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AI takes smartphone pics to new pro levels

AI has been making its presence felt in almost every area of our lives and is now also taking the lead role in our smartphone cameras, writes AKHRAM MOHAMED, Marketing Director of Huawei in South Africa.

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While our previous demands of our mobile cameras focused mainly on the number of megapixels and variety of filters, AI is now starting a true revolution in smartphone camera technology.

Thanks to AI, it is no longer necessary to have to enhance our photos after the fact. AI is now taking the role of photographer, making adjustments and predictions as the photos are taken in real time. This means that anyone with an advanced AI smartphone camera can become a pro photographer – no training, skills, or expensive equipment required.

The intuition of AI

AI-powered cameras like the Huawei P20 series intelligently assist users to take great photos by automatically optimising the camera settings on the backend. By learning about users’ behaviours and giving them what they want before they ask for it, the AI powering the devices is becoming increasingly sophisticated. With its enhanced object recognition capabilities, the AI smartphone can automatically determine the shooting modes and parameter settings for different scenes, and learn users’ photo-taking habits in order to deliver a more professional imaging effect. The more photos that are taken, the better the camera can interpret complicated environments.

The Huawei P20 and Huawei P20 Pro’s AI-powered real-time scene and object recognition technology can recognise more than 500 scenarios in 19 18 categories for users to choose the right skills at the right moment, such as the beach, food, or people. Once an object or a scene is identified, the smartphone automatically makes adjustments – from focus to contrast, to brightness, to colour – to produce the best possible results, regardless of the actual conditions you are presented with. The camera changes settings as it takes photos based on the information it is given; you do not have to browse through menus and select the settings you want.

For example, if a user is shooting at the beach, the AI-powered camera can identify objects and intelligently adjust for the best lighting, so the output looks good regardless of lighting conditions. Also, when the AI camera registers an attempt to take a group photo or a picture of the skyline, the AI Assisted Composition feature automatically draws a grid for the convenience of the user.

This AI-powered camera is capable of suggesting optimal parameters based on data gathered in the scene. Using machine learning, the devices also understand the photography habits of users over time, making suggestions based on various actions. AI also brings intelligent behaviour prediction, including intelligent context awareness and intelligent resource allocation.

4D Predictive Focus, breathtaking night shots and selfie evolution

One of the situations that has been the bane of photographers’ careers for decades now is night shots or low-light conditions. Because these scenarios usually require long exposure, these photos often come our out blurry, especially if they are taken with cellphones. AI image stabilisation technology, which is featured in the P20 devices, can eliminate these shaky shots and enable steady handheld night shots for incredible long exposure images. No tripod required!

4D predictive focus is another useful AI smartphone feature. In this mode, the camera predicts moving objects and focuses on them with extreme efficiency in order to capture minute details of objects in motion and eliminate blurred action shots. For the Huawei P20 and P20 Pro, the laser sensor provides instant focus with an effective range of three meters.

AI can also take the good old selfie to a whole new level with AI beautification. AI beautification provides 3D portrait lighting, making adjustments to better match the users’ facial features, resulting in luminous skin-tone enhancements and radiant selfies, even when backlit. These features are enhanced by the Huawei P20’s 24MP front camera,  which captures the smallest details, even in low-light settings, bringing to life selfies with natural skin tone enhancements, delicately outlined face shapes, and 3D facial feature adjustments.

Other notable features of the Huawei P20 Pro include:

·         The world’s first Leica triple camera, comprised of a 40MP RGB sensor, a 20MP monochrome sensor, and an 8MP sensor with telephoto lens. This results in images with more light, intricate detail, and greater zoom

·         f/1.8, f/1.6 and f/2.4 wide aperture Leica lenses. The size of the aperture regulates how much light goes into the image sensor. The wider the aperture, the more light strikes the sensor, and therefore, the brighter and clearer the image – even in low-light environments.

·         A brand new Leica 3x telephoto (VARIO-SUMMILUX-H 1:1.6-2.4/27-80ASPH) lens for long-range photography of up to 5x Hybrid Zoom.

·         A revolutionary and highly-sensitive image sensor of 1/1.7 inches, 170 percent larger than the iPhone X, with a pixel size of 2 μm micrometers – 2.68 times higher than the iPhone X’s 1.22 μm

·         Ultra Snapshot – devices can capture an image in as little as 0.3 seconds, even from a locked screen.

·         Six-axis stabilisation and 960fps super slow motion, which is 4x higher than the standard 240fps and captures details that cannot be seen with the naked eye.

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Appdate: No wallet? No problem?

In his app roundup, SEAN BACHER highlights VodaPay Masterpass, Charge Running, South African App Integrator Directory, uKheshe Health and LocTransie.

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VodaPay Masterpass

Digital mobility is now a way of life and most are using smartphones to pay bills. 

To meet this need Vodacom and Mastercard have launched VodaPay Masterpass, which enables Vodacom customers to load any bank card into a secure digital wallet, downloaded as an app on their smartphone. Once loaded, these cards and the secure credentials associated with them are safely stored, enabling customers to start transacting immediately without the hassle of entering card details each time they make a purchase.

Vodacom customers can buy prepaid data, airtime and SMS, or voice bundles, directly through the app. They can also select the Pay Bills menu option to settle their DStv accounts, pay a utility bill or take care of a traffic fine.

With the app’s Scan to Pay functionality, users can scan a QR code to pay for goods and services wherever Masterpass is accepted, including all SnapScan and Zapper merchants. Once a QR code is scanned, users select the card they wish to use, and enter their bank PIN number on their own device to complete the transaction.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download and users will not be charged for any transaction fees.

Stockists:  Download VodaPay Masterpass for iOS here and for Android here.

Charge Running

Most running apps track data like pace and distance and, in some cases play audio designed to motivate you, but don’t give you the push you get when you run with a friend. Charge Running is an app that lets you run alongside other runners, virtually, as well as giving live coaching to help you go the distance.

The app includes features such as:

·       Unlimited access to live running classes and virtual races  

·       The ability to compete with runners anywhere in the world in real-time

·       A live leaderboard that shows where you are in the pack to keep you pushing

·       Live, personalised feedback from professional trainers 

·       Group chats with coaches and fellow runners throughout the run

·       On-demand runs for times when you can’t join the live groups 

·       A choice of difficulty levels and race types 

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free seven-day trial; thereafter R150 per month

Stockists: Visit the Charge Running site here for downloading instructions.

South African App Integrator Directory

The South African App Integrator Directory from Xero is designed to solve the complexity of choosing apps for small business owners.

The directory is now available in South Africa with six partners, including Realm Digital, Radical Cloud Solutions, Nimacc, Insights, Iridium Business Solutions and Creative CFO. According to Xero, these are all organisations with a proven track record of successfully integrating marketplace apps into Xero businesses. There are also currently over 700 apps in Xero’s App Marketplace worldwide, 21 of which are South African born.

As small businesses become more tech-savvy, they need to know exactly which apps to install on their devices and how the apps will help them. They also need to be able to install these apps from a trusted integrator so they know for what they are paying. 

Platform: Any device with an up-to-date Internet browser.

Expect to pay: A one month trial version is offered, after which the App Integrator ranges from R125 to R245 per month, depending on the company’s needs.

Stockists: Visit Xero here for downloading instructions.

Click here to read about uKheshe Health and LocTransie.

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Prize offered for drone films

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DJI and SkyPixel, the world’s most popular aerial photography community, have announced the first short film contest inviting users to submit cinematic stories shot with camera and gimbal products. The 2019 SkyPixel Short Film Contest will accept entries until 14 October 2019. It welcomes submissions from all creators, ranging from hobbyists to social media users and professional videographers. around the globe.

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The 2019 SkyPixel Short Film Contest consists of three storytelling categories—‘Big Moments Start Small,’ ‘Make Your Move’ and ‘Adventure Starts With You.’ There is no restriction on the type or brand of equipment participants use, and they can submit as many videos as they wish.

A total of 100 winners can win a range of prizes totaling $48,600 USD in categories including Recommended Films, Best Editing, Best Story, Nominated Entries, People’s Choice Prize as well as This Week’s Most Popular, sponsored by the partner SanDisk and WD brand from Western Digital Corp. This year’s Best Short Video winners will each receive the new Ronin-SC Pro Combo, Osmo Action as well as WD 2TB My Passport Wireless SSD.

Winning entries will also be showcased on the SkyPixel website as well as to DJI’s millions of fans and followers across its social media platforms.

“DJI has redefined how people capture stable video for all of life’s moments. The compact size, portability and powerful imaging system of our Osmo and Ronin series have also made it possible for anyone to take their creativity and inspirations to the next level,” said Basile David, Director of Brand and Content Partnerships at DJI. “With this contest, we hope to encourage more people to embrace and share their own creative way of storytelling.”

Since 2014, the SkyPixel online community has attracted 16 million professional aerial photographers and content creators from more than 140 countries, growing into the largest aerial photography community today. Over the past five years, SkyPixel has received over 150,000 submissions, becoming a go-to platform for original aerial masterpieces and extraordinary footage powered by other gimbal products focusing on various themes.

Details of the 2019 SkyPixel Short Film Contest

The short film contest consists of three categories:

Big Moments Start Small: Create a video showcasing the small, lightweight design of your camera device and your best cinematic scenes. Users are recommended to include at least 10 seconds of behind-the-scenes clips of their product such as DJI Osmo Pocket or other devices.

Make Your Move: Create a video showcasing the stabilized footage from your device. Users are recommended to include at least 10 seconds of behind-the-scenes clips of their product such as DJI Osmo Series or other devices.

Adventure Starts With You: Create a short, cinematic narrative film to showcase your creative skills and visual effects. Users are recommended to include at least 10 seconds of behind-the-scenes clips of their product such as DJI Ronin Series or other devices.

*Video submissions should not be longer than three minutes in length.

Submission Details

Submission Start Date: August 15, 2019, 2:00 AM (EST)

Submission End Date: October 14, 2019, 2:00 AM (EST)

Award Announcement: October 31, 2019

Interested participants can visit the 2019 SkyPixel Short Film Contest website for more information on contest rules and guidelines. For more information, contact: Skypixel.campaign@dji.com

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