies (a popular Charlie Chaplin imitator), and was married to director Arvid Gillstrom, a Swedish-born filmmaker who directed many of the West comedies. Burton did little acting after the 1910s. Most of the films she made in Florida were with the Vim Comedy Company.
Motion picture scene, 1916.  Ethel Burton Palmer is to the left and an unknown actor to the right. Ethel Burton (Palmer) was a popular comedic actress who made her debut with Vitagraph Pictures in 1915. She co-starred in several Billy West comedies (a popular Charlie Chaplin imitator), and was married to director Arvid Gillstrom, a Swedish-born filmmaker who directed many of the West comedies. Burton did little acting after the 1910s. Most of the films she made in Florida were with the Vim Comedy Company.
Motion picture scene, 1916.  L-R: Walter Stull(?), Harry Meyers, and Rosemary Thebe.
Motion picture scene, 1916.  L-R: Walter Stull(?), Harry Meyers, and Rosemary Thebe.
Motion picture scene from Strangled Harmony, 1916.  L-R: Bobby Burns, (?), Ethel Burton Palmer, (?), Walter Stull.
Motion picture scene from Strangled Harmony, 1916.  L-R: Bobby Burns, (?), Ethel Burton Palmer, (?), Walter Stull.

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Photography Shows Are Going Online Amid Pandemic

Photography Shows Are Going Online Amid Pandemic

Photography shows typically pack people and cameras into a convention hall for what many call invaluable education, critique, and networking — but in the era of COVID-19, conferences from small regional events to major productions are canceling or morphing into a virtual experience. The change may be, in part, a welcome adaptation in some ways, starting with the heavily discounted or, in some cases, free tickets. But do all of the perks of a photography show translate into an online experience?

Virtually there

From The Portrait Masters to Adobe Max, moving online-only is largely the popular move in the industry with even the Consumer Electronics Show 2021 going entirely virtual. Some, like Photokina, were outright canceled, while others, like Photoplus, are holding out hope and waiting to see what fall brings (though PhotoPlus told Digital Trends that it is developing a virtual component to go along with the show that will be officially announced soon). Sony’s usual Kando Trip morphed into KandoEverywhere, an online event August 15-16.

Photography Shows Are Going Online Amid Pandemic 1
Peter Hurley works on behind-the-scenes content for The Portrait Masters online event. The Portrait Masters

Large events aren’t simply moving to a streamed webcam experience, however, with many spending weeks recording content for the event. “We were fortunate that online education was our business. We know production and how to create amazing content better than most,” said George Varanakis, the co-founder of The Portrait Masters conference and Sue Bryce Education. “When the opportunity presented itself to go online this year, we jumped at the chance. We’ve created a unique experience for all the attendees and vendors alike. I do believe we’ll do more of these types of events in 2021 and beyond because they can also complement your in-person event as well. It gives people that have never been to any of your events a feel for what you can do in-person.”

While speeches and presentations are easily adapted to an online experience, the events are often valued for the ability to form relationships with other photographers, either commiserating with shooters at the same skill level or finding mentorship from a veteran. With online events, there is no potential for ad hoc meet-ups with other attendees or end-of-day social gatherings. 

Organizers are getting creative — and relying on technology — to sprinkle some of that networking back into the event. Varanakis says that the 2020 virtual event, slated for September 21-23, offers several different ways to network with other virtual attendees, including real-time chat pods with the speakers, Zoom meet-ups, and a virtual costume party.

This year’s Adobe Max will be both completely virtual and free, October 21 to 22, with a list of speakers from Annie Leibowitz to Keanu Reeves. Registration is now open online.

“One of the primary benefits of attending a physical event is the networking opportunities provided by coffee and lunch breaks, socializing, and, frankly, meeting someone serendipitously. It’s much harder to replicate those conditions virtually through technology,” said Julie Martin, Adobe’s senior director for trade shows and events. “This challenge presents us with opportunities to use new technologies to build relationships without physical contact. Many of these new technologies are nascent, and event producers are having to get creative by combining platforms and technologies such as chat/networking, video streaming, polling, and gamification to enable engaging experiences.”

Photography Shows Are Going Online Amid Pandemic 2
Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen adresses the crowd at the 2019 Adobe MAX. This year’s event will be entirely online. Adobe

While some experiences may be impossible to simulate with a virtual event, organizers of several shows are planning on more content than if the event were in person, reaching more attendees who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend. The Portrait Masters typically has nine speakers, but this year’s online event has more than 30 and includes more topics, including business topics and sessions addressing the challenges of working as a photographer in the middle of a pandemic. Adobe Max is planing a list of sessions that cater to a wider variety of skill levels, organizers say.

The online format also opens up sessions to more than speeches. The Portrait Masters will have Sponsored Shootouts, where viewers can go behind-the-scenes of photo shoots. Adobe Max will welcome worldwide talent for presenters and expecting a worldwide audience to tune in.

“Virtual presentations allow us to tap into creative, musical, and celebrity talent that may not have been available for the physical event,” Martin said. “In the same vein, we can engage with creatives from around the world through collaborative art projects and challenges—these activities wouldn’t have been possible for an international audience if we weren’t online.

Besides the longer list of speakers and virtual networking, the move to online events has one more major perk — cost. Adobe Max will be free this year, a big change from last year’s $1,495 early bird tickets. The Portrait Masters typically costs $1,800 to $2,500 to attend not including travel expenses, but this year’s event will be $149 for 30-day access to all the online content or $299 to download and keep the conference videos.

A Catch-22

While chat rooms and video learning will help, online events won’t be able to 100 percent replace the networking or hands-on elements of in-person photography conferences. Experienced photographers looking for a mentor to take that next step will have to work harder to connect via chat rather than social experiences that may have previously unfolded naturally in hallways, auditoriums, or dining tables. But, by going online and dropping prices, more photographers will have the chance to attend, bringing the workshop materials to new photographers who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford a ticket.

It will be interesting to watch how the perennially social photography crowd responds to all-online learning. If successful, it will call into question the need for the expense associated with in-person learning, and these organizations will have their work cut out for them if they choose to increase their prices when in-person events resume. If unsuccessful, these events and associated organizations might not be able to last another year with mounting costs and reduced income. It’s a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t situation. At this point, most are probably just trying to make it through this period and will attempt to figure out what to do next after. They’ll cross that bridge when they come to it.

Updated on Aug. 17 to include Adobe’s latest announcements and registration for Max 2020.

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Nikon Z 20mm f/1.8 S Review (on YouTube)

We just uploaded our first-ever video review to YouTube, covering the Nikon Z 20mm f/1.8 S! Check it out below if you’re interested:

Of course, we will also publish our usual review of this lens on Photography Life when possible, so keep an eye out. But the video above is similarly comprehensive as our written reviews, so if there’s anything about the Z 20mm f/1.8 that you were wondering, this should answer all your questions.

Not to spoil anything, but if sharpness is what you’re after, this lens could be an excellent choice for you!

I’d like to do more comprehensive reviews like this on our YouTube channel before long, if there’s enough interest in it. If you enjoyed this video, feel free to leave a comment (either here or on YouTube) and click the “like” button as well.

And if you would like to be notified when we release our next videos, you can subscribe to our channel here. I recommend clicking the “bell” icon under any video if you want to make sure you receive notifications; otherwise, YouTube sends them out sporadically or not at all.

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Get an exclusive extra discount on great landscape-editing software (sponsored)

Get an exclusive extra discount on great landscape-editing software (sponsored)

Some days are perfect for your outdoor photo expeditions – others are not. Don’t be put off, however, Whether you shoot Raw or JPEG, Landscape Pro from Anthropics can replace a boring sky with one from its free built-in library or another of your own sky shots. The colour, contrast and mood of the scene can be adjusted to reflect the new sky – and even reflections in water are toned naturally to the right strength. As a stand alone or plug-in, Landscape Pro has comprehensive masking and selection with intuitive familiar sliders adjusting the effect on the different areas of ground, foliage, water, mountains, sky, buildings and objects. There’s a full set of tutorial videos you can watch on the Anthropics site, and once you’ve seen these you’ll know why travel and real estate professionals use Landscape Pro.

Get an exclusive extra discount on great landscape-editing software (sponsored) 3

Here’s what AP had to say about Landscape Pro: “LandscapePro redefines the way photographers can edit their shots with a new workflow, and has powerful algorithms for selecting/masking elements within images, as well as performing tasks such as relighting a scene.”

Get an exclusive extra discount on great landscape-editing software (sponsored) 4

Landscape Pro 3 is now on special offer for a few days at 50% off PLUS another 20% if you use this exclusive code for AP readers – APJJL. Hurry, though, as this offer is time-limited. The code is valid on any Anthropics software (PortraitPro, PortraitPro Body, LandscapePro or Smart Photo Editor), new editions, upgrades, or bundles. Order from here.

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Jacqueline Bates & Amelia Lang on Student Loans, Part-Time Jobs, and Starting Careers in the Photo Industry

Jacqueline Bates & Amelia Lang on Student Loans, Part-Time Jobs, and Starting Careers in the Photo Industry

The California Sunday Magazine photography director Jacqueline Bates and Aperture associate publisher Amelia Lang recently recorded a conversation about building their careers, starting with the financial pressures and entry-level jobs that eventually led them to opportunities they never anticipated. The following is an excerpt of their full conversation, which was originally published by Rocket Science Magazine.

Amelia Lang: [W]hat has been the most precarious financial chapter of your professional life?

Jacqueline Bates: The years I was living in New York while studying at the School of Visual Arts and just starting out in magazines were the most difficult but also the most rewarding. For a few years during ungrad, when I was studying photography, I had three jobs—one was unpaid. I worked for two years at the Whitney Museum in the photo department. Another job was retouching nipples for a men’s magazine before the images went online. I babysat for the senior fashion editor at GQ every Saturday night and I did art returns for an art magazine. I always knew I wanted to work in the photography world somehow, but never as a freelance photographer. My photography was so personal—about my Italian-American family in Westchester, NY—I never thought that could translate to the editorial or commercial world. I had so many student loans and I was scared to default on them. I knew I had to get a full-time job somewhere. I looked at my friends who didn’t have those loans and they were able to take so many more chances than I ever could. I was so envious and so broke. Two weeks out of school, I got a job at Interview Magazine as their photo assistant, making less than 30K a year. It was stable. I was able to make my loan payments. I ate half a bagel for breakfast, the other half for lunch and we would always work late, even when not shipping, so I ate dinner at work a lot. Without that little perk, I wouldn’t have been able to pay rent and student loans.

…Tell me about your first years working in photo. How did you make it work?

A.L.: Similarly, I had several part-time jobs after I graduated from college. I moved back to San Francisco in 2007 from Portland, Oregon, where I studied art and U.S. history. There weren’t a lot of job opportunities in 2007-2008 (it wasn’t the best time to graduate college) and I ended up juggling several part-time projects. In doing so, however, I got to see a lot of different sides to the art world. I worked for an artist-in-residency program, managed a photographer’s studio, assisted an independent curator with a private photography collection, created a photo archive, helped to curate exhibitions, worked on arts and education initiatives, etc. It all swirled around photography—I think in part because there’s such a strong history of photography and photography community in Northern California.

J.B.: You and I did a geographical swap. You’re from Northern California, living in New York; I’m from New York, living in San Francisco. Tell me about the decision to move to New York…

A.L.: I always felt like [the Bay Area] was a special community… But eventually, it became too hard to juggle all those jobs. I also really love school, so I applied for both an internship at Aperture Foundation and a master’s degree in American Studies at Columbia University. I heard back that I was accepted at both places on the same day and I felt like it was a strong sign to make a big change. I had no money and I was twenty-five. But…I was really excited by the idea of an intense level of thinking and working. I flew across the country and into a huge snowstorm …
What did you do, work-wise, when you first landed in San Francisco?

J.B.: I moved out West to take a break from magazines but that lasted about six months. I thought I wanted to try working for a big tech company to tell stories for a global audience. And perhaps help pay off some student loans before I retire. My best friend, Carrie Levy and I art directed the rebrand campaign for Airbnb, which was a very memorable experience. To see images, shot by Emma Hardy, on billboards and buses that we had helped create and that felt a bit more artful than what you would normally expect from a tech company. We traveled around the world for six weeks, and Carrie and I still love each other to this day, ha! But as I was accepting that freelance gig out here, I met Doug McGray who was starting a new magazine [The California Sunday Magazine]. He had just asked Leo Jung to join as creative director, as the first employee. He and I met, and we chatted for a while about what the magazine might be—and he asked me to describe my photography sensibility in one word. I said: cinematic. He told me at the end of the meeting it was the same word he was using to describe what this magazine might be. I knew that I would only return to working in publishing if it was to work with kind people. Stressful work environments always stem from the top down and I feel incredibly lucky to finally work at a company that is run by a team who trusts their art department. It shouldn’t be rare in this industry, but it is.

Related articles:

Samantha Cooper and Michelle Groskopf on the Negotiating Styles of Male and Female Photographers
What I Didn’t Learn in Art School: Life Lessons from Photographers
How Several Female Photographers Got Started in Today’s Photo Market
The Cinematic Photography of The California Sunday Magazine
Who I’ve Hired: Paloma Shutes, The California Sunday Magazine

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The New Age Of Modeling

The New Age Of Modeling

The New Age Of Modeling 8

I know it’s hard to believe, but this beautiful model has no feelings or emotions. Why? Because she’s not even real. No studio was rented, no lights setup, the entire shoot never happened. No photos were taken.

The New Age Of Modeling 10

Still don’t believe me? Here’s a wireframe of the model so you can see how it was created.

The New Age Of Modeling 12

This isn’t another episode of Unsolved Mysteries mind you, but a changing environment thanks to technology. Quarantine has allowed people to be creative when it comes to being a creative. This model was made entirely in 3D software by Shavonne Wong. For those of you who aren’t aware of the process, imagine Photoshop on steroids.

Shavonne is an accomplished photographer and an inspiring human being in Singapore. Not only is she multi-talented, but she has evolved her craft even further by learning 3D. From someone who recently learned the basics of the program Blender, let me tell you it’s no joke, it’s truly immersive and takes great skill to learn and apply!

Due to lockdown measures, it inspired her to create digital models for the purpose of being able to stay creative. It’s not hard to imagine that there’s a need for models in times when you may not be able to shoot in person. This fills that gap, and also allows people to create anyone they can imagine.

Not only that, Shavonne has decided to create a 3D modeling agency called Gen V.

The New Age Of Modeling 14

As technology continues to improve, will brands begin to use digital models more to show off their product design? As it is, many photographs today of products feature 3D designed elements added into photographs. This will merely bridge the gap and bring full control over lighting, angles, posing, without ever setting up a whole team and going into a studio. However, this waits to be seen and time will only tell.

The New Age Of Modeling 16


About the author: Pratik Naik is a photo retoucher specializing in commercial and editorial work. To see his work, head over to his website or give him a follow on Instagram and Facebook. This article was also published here.

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Watch These Photographers Rescue a Roll of Film and Develop It for the First Time

Watch These Photographers Rescue a Roll of Film and Develop It for the First Time

Shooting and developing film can be equally rewarding and a major headache. See two photographers develop film for the first time and decide for yourself if you think it’s really worth the effort.

I love shooting on film, as it’s a very different beast to using digital. I like the way it slows me down and makes me think about the shot I’m about to take. I know when I come back to working with digital, I’m always more measured and appreciative of the whole picture-making process. For that reason alone, I think shooting on film from time to time can be a very positive thing for photographers to do. Saying all that, the world of analog does come with downsides too. The uncertainty you got the shot, the laborious nature of scanning negatives, and the possibility of catastrophic failure of the film when developing it are just a few of the downsides. This week, the team over at Corridor Crew takes on one of these issues by trying to develop film at home for the very first time. The video features Clinton Jones and Nick Laurant, who do their best to research the process and buy all the necessary items needed for the task. The guys first try developing black and white film and then move onto the more complex job of doing the same with a roll of color. We also see Jones rescuing a roll of film that jammed inside his camera, which is something I have also had to do on occasion.

This is a thorough video showing the highs and lows of developing film and is well worth watching if you’ve haven’t seen film developed before. By their own admission, they say they are not experts. For this reason, the video is best used as a starting point rather than a comprehensive demonstration. I have to admit that although I shoot a lot of film, I have never developed it myself. After seeing this video, I have a new appreciation for the amount of work involved in the whole process.

Do you develop your own film? Think you ever will? We’d loved to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

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Black Shark 3 Pro Audio Review

Black Shark 3 Pro Audio Review

Along the lines of its predecessor, the Black Shark 3 Pro intends to further blur the lines between a gaming phone and a hand-held console. Unveiled in May, it boasts a 7.1-inch OLED QHD+ display with a 90 Hz refresh rate and a 270 Hz touch reporting rate — the fastest to date. This third Back Shark generation is equipped with the premium-tier Snapdragon 865 processor, Xiaomi’s “Sandwich” liquid cooling technology, and of course 5G connectivity. It also offers 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of SSD storage, as well as “super fast 65 W hyper charging“.

Audio specs include two front-facing “symmetric” stereo speakers (top and bottom) which, along with the Biso Sound feature, promise to deliver an immersive audio experience, and to remain unobstructed while playing games. Unlike the Black Shark 2 Pro, the latest version includes a 3.5mm jack, which will come in handy for many game and music enthusiasts.

Audio specifications include:

  • Two front-facing stereo speakers
  • 3.5mm jack
  • Biso Sound

About DXOMARK Audio tests: For scoring and analysis in our smartphone audio reviews, DXOMARK engineers perform a variety of objective tests and undertake more than 20 hours of perceptual evaluation under controlled lab conditions. This article highlights the most important results of our testing. Note that we evaluate both Playback and Recording using only the device’s built-in hardware and default apps. (For more details about our Playback protocol, click here; for more details about our Recording protocol, click here.)

Test summary

Black Shark 3 Pro Audio Review 18

55

audio

With an overall score of 55, our DXOMARK Audio testing protocole placed the Black Shark 3 Pro just above its predecessor, the Black Shark 2 Pro, but still way behind Mi 10 Pro’s score of 76, our top-scoring phone to date, and even well below the average score of all the phones we have tested so far.

In Playback testing, while the Black Shark 3 Pro sweeps first place for the Artifacts sub-score and delivers satisfying volume results, its midrange-oriented tonal balance and lack of low-end extension deeply impairs dynamics and spatial reproduction.

However, the Biso Sound feature brings many improvements: an increased low-end extension which results in a less canny overall sound and improves bass precision as well as punch, and an enhanced high-end extension which improves localizability.  Please note our scores reflect the evaluation with default settings, which means without the Biso feature activated.

Black Shark 3 Pro Audio Review 19

Filming a Life Video with the Black Shark 3 Pro

Recording tests showed that the Black Shark substantially improved its audio performance compared to the second iteration, but still not enough to even reach an average Recording sub-score. While the device fares brilliantly in volume, it delivers a poor artifacts performance and unsatisfactory background recordings, as well as a deeply unbalanced frequency response.

Sub-scores explained

The DXOMARK Audio overall score of 51 for the Black Shark 2 Pro is derived from its Playback and Recording scores and their respective sub-scores. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at these audio quality sub-scores and explain what they mean for the user.

Playback

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Timbre

Timbre tests measure how well a phone reproduces sound across the audible tonal range and takes into account bass, midrange, treble, tonal balance, and volume dependency.

While its predecessor’s speakers timbre performance was weak-to-average, the Black Shark 3 Pro’s is even weaker, due to a particularly midrange-oriented tonal balance and a lack of low-end, especially at soft volumes. Furthermore, although midrange frequencies (mids) are prominent, voices tend to sound muffled.

Black Shark 3 Pro Audio Review 21

The Black Shark 3 Pro’s Timbre performance slightly increases better when watching movies

At maximum volume, the tonal balance is symmetrically impaired by a lack of high-end frequencies, while upper-midrange frequencies become particularly aggressive. Movies fare slightly better, with higher scores in every frequency range.

However, engaging the “Biso Sound” feature improves the bass presence, makes mids more natural and increases treble sharpness, resulting in a less canny overall sound.

Black Shark 3 Pro Audio Review 22

Dynamics

DXOMARK’s dynamics tests measure how well a device reproduces the energy level of a sound source, and how precisely it reproduces bass frequencies.

Dynamics are quite often affected by the timbre performance, which in this case means that both bass precision and punch deeply suffer from the lack of low-end extension, whereas attack is impaired by the fact that transients tend do sound a bit weak and muffled. Here again, activating the Biso Sound improves bass precision and punch.

While attack is poorer when playing games, punch and bass precision tend to perform better in this use case. The Black Shark 3 Pro ensures best playback dynamics when playing games, or when listening to Hip Hop tunes.

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Spatial

The sub-attributes for the perceptual spatial tests include localizability, balance, distance and wideness.

Thanks to the smart positioning of the speakers, wideness is fairly good. Alas, sound doesn’t follow when the user rotates the phone to inverted landscape, which means the audio’s left and right channels are inverted — quite like watching a mirrored video.

Poor spatial localizability

Poor spatial localizability

Although centered elements tend to be perceived slightly below, balance is good, whereas distance is impaired by the muffled mids: voices are often perceived more distant than they should, further than the screen’s physical position. Curioulsy enough, localizability is especially poor when watching movies or playing games. Once again, the Biso Sound feature comes to the rescue: thanks to the improvements in the high-end part of the spectrum, it allows a much finer localizability.

Black Shark 3 Pro Audio Review 24

Volume

Volume tests measure both the overall loudness a device is able to reproduce and how smoothly volume increases and decreases based on user input.

In volume testing, Black Shark the third benefits from substantial improvements compared to its elder, rising its score from 46 to 62 — it didn’t surpass the X2 though, which until now holds the title in this category.

Hip-HopClassical
77.4 dBA70.5 dBA

While minimum volume is too low (which means dynamic contents are barely intelligible), maximum volume is particularly loud: as a reference, Xiaomi’s Mi 10 Pro, the top-scoring phone in our audio-testing database, delivers only 73.8 dBA of maximum volume with our Hip Hop testing scenario. Finally, the volume steps are perceived as fairly consistent.

Black Shark 3 Pro Audio Review 25

Artifacts

Artifacts tests measure how much source audio is distorted when played back through a device’s speakers. Distortion can occur both because of sound processing in the device and because of the quality of the speakers.

Apart from slight compression at maximum volumes and a little distortion on synthetic signals and when playing games, the Black Shark 3 Pro excels at controlling undesirable sounds, whether it be temporal or spectral artifacts. On the subject of games, the speakers are almost impossible to occlude during gaming sessions or while watching movies, once again thanks to their clever positioning.

Distortion is well controlled
Fluctuations in volume are noticeable

… as well as compression are well controlled

Recording

Black Shark 3 Pro Audio Review 20

Timbre

The Black Shark 3 Pro’s Timbre sub-score reveals undeniable improvements compared to the second generation. However, despite good high-end extension, tonal balance is severely impaired by a lack of bass and low-mids which induces a canny sound, which accentuates in loud environments.

While recording concerts is clearly not the Black Shark 3 Pro’s strength, videos filmed with the rear camera fare slightly better than our other testing scenarios.

Black Shark 3 Pro Audio Review 22

Dynamics

When recording in loud environments, attack is heavily affected by noticeable clipping on transient, impactful sounds. Furthermore, voice envelopes are less precise due to a constant high-pitched background noise. Once again, recording concerts is definitely a weak spot for Xiaomi’s gaming phone. Selfie videos are most respectful of the sound’s envelope, while life videos offer the highest signal-to-noise ratio of all scenarios (58 dB).

Black Shark 3 Pro Audio Review 23

Spatial

The Black Shark 3 Pro delivers a decent spatial performance, thanks to its fine high-end extension. Localizability is particularly good when recording videos with the rear camera or meetings (phone flat on the table).

Black Shark 3 Pro Audio Review 29

Selfie videos suffer from poor localizability, distance and wideness

However, selfie videos fare very poorly in localizability as well as distance, and wideness is globally unsatisfactory, regardless of the use case or the app used. The lack of low-mids affects distance, in that voices are often perceived further than they originally were in the recorded scene.

Good spatial localizability

Good spatial localizability when recording rear camera video or recording meetings.

Black Shark 3 Pro Audio Review 24

Volume

As Artifacts are for playback, Volume is definitely the Black Shark 3 Pro’s strong suit when it comes to recording. Nominal recording loudness is excellent, regardless of the app and the use case. Maximum recording level is also satisfying.

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Even meeting room recordings benefit from good loudness

Here are our test results, measured in LUFS (Loudness Unit Full Scale). As a reference, we expect loudness levels to be above -24 LUFS for recorded content — you can see all results are well above that threshold:

MeetingLife VideoSelfie VideoMemo
-19.4 LUFS-18.9 LUFS-18.3 LUFS-18.5 LUFS
Black Shark 3 Pro Audio Review 25

Artifacts

Unlike in playback, the Black Shark 3 Pro delivers a poor artifacts performance when refcording, notably impaired by high-midrange resonances in every use case.

Temporal artifacts are noticeable

Both temporal (compression)…

Spectral artifacts are noticeable

and spectral (distortion) artifacts are audible

In loud environments, one can clearly hear severe distortions, hissing, and an ill-adjusted compressor which generates fade-ins at the beginning of every recording. Furthermore, voices are affected by pumping, and shifted to the side due to microphone occlusions. That all said, finger noises are pretty well handled. You can hear some of the artifacts for yourself in this sample recording:

Black Shark 3 Pro Audio Review 33

Background

While the Black Shark 3 Pro’s Background sub-score is amongst the lowest we have seen, it still is 7 points ahead of its predecessor’s. Unsurprisingly, many of the flaws previously mentioned — hissing, lack of tonal balance, resonances, pumping — participate in inducing a poor background performance. What is more, meeting recordings are impaired by a constant static noise.

Conclusion

While the Black Shark 3 Pro’s overall Audio score tops its predecessor’s by a few points, it continues to lag behind our database’s average score. In recording, although the third generation demonstrates improvement, its performance still is well below average due to severe tonal imbalance, numerous artifacts and poor background recordings. As for audio playback, unsurprisingly, Xiaomi’s latest gaming phone globally fares slightly better when playing games. While it certainly delivers good volume and excels at controling artifacts, its tonal imbalance and muffled overall sound impairs dynamics and spatial reproduction. However, the Biso Sound feature fixes many of those shortcomings by substantially increasing the low- and high-end extension, as well as restoring natural mids and sharp treble.

Playback

Pros

  • Excellent artifacts performance
  • Speakers are very hard to occlude
  • Biso Sound feature improves high- and low-end extension

Cons

  • Lack of low- and high-end, midrange-oriented sound
  • Sound doesn’t follow rotation of the device
  • Poor bass precision and punch

Recording

Pros

  • Very good recording loudness in every app used
  • Good localizability in Life Videos

Cons

  • Lack of bass, canny overall sound
  • Considerable number of artifacts (distortion, compression, resonances, hissing)
  • Poor background rendering

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This Year’s Adobe MAX 2020 Will Be Free And Virtual

This Year’s Adobe MAX 2020 Will Be Free And Virtual

Earlier today, Adobe officially opened registration for the Adobe MAX 2020 trade show, which will be free and virtual this year, due to the Coronavirus pandemic. According to Adobe, this year’s “creativity conference is virtual, completely free, and jam-packed with 56 hours of non-stop inspiration and learning.” The conference will include live content demos, a variety of speakers, celebrity appearances and musical performances. The trade show will run from October 20-22, 2020.

This Year’s Adobe MAX 2020 Will Be Free And Virtual 34

The show is open to anyone, but you’ll need to have an Adobe ID account. For more information on registering, go to the Adobe MAX 2020 registration webpage.

For more information and to learn about speakers and sessions, check out Adobe’s blog post on the show.   

 

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