All posts by Chris

HDR Movies on iPad Pro

In my previous post I told you about my favorite film bundle on iTunes. The bundle is remarkeable because it includes “4K Dolby Vision” versions of all included films at no extra cost compared to the HD version. I was able to enjoy the higher quality video on my iPad Pro and I go into a few technical details of the experience below.

Supported devices

Apple’s support document ↗︎ about movies with ” 4K badgeHDR badge, or Dolby Vision badge ” reads:

iPhone 8 and newer, iPad Pro (2017), and Apple TV 4K can play HDR10 and Dolby Vision content.
Apple TV 4K, connected to a 4K-compatible television, can play 4K content.4 4K video, especially with HDR10 or Dolby Vision, requires an HDMI cable compatible with these formats.

iPad Pro 2nd Generation, iPhone 8/X and Apple TV 4K. That’s right, iTunes for Mac doesn’t (as of this writing) let you download or stream the “4K” versions of films even on iMac 5K!

Additionally, a swift internet connection is required to stream 4K content:

Apple recommends a minimum speed of 25 Mbps for 4K streaming.

If your internet connection doesn’t meet this requirement, your device will stream lower resolution video automatically. Oddly enough, Apple doesn’t permit downloading 4K content to watch later – the download is maxed out at 1080p:

You can download a local copy of an HD movie to your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, or PC, and you might be able to download HDR and Dolby Vision versions to your iOS devices, but you can’t download a 4K version.

My experience of HDR on iPad Pro

I watched five Mission: Impossible movies in “4K Dolby Vision” on my iPad Pro 12.9” (2017). The video quality is impressive! I haven’t found mention of how the HDR effect is achieved on the iPad, so I decided to find out myself. I filmed my iPad Pro that was playing a Dolby Vision movie in 240fps using my iPhone 7. Watching the slowed-down clip confirms that there’s no interlacing used to create a fake HDR perception, this is native HDR thanks to the iPad’s exceptional display. Bonus: ProMotion technology allows the iPad to display the 24fps movie at native 24 Hz, which eliminates tearing produced by conventional displays that run at fixed 60 Hz refresh rate. Awesome!

The best movie experience in the home

Using “Apple TV 4K” connected to a 4K TV with Dolby Vision support using proper HDMI cable, you can actually achieve full 4K (3840 x 2160) HDR playback quality as demoed by Apple on stage during the “Apple TV 4K” announcement keynote.

A few technical limitations that should be mentioned:

  • iPad Pro and iPhone are limited to 1080p Dolby Vision renders of the movie, not 4K as advertised in the store both on iOS and macOS. On the flip side, the difference in resolution is probably not noticeable even on the 2048p display of my iPad Pro 12.9″.
  • “iTunes Extras” content is in SD for older movies and HD for more recent ones – no 4K/1080p HDR, a downgrade that is immediately noticeable after viewing the full blockbuster in 1080p HDR!
  • Interruptions of HDR: anything displayed outside of the video playing will temporarily prevent HDR from working its magic. The transition is mostly smooth. However even subtitles and notifications caused my iPad to briefly switch to non-HDR mode.

Funny enough: the brief interruptions of HDR allow you to consciously notice the added video quality.

Summary

iTunes “4K Dolby Vision” offers a truly cinema-grade visual experience, both on Apple TV 4K and on iPad Pro (2017). The team behind the Apple ProMotion display deserves highest praise! 👏

Quick thoughts on the Mission Impossible Franchise

#MissionImpossible is the best movie franchise of the early 21st century.
There, I said it.
Can‘t wait to see #MissionImpossibleFallout in 3D / Dolby Atmos tomorrow! #Cinema

This was me tweeting before seeing the new Mission Impossible Fallout (sixth film in the franchise). I am now convinced Fallout is one of the best action films ever produced.

For all fans (and passer-by fans) of the MI franchise: treat yourself to the Mission Impossible Movie bundle on iTunes (now or after they add the latest one). Link to 5 movie collection: https://geo.itunes.apple.com/movie-collection/mission-impossible-5-movie-collection/id1181237190

Your mission, should you choose to accept it: let me know which one is your favorite and what you think about the latest installment. (Twitter @_conath)

Bewertung: „Train Valley“ bringt Modelleisenbahn auf das iPad (Puzzlespiel)

…also genau das richtige Gelegenheitsspiel für mich als (ehemaligen) Modelleisenbahn-Liebhaber!

Train Valley von Flazm Interactive Entertainment UAB

https://itunes.apple.com/de/app/train-valley/id1135938758?mt=8

Im Train Valley geht es darum, Züge möglichst bald an Ihren Zielbahnhof zu bringen. Der Haken: der Streckenplan muss erst noch festgelegt werden und jeder Zug will auch noch per Hand gesteuert werden. Modelleisenbahn pur!

Dabei ist schon mal die Berliner Mauer oder ein Bergmassiv quer durch die Landschaft, die man geschickt mit Gleisen umfahren oder überwinden muss. Genau diese Level, wo es einen Engpass gibt, sind die schwierigsten. Zum Glück gibt es viele davon und mit genug Abwechslung, dass man auch nach den ersten 20 nicht genug hat. Im Gegenteil: ich habe dieses Juwel an Puzzlespiel über einige Wochen sehr sporadisch gespielt und bin nun erst am (bisherigen) Ende angelangt.

Soviel des Lobs, etwas Kritik bleibt nicht erspart:

Erstens: es gibt ein paar verstreute, selten ausgelöste, Programmfehler, die die App abstürzen lassen. Das ist im großen Ganzen nicht störend, da man die Fehlerquelle leicht herausfindet (bestimmte Quadrate in bestimmten Leveln) und meidet. Zweitens: die Grafik ist zwar niedlich und liebevoll gestaltet, jedoch nicht auf Retina-Niveau, wie man es von anderen Spielen her gewohnt ist. Hier ist auch bei den Zugmodellen noch viel Luft nach oben. Es fehlen außerdem fast alle dynamischen Beleuchtungseffekte der PC-Version (ich habe statt der PC Version gleich die iPad Variante gekauft, da die Touch-Bedienung hier sehr vorteilhaft ist).

Insgesamt ist Train Valley jedoch ein toller Zeitvertreib, der gleichzeitiges Wege-Suchen, Koordination der Abfahrten und Achten auf Spielereignisse (und Level-spezifische Herausforderungen) fordert. Deshalb trotz der zwei Kritikpunkte 5 Sterne!

(diese Bewertung habe ich soeben im App Store veröffentlicht. Ich dachte mir, poste ich sie auch hier)

Train Valley von Flazm Interactive Entertainment UAB

https://itunes.apple.com/de/app/train-valley/id1135938758?mt=8

[Video] Unboxing the Impossible Lens Set for SX-70 by Mint

For some reason, this didn’t get published back in December. Oh joy! Here it goes!

On Cyber Monday, The Impossible Project offered a whopping 20% off its entire online store. That was the perfect opportunity for me to purchase a Lens set that I’ve been focused on for quite a while (pun intended) …

This video is actually my first post-narrated one! I’ve tried to make it sound a little better by using the iMovie “more bass” equalizer on the narration track, please let me know how you like it! 😀

“Dark Knight” self-portrait series part one

Back in November of 2015, I ordered a garment called “Knight Hoodie” from an American online shop that sells just this one piece of clothing. I had discovered the product while browsing 9GAG, in a post with the words “want” and “nerdgasm” in the title – my thoughts exactly. Previously, I had acquired an inexpensive black cape from Amazon and had been positively surprised by its quality and sleek appearance. And now, I had a stunning hoodie to match that would eventually start an ongoing self-portrait photography series. Continue reading “Dark Knight” self-portrait series part one

Apple proudly presents: they missed the boat again.

When Tim Cook went quiet after having talked more than enough about the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, I felt a nearly forgotten sensation building up in my stomach. I’m too young to have witnessed Steve Jobs’ keynotes in pixelated live streams, but I’ve watched enough replays of those legendary events to recognize this deliberate pause towards the end of the presentation. Or so I thought, because my excitement for “one more thing…” was ripped to pieces seconds later when Mr. Cook shamelessly missed the opportunity and over-emphatically invited the press representatives to get their fingers dirty on the fancy new Touch Bar. Continue reading Apple proudly presents: they missed the boat again.

Selfie Stickers Update Version 1.1: Hunting the bugs

It’s a fact that nearly no apps – even seemingly simple ones such as Selfie Stickers – are bug-free when they are first released. Thankfully, it’s possible to release updates that fix these issues and that’s exactly what I’ve done this week. The free update brings my iPhone app Selfie Stickers to version 1.1. Here’s the changelog:

+ Added haptic feedback (iPhone 7 & 7 Plus only)
+ Added preliminary VoiceOver support
+ Added French localization
* Changed the App Store name to “Selfie Stickers for iMessage”
* Fixed a bug that caused new stickers to not appear in the list until the app was re-opened
* Fixed a bug that caused stickers not to be sent due to incorrect scaling
* Fixed missing translations for photo library access
* Miscellaneous fixes and optimizations

As you might have noticed, I have changed the name of the app from “Selfie Stickers for Messages” to “Selfie Stickers for iMessage”. This makes it more obvious that you can only use the app with iMessage and not with other messaging apps. I’ve also added French localization and VoiceOver support as well as a touch of Haptic Feedback (pun intended).

You can head over to the Updates tab of the App Store app to download the update. Alternatively, tap here to download the app for free from the App Store.

My first iPhone app: Selfie Stickers for Messages

Selfie Stickers for Messages App Icon. Shows an emoji of a person who is taking a selfie. Only the right arm and smartphone are visible.After a few weeks of quiet research and development (no pun intended), I have launched my first app on the Apple App Store!

It’s called “Selfie Stickers for Messages”.

Quoting the App Store description:

Add a personal touch to any messages you send or receive with – wait for it – your own face! Selfie Stickers allows you to easily create your own stickers out of your selfies and other photos!

It’s as simple as 1-2-3:
1. Tap to take a selfie or select an existing one from your photo library
2. Crop the image to get the subject centered (a circular mask will be applied afterwards)
3. Done! Peel your facial expression of amazement away and stick it onto any message of your choice. Or tap to send the sticker as a photo for others to re-use!

Are you excited to try the new sticker feature in iOS 10’s Messages app?
Don’t like the existing, pre-built and emotionless stickers?
This app was made for you. It works with any picture you take and with all the photos you already have in your camera roll.

Turn that frown upside-down and send all the facial expressions your selfie camera can capture to your friends today!

Stay tuned for more features as I continue to enhance Selfie Stickers.

You can find it on the App Store for free:

Download Selfie Stickers for Messages on the Apple App Store

It was a fun challenge and a refreshing departure from StarGame development and I hope you enjoy it as well. StarGame is also coming to the App Store pretty soon, so stay tuned for that!

DIYing a 3D Printer – Part One: Taking apart a HP Deskjet 6540

When my mum randomly decided to throw out everything we had in the basement, I saved our old HP Deskjet 6540 from going to the recycling center. I decided to take it apart to see what components are inside and which of them could potentially be used to construct a 3D printer. Video below:

What do you think about the idea of converting a 2D printer to a 3D printer? And how do you like my experiment with background music? Please tell me in the comments or on Twitter!