How to take screenshots on a Samsung Galaxy Tab P1010

April 1, 2012

In previous entries about the Samsung Galaxy Tab, I’ve included screenshots from the device.  Getting these screenshots has always been a little tricky.  Until Ice Cream Sandwich, there wasn’t a standard way on Android to achieve this.

Android Screen Capture

I had been preparing a post about a piece of development software called Android Screen Capture but then the download link seemed to disappear and there were other issues regarding its use. I think you have to install the Android SDK for example. I’ll just say that while I like ASC it can be a little tricky to set up.  You can also display your device fullscreen which is very handy for presentations and demonstrations.

Android Screen Capture

A screen capture of a screen capture program. That's practically Inception.

Screengrab all the things!

Screengrab all the things

Yes, even I use memes

It turns out there is a simple method to take a screen shot just using the Galaxy Tabs themselves.

  • Hold the back button
  • Press the power button

The picture taken is saved into a ScreenCapture folder accessible using the gallery.

A screenshot from my Samsung Galaxy Tab P1010

The emptiest of my home screens. It's filling up fast though

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Lights

October 6, 2010

When painting a window-less room dark, matte green, its surprising how dark it is.    Lighting becomes and interesting issue.    You need to provide the camera with even light on your green wall to give it as close as possible, one single shade of green for the computer to be able to remove the colour.

You also need to light your subject, otherwise they’ll will look too dark for the replacement background. 

And you need to make sure the subject does not cast a shadow onto the green, otherwise you’re back to different shades.Lighting set up for a school TV Studio

The Solution

Get your presenters to stand around 4-6 feet from the wall.   Place two lights above them  in a line parallel to the wall about the same distance from the wall as your subject.   Then place another light (with a filter) about the same distance from the wall as the camera is, but off to one side.

That’s all very well“, I hear you saying, “but if you put lights up near the ceiling, they’ll burn the tiles and set off the smoke detectors“.

And you’re quite right, imaginary, if slightly gruff teacher.

That’s where these babies come in:

A Hi-light

A Hi-light 

These Hi-lights are low temperature Halogen lights.   Even when they’ve been running for an hour, you can put your hand on the casing and they don’t feel hot.

We got them from Newland Media, a company specialising in school video production.  Newland also make/sell the brackets which easily clip onto ceiling tiles, which means you don’t need expensive lighting bars either.

A Tri-light

The third light in our setup is a Tri-light.  This does get hot!  Very hot, so keep students away from it.

The enormous umbrella on the front is the diffuser (which comes with the light).

The whole setup costs near £1000 and is the most expensive area I’ll talk about, but the level of control you gain by lighting properly makes the investment worth it.


What camera? (and a bit of expo)

August 18, 2010

Building the TV studio 2 years ago, it was relatively easy to choose the cameras.   At the time, Standard Definition was still the prevalent form, although High Definition was quickly taking over.

Panasonic spotted a gap in the market and released a series of 3-CCD camcorders capable of shooting in much better quality than normal 1-CCD home camcorders.

CCD?????

A CCD

A CCD chip from a regular camcorder

In basic terms, (mainly because this is a far as I understand it) a traditional camcorder contains 1 microchip that records the image from the lens and turns it into a digital signal. 

A three chip (3-CCD) camcorder has three microchips, one for each primary colour.  This means that the 3-CCD camcorder gives effectively three times the quality of a regular camcorder.

This quality isn’t broadcast standard but it very useful for greenscreen.

Greenscreen

Greenscreen, chromakey or (in 1970s Doctor Who) Colour Separation Overlay works by having a computer recognise a single colour and removing it from an image or video.   Then any other image can be used to fill in the removed bits.   For this you need to provide a solid primary colour background to your presenter but problem with regular 1-CCD camcorders is that they provide a very poor signal, full of noise or rather not a single colour.

3-CCD camcorders have a chip for each primary colour so the colours are much less noisy and therefore much more solid.

Why a green backgroud?

Red is the main colour in human skin tones (certainly more than blue or green) so we don’t pick red. 

Blue works best with Film so on Making-Of DVD extras you’ll often see blue as the background, but for digital video, the colour processing works best with green. 

Green contains more information in the digital video signal than blue.  It’s as simple as that really.

Back to cameras

Just because something says HD doesn’t mean better quality than SD.   HD on camcorders refers to the output size of video not the quality of the image.  Plus, lets face it HD video is bigger, so processing requires a more powerful computer and more storage space.   In school we try to stick to 640×480 video compressed into WMV, so at that size there’s no point shooting anything in HD.Panasonic's NV-GS500

Unfortunately, the Panasonic 3-CCD range of camcorders we bought has now disappeared in the HD/SD battle.   They were the NV-GS500 and cost around £500.

I’ve been in a bit of a minor panic about what to do when they need replacing.   The market is still in flux so it’s hard to tell what the next best option will be.  Right now, it seems like there is nothing near the GS500s for quality and price.

Panasonic has released a series of 3-CMOS camcorders.   CMOS is the chip normally used inside digital stills cameras and is generally considered better than CCD.  A camcorder called a 3MOS has three of these chips just like the 3-CCD.

In future posts, I’ll talk about how we connect the cameras to the video switcher, which also affected the decision over which camera to buy. 

Ultimately, the cameras are the most important part of the studio as once a camera is chosen, everything falls into place.  Video standards, vision mixing and even which tripods are all governed by that choice.


Scenalyzer Live

June 24, 2010

Impossible to say, but also impossible to do without.   In my previous post about the Canopus ADVC-55, I talked about recording video and TV programmes onto your computer.  Trouble with that is you have to sit over your computer while it records.  Unless you use Scenalyzer Live.  

Scenalyzer Live

For just $34, this software allows you to both timer record and set a stop-record timer.  

In a classic case of work smart not hard, you can set Scenalyzer recording and go do something else.   Especially useful if  you’ve already seen the programme your capturing.   It has saved me countless man-hours in the office, with Scenalyzer running on a second computer, allowing me to get on with other work.


Windows Snipping Tool

June 16, 2010

 

A great free program for screen grabs

Some software isn’t glamorous or particularly mind-blowing; some just make your life that little bit easier.  Windows Snipping tool is this type of software and what it does, it does really, really well.

Preinstalled on Windows 7 and free to download for Windows Vista, the snipping tool allows you to very quickly grab a still image from your screen.   Excellent for highlighting eror messages for IT Support, for pasting images into PowerPoint or even WordPress blogs :),

The images can be sent directly to email, or saved, or annotated.