Saturday, May 08, 2010

The Hipstamatic

I had a question about the last few posts I've been making and how I got the green color in them. Usually I like to post details about what equipment I use and a little about process just for information's sake, and because I'm always curious about the process and equipment other people use. It's how I learn.

All of the square pictures in the last few days have been taken with an iPhone camera, using the Hipstamatic application. There are lots of programs out there for turning today's fancy digital cameras into "lo-fi" replicas of the old plastic dimestore cameras our parents (and many of us) used back in the day. I assumed that "hipstamatic" was just a bunch of Apple fan-boy hipsters with too much time on their hands. Turns out that it actually WAS a camera. The website for the real Hipstamatic camera can be seen here. It's quite an interesting read if you take the time; the gentleman who runs the site is the surviving sibling of several brothers who wanted to make cheap, affordable cameras for the common joe to use.

The app itself was a $1.99 purchase from the phone. There are several add-on packs which I also purchased, for $0.99 each. The basis for the thing works like this: it's a virtual SLR, in which you are presented with several digital recreations of old plastic and low-quality lenses. Each lens gives the image a particular color tone and look due to it's recreation of the optical defects that would have been present in a typical lens of the type.

Secondly, you are presented with a series of "film" choices. Again, there are several add-on packs that can be purchased. The "film" choice affects the look of the edge of the image as well as whether it is black & white or color.

Lastly, there is a "flash" option. The flash option simply seems to add a degree of positive compensation to the image (i.e. makes it brighter). There are several flash options available. I only bothered with the base option.

Oh... and lastly lastly, there's an option which, when enabled, allows you to randomize a combination by shaking the phone. I must say; this application has taken what is an ordinary and utilitarian camera phone and changed it into something that is photographically very interesting and a whole lot of fun. It's been well worth the few dollars that i paid for it, and makes me as likely to pull out the iphone as I am to pull out the ten-times-as-expensive D700.

All that for an easy answer: the green images are mostly shot with the John S. lens and the Kodot Verichrome film. The B&W's have been mostly the Lucifer VI lens with the BlacKeys SuperGrain B&W film, occasionally with flash. Remember these are all simply digital settings inside the iPhone application.

This all being said, what if you don't have an iPhone? Unfortunately at this point you're out of luck. At this point there's no such thing as a Photoshop Hipstamatic plugin. I will keep my fingers crossed though, because I'd love to run some of my D700 shots through it! In the meantime, there are plenty of places to look for something similar. See my sidebar for starters. Look for a cross-process action, and perhaps a defocusing action. The edging will be more work, as I've never found anything short of a paid plugin program that will easily replicate vintage film emulsion edging. When I've done it on my own it's been using layering and various layer effects with starter images i've found on the web.

And finally remember: equipment is irrelevant. The image is what matters.

Just my opinion.

1 comment:

whitney said...

Good thing you bought that fancy smancy camera to just go using your iphone then!
Love the images though, might end up swiping a few from you for the new house! I really like the one in French I am assuming says something about no parking with the hand pointing.