Tag: technology

Finding the Perfect Light Stand for You

Here at Big City we have a lot of stands, all with different sizes and weights. From tall ones to short rolling ones. We have anything to fit you film or photo needs. Links to all the stands shown in this video are below.

All the stands we carry.

 

The BEST Folding Phone Available Now

We are living in a brand new era. Phones have been the same box like shape for the last 10 years. The idea of a phone being able to fold into a mini tablet has always been a fantasy. Well this year that fantasy is becoming a reality with the Huawei Mate X. The first foldable phone where the display bends too, revealing a nice looking mini tablet for your media consumption needs.

 

 

Picking up the phone you will find a bar along the side. That contains the cameras, finger print sensors and internal chips / hardware. The phone is running Huawei’s flagship mobile processor, the Kirin 980, as well as 8GB of RAM and a 512GB storage drive. Storage is also expandable with Huawei’s Nano Memory, up to 256GBs. This phone also has 5G cellular connection antenna in that side bar, giving it the title of “World’s Fastest 5G phone.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Huawei Mate X has two main screens (or two main halves) – a bezeless display on the front, and a smaller display that fits next to the sidebar on the back. The former measures 6.6-inches with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio and 2,480 x 1148 pixel resolution, while the rear-facing screen is 6.38-inches with a 25:9 aspect ratio and 2,480 x 892 pixel resolution. When opened completely it has a 8:7.1 aspect ratio and 2,480 x 2,200 pixel resolution.

 

 

 

In terms of battery this phone packs a lot. It has a 4,500mAh unit, which is split between the two halves of the displays. It also has Huawei’s 55W SuperCharge tech which allows it to be recharged from zero per cent to 85 per cent capacity in just 30 minutes.

One thing to not look forward to about this phone is the price. The Huawei Mate X goes for $3425 CAD, which is almost three time the price of a very premium flagship smart phone.

 

 

 

Samsung Galaxy S10 | Everything you need?

The new Samsung Galaxy S10 was announced on February 20th, 2019. This phone comes packed with everything ‘new’ you could ask for here in 2019. Samsung hasn’t been a fan of the ‘notch’ design trend and can now say they never were part of it. The s10 comes with a 93:1 screen to body ratio, with a camera cut out on the top. Its finger print sensor, *cough cough Apple*, is indebted into the screen. Did I mention it has a total of 4 cameras?

Samsung’s camera game is through the roof, with 3 rear cameras and 1 for the selfie. Many people wonder why smartphones are getting more cameras side by side. The answer is that it allows for more depth when taking a photo. Having those cameras will not only give better perspective and picture quality, it will also give you that background blur that shows up like you’re shooting with a professional DSLR.

 

 

 

Smartphone manufactures have been pulling they’re hair trying to figure out where to put the fingerprint sensor. Some have removed it completely and opted for face unlocking techniques. Others have thrown it on the power button, making it more chunky, or even stuck it on the back making annoyingly hard to reach. Finally, we’ve found a solution. A display built in finger print reader, that takes up the whole display! Although other phones have similar tech, using light from the display to read the fingerprint. Samsung is the first company to use an ultrasonic sensor. This sensor uses small vibrations to determine the small groves on your fingers. Quite impressive right.  This also means the display doesn’t have to be on to unlock it and it could still read your finger if they’re wet.

Manufactures are clearly running out of ideas. Some are just releasing the same phone but with a newer name and a slightly faster processor. Everything is a boring slab of metal with nothing exciting. Samsung changed that and is definitely gonna be waking up to more profit.

Battery Operated Lighting Options

Calling all filmmakers, photographers, hairstylists and party starters! Have you ever needed a wireless light to brighten a subject? To light a party? Well we have the products for you. This video showcases various options for battery operated lights to suit any of your needs. These lights are perfect for when you don’t have an outlet near by, or for on the go shootings. All the links for the battery operated lights we carry are available below.

Links:

Continue reading “Battery Operated Lighting Options”

HTC Vive – Still the VR Top Dog?

The HTC Vive is far ahead of its competitors that it’s hard to explain the experience to others who haven’t tried it yet. It’s kinda like explaining a video game or movie to someone who hasn’t watch any film before.

 

Virtual reality is still growing, and because it’s still new, there is the problem of low variety of games. But this issue will be resolved as time goes by and bigger and better titles become available.

The HTC Vive requires a pretty high end gaming computer to run. A PC with an Intel Core i5-4590K and either a Nvidia GTX 970 or AMD R9 390 GPU are the bare minimum in terms of specs. But if you’re a PC gamer chances are that you’ll have a beast of a PC and this would be an accessory. Kind of like a getting a new controller, mouse or keyboard only a lot more premium.

 

The HTC Vive destroys it’s competition like the Playstation VR and the Oculus Rift in terms of build quality of the headset, the controllers, and the sensors. The HTC Vive comes with quality foam around the lenses to provide comfort compared to plastic that the Rift has. The controllers were made to interact with the games to provide a more real experience. There are two sensors that come with the HTC Vive that have to be mounted/clipped high above the player for the best experience. The Rift and Playstation VR both come with one which means out of the box you can’t play stand up games, which takes away from the overall experience.

Other competitors like Samsung Gear VR or Google Cardboard are all about making VR available to budget people who have never experienced VR  before. Whereas the HTC Vive is geared toward people who have experienced it and want to enjoy the best of the best.

Pros:

  • Best VR experience
  • Intuitive controls
  • Software partnership with Valve

Cons:

  • Still a bit pricey… about $699.99 (CA) to be exact
  • Requires a high-end GPU
  • Less comfortable than the Rift

What to look for in your over-ear headphones

Over-ear headphones are used by many in different environments. From offices, libraries, on the bus etc. Some headphones can have a high price range and list all these features and designs that some may find confusing. Here are some factors to look for when deciding your next headphone purchase.

First off is comfort,

There are many designs of headphones in the market today. It is important to figure out which is the most comfortable as some users may spend hours with their headphones on. There are some important factors that determine if a headphone will be comfortable for you. A big factor is the ear pad design. Every person’s ear can be different, small, big, round, pointy etc. It is always important to look at the shape of the ear pad and see if it fits you. If you have large ears then you wouldn’t want small ear pads putting pressure on your ears. Another factor is types of padding. This will vary between top tier headphones and low tier pairs. Some high end headphones will feature memory foam, leather padded designs while some may feature generic foam. There are still great padding in cheaper headphones for example the HyperX Cloud is less than 100 dollars and features the same memory foam padding as other brands. It is always important to see which you would prefer and if you would care a lot about the padding.

How you use your headphones is also important. Do you move around a lot, are you constantly listening to music or always have a pair of headphones on etc. All these are factors when buying a pair of headphones. There are 2 important factors that we will compare.

Wired vs Wireless

Wired:

Pros:

  • No need to charge
  • Usually has better sound quality
  • More compatible with some devices

Cons:

  • Wires can tangle and dangle
  • Some wired headphones use different ports, USB, 3.5mm etc. Adapters may be needed
  • Once a wire is cut, hard to fix

Wireless:

Pros:

  • No wires
  • Can take anywhere
  • Bluetooth range is increasing each model
  • Quality has been increasing each year

Cons:

  • Battery life can deplete quickly
  • Wireless features can disconnect randomly
  • Not compatible with every device. (Some in-flight entertainment systems on planes only accept 3.5mm wired connections)
Wireless headphones have been advancing in technology such as charging stations from Sennheiser

The other factor is the difference between open back headphones and closed back. This makes a large difference in how you use your headphones.

Open back means that the sides of the headphones have holes that go through to your ear. This allows for air to breathe through the headphones and allows for a more natural and deeper listening. The downside of the open back design is a higher chance of damaging the insides and no noise isolation as you can hear things around you and some people may hear what you are listening to.

Open back headphones are more visible from the sides

Open Back

Pros:

  • More natural sounding, better audio quality.
  • Typically more comfortable due to more airflow
  • Better quality on audio files

Cons:

  • Little noise isolation, not good for public spaces
  • People may hear what you are listening to due to open holes
  • Lifespan can be affected due to open area in the headphones
  • Can have a flimsier construction

Closed back as the name suggests has the opposite features of a open back pair of headphones. Instead of holes on the side, it completely blocks out the sides of the headphones. This means, the only way air can get inside the headphones is through the speaker inside. This design allows for noise isolation, a denser and more secure build but results in a downgrade in audio experience due to the isolation.

Closed back headphones compared to open back, have a closed side for isolation

Closed back

Pros:

  • Noise isolation for both ends
  • Higher life span
  • Better construction
  • Better for public spaces

Cons:

  • Audio quality lacking compared to open
  • Can be a heavier build
  • Lack of airflow can affect comfort

Both styles of headphones will do their job well. Its your choice on which benefits are more worth for you and if you fit within these environments of listening.

There are many other factors that help determine which pair of headphones is best for you. It is always recommended if you can try the pair before hand at local computer stores or other retailers. Remember to always factor in your lifestyle and how you would use headphones in your daily lives. It can help determine between wired or wireless and open-back or closed-back headphones.

Here at Big City, we offer some great headphones from American Audio. We carry the BL-40 and BL-60 closed back headphones which are a great choice for your next headphone purchase.

– Benson Lam

AMERICAN AUDIO BL-40 CLOSED BACK HEADPHONES

AMERICAN AUDIO BL-60 CLOSED BACK HEADPHONES

Ray Tracing Reinvented for New Generation of Video

August featured the reveal of Nvidia’s new line up of graphic cards. They revealed their 2000 series with large upgrades to their 1000 series previously released in 2016. In addition to faster clock speeds, GDDR6 VRAM and a larger amount of CUDA cores – Nvidia has branded their new flagship from GTX to RTX featuring the latest real time ray tracing technology.

What is ray tracing?

Ray tracing is a method of rendering which produces a realistic and completely computer generated light effect. Ray tracing is used by film makers and producers through the industry. Ray tracing combined with the vast improvements of CGI and other graphical technology will make films and other productions look fully realistic.

This video released to demo their real time ray tracing shows the impressive abilities and features that can be used in the industry.

Ray tracing technology has been around for sometime in the film industry and has been in large usage due to the large amount of CGI used in recent films. So why is ray tracing such a surprise to the industry?

How will Ray Tracing cards affect the industry?

Ray tracing in the industry has been mainly done through expensive CPUs and other large server systems. Many companies can spend hours rendering each frame using ray tracing. The addition of the market being diversified by the new tech, we can expect companies to increase productivity and have larger access to these cards. Smaller production companies can now produce CG based films and other projects much more easier than before. Many game developers and small time studios can have better results with the real time ray tracing and can push the limit of what they can do.

How will ray tracing impact the average consumer?

The addition of these new graphics cards affects mainly the industry as it allows developers and producers to utilize a strong graphics cards with real time ray tracing. If you are not into a developing or producing, the card’s strong performance will increase speeds, improve texture quality and even use ray tracing in programs or games you might use. Many game developers have already begun integrating real time ray tracing into many upcoming and trending games.

Below are examples of Battlefield V an upcoming game using real time ray tracing technology.

Should people still get the newly released cards?

The Nvidia RTX cards are the top of the class as of right now for both having real time ray tracing accessible and strong gaming potential.  Real time ray tracing is still a new technology being reinvented but gameplay and recent renders from the new RTX cards shows a lot of potential. AMD has been rumoured of making their new GPUs with ray tracing technology and NVIDIA has the trend of releasing improved cards a year later of release. If you are planning to get a ray tracing card, it would be best to wait out for AMD’s release and other potential upgrades. If you want to wait till the prices are lower, you may have to wait over 5 years for it to become the norm in graphics cards.

So when will real time ray tracing be accessible?

The RTX cards have released on September 20th of 2018 with AMD coming out with their own rumoured around 2019. The market for RTX has opened up dramatically with these releases. Don’t get your hopes up too quick. Ray tracing is still a high end technology. The RTX cards will cost between 800 CAD to 1500 CAD depending on the model. NVIDIA explained that the Star Wars render shown was run on 4 high end GPUs that costed 60,000 dollars USD. The price difference will obviously result in a downgrade in quality but given the upcoming years the prices will go down – all thanks to the start of the competitive market between AMD and Intel for both GPUs and CPUs.

 

US Prices for the RTX cards

 

What is the final verdict on the new the new ray tracing cards?

The new ray tracing cards are a sign of rising technology being more advanced and more accessible to the consumers. Many can be put away due to high prices but due to a competitive market, prices are actually decreasing. A high price results in realistic graphics and high performance in games, fast video related tasks such as rendering and the ability to use real time ray tracing technology. The new cards give us a glimpse of what to see in the future as ray tracing and even faster tech will be available for consumers and for those in the industry. The large rise in growing technologies is giving tech companies competition to see how will grow more successful.

– Benson Lam

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The GoPro Hero5

As technology becomes much more advanced every year, it helps companies such as Go Pro to create better action cameras.

Introducing, the Go Pro Hero 5, with it’s release on early October 2016. The Go Pro Hero 5 is a much more improved upgrade comparing to it’s older model, the Go Pro Hero 4. With a similar model to the Hero 4, The Hero 5 has much more features to offer.

First, let’s compare the Hero 4 Black to the Hero 5 Black.

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The Hero 5 has it’s own waterproof casing, meaning you don’t need to buy an extra case and it comes with a little more reinforcement. This means, with both cameras naked, the Hero 5 is quite bigger comparing to the Hero 4 without the waterproof case. The waterproof housing can allow the Hero 5 to be submerged unto 33 feet underwater, and can protect the camera against dust and sand. But comparing to the old waterproof case on the Hero 4 (which can go up to 131 feet) it’s relatively better. If you are planning on going below 33 feet with your Hero 5, then you can purchase a “Super Suit Housing” for your Hero 5. This also means that the Hero 5 will weigh a little bit more than the Hero 4 without the waterproof casing:
Hero 5: 4.2 oz (118 grams)

Hero 4 (without case): 3.1 oz (87 grams)

Hero 4 (with case): 5.3 oz (150 grams)

But what makes the Hero 5 a major improvement, is it’s new built in LCD touch screen display. But comparing it to the Hero 4 Silver (which also had an LCD display) the Hero 5 has a much more sharper, brighter and easier display. Also, as it is waterproof without a case, you don’t have that back door panel, which makes it more responsive. This makes it much better when trying to control and adjust your camera’s settings.

The way to control the two cameras are still roughly the same, with three customizable buttons and an LED display in-front (which was improved on the newer model), but now on the Hero 5, you also have a voice activation feature which can be very helpful depending on what you are doing. So if both your hands are occupied, with the voice activation feature of the Hero 5, you can say simple commands such as: “GoPro start recording” or “GoPro take a photo” to control you camera. There is also a waterproof remote that you can purchase to control your camera from a far distance.

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The Hero 5 has also a much more improved video shooting features compared to the Hero 4 Black, even though both can record 4K at 30 fps, 1080p at 120 fps and 720p at 240 fps, the Hero 5 won’t eat up all that memory card space compared to the Hero 4. Also with it’s new video stabilization feature, which can reduce the shakiness of your video. It also comes with more linear FOV, which removes the fish-eyed view of the camera. Both shoot in NTSC or PAL formats and both produce H.264 MP4 videos.

The Hero5 also adds three new options that can be useful:

  • manual exposure where you can set the shutter speed
  • a raw audio track option which creates a higher-quality WAV file
  • an auto mode option that lets you put it in a mode that reduces the effects of wind noise

Both models have an image size of 12MP (4000 x 3000 pixels) and can take similar images, but the Hero 5 can produce much more clearer images and can be seen when viewed at 100%. The Hero 5 comes with HDR, GoPro calls it WDR for Wide Dynamic Range and it aims to capture extra details in shadows and highlights. Another thing is; RAW image format. Shooting in RAW mode have pros and cons. The main reason why, is for the for better image quality. The downside of shooting in the GoPro’s RAW format is that the images need to process and convert to JPG before sharing.

Like the older models, the Hero 5 has the ability to take time lapse of images and video. The first is old way of shooting a sequence of images, downloading those images from the memory card, and bringing them together on your computer using a separate software. Like previous models, the available intervals are 0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 30, and 60 seconds. You can also have the camera compile the video to create a time-lapse video. The new model adds a new option, and it’s a lower resolution which is 1080p. The reason for this, is it has been added is to make it easier to share the time-lapse video without dealing with the massive files from 2.7K or 4K video. With the smaller 1080p video it’s much quicker to take the footage from your camera, to your phone then upload straight to social media.

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The Hero 5 can also take external microphones, but  unlike the old model you’ll need the new USB-C mic adapter.

The battery life on the Hero 5 has improved and is using a higher capacity battery at (1220mAh vs. 1160mAh). With the new USB-C  port, the Hero 5 allows fast charging. There is a slight problem though, the new USB-C port isn’t USB 3.0 it still uses a USB 2.0 for data transferring. Which means, you can’t have that fast transferring speed. If you’re using an external microphone, you’ll need a new mic adapter. It also has a micro HDMI (Type D) socket to connect to a TV or display device.

There are a bunch of things that have also been tweaked and improved, which are:

It automatically detects which way is up.

You can turn off the LEDs selectively.

The longest auto-off setting is now 15 minutes rather than 5 minutes.

In the end, the GoPro Hero 5 can do what the previous models can do, but with a lot  more features and higher quality camera. As for now, the Hero 5 is still very limited to new accessories, unlike the Hero 4. Overtime though, that will change because of how advanced technology can become.

If you’re looking to buy a GoPro Hero 5, you can find them at various different websites and stores such as Amazon, Sport Chek, Best Buy etc.  with a price of: $530.00 CAD

– Carlos Jochico, Big City Lights

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Top 5 Event/Party Must Haves

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 Creating a good event can be tricky when your unsure of whats out there. The confusing language and abundance of options can be overwhelming for anyone  not in the industry.  On top of it all trying to get the right feel or atmosphere to your venue is the most difficult but the most important part to any good event. These 5 basic must haves can open your mind to the options and will take your party, corporate gathering, or wedding, to the next level.

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1 – DELUXE LED PARS

There many different lighting options for any event but LED PAR‘s made my list because of its versatility.  LED PARs are a narrow, powerful light that have a wide rang of different colours. These lights are great for creating a dramatic back drop of a stage, wall, or pillar but can also be a cheep substitute for any small stage lighting. In edition to just a solid colour you can have it on auto control mode that slowly changes colours and can even have it go to the beat of the music.  This means MORE options, LESS equipment and MORE money in your pocket.

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2 – Wall Washers

 Similar to the LED PAR lights the wall washer has the same versatility in colour and function. Unlike the LED PARs wall washers have a longer and softer beam, mainly used for atmospheric lighting.  When trying to create a glow of colour up the wall or bar table its a great way to turn a plain dull hall or event room to the party atmosphere you want.  We rent these lights, but they are also ON SALE for a limited time for purchase.

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3 – G3 Wireless Lav

Lighting isn’t everything that an event needs, even if its small speeches at a wedding or a presentation, you will need a way to speak to your guests. The G3 Wireless Lav is a great and simple way to do just that. This is a small clip on wireless mic that allows you to move freely in your space and no working about cables (FREEDOM) but every event is different and have different needs. This is a good mic for any one that will be speaking for longer periods of time not so much for quick and easy exchanges from one seeker to another.  However this mic has a great sound quality and will work well for any presentation or MP at a wedding.

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4 – Laser Lights

There are a few different kind of lasers but the most versatile would be the High Power Animation Laser. This high powered laser has hundreds of  different preset animations making it very easy to turn on and have a lighting show –perfect for the inexperienced.Also with just a little more effort it has so many ways for you to refine the animations to get exactly what your looking for.  Your typical laser will usually only come in red and green the Animation Laser has and additional white and blue light just giving the most options as possible, making it a great entertaining peace to add to your next event.

 disco, DJ, dmx, event, lighting, lights, party, rental, rentals, stage, technology, toronto

5 – Fog Machines

Fog machines and lasers go to gather like cookies and milk, you can’t have one with out the other, so fog Machines made the list. An easy way to elevate your lasers from a simple/kinda cool basic light show to an amazing moody atmosphere and we all know that is all about the atmosphere.

If you are planning on renting one for your next event it may trigger more sensitive smoke alarms, so be sure to talk to your venue about it before hand.

If your looking for any of any of these products to rent, you can see our rental list HERE.

–Stephanie Bradshaw

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Panono On the Ball With New Panoramic Camera

Camera company Panono released its new design today for their unique panoramic camera which will be available in spring 2015. The company and idea started in 2011 with the help of fundraising website indiego, where they raised over 1.25 million dollars from backers and companies. The camera works by tossing it into the air as high as you want, and with high tech sensors, it is able to sense when the ball is at the maximum height, and snaps the 360×360 photo.

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The ball shaped camera has 36 fixed focus cameras that are triggered at the maximum height of your throw and instantly catches a 360 degree picture. Resolution on the camera is quite impressive, with 108 megapixels being the final resolution, it knocks the iPhone 6 plus out of the park by being 13.5 times more powerful. The camera weighs only 440 grams, and has a diemeter of 11cm’s, making it convenient for on the go photography and how high you can than throw it! It connects to any Android or Apple device, Android 4 and iOS7+, using their free app which  makes it easy to view and upload your pictures. You can store up to 400 pictures on the device, and you can also take still photos when you need a more precise shot.

The camera looks like a great new invention for the world of photography, and I will definitely  be eager to try it out when it comes out next year for $549 USD.