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Friday, March 28 2014

Pan and zoom slide shows are not video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrlVnB5hKPg

When is not telling the truth, or intentionally misrepresenting the truth through misleading information lying? Always. Does it matter in the business world? You’re damn right it does and the Canadian competition bureau clearly states this on its website, as follows. “The misleading advertising and labelling provisions enforced by the Competition Bureau prohibit making any deceptive representations for the purpose of promoting a product or a business interest, and encourage the provision of sufficient information to allow consumers to make informed choices.” http://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/02776.html

Since the development of digital photography and the easy access to both consumer and professional software - both of which allow relatively accessible image manipulation tools and techniques - there have been numerous instances of professionals misrepresenting the truth through over editing an image. In respect to news and documentary photography, truth is paramount, and editing an image is restricted to modest adjustments such as correcting exposure and contrast, digital noise and dust removal for example. (However, lowering or raising the exposure or brightness of an image with the intention of removing an object in the shadow or highlight areas, would be unacceptable in the aforementioned areas of photography).

In the worst cases of unethical image manipulation, people or objects have been removed or added to make the composition more pleasing, and in less extreme cases over editing colours, contrast and other qualities have created what looks more like an illustration than a photograph. Professionals are, and should be, held to a higher degree of ethics than Joe Blow, who may opt to remove a deadbeat dad from an old family photo at the request of a relative. But businesses that offer photography, virtual tour and video services should be compelled by the laws of this country to tell the truth. Deception, whether intentional or a forgetful business practise is dishonest.

The general public is somewhat aware of how to manipulate an image, but many actually think it is easier than it really is to “Photoshop” an image. With that being said, why then is the general public not as aware of another kind of unethical image manipulation? Animating a ‘still’ photograph with an effect, such as the pan and zoom effect, does not create a moving image or video, as some businesses would have you believe.

Some image editing software, and all if not most video editing software, will allow image manipulation in the manner of adding an effect to a ‘still’ image. The best and worst effect is the dreaded pan and zoom effect. Anyone with a television and a penchant for documentary films will have seen this effect hundreds of times in their life, as it is a terrific way to incorporate static footage and ‘still’ images into a video or film. The most widely known term for the animation is the Ken Burns effect, and is named after the American documentary film maker, Ken Burns, who is well known for his use of archived footage or ‘still’ photographs.

Video is understood to be, and described by OxfordDictionaries.com as, “the recording, reproducing, or broadcasting of moving visual images:” The key here is that video is MOVING visual imagery. “Still” is defined by Merriam-Webster.com as, “not moving; lacking motion or activity.” Merriam-Webster.com also defines “still” in terms of “photography” as describing, “an ordinary photograph that does not show movement as compared to a movie.” Why then do so many real estate marketing companies, that offer photography services, market animated pan and zoom slide shows, as Video?

Is it ethical, and does it adhere to the Canadian Competition Bureau’s outline regarding, “Misleading Advertising and Labelling”, to advertise that a companies’ end product includes video, if the product to which they are referring is a pan and zoom slideshow? Especially when the company also makes a point of advertising that they offer ‘still’ image or virtual tour (panoramas) packages, so that the realtor client understands the difference between an animated virtual tour and a straight up ‘still’ image.

Why then does the same company intentionally, or unintentionally muddy the waters, by not clarifying the difference between a slideshow of animated ‘still’ images and a true video? Their actions or inactions look especially suspicious when they don’t also offer video as an end product, and this leaves us wondering if the lack of clarification is really indeed an intentional marketing practise of disinformation.

Even Windows Live Movie Maker, free software that came loaded onto my Windows 7 driven laptop, allows the user to quickly and easily add a pan and zoom effect to a ‘still’ image, in a couple of clicks. More sophisticated software allows the user to select specific parts of an image to more precisely control the effect. After applying the effect, the image moves within a confined area, but the difference between this and video is quite obvious. A still image is a flat one dimensional object, and the perspective cannot be changed. In terms of a real estate image showcasing a room, a flat one dimensional picture does not allow the viewer to pass through a doorway, from one room to another. No matter how adept with image editing software, one can only move a ‘still’ picture so that specific parts of it are showing within the viewing area. However, with a video camera in hand, the videographer can pass from one room to another and the viewer will enjoy the changing composition from the perspective of the camera. A cheap way of attempting to ape this with animation of a ‘still’ image, is to instruct the viewing area to slowly zoom toward the adjoining room. If the image is not high resolution the image clarity will degrade with the zoom and become rather pixelated - a telltale sign that a zoom effect has been applied.

Do you mind if the genuine leather belt you purchased is made from plastic, or an imitation fabric that stains your waistband in the summer heat? Or are you the kind of person that doesn’t mind fabric balls of polyester collecting on your 100% labelled cotton sheets. Lying is believed by many researchers, to be part of our fight or flight, survival instinct. If telling the truth doesn’t result in the desired outcome, then maybe lying will. A ‘white lie’ might protect a friend or loved one, and is defined by OxfordDictionaries.com as, “a harmless or trivial lie, especially one told to avoid hurting someone’s feelings:” A ‘lie’ is defined by MerriamWebster.com as, “to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive,” and “to create a false or misleading impression.”

In terms of products, services and the way we conduct our business affairs, we have already collectively determined as a community, that we expect accountability, fairness, honesty and foremost truth, in order to create a level playing field and to protect the consumer. If you’re a realtor paying a marketing company for video of your listing, but getting an animated slideshow of ‘still’ images, then you are not getting for what you are paying. Companies that use “Misleading Advertising and Labelling” are accountable for their product, service and actions whether intentional or otherwise, and regulations are in place in Canada to protect the consumer from this unprofessional, morally bankrupt behaviour.

1,202 words, Copyright Protected by British Photographer, Adrian Brown.

Tuesday, December 3 2013

Dave & Cindy Walker, Homelife Benchmark - new listing HD Video

Check out the HD Video Walkthrough tour I shot for Dave & Cindy Walker, of their beautiful new listing in Crescent Heights. The video is customized to Dave and Cindy's branding.

Jason Deveau, Bay Realty - new listing HD Video

Check out my HD Video of Jason Deveau's new listing in South Surrey. Beautiful new home.

Monday, December 2 2013

Are you paying for video but getting only an animated slideshow

Are you paying your photographer for a product that includes video for YouTube? But only getting an animated slideshow? Be sure you get what you are paying for.

Wednesday, November 20 2013

Flash driven virtual tours don't play on most mobile phones

I just tried to watch a flash driven virtual tour on my Android phone. It won't play, because flash is not supported on iPhones, iPads, Android phones, tablets and many other mobile devices. Since most people will use a mobile device to view your listing, HD Video is a far better option than a flash driven virtual tour.
android-failed-flash-virtual-tour-02.jpg

Monday, November 18 2013

Flash driven virtual tours don't play on most mobile devices

I just tried to watch a flash driven virtual tour on an Apple iPad. It won't play, because flash is not supported on iPhones, iPads, Android phones, tablets and many other mobile devices. Since most people will use a mobile device to view your listing, HD Video is a far better option than a flash driven virtual tour.ipad-failed-flash-virtual-tour-02.jpg

Sunday, November 10 2013

Read what Realtor Mag thinks of Video and pan and zoom slideshows

Don't take my word for it.
Read why Realtor Mag thinks HD Video is much more than a set of still images animated with a pan and zoom effect. Virtual tours are yesterday's technology. Get HD Video from a professional like myself. Realtor Mag.

Saturday, November 9 2013

The Canadian Competition Bureau, Dos and Don'ts

Quoted from the False or Misleading Representations and Deceptive Marketing Practices page, of the Canadian Competition Bureau's website.

"Advertising Dos and Don'ts

The following "Dos and Don'ts" will help businesses comply with the Competition Act.
Dos

-Do avoid fine print disclaimers. They often fail to change the general impression conveyed by an advertisement. If you do use them, make sure the overall impression created by the ad and the disclaimer is not misleading.
-Do fully and clearly disclose all material information in the advertisement.
-Do avoid using terms or phrases in an advertisement that are not meaningful and clear to the ordinary person.
-Do charge the lowest of two or more prices appearing on a product.
-Do ensure that you have reasonable quantities of a product advertised at a bargain price.
-Do, when conducting a contest, disclose all material details required by the Act before potential participants are committed to it.
-Do ensure that your sales force is familiar with these "Dos and Don'ts." Advertisers may be held responsible for representations made by employees.

Don'ts

-Don't confuse "regular price" or "ordinary price" with "manufacturer's suggested list price" or a like term. They are often not the same.
-Don't use "regular price" in an advertisement unless the product has been offered in good faith for sale at that price for a substantial period of time, or a substantial volume of the product has been sold at that price within a reasonable period of time.
-Don't use the words "sale" or "special" in relation to the price of a product unless a significant price reduction has occurred.
-Don't run a "sale" for a long period or repeat it every week.
-Don't increase the price of a product or service to cover the cost of a free product or service.
-Don't use illustrations that are different from the product being sold.
-Don't make a performance claim unless you can prove it, even if you think it is accurate. Testimonials usually do not amount to adequate proof.
-Don't sell a product above your advertised price.
-Don't unduly delay the distribution of prizes when conducting a contest.
-Don't make any materially misleading product warranty or guarantee, or promise to replace, maintain or repair an article.
-Don't use the results of product performance tests and/or testimonials in your advertising unless you are authorized to use them; or if you are authorized to use them, don't distort test results or the scope of testimonials.
-Don't forget that no one actually needs to be deceived or misled for a court to find that an advertisement is misleading".

Friday, November 8 2013

The Canadian Competition Bureau, on Misleading Advertising and Labelling

Quoted from the first two paragraphs about False or Misleading Representations, form the Canadian Competition Bureau's website.

"The Competition Act provides criminal and civil regimes to address false or misleading representations.

Section 52 of the Act is a criminal provision. It prohibits knowingly or recklessly making, or permitting the making of, a representation to the public, in any form whatever, that is false or misleading in a material respect. Under this provision, it is not necessary to demonstrate that any person was deceived or misled; that any member of the public to whom the representation was made was within Canada; or that the representation was made in a place to which the public had access. Subsection 52(4) directs that the general impression conveyed by a representation, as well as its literal meaning, be taken into account when determining whether or not the representation is false or misleading in a material respect.

Any person who contravenes section 52 is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of up to $200,000 and/or imprisonment up to one year on summary conviction, or to fines in the discretion of the court and/or imprisonment up to 14 years upon indictment". The Canadian Competition Bureau.

If it isn't a car you can't call it a car. Likewise, if it isn't HD Video (Wikipedia description of Video), but instead animated still images, you can't call it HD Video.

Thursday, November 7 2013

Third HD Video of Southbrooke South Surrey model home

Check out my thrid HD Video of a new Southbrooke home in South Surrey, by Genex Corp, listed by Susan Vollmer Real Estate and Judi Leeming. Video is a great option for many different types of listings, including new builds.


Wednesday, November 6 2013

Second HD Video of Southbrooke South Surrey model home

Check out my thrid HD Video of a new Southbrooke home in South Surrey, by Genex Corp, listed by Susan Vollmer Real Estate and Judi Leeming. Video is a great option for many different types of listings, including new builds.

Slideshows are not HD Video, even with fancy effects

Real estate photography tip.
Don't be misled.
Some real estate photographers create animated slideshows of still images, upload them to YouTube, call them HD Video, and market their services as including HD Video. Animated slideshows are not HD Video, nor are they video of any kind. A scrolling pan and zoom effect on a still image does not resemble HD Video at all. Video is defined by Wikipedia as, "an electronic medium for the recording, copying and broadcasting of moving visual images". Wikipedia.
Check out my HD Video examples and live listings below. HD Video is the better way to showcase your listings, resulting in more showings and faster sales. HD Video samples.

Tuesday, November 5 2013

First HD Video of Southbrooke South Surrey model home

Check out my thrid HD Video of a new Southbrooke home in South Surrey, by Genex Corp, listed by Susan Vollmer Real Estate and Judi Leeming. Video is a great option for many different types of listings, including new builds.


Tuesday, October 29 2013

HD Video hosting and sharing is so easy

Real estate photography tip.
Hosting the video on YouTube allows the free use of state of the art video streaming technology, with constant "up" time.
Video streams easily from YouTube to your website, that carries your branding. You or your webmaster simply add a line of code to your site. Alternatively, potential buyers can click a link on your website or MLS, to view the video on YouTube, or can link to my YouTube channel to watch.
It's so easy for potential buyers to view.
http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCf738xYCa3VE5G0wcAgEzrg/feed

Thursday, October 24 2013

Pan and zoom slideshow are not HD video

Get HD Video of your listing, don't settle for an animated slideshow.
A slideshow of still images animated with a the Ken Burns (pan and zoom) effect, is not the same as an HD Video. This screen grab illustrates how the Ken Burns effect is applied to a still image, by selecting different parts of the same image. The end result is that the image simply moves within a confined area, or frame. This is not HD Video....it is merely a slideshow, and your clients will know the difference.


burns-effect-slideshow.jpg

Wednesday, October 23 2013

Animated slideshow cannot compete with HD video

A slideshow of still images animated with a pan and zoom effect, is not the same as an HD Video of your listing.


Saturday, September 28 2013

Virtual tours are passé

ARE VIRTUAL TOURS AND PANORAMAS YESTERDAY'S TECHNOLOGY?
In the next few weeks I will be offering video services for realtors. iPads, tablets and mobile devices are becoming the main way people view realtor listings. However, most of these cannot view flash driven virtual tours. Video is the easy solution to this problem, and is certainly much more interesting and detailed than a static virtual tour. You'll still need images, and I will be arranging a rate that includes both.

Friday, September 27 2013

Realtor portrait, headshot

In addition to shooting interiors for realtors, I also specialize in portraiture and headshots. I recently completed a series of new headshots for realtor, Steve Goodall. He required a well lit expression, with a plain background that could be made white or transparent for varying usage.

07small_m.jpg07blowres_m.jpg

Monday, September 2 2013

About photography, the shoebox effect

A professional - such as myself - will take photos that show only two walls, thus emphasizing the openness of a room (first image below). Shooting this way minimizes converging lines, making the room look as big as possible.

The "SHOE BOX" effect, is created when a photograph includes a third wall, or part of a third wall in the composition. The lines between the floor, walls and ceiling converge as they recess into the room, thus making any room look much smaller than it is. A photograph that includes a third wall is a bad photograph, does not show your listing in the best possible way and should not be accepted. (second image below).

I "always" only shoot two walls. If there is something on the third or fourth wall worth showing, then I simply take another photo from another angle featuring that highlight. My rates are structured to accommodate what needs to be done to make your listing look great.

RD-123-0062copy_m.jpgD30_9195copy_m.jpg

Sunday, June 9 2013

I'm using Crushpath to promote my services

I'm using Crushpath to promote my services.

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