We have an especially ripe crop for you Bytehards this week: YouTube goes to Blockbuster, a return to stop-motion cinema, the cutest Vulture Byte ever, Photoshop on the iPad, and a new entry for the skeuomorph chronicles.
We await your fan-, chain-, and hate-mail, as always, at VultureBytes@gmail.com.
Just in case iTunes, Amazon, Netflix, and all the other boutique
digital rental places weren’t enough, there’s now yet another place to rent
movies online. And that place is YouTube
After months of flirting with movie rentals, the site recently decided to
commit in full, now hosting about 3,000 movies that you can rent for 24 hours
for about the same price you’ll find everywhere else. The selection is solid,
with relatively new releases like The
, and Blue
. There are also some free releases tossed in, but
likely nothing you can’t already find on Hulu or Netflix. So next time you’re
trying to piece together the plot of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
based on the two-minute scenes somebody illegally uploaded, do yourself a favor and
just rent the whole thing instead.PRICE:
Depends, but usually $4
Vulture Bytes is as much about helping you create pop
culture as it is about helping you consume it. And for those of you who watched way
too much Claymation growing up, this is about as ideal a filmmaking app as
possible. It hijacks your iPhone, takes bursts of photos, and then assembles
them into a movie quickly and without any noticeable loss of quality. What you
get is an amateur stop-motion short, the kind of thing that oozes indie-film
cred. If you make it meta — maybe a film about apps filmed entirely using an app — we’re
sure you could find a film festival that would take it in. Something about “new
media begets new media.” Feel free to borrow the tagline.
We promise that this is the cutest gadget that Vulture Bytes
will ever feature. It’s an MP3 player in a teddy bear
Apparently it comes with preloaded “cuddletune lullabies,” but something tells
us you can hack into this thing pretty easily and at least load it up with some
Raffi, if not some White Stripes. You can also use the Cuddletunes site to
record your own narration, so it can always be story time even when you’re not
around. Also, it’s an MP3 player in a teddy bear. In case that wasn’t enough of
a selling point.
Vulture Bytes is no artist, and yet even we can acknowledge
that the new Photoshop apps for touch devices are innovative steps forward for
all of you who have rediscovered finger painting in the age of touch screens.
Adobe has released
three new apps
for touch devices, and the one you, the average
reader, will care most about is Eazel
a different way to think about drawing on your iPad. If you’ve been using an
app like Brushes, you’re used to the basics of touch-art, but Eazel offers an
entirely new way to go about it, with an interface that’s as touchy as it gets.
Rather than fumbling through menu after menu, adjust your brush size, color,
and opacity by putting your whole hand down on the screen and moving the
corresponding figures. There are also some special effects with “wet” and “dry”
paint that we couldn’t figure out how to use correctly. But the rest of you are
far more artistically inclined — you’ll manage just fine.
The Skeuomorph Hall of Fame welcomes its newest member: the
Super 8 app. As a quick reminder, skeuomorphs are a quirk of modern tech that Vulture
Bytes is moderately obsessed with
. They’re what happens when a
new technology mimics an old, even though it no longer needs to. When you take
a picture on an iPhone and there’s a shutter-close animation, that’s a
skeuomorph. And here we have another camera-based skeuomorph, this time in video.
The Super 8 app
pegged to the latest J.J. Abrams Top Secret Project, of course, turns your
iDevice into the kind of old video camera that Abrams tooled around with when he
was a kid. Really, all that means is it puts a scratchy filter on top of the
video you shoot. But within the app, it looks far more complicated, with all
the “authentic” lens changes and sounds you’d expect from a real Super 8 cam.