Review of the Epson EX7210 Multimedia Projector April 2012

April 28, 2012


For a while now I have been envious of projected images.

As a photographer, I am generally more concerned with the quality and production of a printed image and that of a monitor – both intimate forms of viewing. The projected image speaks to a larger audience.

Recently, I’ve been experimenting with animation, and along with that, the desire to present my work on a larger scale.
Some recent attempts at showing my work left a sour taste in my files; perhaps the “show by” date had expired, or these extremely finicky, expensive and awkward projectors refused to reveal their overly complicated mechanics whilst I sweated under the expectant gaze of my audience.

So I was pleased to have this unit to play with in an unrushed situation, where I could explore this new world. Words like wide-screen,16:9, theater-style cavorted about my head.
As in all things visual, it’s hard to compare devices unless one examines the output they stand side by side: this is similar to comparing prints made on two different papers and or machines.
If you are familiar with the vast array of monitors available in a store, each displaying different shades of the same color, you will be aware of the problem.
I know my images well, having spent much time in their production, so I’m critical of how they should appear, or more importantly, feel.

For the purposes of this article, my focus here, all puns intentional, was first to review the quality of a projected photographic image, then examine the ease of set-up. The rest, business presentation, games, etc., I shall leave to those more concerned with those areas.

A Wikipedia link at the bottom of the page will give readers more info regarding resolutions and other technical data that they should know.
The first thing I noticed about the Epson EX7210 is its small size, the which belies it’s considerable power. The projector inside is very light and compact. Epson also provides a handy shoulder-bag in which to carry it.
Along with a laptop, this is an elegant and portable device for presenting anything from the threat of global warming, to enthusiastic Alaskanites, meetings of bankers discussing projected bonuses, filthy movies for the neighbors, and my work.

The case is mostly black, simple plastic, and well labeled as to it’s ports and other functions. With the exception of the leveling screws which left a lot to be desired. The screws had fallen off, as the threads were weak. The rear screws did not have a positive action and also threatened to fall off. Not fun to scrabble around on the floor in a darkened auditorium. Perhaps it was that particular model, hopefully corrected on full production.

The unit is WXGA 1280 x 800 at 2,800 lumens, with USB, HDMI, S Video and VGA inputs. Audio connectors are present.

Regarding Lumens, a measure of brightness, a useful guide and article can be accessed here.

http://www.projectorpoint.co.uk/Projector-Brightness-Advice.htm

The above link also provides a simple Q&A to find the lumen rating for whatever your purpose may be. In my case I specified a blacked out room, a 9ft-wide screen, and high-quality images.
According to their recommendations, the above set-up would need a minimum of 2,600 lumens, so this Epson suits my needs, albeit at the lower end of the range.
The resolution is much more of a concern to me, and if I had my druthers, my choice would be HD at 1020i. However, that is also subject to new and evolving technology.
The EX7210 at 1280 is close enough for me to consider as a viable and economical contender for the work I do.
In this case, my laptop has a maximum resolution of 1024 x 768 which is below the maximum this projector allows for. Some interpolation in the projector software makes the necessary conversion.

Of course, I never read manuals, but for those of you who do, the CD contains a link to the online manual. On a side note, I really miss the inclusion of manuals that is now the norm, they provided useful and constructive reading matter for subway rides. I grudgingly glanced at Epson’s “Quick Start Guide” included in the box. I have to credit Epson for including the quick-start guide, as, all too often, the only help one receives initially is a thick mini-book, with instructions on how to plug it in, in fifty different languages, and nothing else of any use. Set-up of these devices should be idiot-proof, as one never knows the conditions that might be encountered on any given project or work assignment.

The first time I set up the projector, I connected via HDMI, and it to my immense satisfaction, the image came on the wall, the laptop conformed; it was a snap.
I then tried using the USB connection. A pop-up informed me that the device had installed correctly. But, my happiness was short-lived, as all I had was a blue screen.
After fiddling about to no avail, I checked in with the computer and saw that an Auto Run was listed in the place where a CD would show, even though I had not loaded the CD. After letting the Auto Run do its thing – about 5 seconds – lo and behold, my desktop appeared on the wall bright and crisp. To test the idiot theory even further, I turned everything off, and back on. This time everything was recognized and communication established.

On to the images.

My first test was in a semi-lit room: some daylight, a ceiling light on, mid-afternoon spring. I ran through about fifty images ranging from very dark subject matter to high-key.
At first glance, the projected images were impressive. The “Menu” set up in the projector has a “Color Mode”. In this menu one can choose the best setting for the subject matter.
The three that most pertain to my work were Theater, Photo, and sRGB. The manual explains that the ambient room light has an impact as to which setting to use. In my initial test, the room was in subdued daylight and the projector six feet from the screen in an attempt to simulate an office-type presentation.

The image projected showed little difference in each of the three settings, some slight increase in the shadow detail was apparent in sRGB mode, the difference was within my tolerance, and also seemed very dependent on the tonal range of the image. The quality of the image itself was more than acceptable, barring the caveat of a side-by-side comparison. The best overall mode was “Photo” but there was very little difference between them.

I’ll briefly mention that the unit has a zoom lens, but the range is so small that I feel it’s useful only to make some fine adjustments once it’s all set up. There is also a simple slider that covers the lens, powers down the lamp, and functions as an audiovisual “mute”; it would be nice if it also paused the laptop as well.

The second test would be in a fully darkened room at a distance of ten feet, with a screen width of 6ft.
I ran the same “mode” test as before; I still felt that “Photo” mode was the best interpretation of my images.

(It occurred to me that for specific images, custom settings could be applied, using the brightness and contrast to tweak every possible detail, but I think that may be going too far).And, perhaps one day, a black and white mode might be advantageous to those photographers concerned with that particular tonal range.

The images in both tests were acceptable – in fact, very nice: a warmth that was not a color cast, and a very good spread between highlight and shadow..
I looked at sharpness and given that the native resolution has an influence, as does the maximum native resolution of the laptop or tower, the texture of the screen, any real scientific evaluation would not be possible. So, I was relieved to be  constrained and make a more empirical assessment.

As I’m used to looking at 1920 x 1200 on my computer, I felt there was a little softness, but this is may also be dependent on the type of image being projected. My work recently has a greater softness than in the past, and the projected image did not degrade in any manner that caused concern.

I projected an image that contained type, and could see no fringing, or bleed. The image was sharp side to side, top to bottom.
There are several software functions that will assist in correcting key-stoning, some of which are automatic, and sense the incorrect orientation of the projector. But I think it’s always best to have the device centered and perpendicular to the screen.

One last point; my tests, in the dark room, were conducted against a plain white wall. I did not use a screen designed for that purpose; I suspect that is another story all together. Viewing angles and “fabric gain” rear their heads.

The issue of 16: 9 versus 3: 4 and all the other proportions is still in flux, so I will leave that aside; WXGA gives a proportion of 16 x 10.
All in all, my only beef was the leveling screws; other than that, the unit performed beautifully.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Display_resolution

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Idiotville

April 29, 2011

IDIOTVILLE

“Idiot, I muttered”.

“Who’s the idiot?” asked my consort, all teacher like.

I thought a mo’.

“The people who inhabit Idiotville?”, said I, hopefully.

“Do you secretly go there?,” asked Delgado, full of questions today.

A half breath, then mumbled, “Yes, but please don’t tell anybody”.

See it in your mind

April 13, 2011

A PHOTOGRAPHIC MEMORY FOR FOOD

 my mum, Ermenegilda Maltese playing her favorite Chopin

 

 My mum once said about cooking, “trust your nose, it’s done when your nose says so”

Ansel Adams, once said about photography, “see it in your mind before you press the button”

(Actually, I don’t know if he actually said that, but I think that was pretty close. )

Although they didn’t know it, both Mr Adams and my mum had quite a lot in common; I don’t know if Ansel Adams was a cook, but for sure my mum did not know a great deal about photography, but underneath all the frobnitz, they both lived by the same philosophy. That is, it is the creative mind that makes manifest the divine principle of creation. And by that I mean all things that human-kind has created.

When Ansel Adams set out to take a photograph, he acted on the principle of “pre-visualization”. By this I mean “looking” at his subject, and in his mind, “seeing” just how he wanted it to appear when it was printed.

To arrive at this required a great deal of time, studying his craft, to see, and not just look at the world around him; to see his work with a critical and searching eye, to constantly strive to get closer and closer to perfection, an elusive and unobtainable goal.

When my mum set out to make dinner for us, something she did every day for over forty years, which, when I think about it, must have been a grueling task, I don’t know if I could do that, ‘specially if I had to please three kids and a grumpy husband!

Well, when she made dinner, I think she had in her mind a “scent-memory”: something in her memory that guided her timing (very important), her ability to measure by eye and by hand, and with an occasional weigh scale.

The very first mental assembly of the type of meal she was going to prepare, may have gone like this:

“… hmmn perhaps I shall make pasta; oh, no, we had pasta yesterday. Oh, maybe I’ll make chicken; oh blast it, the husband doesn’t like chicken; then maybe soup? No, the little one doesn’t like soup …” so on and so forth, three hundred and sixty five days a year, for most of her life. Phew.

Well, at some point she must have arrived at a decision, then to figure out what to buy, where to buy it, when to start and the sequence of events needed to bring that meal to the table, please four nitpickers, all at the same time, and enjoy the entire process.

“Ah, you and I are very alike”, said Ansel Adams to my mum as he sat down to a plate of her home-made lasagna. Actually, he didn’t say any such thing, I just made this up for the story. My mum smiled, she always smiled when she saw someone enjoying her food.

“When I go out to take pictures, I have to chose which camera, which film, which is affected by how much I can carry, and what I need to carry it all in. I have to decide what sort of picture I want to take that day; if all I have with me is my 8 by 10 field camera which weighs a ton, and the even heavier tripod it sits on, the slow process of loading film one sheet at time, measuring the light carefully and entering the data in my notebook and the altering of that data based on my own personal preferences”

Hardly conducive to photographing a fashion show or a sports event. “But what about digital?” asks my mother. “More lasagna, Mr Adams?”

“Yes please” said the old man. “Well, digital is a very interesting medium, but it is the same principle at heart.”

My mum sits down opposite the photographer, and sipped her tea.. “I remember my mother cooking in Naples; especially the aroma ~ of tomatoes and basil, the olive oil frying the onions and garlic in the big old saucepan.”

Whenever I cook now, I always strive to recreate that smell. I cannot copy it; it was not written down, there was no record other that the memory and the people present ~ the aunt and uncle who smoked cigars ~ and all of us remember things differently. When I eat with my sister, her sauce is different from mine but it comes from the same place; that chasing of something elusive.

Most times, I make this sauce, it is not as good as I remember, but sometimes, I like my sauce better. But then I can never repeat it” she says the last with a sigh of inevitability.

“Yes, the same thing happens to me,” replies Ansel. ” I do all these tests in the darkroom, and I have been taking pictures for many years, but I am always happy when something unexpected happens.”

“Well, then you are prepared for the unexpected.” Said mum.

“Ah, you are talking about my picture of the moon-rise and the horses in New Mexico. I only had a few seconds to set up my camera before everything changed. Not even time to take a light reading. But I knew how much light the moon reflects, and a good idea of how much light was falling on the horses.”

“And you had the final picture in your mind?”
“Oh yes, replies Mr. Adams,” I could see the print as it would look on my wall ~ I always say that the negative is the score and the print is the performance … well, you of all people know what I mean”, he says referring to the fact that my mum was an accomplished pianist.

Just then, there is a knock at the door. Who should arrive for dinner but Joycelyn Bain Hogg, Cartier Bresson, and Robert Frank; all three wonderful photographers. Mum, alarmed at not being able to offer the unexpected guests some lasagna, goes looking in the pantry, the challenge of feeding the new visitors bringing a little smile to her face.

Next month:
Making street-cart chicken and white sauce at home, along with some photographic printing tips.

 

 

 

 

January 13, 2011

Onus Instigo Tributum Inritare

On planet No 1, Universe Prime, Mistress M. M. Q. Contrary and her ward, Nik Sin, were smuggled out of Bloomberg City Number Five, formerly known as London.

She had been ratted out by her husband, Lord Darnley, to the Consumer Credit Department, (dept. B),

Darnley, really an employee of that venerable and blessed institution, Goldman Sachs, was the subject of a honey-pot operation, conceived by the Cockle Shell Catholics, a top-secret department, within the Department of Central Compliance. The DCC.

(The Knights’ Templar had tried to become members, along with various Freemasonry Lodges, but had been denied admittance, due to the fact they could not march in step without tripping over themselves, nor recite their dogma with any accuracy.)

Darnley divulged MMQ Contrary’s most secret desires to the DCC, and not just the sexual ones.

Mary Mary Quite Contrary’s Temple, the one at St. Mary’s, Battersea, overlooking the water and in arms reach of  The Left Hand of Ulster,  was razed to the ground and an arrest warrant issued for her non-compliance.

Along with Nik Sin, her final destination was to be the Great Steel Works located in the heart of Pennsylvania.

Sadly, whilst they were able to elude the Barclay Greenspan Detective Co., Nik Sin and M.M.Q. Contrary were trampled to death by a great rough beast, slouching towards Bethlehem, trolling for bargains.

Words and imagery by Adrian Buckmaster

Protected: Family Court and its Destructive Role in the Lives Of Children and their Parents

September 8, 2010

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THE GOLDEN PARASITES

April 9, 2010
 
Act One, Scene One:
 
Location: The headquarters of Goldman Sachs, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Scene:
 
An old drawing room overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue, oak paneling, a vast library fading to a smoke-stained ceiling. At one end, three enormous, darkish portraits of Nelson Aldrich, Henry Paulson and Benjamin  Bernanke.  Beneath them, as if it were an altar offering, are three red velvet cushions, upon which are resting three Victorian-era bell jars, each containing their heads.

Tubes supplying various fluids, running from several tall cylinders, disappear into their necks. Their eyes are filled with blood, shot through with looks of fear and rage; a greenish saliva dribbles from the corners of their mouths.
 
Miniatures of lesser cronies decorate the oaken walls. The late afternoon sun streams into the room, dust motes dancing in its beams. There is no sound save the ticking of a grandfather clock and an intermittent burbling sound. In the middle of the room is a large conference table.
 
Huddled at one end, opposite the portraits, are seated Ms. Puu, Chairperson of Goldman Sachs, Mr. Iik, senior partner, JP Morgan Chase, and Mr. Eew, senior partner Maiden Lane Global. The remaining thirty-three seats are empty.

Outside, the streets are deserted, no-one in sight; no cars, taxicabs or buses. The traffic lights run through their automated routine with no heed to their obsolescence; some dogs scavenge and squabble amid the litter.

There is a knock at the door.

“Who’s there?”  Asks Ms. Puu, her voice a little tremulous. The door opens slowly, and a man walks in. This is Mr. Tarp, and although he is very old – perhaps in his nineties – he stands erect. Mr. Tarp wears the uniform of a Goldman Sachs lavatory attendant, a post he has held since he was a boy of ten; one held by several generations of Tarps before him. His skin is bleached a dead, pasty white from a lifetime of inhaling the toilets’ noxious fumes under the fluorescent lighting of the senior Vice Presidents’ lavatory: his hands are gnarled from wiping the bottoms of generations of bankers.

Joseph Tarp looks at Ms. Puu.
“I’ll be leaving now” his voice is surprisingly deep and sensual.

“Not before you pay us back the fifty dollars we advanced you.” Ms. Puu snarls.
 
“But the last ship is leaving and I must be on it.”
 
 Alarmed, Tarp looks out of the window.
 
At the far end of the Mall,  a rocket-ship rides its exhaust plume into the clear late afternoon sky, leaving one still on the blast-pad. 
The last ship to Mars stands ready for lift-off.
 
To be continued …
 
 
 
 
 
 
I would like to thank my brother Paul for his great help in editing this story. 

Classicism, Romanticism, and Beethoven, Part I

April 4, 2010

by Paul Buckmaster


First, romanticism is erroneously defined, by art critics and historians in general, as a period, or an era.  It is not.

Many of these “experts” claim, for example, that Beethoven ushered in the “Romantic Period” — he was, after all (they say), the first romantic.

According to this orthodoxy, commonly taught in the schools, the “Romantic Period” was preceded by the “Classical Period” which was in turn preceded by the “Baroque Period”, and so on.  As part of this sophists’ paradigm, the “Romantic Period” precedes “Modernism” or the “Modern Period”, which precedes “Post-Modernism” or the “Post-Modern Period”, and so on, ad nauseam (you may add any of the proliferation of “periods”, post-this and that).

Another popular misconception is that “romanticism’, the “romantics”, and “romance”,  — i.e., the rituals and ways of courtship, moonlit romantic dinners overlooking beautiful seascapes, etc. — are conflated.  This mediocre type of sophistry is at times encouraged by, or allowed to slip by, by those selfsame “experts”.

Romanticism is an attitude, or a general way of viewing the world, which transcends any mere “historical period”.  It is, in a nutshell, a form of existentialism, which involves a morbid fascination with sex, death and self, often consisting — at least in music — of grand and extravagant gestures.  Romantics, or romanticists, often see themselves as heroic and tragic figures, and their output — at least, as composers are concerned — an expression of that tragic heroism.  In my view, however, it is but a form of glorified self-pity; certainly not any kind of sublime transcendence, however much they may will it so.

Classicism, or the classical paradigm, on the other — and quite other — hand, denotes a devotion, in the face of arduous difficulties, both personal and general, to expressing certain ideas of beauty, truth, proportion, form and intelligence, not necessarily in that order, and involves a striving to achieve a mastery as close to perfection as may be humanly possible.  I personally like this way of expressing it:

To diminish the level of imperfection of knowledge and mastery.

The great beauty of the classical paradox (1) is that while self, in the romanticists’ sense, is not involved in the generation of work (again, I speak here of music), nevertheless, the composing of work fulfils all the desires and aspirations of the composer, as individual, as self; even as ego.  You get the best of all possible worlds, in my view.

Further — and perhaps this is the crux of the matter, or, as Shakespeare would have it, the rub — the influence of the works of the masters on the greater public: upon men, women and children, to their benefit, cannot be denied.

Beethoven is a classicist through and through; his whole life, as composer and as man, reflects this.  There is no “Classical Period” in his music; there is no “Transitional Period” no matter what the Nobel-Prizeners tell you, and there is no time in which Beethoven “became” a “romantic”.

Beethoven is a titan whose marvellous music bestrides the centuries; he is a type of Prometheus who thumbs his nose at the depraved romantic Olympian aristocracy, and with all freedom takes in his hands the heavenly fire and brings that fire to the men and women desiring to be free.

If there’s an historical context for Beethoven, it is that of the foundation of the first true republic in all of known history to date, that of the United States, and that of the tragically failed French revolution, and the turbulence of the times, as people begin to realize that freedom is attainable.

If Beethoven represents anything, it is that quality of creative cognition and imagination which distinguishes mankind from beasts, and it is that yearning for beauty, truth and intelligence, in liberty (in any order you please).

He represents, in his music, and in his life, all that is human in the human condition: the tragic, the heroic, the happy, the sad, and the loving, while never descending to maudlin sentimentality, misery, self-pity (however disguised) or morbidity; he subsumes all those conditions and somehow elevates them, and flies upward to the empyrean realms, while all the while staying at ground-level, at reality; he makes the fantasy real in the imagination, thus, resolving those paradoxes, and giving us great joy.

(1) Romanticism is not graced with that spur to creativity; it has no paradox, or, if it does, it is of paltry significance, and more like a diversion than a real value.

pb

To be continued.

The Girlfriend Auxiliary Corps

April 4, 2010
The Girlfriend Auxiliary Corps

Millicent Merriweather gently pushed up Private Tommy Jones’s chin, and gazed into his eyes. She smiled, “Chin up, soldier.”

Tommy braced his shoulders and smiled back. Millie touched his webbing and ran her fingers lightly over the army uniform, brushing fluff off his lapel. She could never become accustomed to the fear in his eyes; it echoed her own, but she never let it show.

“I can’t do this again – I’m scared” Tommy sighed tightly.

Although he’d vowed not to, he said that every time. The assault against the Eurasian troops, dug in across no man’s land – not three hundred feet away, was scheduled for first light. This was Tommy’s third combat action that week, maybe the tenth that month – after that he lost count. He’d been going over the top for ten years, the only squaddie left from the original intake. All his friends were dead or maimed, blown to bits in the quagmire of mud, blood and body-parts. In the hours before each attack, Tommy would become increasingly anxious; he couldn’t sleep, his stomach rebelled, his legs would turn weak. It was better once he was over the trench and charging at the enemy; even better when he got back, Millie’s smiling eyes a beacon through the smoke: home, safe once more, for a while at least.

Millie held the rank of Field Sergeant Companion: she had been with him these last four years, and Tommy had come to love her deeply. Ever practical, she took her duties seriously, binding his wounds (she once confessed that she found it fascinating; he was grateful for that), making his favourite meal of bacon and eggs, keeping the billet clean and tidy, standing by him as he clambered over the top of the trench, running like a madman towards the enemy machine guns, bullets flying past, missing him, missing her … but the odds were getting slimmer, he was past his due date by many years. Most of all, she feared the flamethrowers; they were indiscriminate. The fire did not care who it touched, and the odour of burning flesh mixed with that of cheap wet battalion uniforms filled her nose for days. It smelled of rancid bacon, a fact she concealed from Tommy when cooking his breakfast.

Once or twice a year, they actually took the enemy’s trenches, and they would all move into new quarters, or rather, new-old quarters, as the front had been overrun so many times; armies slaughtering each other, backwards and forwards over the same mile of bloody soil for twenty years. Millie would find some of her possessions she had thought lost, but the new or previous occupant, had carefully placed them aside, out of some sense of obscure military honour.

Some assaults, he would be gone a long time, so she would keep her mind occupied by helping the soldiers who had no girlfriend. Rarely was she able to do much, but sometimes, as she held a dying sixteen year old boy in her arms, she would sing a lullaby, or ask about his family and whether she could take a message home. On more than one occasion she would bare her breast, and offer it to the young virgins, their last breath casting a chill on her nipple. Tommy had seen this, and she knew that he understood.

_

Words and image by Adrian Buckmaster.

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The Chronicles of Dobby Rhodes

February 19, 2010

At the end of the first millennium, Lord Caligari sent his only begotten son, The Coward Arjuna, AKA Dobby Rhodes, to planet earth in a Tardis.
Blockheads, agents of the bland, blithering, and blighted Bloomberg Corporation LLC, were posted to various strategic points throughout the solar system, the better to prevent the insurgency anticipated by the consort, the embittered Lady Stopstill.
Caligari, not paying enough attention as always because he was using his spirituality to get as much pussy as he possibly could, (he was having a lusty affair with his doctor, Who, and cheating on Krishna at the same time) sent his foundling, Destiny, and her trusted companion, Milo, to escort Dobby to the United World Headquarters, located at Flat 30a, Crintley Towers, Warwick Road, Earls Court, London SW5.

In order to save money, (don’t you know we are always in a recession), and because Krishna too was  preoccupied with his sex life, Destiny and Milo traveled to Earth via  space elevator, The Thomas Paine II., the coward Arjuna hidden in the steam-trunk. They arrived at the wrong place and the wrong time.
It was Berlin, 1936

February 19, 2010

 

THE QUEEN OF ARROGANCE

 

Elizabeth, Queen of Arrogance and all she Surveyed,
rode her cock-horse Barclay, to Banbury Cross.
The purpose of her journey was to attend a meeting with The Confederacy of Abominators.
Palace records for the trip had been expunged, and, with the exception of Tim, the Ostler boy
(with eyes of hollow madness, and hair the colour of moldy hay)
all those who had knowledge of the clandestine meeting were disappeared.
Traveling alone, the Queen wore no bells on her fingers or toes, and no music followed her wherever.
The meeting was held in a rusty yellow school bus, in a secluded glade called The Brambles, in Bloomberg Park, Bloomberg City, formerly New York.

The Queen of Arrogance: Micah
The Cock Horse: Jimmy
hair and make-up: Delgado
leather work and props: James Grillo
set design and construction: Adrian Buckmaster