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  • Insert Coin: 50-Dollar Follow Focus
    In Insert Coin, we look at an exciting new tech project that requires funding before it can hit production. If you’d like to pitch a project, please send us a tip with “Insert Coin” as the subject line.

    If you’ve watched HD video footage captured by a DSLR, you’ve probably wondered why, despite the fact that you own the exact same model, your clips lack the fluid feel of a professional production. One culprit may be the lack of a steady support system to maintain balance as you shoot, like the rather complex Steadicam. That’s just part of the equation, however. What you’re also missing is the precision handling of an external follow focus. As its simplistic name implies, the 50-Dollar Follow Focus is a cheap and effective solution.

    Made of CNC-machined aircraft-grade aluminum, the 50-Dollar Follow Focus includes two belts and two pulleys to accommodate a variety of lenses, and with the exception of your DSLR and a pair of support rails, everything you need to get started ships in the box. Author Wiley Davis teamed up with The Robot, his in-house CNC mill, to develop some early prototypes, before bringing the project to Kickstarter and launching a campaign to raise $10,000 in order to buy supplies in bulk and invest in a more efficient production system. The result looks very slick, and while it adds some bulk to your DSLR rig, the size tradeoff seems to be worthwhile. Ready to buy your own? Hit up the Kickstarter link below to make your pledge, and keep an eye on that mailbox — these are expected to ship in March. You’ll find a video demo just past the break.

    Continue reading Insert Coin: 50-Dollar Follow Focus

    Insert Coin: 50-Dollar Follow Focus originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 25 Jan 2012 17:34:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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  • Cortexa’s ZE Home Controller: recreate Demon Seed for a fraction of the cost

    Your home is the next frontier for gadgeteers across the world and Cortexa’s leading the way by releasing a new kit that’ll turn your house into Proteus IV in a matter of minutes. The EZ Home Automation Ready Controller can manage lighting, security cameras and thermostats from the comfort of its Flash-based (aww) web-interface or iOS app. It’s also retailing an EZ-Wave Starter package with ten dimmers, thermostat, energy monitor, controller and two lamp modules for quick fitting. You’ll also be able to save on energy bills, cutting your power down when you’re out and about or by setting custom actions for those lightbulb-left-on-moments. Cortexa’s building a HTML5 interface as well as support for Hal and Lutron-based systems, which are due to arrive in “a few weeks.” The starter kit will set you back $1,800, while remote access costs $50 a year (or $5 a month). After the break we’ve got PR for everyone who wants to really freak out the kid you paid to come house-sit when you’re on vacation.

    [Thanks, Jesse]

    Continue reading Cortexa’s ZE Home Controller: recreate Demon Seed for a fraction of the cost

    Cortexa’s ZE Home Controller: recreate Demon Seed for a fraction of the cost originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 25 Jan 2012 17:05:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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  • Google adding Public Alerts to Maps, keeps you in the loop in times of worry
    Google adding Public Alerts to Maps, keeps you in the loop in times of worry
    You can’t deny that Google often hands out marvelous tools for the masses to utilize (yes, some can be a miss), and today the King of Search is launching a fresh virtual apparatus as part of its Crisis Response project. Dubbed “Public Alerts,” the feature is accessible from within Google Maps, keeping you in the loop during times of high alert. Your search query will trigger things like weather relevant to your area, public safety and earthquake alerts — all of which are provided by the NOAA, the National Weather Service and the US Geological Survey. The Crisis Response squad says its goal is “to surface emergency information through the online tools you use everyday,” which is a great idea, but we honestly hope that you don’t have to use it very often. Those of you stateside can start using Public Alerts now — as for the rest, let’s hope that the search giant brings its alerts to a map near you sooner rather than later…

    Google adding Public Alerts to Maps, keeps you in the loop in times of worry originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 25 Jan 2012 16:37:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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