Film Look – How To Make Video Look Like Film

What’s wrong with Video?

Maybe you shoot video for a living – doing corporate work, TV documentary or adverts. Perhaps you are a student film maker or an enthusiastic amateur. Regardless of what you do with video, the likelihood is that you want to make films – even if only for yourself and friends and family. If you are new to video production, then the idea of ‘film-look’ – in other words giving video the look of film might seem quite new to you. If you are new to the idea of film look, or only know that you want to make your video look like film then it can be a daunting task to try and discover just what you need to do to make your video look like it was shot on celluloid.

Looking out for a ‘Film-like’ look!

The term ‘film-look’, or filmize (as it is called by wikepdia) is a generic term that has been applied to lots of process, some physical, some chemical and now – many digital. Celluloid (film) is expensive, wasteful and time consuming to develop – not to mention risky – destroying film footage is too easy! Tape is cheap and easy to use and the quality of video cameras has improved vastly in recent years. With the advent of digital video it has become possible for almost any camera to record acceptable quality video – analogue cameras were generally unsuitable for film look unless they were of a high end professional nature. Now, with DV, HD and HDV it has become more easy than ever to make a high-quality movie that has the look and feel of film.

DV, High Definition and ‘film-look’

It is important to realise that the higher quality camera you shoot on, the better your filmized piece will appear. Not is only is the quality of the camera important but also the format it uses. DV, or Digital Video is the lowest quality format you should be using. Ideally, shoot on HDV – a highly compressed High Definition version of DV or a professional HD variant.

So just what creates a ‘Film Look’ on video ?

Been to the theater recently? Film looks very different to raw digital video. There are a number of reasons for this but the most basic and obvious concepts are the differing nature of a film and video camera and more importantly that film stock is a chemical based medium whereas video is a digital / magnetic medium. The chemical nature of celluloid ensures that it records color in similar way to our eyes, has a much larger brightness range and does not harshly clip shadows and highlights. Digital Video stores image data in a finite range and brightness is stored in a linear fashion – quite different to how the human eye sees. Motion is different too, with far less motion blur in an image.

The Evil Legacy Of Analogue Video: Interlacing

One of the tell tale signs of video are the sawtooth like jagged edges that are produced by the interlacing process. In short, interlacing refers to the half frame display of video. Each frame is split up into odd and even lines and these are recorded and displayed out of time to increase the amount of motion recorded. This means that still pictures have higher resolution and moving pictures have more motion (although less resolution).

Creating an authentic film look requires the use of a 24p or other progressive format camera or a deinterlacer to make the interlaced video progressive (or a single frame) . This progressive frame will not feature motion artefacts caused by interlacing assuming that it has been deinterlaced well.

Color Correction / Grading

Much of film look comes from grading / colorising. Video is given a more film like appearance through the use of Gamma and Contrast adjustments. The most common way to give an image a more film like approach is to use a curves tool to create a soft s like curve. The s curve simulates the way film responds to brightness – in a non linear fashion – versus the straight line of video.

Color correction is used to one down the overly bright and saturated look video has. Color correction is also used to stylise the piece – this often helps with film look because film cinematography is often far more intricate than video lighting where illumination is exposure bases.

Film stock flashing and color timing – done in the development lab after shooting – can easily be simulated in software and contribute a huge amount to what most audiences unconsciously recognise as a film look.

Tricks Of The Trade: Advanced Lab Processes

Movie makers often use some sort of processing in the lab to achieve a particular look. Films such as Saving Private Ryan and Munich use a process known a bleach bypass. This increases contrast and reduces saturation by leaving silver halide on the negative – usually it is washed away to show the newly developed image. Essentially bleach bypass can be simulated in Adobe After Effects and similar packages by blending a black and white version of the image over the original color image. However if you want authentic looking bleach bypass you may be best considering a piece of film look software known as a plug-in for your post production system.

Other key indicators of film based production are optical filters such as diffusers and neutral density filters. These alter the quality of light by softening , darkening and blooming specific parts of the image. Diffusers work by affecting specific sections of tonal range, such as shadows and highlights. Neutral density filters tone down overly bright skies and have resulted in the sort of sunset shots seen in many Bruckheimer and Simpson films of the 1980s and 1990s.

Depth Of Field – The More Shallow The Better

For those after an authentic look there are a few other issues that should be considered. The first is depth of field. Depth of field refers to how much of an image is in focus and how much is blurred. A camera can only focus at a single point in an image (in terms of depth) and anything closer or further away to the lens will become progressively more out of focus. How quickly the image loses focus with distance is described by depth of field. A narrow depth of field has only a narrow focal depth and a deep focus lens keeps most of the image focussed.

Focus is directly related to the size of the image receiving device, be that a digital CCD / CMOS sensor or a collection of halide grains in a piece of celluloid. To achieve a simlar depth of field to film (which is relatively shallow), a large sensor is required. While a few camera such as the Panavision Genesis do have 35mm sized sensors – such video cameras are expensive. Cheaper professional and prosumer cameras have much smaller sensors – creating a much larger depth of field than film camera.

To achieve a truly film like depth of field with some camera you will need a lens adapter that allows a film like depth of field to be created. One highly recommended 35mm lens adapter is the M2 from http://www.redrockmicro.com.

Film Grain – A non Digital Artifact

Film grain is actually very small. We only tend to see it consciously at the theatre where the image is large. When shown on TV, film-grain tends to disappear and this has become a tell tale mistake of those seaking film look. Such failed attempts involve using some sort of noise generation in their NLE or post suite to simulate the grain of film. Such noise not only looks nothing like film grain but is also far too large.

Grain simulation, except for an aged film look should be avoided at all cost.

Cinematography

capture as much tonal latitude as you can – compressing the highlights and lowlights into a viewable range where detail is kept. You will then expand the range back out in your film look plugin but during shooting it is imperative to capture as much detail as possible

Also consider lighting creatively – why light for video, emulating the lighting style of your favourite movie perhaps. As far as possible try and move away from 3 point lighting, which is more suited to a quick set up than a creative image. This article cannot hope to cover the vast range of lighting techniques used by film cinematographers – really you need to read as much about it as you can so research is the key here.

Finally…

If you have been creative with lighting, attempted to create a shallow depth of field and intelligently used a film look system such as Halide: Film Look System ([http://www.ambervisual.com/halidedemo.asp]) you should have a good likeness of film. Getting the perfect film look is not easy and it takes practise like any other discipline in movie making but it can deliver phenomenal results and despite what some might say – audiences respond better to narratives that have film like qualities- video is too strongly associated with news and reality TV.

T5 Vs T8 – The Best Grow Light for Indoor Gardening

Two Fluorescent Grow Lights On the Market

In the search for indoor fluorescent growing lights, you may have heard that T8 fluorescent lamps are more efficient than standard T12. You may have also heard buzz about the other new fluorescent growing lights, the T5 High Output (HO). So what are the pros and cons of these two different technologies? How do they compare and which is best for your garden?

The Difference

The basic difference between these two fluorescent bulbs is reflected in their names. The T8 bulbs are eight eighths of an inch in diameter (equivalent to 1 inch thick). The T5 bulbs are thinner at 5/8 of 1 inch thick.

Many indoor gardeners prefer T8 grow lamps over T12 because they produce more overall lumens than regular T12 fluorescent bulbs, have a longer life and are more efficient.

The advantage of the T5 high output bulbs is that they are even more efficient than the T8 by about 9%, can produce more light in a smaller amount of space, and use less wattage (75 to 90 lumens per watt). T5 HO also have high color rendering properties (CRI) meaning they are more visually appealing. (The color rendering index is only important when you care about how the light looks to the human eye but not necessarily important to plants, however.)

However, despite higher efficiency, T5 bulbs require different more expensive fixtures. Another downside is that they tend to have a lower life span of around 10,000 hours as compared to the average 20,000 hours of T12s, and 30,000 hours of T8 tubes.

If you look hard enough, you can find T5 bulbs with longer life spans, so make sure to check this specification before purchasing.

Uses

Both the T5 and the T8 bulbs can effectively be used as the main source of lighting, as well as supplemental lighting for your indoor garden.

T5 bulbs do emit more lumens and put off more heat than other fluorescent lights, so you may need to use a small fan to keep your plants cool when under these bulbs.

So with all of the this comparative information, the clear winner would be…

Hold the Press!

Before you go out and purchase your new, more efficient T5 grow light, there’s another, even newer option you will want to consider!

This latest fluorescent light technology is called the “Super T8”, and is actually a high output T8 bulb that rivals the efficiency of the T5 HO bulbs, and has a few more advantages, such as longer lifespan.

Before you go out and buy any other High Output bulb, you will definitely want to learn more about the Super T8 bulb to see if it might be the right indoor grow light for you.

Barriers to Effective Communication – 3 Obstacles to Effective Communication and How to Overcome The

Isn’t it annoying when people don’t seem to understand where you’re coming from, or when they just don’t get the message you’re trying to communicate? Unfortunately, certain barriers to effective communication cause these things to happen quite often.

Barriers to effective communication can take on different forms. They can be physical, psychological or even emotional. Below are some examples that you might want to avoid in the future.

Barriers to Effective Communication # 1: Negative Atmosphere

The room you’re in, or the tone of your voice can affect your communication.

A room that is dimly lit or cluttered can distract your audience, or make them feel too uncomfortable to even consider what you’re saying.

When you speak, having a tone that is too harsh or too soft also affects the communication process. Practice speaking in a moderate and clear voice.

Barriers to Effective Communication # 2: Lack of Knowledge

Even if you’ve taken care of the atmosphere, you can’t exactly expect everyone to know what you’re talking about as well as you do.

When you have something you wish to communicate, give a brief backgrounder and speak in layman’s terms.

Avoid jargon and use words that are simple enough for a 10-year old to understand. Attempting to look smart by using “difficult” words will only confuse your audience and give you an unfavorable impression.

Barriers to Effective Communication # 3: Emotional Distress

Emotions are a lot more difficult to deal with than lack of knowledge. You can’t control a person’s feelings, and trying to do so might make things worse.

Learn to sense and read people’s moods so you’ll know exactly when the best time is to talk to them. If the person you intend to talk to already looks stressed and harassed with work, try not to burden him with more of the same discussion. Be more observant and alert so you won’t miss the signs.

Don’t let any barriers to effective communication hinder your success. You have to put yourself in the shoes of your audience. Many effective speakers know what their audience wants and try their best to give it to them. Believe me, a little consideration goes a long way.

Windows 7 – Lock It Down for Kiosks

The Perfect Kiosk Platform

Windows 7 is a great operating system environment to run kiosk or single-purpose applications such as POS or multimedia systems. Its ability to host just about any program from a variety of development environments makes it an ideal platform. Adobe Flash, Silverlight, Java, Microsoft.Net, and HTML are just a few of the development languages available to build rich interactive kiosk and single-purpose applications that will run on Windows 7. In addition, there are several variations of Windows 7 available to run your application from the inexpensive (Windows Home Premium), to the fully functional (Windows Enterprise). The Windows version chosen will depend on the functionality needed for your application and your budget. For example, if you don’t need corporate networking abilities, Windows 7 Home Premium is a lower cost solution.

There is another version of Windows 7 called Windows 7 Embedded. Windows 7 Embedded provides complete OS customizations, is light-weight, and is primarily for single-purpose application use. Basically, it is Windows stripped down with no added services or applications. You add to it what you need for your application. This sounds perfect for kiosk and single-purpose implementations, however, a higher degree of IT expertise is required to implement it and it is expensive unless a high volume of licenses are purchased. In addition, Microsoft only makes it available to OEM hardware vendors.

Lock Down Windows 7 with Inteset Secure Lockdown

A benefit of using Windows 7 Embedded is its stripped down out-of-the-box operation. Conversely, retail versions of Windows 7 are loaded with OS enhancing applications, utilities, and services. In this case, if a retail version of Windows 7 is used for kiosk implementation, it is very important to optimize it and lock it down so users do not have access to undesired features and operations. This can be accomplished a few ways. One is through the Windows 7 Group Policy Editor. However, this utility is designed for larger companies that need to control employee access to the operating system functions and not so much for kiosk implementations. In addition, the Group Policy Editor is not available on Windows 7 Home Premium.

An inexpensive, flexible, yet simple alternative to Windows 7 Embedded or the Group Policy Editor is available through the use of a utility called Secure Lockdown v2 by Inteset, LLC(1). Secure Lockdown runs on any retail version of Windows 7. This utility creates a virtual embedded environment whereby your master application is the only one accessible by the end user. It essentially removes access to the Windows 7 Desktop environment and unwanted keystrokes and runs your master application exclusively. It can be enabled simply by applying a few configuration settings and checking the Enable option.

Optimizing Windows 7 for Your Application

Before enabling Secure Lockdown, it first makes sense to optimize the operating system environment for use with your kiosk application. Preparing a retail version of Windows 7 with Secure Lockdown is the reverse of preparing a Windows 7 Embedded environment. Instead of adding features, you strip out superfluous Windows programs and services. Windows 7 makes this easy to do with its Windows Features and Services tools. Note that removing Windows features does not optimize disk space. It simply removes the applications from being accessible. However, many applications do have complimentary services that will be removed thereby increasing system startup speeds and increasing memory availability. Removing services will increase boot times and memory significantly depending on which services and how many are removed. Analyze the ones where the Startup Type is Automatic and disable those you do not need.

Some other recommendations to improve performance and usability for your kiosk implementation using Secure Lockdown are:

Use a solid state drive (SSD) for the OS. A 32gb SSD drive used for the OS partition exclusively is relatively inexpensive and will improve overall performance of the system significantly over its SATA drive counterpart.

  • Disable the Windows System Restore feature. This is an unnecessary feature and will conserve disk space if disabled.
  • Set the Windows Sleep, Power, and Screen saver settings to suit your environment.
  • Remove the Microsoft logo from the bootup sequence. This can be accomplished by editing the “No GUI Boot” option under the Boot tab using the Windows MSConfig Snap-in tool.
  • Customize the Windows 7 Welcome/Logon screen with your company or product logo. This can be accomplished using a Windows Registry tweak(2).
  • Customize the Windows Desktop background with your company or product logo.

Once you have prepared and tested the system with your kiosk application, it’s wise to make a backup image of the operating system using tools such as Norton Ghost or Acronis TrueImage. In addition, creating an image will also easily allow you to port your setup to other machines that use the same hardware.

Now you have Windows 7 optimized for your kiosk application. As the last step, enable Inteset Secure Lockdown v2 and your system will be ready for the masses.

Don’t Let This Happen to Your New Hardwood Floor (Avoiding Flooring Failures)

I am called to inspect probably twenty to thirty solid hardwood floors every year that after several weeks or months have started gapping. A quick reminder: solid hardwood floor planks are each one piece of wood, whereas engineered wood planks are several different layers of wood glued together-very much like plywood. Once-in-a-while I’ll see an engineered wood with gapping. In either case, it is a serious and very expensive problem. If you will take the time to read the rest of this article, you can be sure this won’t happen to you, I promise.

“Moisture levels” are very important with solid hardwood flooring. All wood has moisture of some amount. When a solid wood floor has been installed, especially if nailed/stapled in, and then starts gapping at the seams so that there is space between adjacent boards, it is because they have shrunk. The only other possibility is that your house has expanded, but I’m pretty confident that has never happened and never will. So, why did the boards shrink? Because they lost moisture since being installed. When wood dries out, it shrinks, when it gets wetter, it expands. Okay, now we’re getting to the very important part.

Most people are familiar with the term “acclimation”. Most people know that wood flooring, even laminates (like Pergo) is to be acclimated before being installed. Usually the instructions say to acclimate for 48 hours, or 3 days, or whatever, then install. THAT IS NOT CORRECT. If you acclimate the product as outlined by the manufacturer for the proper time, then install it, and then it gaps, it will not be warrantied or replaced by the manufacturer. The small print on flooring installation is this: when the installer installs the flooring, he/she accepts that the flooring and subfloor are suitable for installation. The problem is, sometimes the wood flooring is showing up at the house to be acclimated at 15% moisture level, and is to be installed in a home with the subfloor having 6% to 9% moisture level. There is no way that flooring can acclimate to those conditions in a few days. It will still be too wet. And after it is installed, it will shrink-causing gapping. And the worst part, the flooring will have to be pulled up and thrown away. It is not a correctable situation.

I need to interject one small point here. “Some” gapping on solid hardwood flooring is very normal, especially if you live in an area with real seasonal changes like I do eastern Washington. Our homes here will invariably be drier in the winter and wetter in the summer, causing some minor gapping and is perfectly normal. One sure way to know if the gapping is normal is if it pretty much disappears each year during the wetter time. But the gapping I’m talking about is not like this. One lady showed me how some spaghetti that had fallen on the floor had rolled into the gaps. Or if your missing one or more of your favorite pets-that is also a clue.

THE SOLUTION So before this horrible scenario happens, make sure the following is done before your new floor is installed. The flooring needs to be moisture checked with a wood meter. There are pin meters (invasive) and magnetic (non-invasive), either of which will work. However, these run $200 to $300 or more. Insist that the installer have the moisture checked, especially as it will be the installers BIG problem if later you have gapping. Because you know what will happen? The manufacturer will send me to look at the floor, I’ll make a lot of measurements of dimensions and moisture levels, and using the Wood Handbook’s coefficient of dimensional change tables, I’ll be able to determine what the actual moisture level of the wood was at the time of installation. I’ll find that it was too high (or WAY too high), and the finding will be that the wood floor was not acclimated to the home’s normal environment before being installed. OUCH! That will cost somebody a lot of money, and will cost you at least a lot of hassle with the issue of replacement, etc. You don’t want that, and neither do I.

By the way, engineered wood should definitely be acclimated as well, although some of the manufacturers do not want the cartons opened for acclimation and some do, so pay attention to that. Also, laminates (which are real layers of wood similar to engineered except for the top layer which is melamine (aluminum oxide or similar) are also to be acclimated but I’ve never seen a claim rejected because the floor wasn’t acclimated. Typically laminates and a lot of the engineered woods are “floating” which means they connect together and become one unit. Any dimensional change does not normally cause gapping but rather a change of the amount of clearance (perimeter expansion space) at the walls. Some of these issues I’ll cover in another article.

TO SUMMARIZE: With any kind of wood flooring, but especially with solid hardwood, be sure that the moisture levels of the wood is within 2% to 4% of the subfloor the flooring is going on top of. In my part of the country where the relative humidity of homes is usually between 25% and 40%, the flooring should be between 6% and 9% before being installed. That leads to one of my favorite phrases, “IMAGINE NO GAPPING!”.

Omeprazole is a Proton Pump Inhibitor

A proton pump inhibitor, also known as a PPI for short is a class of drugs that dramatically reduce the amount of gastric acid that is being produced in the stomach. To get to the specifics, proton pump inhibitors block the hydrogen-potassium ATP enzyme that is found in the gastric parietal cells. The most common of all the proton pump inhibitors is Omeprazole. The Omeprazole side effects have however also been reported to be the most commonly occurring, maybe because of its extensive clinical use but maybe not.

Omeprazole side effects are all based on the mechanism of the drugs execution of treatment. All drugs in the world have aftereffects therefore Omeprazole side effects exist as well and should never be ignored because a couple of them can be quite dangerous and even fatal to the patient. As mentioned above, Omeprazole side effects are all on the method that it works to treat your sickness.

Proton pump inhibitors are the last line of defense against heart burns and gastro-esophageal reflux syndromes. These are caused by the liquid in the stomach making its way back up into a person’s esophagus. Due to all the acid that is in these contents the walls of the esophagus are eroded away. The proton pump inhibitors work to reduce the acidity of this content. The Omeprazole side effects arise when it begins to raise the pH of the contents in the stomach to counter this problem. Proton pumps help to produce the H anions. Omeprazole side effects arise when these anions cannot be produced anymore therefore turning one’s stomach into a ‘hypochloridic’ state. Hypochloridic, this is the medical term for when you have low acid in the stomach.

Omeprazole effects are therefore very many in number but we have to start with where its action takes place. The gastrointestinal aftereffects that most doctors will advise you to expect if you are on Omeprazole are diarrhea and constipation. The Omeprazole side effects like nausea and constipation appear in more than half the patients that are treated with this proton pump inhibitor. Flatulence is another common one that you can add on to the list. There are however very many people who go without encountering any of these Omeprazole side effects but a majority have to experience this.

Another set of Omeprazole aftereffects that a majority of patients treated go through is the effects on one’s psychological system. The leader of the set is depression. The thing about depression is that it never comes by itself but drags along a whole load of other symptoms. Many of the Omeprazole side effects from the depression include nervousness, hallucinations, insomnia, and anxiety and or dream disturbance. Some of these can be considered to be very trivial by the patients but any doctor will tell you any Omeprazole side effects that may arise are to be really taken note of.

For example, the Omeprazole aftereffects to the hepatic system are some that should not be ignored no matter how short of a time they have been around. Take this for instance, one of the Omeprazole side effects on the hepatic system is that it raises the amount of serum transaminases and bilirubin. If this goes on for even a week then the next thing that the patient will have in store is a fatal fulminate hepatic failure. This can lead to death in less than one and a half weeks so it is nothing to play around with.

If anybody should therefore realize that the Omeprazole side effects have begun to show up they should speak to their family doctor before they become full blown, seek professional help.

Quick Wins

A Quick Win (QW) is an already developed solution idea linked to a known root cause. i.e., it allows your team to jump into the Improve Phase of Lean Six Sigma project. The only major determination left is how to implement, assuming the team has been granted the authority to make the change.

These Quick Wins are often identified in the Define or Measure phase. There is still a requirement to complete Define and Measure of the Lean Six Sigma project, to clarify scope and to be able to measure a change, but there is no need to go through Analyze Phase for this root cause and solution as they are already known.

When a small area, step, area, or section of a process has a known root cause and the solution is unknown, then it is best to apply the Japanese developed methods of continuous improvement called Kaizen. A Kaizen Event is essentially an accelerated DMAIC Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control Project. A Kaizen focuses on specific improvement objectives such as Setup Reduction, 5S, Process Improvement, Line Balancing, etc… Although the Vision of the Future State may be in place, there is still a requirement to go through the Analyze Phase to determine HOW to make it happen as opposed to just how to implement a developed idea, as in the case of the Quick Win.

Benefits of Quick Improvement

They provide momentum for the project by driving value, measured in dollars early, thus improving ROI (Return on Investment). They also provide confidence to the broader organization that Lean Six Sigma is a viable approach to process improvement. Just-do-it projects also reduces stress on project team to Get Something Done!

When we find these opportunities there is no need to wait months for implementation. We should implement change as soon as possible to begin reaping the benefits. When we have a Quick Win, we by-pass the Analyze phase and move straight to Improve.

Quick Win Improvement Criteria

– Quick Wins have a minimal or no capital expenditure

– Low Risk

– Narrow and focused scope (they are not trying to fix the whole process, just a small piece)

– Buy-in to solutions by all Stakeholders

– Certainty (approximately 70-80% confidence) that the change will generate a positive impact

– Improvements may be Implemented Quickly (within 1-2 weeks, usually 1-3 days)

– The project team has the authority to implement the desired changes

– Root cause is known and solution obvious to all

Quick Win Examples

– Process Step Elimination

– Procedure Change

– Safety Stock Elimination (Just in Case Inventory)

– Communication Improvement

– Supplier Price Reduction

– Part Substitution

– Training on Best Practices

– Error Proof a Process Step

– Process Balancing or Layout

Quick Wins Cautions

Risk assessment must be an essential part of the Quick Win decision process. Communication with other process stakeholders should be done quickly to gain buy-in and approval. There is no need for surprises for anyone in the process. Everyone can help assess what are the potential Quick Win impacts on the Customers or Suppliers, Other functional areas, Cost and Benefit analysis, or other teams efforts.

Quick Improvement Control Plans

Quick Improvements, whether Quick Wins or Kaizen improvements, must have implemented Control Plans in place before being considered complete. It is desirable to implement improvements as soon as possible but implementation without control can be worse than no implementation at all.

The Otoscope and Otoscopy Procedure

A medical instrument used to examine the ear is called the otoscope. The procedure of studying the ear and its functions in a patient, using the medical device, is called otoscopy.

We shall now divide our discussion into two parts: Part 1 – The otoscopic device and how to use it correctly Part 2 – The internal and external examination of the ear

During the otoscopy procedure, first the examiner will perform a visual examination. The patient shall have to tilt his head while the doctor peers into the ear. This helps in the primary detection of a ear-disease or any anomalous developments. The tissues surrounding the auditory canal and the tympanum are viewed. If no tenderness, redness, skin tags or wax build-up are seen, then based on the physician’s discretion, he may proceed to the next level of examination.

Here, the otoscope is used. The healthcare experts perform this step on patients, with utmost care. The device is entered into the ear canal to enable internal examination. The main aspects that are checked are – discharge or excessive wax accumulation, displacement in internal region, discoloration of any part of the auditory organs, deformity in the structure and pain experienced by the candidate. The instrument is so designed that it has a surgical head or diagnostic end and remaining body which provides the power source. Most otscopes have a light in the anterior end so that they can illuminate the region to be seen. These incandescent bulbs work on rechargeable batteries which are fitted in the body of the tool. As you must already know, the speculum is a scientific instrument which is used to investigate body parts, collect tissues for sample studies, to remove polyps etc. Such an tool is needed even to inspect the auditory canal and hence, the otoscope has the facility to include speculums. The speculum can be of different sizes and can be of the re-usable or the use and throw type. It is generally 3mm wide and is gently twisted inside the ear-canal in the clockwise direction, during examination. Subsequently, with the help of a magnifying glass, the canal, the tympanic membrane, cerumen and other parts involved in auditory function are studied.

There are many other medical products available in the market and online shops. The internet is a very useful tool and platform for such information. You can easily find answers to most of your questions and doubts if you join health forums and groups.

4 Interesting Tips That Can Help You Prevent Shin Splints Pain After Running

Shin splints are common place injuries that occur on the outside of the lower leg, beneath the knee which sometimes causes severe pain around the shins. This type of injury might seem a regular occurrence with athletes but everyday people are known to also fall victim to shin splints especially after running, which is also known as medial tibial stress syndrome. Prevention is better than treatment and it always pays to avoid something altogether than to seek out treatment methods or a cure once you are in discomfort. Here are 4 interesting tips on how you can prevent shin splints that don’t include the use of ice and will avoid a lot of pain and trauma. (Here’s a freebie, one method is to drink plenty of water!)

#1 Train with the Brain

When you start running, do this with lapses in between, even if your body tells you otherwise. What you are doing is giving your body, joints, bones and all time to replenish and return. When your body tells you; ‘I feel great’ or let’s do this’. Don’t do it. You reduce the risk factor of picking up an injury, in particular shin splints when you make this decision. If you have to engage in lesser-risk exercising go for a swim or get busy with the Wii.

#2 Got the Wrong Footwear

Using the completely wrong trainers can lead to a shin splint situation. If your trainers do not have nice grips or comfortable cushioning, you should ditch them real fast. If you have no idea about how to choose running shoes, most stores have available people who will give you a hand (or leg). Build a habit of changing your footwear every 3-4 months or once you have covered at least 300 miles.

#3 Go for lush or Soft

Running on the pavement, is not a great idea. You put extra stress on your calves and legs and will jar those joints and muscles whenever you do this. Treat your legs better by running on soft or lush surfaces like a well manicured lawn, park or dirt trail, anywhere cushioned and flat as a flying saucer is a good choice. Always make the effort to run in different directions. By this, you spread the pressure action all over your legs. When you continuously run in the same direction, you are over stressing certain shin areas and this can be harmful.

#4 Mind the Mileage

Remember that shin splints pain comes from overworking your legs and muscles. For new runners, try not to get too exuberant. If you up your pace way too quickly or do not take a good rest, you are inviting certain complications. Do not increase your pace or distance by more than 10% per week. Even Usain Bolt will tell you that.

Verbal Bridges – Make Those Transitions Work For You!

INTRODUCTORY WORDS

Introductory words have several names: transitions or sentence modifiers or introductory adverbial words/phrases. These words serve many purposes–among them:

–to lend interest to the sentence

–to provide useful information

–to lead the reader, logically, from one point to the next.

These connecting words are usually used at the beginning of the sentence and are followed by a comma.

TO CONTRAST

Here are some words and phrases you can use to contrast ideas:

– according to

– apparently

– as shown in

– by contrast

– conversely

– however

– instead

– in theory

– nevertheless

– on one hand

– otherwise

– rather

TO CONNECT IDEAS

To lend coherence to ideas, you can use these words and phrases. When you need to relate one thought to the next, they provide a well-structured flow.

– above all

– anyhow

– at best

– at least

– consequently

– for example

– for instance

– in a broader sense

– in all fairness

– in reality

– naturally

– to that end

TO ADD IDEAS

Often, when attempting to strengthen your point of view, you will want to add ideas. These transitions will help you do just that.

– additionally

– besides

– finally

– furthermore

– in addition

– last of all

– moreover

– next

– of course

– second

– to all that

– what’s more

TO POINT OUT SIMILARITIES/DIFFERENCES

In developing an argument or working to persuade, the effective writer will use words/phrases like these to strengthen his or her viewpoint.

– by comparison

– in a similar sense

– just as

– like

– similarly

– too

TO MAKE TIME-REFERENCES

They also serve to indicate time.

– afterward

– a little later

– as of today

– immediately

– in the meantime

– later

– meanwhile

– next

– soon

– then

– today

– tomorrow

ADVERBIAL WORDS AND PHRASES LEND COHERENCE AND STRENGTH

Use these words to make your writing powerful and understandable. The following illustrates how they can lend clarity to your writing.

Seemingly contradictory example, without a transition:

Joe is a good employee. I have to fire him.

Improved example, using an introductory word:

Joe is a good employee. Nonetheless, I have to fire him.

Do what the best writers (and the best leaders): Use verbal bridges to help your listeners/readers easily understand your ideas.

Can You Extend the Life and Mileage of Your Car’s Exhaust and Muffler System?

Most auto owners do not give the exhaust system of their vehicle one minute though. That is until they hear a loud boom, exhaust hissing or rattling noises coming quite scarily from the rear of their car or truck. On top of that there are health and safety concerns from exhaust gasses. You can almost bet by the time they get to that point that they are going to be recipients of a large muffler or exhaust system repair bill. Is their any way that most motorists can extend the life and driving span of their exhaust and muffler system or systems?

Basically put your car or truck’s exhaust system includes the exhaust manifold, muffler, connecting pipes and in some cases a resonator. Any automobile made in the last 30 years will definitely have a catalytic converter you can bet. Single exhaust setups use an exhaust manifold of a single exhaust pipe, muffler assembly and tail pipe that extends under of just short of the rear bumper whereas on a dual exhaust system arrangement two exhaust pipes and a muffler assembly are used together with two resonators, two tail pipes. Each assembly is connected to it s own exhaust manifold and carries the exhaust gasses to the rear of the vehicle.

The life of the mufflers and pipes is dependent largely on the type of service in which the vehicle is used. If it is driven mostly in city type stop and go traffic with few trips exceeding five miles, you can bet that the muffler will soon be rusted out, have a shorter life span and that the automobile owner will be making a visit either to his local mechanic at their garage or to his dealership service center. Since installing mufflers and exhaust systems is a specialized job many garages themselves as well as those auto owners often have the work done at shops and garages that specialize in exhaust system and muffler repair and replacement.

The reason for such short muffler life spans is that on short trips the mufflers and pipes will never get warm never mind hot enough to evaporate moisture in the system – that in the end works to rust out any steel metal components of mufflers and exhaust systems. This moisture not only clings to the metal components and is rust causing by it but wore me highly acidic in nature and most corrosive – mixing with the exhaust gas remnants and left over residuals from the internal combustion engine’s combustion process. As a result the pipes and mufflers are soon corroded and have to be replaced.

If the car is driven mostly on long and longer mileage trips, or mainly at good speeds on freeway travel, then conversely the mufflers and the pipes that it is attached to will soon get hot enough to simply evaporate this moisture, similar to how a hot kettle boils off water. Consequently corrosive action (that is rusting and the formation of rust on the metal parts and surfaces of the muffler) will be slowed down and retarded. Consequently your vehicle will have its muffler and exhaust system will last longer and have a longer life span.

Interestingly it seems that Mufflers and pipes used on a single exhaust system, will generally last longer than dual muffler installations because all the hot exhaust gasses are propelled and pass through one single pipe – that is the one solitary muffler. As a result in a single muffler system temperatures generally reach a higher value sooner rather than later. Hence the corrosive moisture has a better chance of being heated up and evaporated into the atmosphere with less of a chance that will linger on metal surfaces and components to do its rusting job.

The general rule of thumb from experienced auto mechanics and automotive dealership service writers is that mufflers and pipes should be replaced before they are rusted completely, for if there are any leaks in the system what so ever, the exhaust which are poisonous and injurious to health will escape into the interior of the vehicle where they can potentially cause the death of the occupants and riders or a serious accident if the driver becomes affected by exhaust gas and gasses.

The Benefits And Pitfalls Of Different Types Of Picture Frame Backing Boards

Find out the common backing boards used for picture framing and mounting pictures. Why you should choose one backing material over another. Understand the properties of foam boards, Corflute, MDF, Masonite or hardboard, e-board and other cardboards. What makes one more suitable than another when it comes to picture framing.

Is foam board the best backing for picture framing?

All pictures that are framed require some form of backing material to provide rigidity and protection. Even stretched canvasses that are unframed should have some backing to prevent dust building up on the back of the painting. When dust accumulates it helps trap moisture which then promotes mould growth which in turn causes damage to the artwork.

Picture framers have used many types of backing board over the years. Foam board or foamcore boards have become one of the most popular choice recently due to their light-weight construction, rigidity and easy cutting. They replaced the cardboard, Masonite or MDF (medium density fiber-board) that framers had become accustomed to using but are they better than their counterparts.

What usually concerns framers most is the chemicals that can leach from the backing into the picture. Picture framers often talk about acid-free, lignin-free or 100% cotton rag in their presentation to customers. The harmful chemicals in non acid-free materials can cause staining and acid burn to prints, posters and artworks that they come into contact with. Sometimes layers of protection like barrier papers, mounting boards or polyester sheeting is placed between the backing and the picture. It is far better to eliminate the source of the harmful chemicals than to just try to slow down their migration into the artwork.

There are acid-free and cotton surfaced foam boards which are sold as conservation foam board but these are to be used with caution when used as a direct backing for artwork. One type of foam board made by Gilman USA is 100% plastic and could be considered as a conservation board but you would still normally add another layer of 100% cotton rag board or an alpha-cellulose board as a barrier. Many galleries prefer to use corflute due to its economical cost and again being a plastic product lignins are not present. Other conservation backings include smooth surface coated corrugated boards that are made from alpha-cellulose. A new development in the production of E-flute core board, where there is a double laminated corrugated core faced with white acid-free surface papers, is eagerly waited for by the framing community.

Using plastic based boards can have other effects that need to be carefully weighed up depending on the artwork being framed. Some plastics out-gas plasticisers and other solvents which may cause irreversible organic changes in some paints, photographic emulsions and substrates.

MDF or medium density fiber-board is popular for wet gluing and mounting of prints and posters and framers often use it to wet mount cheap mass-produced canvas artworks. The benefits of the MDF are its rigidity and low-cost but it is a very hygroscopic product so it tends to absorb moisture. The increased moisture promotes mold growth and it can also cause staining to the image by drawing chemicals to the front of the artwork. It can also buckle due to the expansion of the backing but this can be rectified by counter-lamination or sealing the backing with a waterproof varnish. If the artwork or poster is only for decoration and has no long-term value, MDF is a cheap substrate to use.

Straw-board was used by picture framers right through the 19th and to the mid 20th Century. Straw-board was made from straw and had a yellow appearance. It did offer some advantages due to its alkaline nature and framers would paste prints and watercolours onto it with rabbit-skin glue or pearl glue. The pearl glue was a glue made from gelatine and applied hot from a double-boiler. The old framers sometimes added mercury salts and other fungicides into the mix in an effort to prevent mould or foxing. In some ways these methods were better than when the invention of PVA glue came around. At least an old print could be lifted by gentle soaking but with the advent of PVA the pictures became permanently bonded to the backing.

Apart from framing disposable decorative items like mass-produced posters it is wise to consider using reversible framing techniques. Most of these techniques involve hinging the picture to the backing board using Japanese paper hinges or some other acid-free archival hinging tapes. If you choose the reversible method at least the picture can be removed from the frame and has the potential for easier restoration or conservation in the future.

What Exactly Does "Escapement" on the FP-7F Roland Piano Do?

They advertise the new Roland piano, the FP-7F as one of the most affordable models out there in a full stage piano to feature “escapement”. It’s a top-of-the-line feature, and most pianists will pay a lot for it. What exactly is escapement, anyway? And why is it such a bargain to have it on the $1900 piano that the FP-7F is?

Here’s what escapement does. What exactly happens when you press a piano key? For the instant that you press the key, a damper the lifts off the strings so that they can vibrate freely, and then the hammer briefly hammers on the strings to cause them to vibrate. If you were to design a really simple piano, there would be solid contact between every key and its hammer. That way, the hammer would be in touch with the strings for as long as you kept the keys pressed. But that isn’t a good idea. If the hammer were to be always in contact with the strings, the strings would never vibrate freely. The hammer has to just hit the strings and then fall away. Put simply, that is what escapement is. It is a way for the key to cause the strings to be struck once and to escape immediately.

The modern Roland piano simulates the whole escapement feel, admirably. How exactly do you feel escapement on a real piano? About two-thirds of the way down pressing a key, there is a point where there is a sudden bit of resistance on real pianos. The modern Roland piano, models such as the FP-7F, beautifully simulate the pressure point that real escapement on a real piano brings. It’s just a further step along in the evolution of the digital piano that helps it edge ever closer to an acoustic piano in feel.

It used to be that escapement pianos cost thousands of dollars. You could often just go out and buy a real piano for the money. These days though, models such as the FP-7F offer unbelievable value. All the realistic keyboard feel wouldn’t really matter much though if the onboard sounds weren’t realistic enough that you could take advantage of the keyboard. Luckily, the FP 7S Roland piano comes with Roland’s new SuperNATURAL piano processor for expressive sound. It has a great built-in harmony engine that comes from Roland’s BOSS heritage too. What exactly does a harmony engine do on a piano, you ask?

The FP-7F comes with a microphone input to help you sing into the piano. You sing, and you make use of three different kinds of vocal harmony to process your voice with. You can play the chord you wish on the piano, and the piano will use the chord to create a harmony effect that you wish in your singing. The onboard speaker system sounds great, and let’s not forget that the keyboard has a great ivory feel. All in all, this Roland piano is a near-perfect package that should carry the digital pianists through satisfactorily for a number of years.

Swastikas in the Roman Catacombs

Although the cross is one of the most universally recognized symbols of Christianity, other symbols were widely used in the early years. In times of fierce persecution, as under the Roman Emperors Decius and Diocletian, symbols needed to be more allusive. What might seem to be a Swastika on first inspection here in fact turns out to be a Gammadion [Latin, Crux Gammata]. It later came to be known as the Crux Dissimulata, ‘the allusive Cross’. Some years before Bishop Clement of Alexandria had left instructions to the faithful to use such devices as the Dove, the Anchor and the Fish – a symbol that survives to this very day!

For convenience the term Gammadion will be used in this article to evaluate the occurrences of this device in both Greek and Roman contexts. Where did it come from? Most likely it was first formed from the juxtaposition of four capital Greek gammas. We find both sacred and secular usage of the Gammadion in the Roman Catacombs. It is likely however that the Gammadion was in regular use before its adoption there as a variant of the Christian cross.

The Gammadion motif was closely associated with a number of Greek and Roman gods and goddesses. It was linked to Artemis and Diana as the goddesses of hunting, as exemplified in the mosaic of the Great Hunt in Piazza Armerina in central Sicily. It appears on images of Aphrodite and was probably regarded as a symbol of fecundity. As a solar symbol it is linked to Apollo and it was also certainly regarded as a symbol of devotion to Gaia, the Earth Goddess.

Our principal concern here is to review its use in sepulchral contexts. In the mausoleum of S. Sebastiano there is a sequence of five Gammadions, four of which are verso [crampons turning to the left] and only one of which is recto [crampons turning to the right]. These decorative elements almost certainly pertain to the pagan burial of Marcus Clodius Hermes dating from the time of Emperor Hadrian [76-138AD]. Altars of dedication and gravestones have also been found near Hadrian’s Wall in England, sometimes with the verso form of the Gammadion and sometimes with the recto form.

Variant forms of the Gammadion may be found; sometimes occurring as part of a composite motif, and often incorporating the Xhi Rho and the Alpha and Omega. In the Via Latina there is a catacomb painting depicting Moses and the Escape from Egypt with a Gammadion on his tunic. However the use of the Gammadion is not restricted to the Christian catacombs alone; it also appears in the Jewish catacomb at the Villa Torlonia, a district of Rome.

This and other devices were placed in the catacombs to create an atmosphere of conviction that Christ was alive, and that believers would also enter their heavenly rest. A number of inscriptions from the catacombs of San Callisto and Domitilla, in conjunction with the Gammadion, offer an assurance of Episcopal blessing now and eternal life hereafter.

We find a similar usage on a fresco that decorates an ‘arcosolium’ in the cemetery of Generosa. An arcosolium had two parts, the lower of which was the actual sarcophagus on which a marble slab was placed. On this fresco is depicted the ‘Good Shepherd’ with the Gammadion in the verso form on both the right and left of his tunic.

There is also an example of the Gammadion appearing on the clothing of a ‘fossor’ or grave-digger. The picture of Diogenes decorates the principal arcosolium in the cemetery of Domitilla, towards the end of the Fourth century when Damasus was Pope. The forms are both recto and verso. In the following century Pope Leo I gave the Church of S. Susanna an altar frontal with four Gammadions embroidered upon it.

Other examples on gravestones from the Roman Empire have been found in Anatolia and elsewhere in those early centuries. We find both pagan and Christian influences at work in Anatolia. Artist-sculptors of different backgrounds shared a common store of iconographic motifs. Christian art differed mostly from its pagan counterpart in the choice and interpretation of these motifs.

On gravestones the imagery was clearly eschatological [dealing with ‘the last things’] as the very function of sepulchral art demanded that its contents should reflect eternal values. In the Phrygian period it was not unusual for these stelae [Latin for ‘upright stone slabs’] to be cut in the form of a door, clearly representing the passage from this life to the next.

Your Painting Business – Excel Spreadsheet – A Great Tool!

Do you like to save time? Do you like to have your phone ringing with customers calling? Of course, who doesn’t want these things?

Just as you have to spend money in order to make money. You need to spend time to learn to save time.

Spend a little time to learn how to use Excel and you will save time and have more customers. Excel can be an unpaid personal assistant.

Some of the things that I use the Excel Spreadsheet for are to calculate square footages, lineal footages and total them instantly without errors. Even if the list is 25 items long, it will calculate the totals, without error in seconds. I use it for calculating square footages from the length and width of the room. I can take a list of rooms and add their dimensions, hit enter and the calculations are done for ceiling square footage, wall square footages, moldings, including baseboards, crown and chair railing. I can even make an additional factor for high time difficulty, or any other factor that can influence the job.

The second big use of the Excel Spreadsheet is my direct mail campaign. I use the spreadsheet along with MsWord to create a mail merge, the two programs work together to print addresses directly on flyers, post cards or envelopes. I can print 10,000 names in a few hours. There is no need to print labels and then have to stick them on your mailer.

Another use for the spreadsheet is to do job costing. You can keep track of your painter’s hours and compare those hours to the hours you used to calculate the estimate for the job. Enter the painter’s names in the first column, you can then enter to rooms or job names in the first row. Then in each column under the room name put the hours or you can break it down further, putting the separate items like walls and molding/trim and keep track of the hours spent doing individual items.

Of course there is always the profit and loss statement or spreadsheet with all expenses, which you give to the accountant. Using the spreadsheet to keep track of company expenses is a good use, and again you can use the “AutoSum” feature to keep totals. One nice thing about Excel is that if you change a figure in the column or row that you are totaling, the “AutoSum” will automatically adjust the total to reflect the new figure.

So whatever uses you find for this program, you will find that it saves time and energy to do these repetitious jobs. And it will do things like adding or multiplying correctly and with ease.