Sorry for not posting last Sunday……I needed to go upstate New York to see my dad. He’s 88 and has Alzheimer’s. I hadn’t seen him in a long while and he needed to go into the hospital (everything is ok). It got me to thinking about last weeks backup post. You don’t want to loose any of your pictures whether you scan them to your desktop machine, take with a camera or your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. Did you know that Apple has a great scan utility called “Image Capture” that comes on every machine? It allows you to transfer images from a scanner, a camera, or a device with a camera, such as your phone. Works like a champ.


They’re called snap shots because they capture a unique moment in time. I came across this photo at my moms this past weekend and scanned it into my computer when I got back. I’m eight months old and being held by my two Grandmas. It was taken at Jones Beach in the summer of 1950. I scanned the below image using my old Canon multi-function Canon PIXMA MP620 which is networked. Now I have a copy of this photograph and memory and I’m confident that I have a backup using Time Machine.


Another quick snap was taken with my iPhone on Christmas day 2010 at Rockefeller Center in NYC. It’s one of my favorite “selfie” snaps of Zoe and me and our silly hats.

copyright 2012, David Leveen

Which brings me to a really bad segue, well sorta of bad, about a new app called “SnapGuide” for the iPhone. Snapguide is a simple, beautiful way to share and view sep-by-step how to guides. Everything from photography to cooking to building. It’s all done with your camera on your iPhone. You can use both pictures and videos shot with the phone and imported into the app. Check out the ones Rick and I did on photography.

I’ll leave you with this great shot of my dad that I took 3 years ago. It brings tears to my eyes every time I see it. When I visited him this past weekend he said, “hey that’s at the LPGA!”. For over 30 years my dad volunteered and ran the media tent at the Corning Classic. A great LPGA event held in Corning, NY at the Corning Country Club. By the way, Nancy Lopez was my Dad’s favorite golfer.

copyright 2012, David Leveen

Next week I’ll share a couple of secrets I learned about the iPhone from my daughter Maya and my best friend Eric. And we’ll look at a very cool app and photo sharing service from our friends at SmugMug. See you then.

Just Because: Holy Moly! Rocking the Garden for Bobby D……so many musicians plus the great great rhythm section of Steve Cropper, Duck Dunn and Jim Keltner. How great to see Johnny Cash, Ronnie Wood and George Harrison sharing the mic. Enjoy!

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Send Lawyers, Guns and Money the Sh*t has Hit the Fan!

Man I miss Warren Zevon, but no truer words have been spoken when it comes to backing up your iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad or main machine. I can tell you from my experience with my Apple clients and my friends at the Apple Genius Bar that the sound you never want to hear is “kerplunk!” as your device falls into the toilet, bathtub or puddle. It happens frequently and without a back up you have to reconstruct all your favorite music, contacts, photos etc. from scratch to a replacement device. Always sync your device to the latest version of iTunes. iTunes backs up to your local machine. If you have to restore your device to the way it was, you restore from this back up. There are other strategies and methods to employ.


Calendar/Contacts: Get an Apple iCloud account it’s free. This enables you to sync your calendar and contacts between all your Apple devices and desktop machine or laptop. Because everything is in sync it also becomes an easy way to restore your calendar and contacts to a new device or machine.

Apps: By backing up to iTunes on your desktop or laptop when you restore your device it will also add your apps back in to your device. Also did you know that when you purchase an app on either your iPhone or iPad and then delete it, you can always go back to the app store and re-download the purchased app for free.

Photos: I always like to transfer my iPhone and iPad photos to Aperture 3 or the latest version of iPhoto when I sync. That way when I back up my desktop machine I also have a back up of my photos. Like the photo below taken with the wide-angle lens from the iPro Lens that I took on my walk last night. Loving that lens setup and the artistic filters in iPhoto on the iPad.


Music: I have over 1TB of music in my iTunes library and carry between 1000-1200 songs at any given time on my iPhone. I listen when I take my daily walks, driving to clients and when I’m cooking (using AirPlay). Because I like to rotate new and old tunes on my iPhone I created a playlist in iTunes on my main machine called “iPhone”. It is that list that I sync to my iPhone and thus manage what music ends up on my iPhone. Music moves in and out of that list frequently. That way if I have to restore a damaged iPhone to a new one I have a fast and easy way to keep the music the same.

Coming up next week: My Neighborhood! Plus a cool new app SnapGuide that Rick and I dip our toes into.

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Is that D-76 I Smell or Are You Just Happy to See Me?

Before we start here is a new feature you may not be aware of on your iPhone that’s running IOS 5.1. You can now take pictures directly from your lock screen. You’ll notice in the picture below that I’ve highlighted the camera icon in the lower right corner, flip that up and the iPhone automatically goes into the picture taking mode. You can now grab that shot before it disappears.


It all started with a photography course I took at Ithaca College and a Nikkormat camera that my friend Paul let me use for the class. The smell of the dark room, the beauty of printing the b/w negatives and the wonder as the image appeared on the paper. Long since lost are the images I took at the Watkins Glen race track that spring but the thrill and satisfaction of looking at the world as a photographer remains. Overtime that feeling took a back seat as kids and the responsibility and time of marriage and raising them took priority. But happily the wonderment has returned in the guise of my iPhone 4S and the iPro Lens system.

The iPro Lens System works on both the iPhone 4 and 4S. It comes with a great case for your phone and both a wide-angle and fisheye lens that screws directly onto the case over the existing iPhone lens. A handle safely stores both lenses and enables you to hand hold or attach your iPhone to any tripod. I love taking pictures with the system. Below is the classic Croton dam shot that I shot with my iPhone and the wide-angle lens attached. It was photo streamed to my iPad and then I processed it in iPhoto using one of the artistic filters.


Here is a view taken from the top of the dam standing over the falls looking towards Croton on Hudson with the iPhone and wide-angle lens attached and again processed through iPhoto on the iPad.


I turned around so my back was to the above view and I was facing the actual reservoir and the spill over. This time I used the fisheye lens. I could have cropped out the edges but decided it was more fun to leave them in.


The iPro Lens System drew me back to looking at the world with my photography eyes again and gave my daughter a great excuse to take a silly fisheye shot of me at our favorite pizza place.


As promised here’s how to print wirelessly from your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch when you don’t have one of the new Air Print capable printers…..use Printopia from ecamm. Check it out.

As for the new Air Print capable printers here’s one that works well and is reasonably priced from Canon.

Next week I’ll show you how to easily get your photos from your iPhone to your iPad if you’re not using iCloud. We’ll also look at some simple backup strategies for your iPhone, iPad and Apple desktop.

Just Because: A great version of a Hall and Oates tune that I came across…..wait for the Kazoo! Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers. Shot with an iPhone! Check out all their covers.

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Giving Your Pictures the Finger

I love photography and hate Photoshop. Heresy I know but the truth is, if there is a photograph of mine that I like and needs help I go to the master, Rick Sammon. He not only has taught me great things about photography (it’s about soul) but he’s a master of Adobe’s Photoshop. I currently own a Canon 7D for my main camera though in the last few months I’ve been using it more as my main video camera than for stills. I have the iPhone 4s and have been using it as my go to camera as I carry it with me at all times. The below photograph was taken at sunset down at the Hudson River in Croton on Hudson, NY with my iPhone 4s. Love the shot, hate the lens flare.


Yesterday I got my new iPad and immediately bought the new Apple iPhoto app for the iPad from the App store. I transferred the lens flared sunset photo to my iPad (you really have to see the screen to see how magnificent your photos look). I use iCloud to sync my calendars and contacts with my phone, iPad and my MacBook Air. One of the great additional functions if you use iCloud is known as “Photo Stream”. If you take a picture on your iPhone it also automatically streams to your iPad, laptop or desktop machine in iPhoto or Aperture 3. So even though I used my phone for the photo it showed up on my iPad also. I launched iPhoto on the iPad and then literally gave my photograph the finger! As you can see from the below screen shot there are many cool things you can do to your photos.


I chose the “Repair” brush to get the lens flare out. I used two fingers to zoom into the lens flare and then just rubbed my finger on the screen to replace the lens flare with the non lens flare surrounding pixels. The resulting photo turned out terrific. I even printed an 8”x11” print on my Canon Pro 9000 Mark II from my iPad.


Next week I’ll tell you how I was able to print wirelessly from my iPad to my Canon Printer. I’ll also show some other iPhoto effects that I used on photographs I took on my iPhone using the very cool iPro Wide Lens setup. The Croton Dam never looked so good! See you next iStuff Sunday…….thanks as always to Rick Sammon.

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Brain Surgery

Seven months ago I had brain surgery to repair a subdural hematoma that I sustained in a fall two and a half months prior. Here are two things I learned:

“The Best Camera You Own is the One You Have With You”


The Morning After

The morning after my surgery, I had my 14 year old daughter take a picture of me with my iPhone 4. It’s a little bit creepy but so great in helping me remember what I went through. I carry this picture with me on my iPhone all the time. It’s a constant reminder of how fragile life is. As Yoko said after John was murdered, we all live in a Season of Glass.

“ You’re Here for a Good Time Not a Long Time”
….Tommy V


Yogi Berra Museum


Babe Ruth’s Gravesite

A month after the surgery my buds organized a “therapy road trip” to get me out of the house and to start the social recovery process. I love my friends! We hit the Yogi Berra museum, then La Manda’s old school italian restaurant for lunch and ended the day at Babe Ruth’s grave site. Once again using Tommy V’s long reach and his iPhone 4 we I have two great photos from that day and a great reminder of what a strange trip life can be!

Next Sunday, giving your pictures the finger with the new iPad and iPhoto. It’s pretty cool!

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Out of the Fog!

Woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head and looked out the window (my apologies to the Beatles) and gazed upon the foggiest of fogs. Grabbed my 7D and headed to the Croton Dam. I have been wanting to shoot a video of the dam in the fog as the sun started to burn off the haze for quite awhile. So….in your travels, always keep an eye out for great locations and be prepared to record! . Check out the background info on the Croton Dam.

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Edit Before You Shoot, Part One

Rick Sammon and I recently finished a small video project for Square. Square enables people from all walks of life to accept credit and debit cards. What better way to illustrate this than a real world situation that Rick finds himself in multiple times a year, selling his books at his workshops and seminars and loosing sales because he doesn’t take credit cards. With the basic premise in place we started out the process for shooting.

First Setup (unable to accept credit card):

  1. Establish location and activity. Rick selling his books after a workshop. Which he does all over the U.S.
  2. Introduce a workshop attendee wanting to buy a book and being frustrated that he can’t use his credit card
  3. Show frustration for Rick and his assistant Susan that he doesn’t take credit cards and looses a sale.

Second Setup (happily accept credit card):

  1. Establish location and activity. Rick selling his books after a workshop. Which he does all over the U.S.
  2. Introduce a workshop attendee wanting to buy a book and happy that he can use his credit card.
  3. Demonstrate how Square works
  4. Show a successful sale and purchase because of Square.

Edit Before You Shoot:

Because I was the director, cameraman and editor and knowing what our basic set up was, I went about plotting how I wanted to shoot. One of the things I’ve learned as an editor, which helps make the videos message work, is the ability to visualize the completed video before I shoot! Sounds weird I know but boy does it make everything a lot simpler when shooting. Basically it’s a storyboard but not on paper, but in your head.  First thing we did is to do multiple run throughs of the action. While listening to the performances for pacing, timing and hitting the key story telling points I mentally blocked my shots.

First Setup (unable to accept credit card):

I knew I wanted to have a wide shot to establish where and what we were doing.

Wide of Book Signing

My next shot was going to be a close up of the attendee who at first is excited to buy one of Rick’s books and get it autographed. It was important to show his disappointment and frustration in not being able to do so.

CU of Leo

Finally I knew that we needed to show a two shot between Rick and his assistant Susan that showed their disappointment in the lose of a sale.

Loosing a Sale

Second Setup (happily accept credit card):

The front piece was similar to the First Setup but now I needed to also shoot the Square demo.

Happy Wide

I knew we needed to shoot the iPhone with the card dongle in it, the credit card sliding through and then the app doing its transaction.

App Shots

I also wanted the buyer’s curiosity in what Square was doing.

CU Happy Leo

Finally I needed to see Rick and Susan’s successful sale.

Two Shot End

The actual shoot was done single camera. I felt that it was important that I shoot the performances all the way though for each camera angle. That allowed me to control the pace and flow of the action between the actors and allowed me the freedom in the edit room to mix up the different camera angles. See video below.

Square with Rick Sammon from David Leveen on Vimeo.

In part 2 I’ll go through the lighting setup and all of the equipment used. The whole shoot took about an hour including rehearsals and setup. The actual edit and graphics took just over an hour. So remember to Edit before you Shoot and visualize what you want your video to look like from start to finish.

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How I Did It: Steve Sabol, President, NFL Films

Great article about how Steve Sabol and his Dad started NFL Films. Believe in what you do and anything is possible….and of course makes for great film making! Enjoy

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The Two W’s

“Why and What”, your video project mantra. “Why” am I making this video and “What” do I want my audience to walk away with. Keeping the two W’s always in mind while brainstorming, creating, and distributing your project will make for a success for both you and your intended audience.

Executive Chef Jon Pratt from Umami Cafe lighting his fire!

The picture included here is from a promotional video and DVD done for a popular local restaurant, Umami Cafe in Croton on Hudson, NY. Click the picture to see the video snippet!

The “Why” for this video was strictly promotional. For the Christmas season the owners and executive chef of the restaurant wanted to make a “how-to” video of 4 of their most popular dishes and thus extend Umami’s brand outside of the restaurant.

The “What” they wanted their audience to take away was how to make the restaurants signature dishes in their home. The feedback was great as people mentioned how much fun and easy the recipes were to make at home every time they came into the restaurant.

So the two W’s are there to help and begin the process of making a successful video.

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Doritos Crash the Superbowl Shot with the 7D

A great spot shot with the Canon 7D. Again, a great storyline will always win the day! And the added plus is how they created the spot. Thanks to our friends at Planet 5D

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