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Kodak PlayTouch Video Camera (Orange)
Kodak PlayTouch Video Camera (Orange)
Offered by Dominic's Warehouse
Price: $199.99
6 used & new from $95.00

54 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There's nothing wrong with Kodak's Playtouch - It's great :), November 22, 2010
I recently purchased the Panasonic HM-TA1... straight out of the box, I was immediately disappointed by the build quality - just seemed too "delicate" to be trotting around town with this thing in your pocket. Picture quality is decent however. A note to all: with any of these "shoot n' share" cameras, please don't expect picture quality to be like prosumer Sony's HDV lineup or Panasonic's HD P2 cameras... and don't compare these with HDSLR's like Canon's 7D and 5D MarkII. If you're looking for that quality, then go buy those cameras.

So a couple days later, I got turned on to Kodak's lineup of these pocket HD camcorders -- and I saw the Playtouch. Loved how they took the best of the Zi8 and incorporated it into a slick, sexy, touch-screen camcorder (like iPhones and Androids). I just had to get one! So I began my research -- skimming all over the internet reading customer's reviews... and well, even here on Amazon, they're just not that flattering to Kodak's Playtouch -- WOW, I was shocked - especially coming from such positive feedback with the Zi8. The reviews are so negative, that I almost stopped right there.

So I went into Best Buy to see what all the fuss was about -- instantly liked the feel and build quality much better than the Panasonic. But was still wondering if all these complaints I've read are true -- horrible picture quality... awful sound recording... focusing issues, camera crashes, etc. Well, I guess the only way to find out was to bite the bullet and buy one. So I did.

That was 9AM this morning. It is now 11:00PM. I've played with this camera ALL DAY -- shot in all its recording formats, tested all the picture filters (which the "70s movie" rocks!) -- even the internal mic isn't horrible (c'mon peeps, lets not be dramatic)... the focusing and auto iris/exposure compensate very well and transitions smoothly in changing environments, my movies are all in focus and I had zero crashes. The big question: picture quality? Listen folks, the picture quality is FINE, SUPER, DANDY. Again, don't expect an HD Sony F900 picture result - but for these little portable cameras, this is probably even better than my Panasonic HM-TA1.

I purchased this camera because I'm getting into Vlogging. These cameras are perfect for that (pssst, that's what they're made for... internet not broadcast quality). Small, portable, easy to use. The Playtouch delivers on all fronts.

Now you can always get things to add and enhance your "production value" with these cameras. For instance, I purchased a small Sennheiser (MKE 400) mini-shotgun mic (plugs directly into the Playtouch). Really improves the audio - a worthy investment. Also purchased a small "Bracket", which is used to mount the shot gun mic and the camera. Brackets are generally considered "photography" equipment, but it works perfectly for my set up plus it adds more "stability" to handheld shooting. A great solution!

Really hope people will give this camera a chance. I don't understand all these negative reviews. I'm really happy with my purchase -- the user interface is great --- the touch screen is wonderfully responsive -- the picture quality is as good as it can be (for any of these pocket cameras)... the audio is superb with the added shotgun mic.... all the video options and editing utilities work and look terrific. What else can I say, I am a fan of Kodak's Playtouch.

P.S.: I am a Mac user / and this works seamlessly with my system (iMovie, iPhoto, etc.). Even did the firmware update :)

And for those of you who are skeptics and wondering... No, I do not work nor am affiliated with Kodak in any way, shape or form.
When I get some footage maybe I'll share it here. After all, a picture's worth a thousand words. :)

***I really really wanted the red/orange version, but no one is carrying them! I had no choice but to get the black version. Maybe Kodak can send me a Red battery compartment :)
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 12, 2010 4:55 AM PST


Volcano
Volcano
DVD ~ Tommy Lee Jones
122 used & new from $0.01

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars NO 16X9 ENHANCEMENT?!, October 23, 2010
This review is from: Volcano (DVD)
Very disappointed there's no 16x9 enhancement. :(

1 star for the DVD.

There's no excuse for studios to release films without 16x9.
Instead, like many early dvd releases, you get the 'widescreen/letterbox' release - which was
fine when watching on a 4:3 television; but with Widescreen televisions, it sucks because you're
now forced to watch it in what's called, "pillar boxing".

Some TV's have the option of zooming in, eliminating the black bars on the left & right side, but
that's not recommended viewing -- you lose quality by "magnifying" the image.

If you're thinking about purchasing -- I'd wait until they re-release the movie (which you know they will at some point).
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 14, 2011 6:56 PM PST


The Blind Side
The Blind Side
DVD ~ Sandra Bullock
Price: Click here to see our price
238 used & new from $0.01

25 of 71 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars THE BLAND SIDE (The Blind Side) DVD/Movie review, October 17, 2010
This review is from: The Blind Side (DVD)
This movie is so very bland. I really wanted to like it.

Almost immediately, felt like I was watching a TV movie on the Hallmark Channel, some overly sappy, "christian-friendly", family movie. And don't get me wrong, there should be good, decent family movies out there, however, this was so not deserving of all the buzz and certainly not of Sandra winning the Oscar. Her character, Leigh Ann had no change. Zero. None. She was the same from the beginning, middle to end. Leigh Ann never changed, despite even her line professing that "... he changed me." Not true. What ever happened to a character arc?

Everyone was too perfect. No one had any flaws. Her family was picture perfect, the husband, son and sister... even Micheal despite coming from a rough background (which was still candy-coated). Oh and by the way, lets save Michael, but leave the brother to fend for himself. Nice.

Leigh Ann brings Michael home and the family is just hunky-dory with everything???? C'mon, the kids wouldn't be a little put out by this, especially maybe Collins, the teenage daughter - now suddenly living with some strange, big, intimidating black dude??? And the husband wouldn't have any concerns... nothing at all?!?!?

How bout that car accident --- boy, I wish I could get off scott-free like Michael did. Must be nice.

And then near the end, I love how because the movie really had no "villian" (that's a major omission), they now make the NCAA the villian. Lets now investigate why Michael (maybe b/c he's African American) chose the school because, geez, he must be the ONLY KID to ever follow in the footsteps of a family's tradition to go to the same school. WOW, that's weak. But I guess it happened. It just should've been written a lot better!

If I were an African American, I'd actually be very offended by how the movie portrayed and dealt with the race card. I understand it's the South, but c'mon, the movie completely made the white people the heroes and really patronized the poor, ghetto black folks. Ouch.

This film was clearly made for people who want an underdog type story but who don't really want to see the truth in what it takes to follow through with a conviction. And I do applaud the real life Tuohy family for doing what so many people wouldn't do, but this sappy, bland, underperformed, underscripted movie is horrible.

I'm sure the true life events may have been a little tougher, a little more challenging, a little more controversial thus making the outcome that much more emotionally charged and inspiring, but the movie lacked in all those areas and just re-enacted a very safe and boring version of only the pretty, funny moments.
Comment Comments (12) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 2, 2013 8:01 PM PST


Giant (Two-Disc Special Edition)
Giant (Two-Disc Special Edition)
DVD ~ Various
Offered by The Thunder Cats
Price: $17.99
10 used & new from $13.99

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars REGARDING ASPECT RATIO CONCERNS for GIANT (Two-Disc Special Edition) DVD, October 17, 2010
This review is a response to all the comments/reviews made about how unhappy everyone is regarding Warner Bros. not enhancing GIANT for widescreen tv playback...

GIANT was shot in the native aspect ratio of 1.66:1. Basically means, it's just slightly "wider" than standard 1.33:1 aka: 4x3 (standard television box). Furthermore, shooting at 1.66:1 is a "non-anamorphic" format. There is no "squeezing" a wider image on the film negative - then unsqueezing when projected.

This DVD of GIANT presents the film as it was intended. If WB enhanced the picture for 16x9, then we'd actually lose a lot of the picture (from the top and bottom). The composition of the film is designed for the 1.66:1 frame perfectly.

Generally speaking...
Films that are shot 1.85:1 are anamorphic (but not always) thus, can be enhanced for widescreen tv playback.
Films that are shot 1.78:1 (which is the exact aspect ratio of today's HiDef screens, can be enhanced for widescreen tv playback.
Films that are shot 2.35:1 or 2.40:1 are anamorphic (but not always) thus, can be enhanced for widescreen tv playback.
Usually, films that are shot full-frame, 1.33:1 or 1.66:1 are non-anamorphic and should not be enhanced for widescreen (thus cutting off the tops and bottoms of the image).

Two examples of non-anamorphic films (but are still enhanced for widescreen tvs):
1.) Kubrick's "EYES WIDE SHUT"-- shot full-frame: 1.33:1 (yes, that's 4x3) standard television. For theatrical distribution, they "matted" the tops and bottoms to create a 1.85:1 ratio. The remastered special edition of "EYES WIDE SHUT" is enhanced for 16x9; just so you know, you're actually getting less picture. The original DVD release presents it in full-frame, as Kubrick intended (in fact, it even says it before the movie begins).

2.) Robert Altman's "SHORT CUTS", presented in 2.35:1 ratio is actually non-anamorphic. Again, shot full-frame, then matted it for the desired 2.35:1 ratio. Why? Because at that time, when movies hit videos they would do this awful process called Pan&Scan. Shooting it full frame would keep their desired composition by just removing the mattes from the top and bottom of the screen.

So why is GIANT non-anamorphic? Well, you'll just have to ask director, George Stevens... but he'll tell you that he wasn't crazy about this new gizmo called, "Cinemscope" (aka: anamorphic lenses/widescreen)... plus, he wanted to give GIANT a "tall" feeling opposed to a "wide" feeling. But he changed his mind when he made THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD, shooting anamorphic 2.20:1.

Kazan, wanted EAST OF EDEN to have that wide yet claustrophobic feeling so he chose to shoot Cinemascope, 2.35:1 as did Nicholas Ray for his films, like REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE and BIGGER THAN LIFE.

So lets not bash WB for putting out exactly what director George Steven's envisioned. Lets first do some research into "aspect ratios" and how these films were shot before you start complaining that the picture doesn't fill up your widescreen tv.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 2, 2011 7:48 AM PDT


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