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March 20, 2017

Don’t toss it: Your next smartphone’s packaging could fold into a VR viewer

A recent Google patent suggests the company’s working on device packaging that folds into a VR viewer. It’s a potential follow-up to the search giant’s low-cost Cardboard headset.

The post Don’t toss it: Your next smartphone’s packaging could fold into a VR viewer appeared first on Digital Trends.

Source: Digital Trends VR

March 20, 2017

REVIEW: Sigma Offers Cinema Zooms for Indie Prices

With the two new sub-$4000 Cine Zooms, Sigma has released extremely well designed glass, with both an ergonomic feel and the capacity to produce stunning images. Who cares if they aren’t perfectly parfocal?

Sigma is a dominant force in the mass market still lens universe, and with their new Cine Zooms and Cine Primes they are making a move for the cinema marketplace. While the Cine Zooms are based on their still lens designs and are not custom-designed from scratch for motion work, they are still impressive lenses, and it’s clear that the company has taken the needs of filmmakers seriously.

In this review, we looked at the lenses both as a likely affordable rental option, but also a realistic purchase item for many independent filmmakers.

[Editor’s Note: Sigma loaned us a set of both zooms for testing and review.]

Build quality

The Cine Zooms are serious lenses. The building and construction are clearly meant to withstand frequent use, with barrels that feel solid, robust teeth, and an overall quality that inspires confidence.

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Source: NoFilmSchool

March 20, 2017

Ranking The Most Dangerous Countries For American Tourists

This post originally appeared on Priceonomics.

Each year, the State Department issues dozens of advisories with the intent of keeping Americans safe as they travel abroad. What countries are targeted by these advisories, and what risks do Americans face by visiting them? Are State Department advisories effective in keeping American travelers safe?

We decided to investigate what are the most dangerous countries for American to visit as measured by State Department warnings and also by actual deaths. We used data from Priceonomics customer data.world, a platform that ties many different data sets together so it’s easy to analyze them (you can download their dataset here).

We found that Mexico, Mali, and Israel have been targeted by the most travel advisories in recent years, but that Americans are more likely to face life-threatening danger in Thailand, Pakistan, and Honduras. Indeed, warnings and deadly violence are correlated on the whole. And fortunately, some travelers – at least those headed to the Philippines or Egypt – seem to heed these advisories, as those countries see dropoffs in tourism following warnings.


We began by identifying the countries that are most often targeted by U.S. State Department travel advisories. The State Department has multiple mechanisms for advising American travelers, but we focused just on Travel Warnings, which are issued when lasting turmoil in a country poses such a danger that the State Department discourages any travel there at all. 

We filtered out warnings that had been issued for natural disasters, then ranked countries based on the number of Travel Warnings issued against them in an 8-year period between 2009 and 2017. We display the top 25 below.

Top 25 Countries by Travel Warnings Issued

Mexico tops the list with 28 warnings in an 8-year period. It’s worth noting that these warnings are regionally specific, targeting sites where crime syndicates are particularly active. Popular tourist destinations like Mexico City and the Yucatán peninsula (including Cancún) are generally regarded as safe.

Most other countries on this ranking are participants in ongoing international conflicts (e.g., Israel, Pakistan, Afghanistan), or are sites in which extremist groups regularly carry out terrorist attacks (e.g., Mali, Nigeria, Syria).

North Korea is an interesting exception, as the government itself presents a danger to American travelers. According to the State Department, foreigners are liable to be jailed for unspecified reasons, or for seemingly innocuous infractions like interacting with the locals or taking unauthorized photos. 

How do State Department warnings square with the actual likelihood of crime abroad? Reliable, global data on crime is difficult to come by, but the State Department tracks the incidence and causes of American deaths abroad. We used that dataset to identify countries where Americans are most likely to experience life-threatening danger while traveling.

In the table below, we rank the foreign countries in which the most Americans were killed between 2009 and 2016. Before ranking, we filtered the data to include only homicides, executions, deaths in terrorist attacks, and drug-related deaths. 

Top 25 Countries by Americans Killed

In general, a violent death abroad is extremely unlikely. Between 2009 and 2013, 1,151 Americans – out of a population of 316 million – were killed abroad. For comparison, 15,809 homicides occurred in the U.S. in 2014 alone.

Of the 1,356 killings that occurred abroad, 1,193 (88%) happened in the 25 countries listed above. And just one country, Mexico, accounted for 50% of those deaths.

Of course, more Americans die in Mexico because vastly more Americans travel to Mexico than any other country. This holds true to a lesser degree for some of the other countries near the top of this ranking, including the Dominican Republic and Jamaica.

With that in mind, we adjusted our ranking to account for the volume of tourism from the U.S. We calculated the number of Americans murdered in a country per 100,000 American tourists, using travel numbers from a dataset gathered by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. We excluded any country that received fewer than 100,000 American visitors between 2009 and 2016. 

Top 25 Countries by Americans Killed Per Capita

Adjusting for travel volume shuffles our ranking, if not drastically changing it; 16 of the 25 countries listed here also appear on our ranking of countries by absolute number of American deaths.

Pakistan and Thailand jumped to the top of the list, each with a handful of deaths in a relatively small pool of tourists. 

Surprisingly, there is only modest overlap between this ranking and the set of countries receiving the most travel warnings. Of the top 10 countries ranked here, only 4 — Pakistan, the Philippines, Nigeria, and Mexico — were among the top 25 countries targeted by travel warnings.

This led us to wonder about the connection between State Department warnings and American death abroad. Does the State Department issue more warnings for a country if Americans are more likely to be killed there? To find out, we correlated the number of Travel Warnings issued for each country with number of Americans (per 100,000 travelers) killed there.

Do Warnings Correlate with Number of Americans Killed Abroad

On the whole, there is a significant relationship between the number of American deaths abroad per capita and the number of travel warnings a country receives (r = 0.56, p = <.001).

But within this chart, we identified some interesting patterns. In some countries, the number of Travel Warnings a country receives does scale with the number of deaths. In others, no warnings are issued even while the risk of death is relatively high. In still others, many warnings are issued even though most Americans pass through the country intact.

In which countries are warnings well correlated with the risk of death? In which are they not? In the rankings below, we identify 5 countries that exemplify each pattern.

Travel Warnings vs. Deaths Abroad

A relatively high number of American travelers die in the countries in the left-most ranking above. Accordingly, these nations are often targeted by State Department warnings.

The center ranking features countries where warnings are “under-issued;” the risk of death is relatively high for Americans, but no warnings were issued in the 8-year period we examined. This ranking consists mainly of Central and South American countries where roughly 1 in every 100,000 U.S. travelers will be killed.

Finally, the countries in the right-most ranking are often targeted by warnings, but Americans have a low risk of facing life-threatening danger while visiting them. This may have to do with a regional pattern of unrest; in Turkey, for instance, tourists visiting the southeast may be subject to terrorist attacks spilling over from Syria, while travelers to Istanbul are comparatively safe.

Alternatively, few Americans may die in these countries because they are heeding the high number of Travel Warnings these nations receive. This raises the question of how travel advisories impact tourist behavior. Does traffic to a country drop after the State Department targets it with a Travel Warning?

To find out, we again put the Bureau of Transportation Statistics dataset to work, this time comparing travel numbers in the 6-month periods immediately preceding and immediately following the issuance of a Travel Warning. For this analysis, we only considered countries that had received at least 3 warnings.

Percent Change in American Travelers After Warnings Issued

Egypt sees the largest drop-off in travel after a warning is issued with a 34% decrease in travel. Thailand travel appears to follow a similar trend; when warnings are issued, American travel to Thailand drops by 15%.

Travel declines modestly in Israel and Venezuela after the issuance of a warning, even though neither country lands a spot on our top 25 nations by American deaths per capita.

And strangely, travel to Ukraine, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia rises by more than 10% after a warning is issued.

Overall, American don’t appear to be especially sensitive to State Department warnings. Of the 16 countries we featured here, double-digit travel change was seen for seen for only 5, and those changes could be driven by many other factors.


For simplicity, we restricted our analysis to just one advisory mechanism – the U.S. State Department Travel Warning – and one outcome measure – American deaths abroad. It’s possible different trends would have emerged if we had considered other data sources. But given these constraints, what did we see?

In absolute terms, more American tourists are killed in Mexico than in any other foreign country. This is partly owing to the strong flow of tourism between the U.S. and Mexico; when figures are adjusted to account for the volume of tourism, Pakistan rises to the top of the heap, with roughly 4 deaths per 100,000 travelers.

Despite this, Thailand does not rank among the top 25 countries for travel warnings. In general, warnings are not strongly correlated with American deaths abroad: countries like Israel, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia are relatively safe despite being subject to numerous warnings, and the converse is true in Belize, Guatemala, and Guyana.

Even warnings that are well correlated with violence are only valuable if travelers heed them, and tourism appears largely insensitive to travel advisories. In approximately half the countries we considered, tourism shifted by no more than 2% after issuance of a warning.

Source: Visual News

March 20, 2017

Apple to debut augmented reality content on iPhone ahead of dedicated hardware

Apple has a substantial team working on augmented reality, with a view to making certain functionality available via the iPhone, with dedicated hardware to follow once users are acclimatized.

The post Apple to debut augmented reality content on iPhone ahead of dedicated hardware appeared first on Digital Trends.

Source: Digital Trends VR

March 20, 2017

Nick Offerman and the ‘Infinity Baby’ Crew on the ‘Manwich’ and How To Achieve Naturalism in Your Indie [PODCAST]

If you’re trying to make a name for yourself on the indie scene, make sure and do your laundry.

This week, we’re kicking off our SXSW coverage on a particularly high note. That’s because this interview features arguably the best voice we’ve ever had on the podcast in Nick Offerman, and also one of the best laughs we’ve ever had on the show in actress Trieste Kelly Dunn. They are joined by acclaimed indie director Bob Byington to discuss the creation of Infinity Baby, a film that premiered to uproarious laughter at the festival last week.

Trieste Kelly Dunn in “Infinity Baby”

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Source: NoFilmSchool

March 20, 2017

Why the ‘Baby Driver’ Marketing Team Cut a 9:16 Trailer for SXSW

Edgar Wright’s new movie trailer launched at SXSW, and it was vertical.

“The only consistent thing in our business is change,” said Elias Plishner, in charge of Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver for the Sony Pictures Entertainment team. “Everything we are talking about here [in Austin], we weren’t talking about last year at SXSW.”

Sitting on SXSW panel Opening a Film in a Mobile World along with Facebook’s Beverly Atkins, Plishner explained the motivations for experimenting with the trailer on the eve of Baby Driver‘s SXSW world premiere. For Plishner, the entire marketing build-up of the film’s premiere was centered on the trailer release.

The film won’t be in theaters for another five months. To generate buzz, they created three versions of the trailer: one in traditional 16:9, another in 1:1, and the last in 9:16. The reason? 80-90% of viewers the trailer targets will be viewing it on mobile.

A tale of two (or three) trailers

Here is the horizontal version of the Baby Driver trailer that went live after the world premiere:

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Source: NoFilmSchool

March 20, 2017

ABDZ Photo Challenge: #abdz_lookup

ABDZ Photo Challenge: #abdz_lookup

A photo challenge! It’s an open concept that is made purely for fun and also to improve your photography or mobile photography skills. The idea is simple! At the beginning of the week, we’ll share a theme through a hashtag for your pictures. During that given week, you will use that hashtag whenever you seem is appropriate or not. On Friday we’ll select and publish our favourite photos on the blog and also on Instagram account (@Abduzeedos). We look forward to see what you will come up with.

This for this week, we are going for the hashtag: –> #abdz_lookup. Whatever is your focal point, the main purpose of this challenge is to simply look up. You’ll realize how much you can discover really interesting angles or even a picture as a whole. Have fun guys!

Some Examples



A post shared by Robert Fruehauf (@rfruehauf) on Feb 14, 2017 at 10:54pm PST




A post shared by UpperWestGuys (@upperwestguys) on Mar 19, 2017 at 11:38am PDT



A post shared by Eric Cheung (@ericube23) on Feb 27, 2017 at 5:06am PST


Make sure to follow: @Abduzeedos 

Mar 20, 2017

Source: Abduzeedo Photography

March 19, 2017

Watch: What Is the Recipe for Box Office Failures?

Why is it that brilliant art house films tank while tent-poles with bad stories become blockbusters?

There are many reasons why films fail at the box office. Maybe it has something to do with the economy, not enough publicity, or just the fact that it’s a terrible film, but one thing is for certain: indie/art house films seem to “fail” financially more often than their tent-pole counterparts. Regardless of how well-made it is, indies, even ones with brilliant stories, don’t bring in the bucks the way, say, a recycled Hollywood superhero flick does. Daniel Netzel of Film Radar explores the reasons why that is in this thought-provoking video essay.

I have nothing against tent-poles, superhero movies, or even Hollywood in general. These big budget, lowest-common-denominator films certainly have their place, because, for one, they do their job: they entertain. However, it is disconcerting when truly great low-budget indie films don’t find success in a landscape that is riddled with boilerplate action/comedy/romance movies that reuse the same stories over and over again, many of which weren’t that good to begin with.

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Source: NoFilmSchool

March 19, 2017

More than 10,000 People Became Snatchers at SXSW


What a rollercoaster ride it’s been for Snatch at SXSW. They were featured in CNBC, Inc.com, CMO.com, Tech.co, Entrepreneur.com, Investors.com, and many others. A lot of them mentioned Snatch was like a “Pokémon Go for brands” which is pretty cool, but there’s more than to Snatch than that.

One of the cool things about Snatch is the players are in control of what they want to win, so the brands play an active role in the game itself. For those of you reading about Snatch for the first time, watch this to begin to understand what they’re about.

And it’s been a very busy week for Snatchers in Austin. By Wednesday morning on March 15, the game had been downloaded by over 10,000 people, 250,000 virtual parcels had been collected, 160,000 parcels had been snatched from other players and 180,000 parcels had been redeemed. A special thanks to Igloo, Amore Pacific, Sulwhasoo, Laneige, Zinio, Avocados from Mexico and Tech Co for providing prizes this week.

Velocity Capital, one of our investors, put up the big prize of $50,000 for one lucky Snatcher at SXSW to collect in a virtual parcel or snatch off another player, but it still hasn’t been found.

As they bid adieu to SXSW, Snatch thanks everyone they met and everyone who played. Look for Snatch in the summer in New York for the official US launch.

Content and image provided by Snatch

Related News:

The post More than 10,000 People Became Snatchers at SXSW appeared first on SXSW.

Source: SxSW Film

March 19, 2017

Vice President Joe Biden at the 2017 SXSW Conference with an Introduction from Dr. Jill Biden [Video]

“The only bipartisan thing left in America is the fight against cancer.” – Vice President Joe Biden

On Sunday, March 12, Vice President Joe Biden outlined his plans for a Biden cancer initiative during the Featured Session, “The Urgency of Now: Launching the Biden Cancer Initiative,” at the 2017 SXSW Conference.

“We’re not going to beat cancer unless we all do our part. Only together can we seize the moment to defeat cancer,” said Dr. Jill Biden during her introduction. Dr. Jill Biden delivered a call to action to everyone to help accelerate the rate of progress in preventing, diagnosing, and treating cancer.

During the Featured Session, Vice President Joe Biden discussed the progress made under his leadership of the White House Cancer Moonshot; call for innovative solutions to tackle the barriers that prevent faster gains in ending cancer as we know it; and described how he plans to remain in the fight.

Biden’s Featured Session was part of the Connect to End Cancer series in collaboration with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, the AT&T Foundry for Connected Health, and Merck & Co., Inc. The Connect to End Cancer series at SXSW took place on Sunday, March 12 in the Health Track. The series provided education, exposure and potential development support to entrepreneurs and encouraged collaboration among innovators, industry executives, venture capitalists, celebrities, philanthropists, and SXSW attendees who share a commitment to Making Cancer History®.

Watch the video above for the full 2017 SXSW Conference Featured Session with Vice President Joe Biden. Get inspired by a multitude of diverse visionaries at SXSW – browse more 2017 Keynotes, Featured Sessions, Red Carpets, and Q&A’s on our YouTube Channel.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and SXSW News for the latest SXSW coverage, recaps, and more.

2017 SXSW Conference Speakers, Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden – Photo by Photo by Mindy Best / Getty Images

The post Vice President Joe Biden at the 2017 SXSW Conference with an Introduction from Dr. Jill Biden [Video] appeared first on SXSW.

Source: SxSW Film