Thursday, May 31, 2007

The return of the light table

Microsoft came out with this new do-hickey (that's a technical term BTW, don't hurt yourself trying to say it) that's a table top touch screen PC today and that got me thinking (don't worry, it didn't hurt much), why not use them as light tables?

I remember the old days of taking a loop and marking archival sheets when a worthy frame came across my eye. And I remember leaning over a light table for hours sometimes trying to navigate the balancing act of the perfect photo package as one picture was moved here or there and another was slowly creeping in as a candidate.

It was fun and frankly I miss those days. There's something about holding the frame in your hand or freely being able to move images about and shuffle though a stack of slides on a whim.

I think that's why CDs are still around, I know that if I really like an album, I buy the CD (congrats Silversun Pickups, the last CD before you was... I think The Killers, before they blew up thank you) because I like the idea of having the booklet and artwork in my hands.

It's why I subscribe to a paper even though I can just read the same news in my RSS feeds, there's just something about holding that paper in your hands and turning the page, wiping the ink on your pants by accident, pulling apart those pages that are stuck together and the smell of the ink on that paper that I'll use to smack my brother with later. Maybe ePaper will replace this one day, but I'm in no rush.

Microsoft's table has got be excited, and I'm not much of a tech-head when it comes to these things, but it just brings up all sorts of old memories and new ideas. Just imagine Photo Mechanic on a table top device like this. I for one think that would be awesome!

Why not convince some Photo Editors to buy a couple and use them as light tables?

This adaptation for photo use gets me thinking, what else can we adapt?

How about a version of SoundSlides that outputs a video for iPods to download via RSS feeds?

In SoundSlides, it's nice to have the new Ken Burns push and pull and the ability to micro manage transitions, but how about expanding on that and giving us dissolves and pan moves.

This ones crazy, but how about memory cards that come loaded with scripts that behave like certain films stocks/looks: infrared, Holga, chrome, gelatin, etc. It's like buying film in the old days and industry-wide standards on a script will remove the ethical delemias that Photoshop introduces.

Speaking of Photoshop, how about a stripped-down photographer's version that won't cost $800 and doesn't come with all that extra stuff that only gets photographer's like Allan Detrich (read his piece in NewsPhotographer... it's an eye opener) and Brian Walski in trouble.

How about pimping out our cameras with built-in Wi-Fi for transmitting and turning that LCD screen into a touch screen to let us edit from the field and move pics around into various folders right on the stop. Got a great picture of #45 diving for a touchdown? Tag it for a selected folder and by the end if the game you've got your first edit already done.

That's just a few off the top of my head, let me hear some of yours.

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