Royalty Free Podcast Promo Soundpack

I’m always looking for more audio sound effects – especially free ones. Beatsuite.com has a collection of Royalty Free and free as in no cost audio samples designed specifically for podcasters. Terms of use are simply that you need to credit Beatsuite.com for providing them. As far as I can tell, the collection is available only on Apple’s download site and the files are listed as requiring Mac OS X, but fear not, the WAV files in the download will work just as easily for Linux and Windows users too.

Fixing Haze in Digital Photos

After recently grumbling about the smoggy haze in some of my photos from Beijing, Gary B. sent me a tip from Luminous Landscape about how to tweak contrast to make subtle details pop. The original article was geared to making subtle highlights like shadows standout for printed photos, but it seems to work for improving the look of images taken on a couple hazy mornings in China. The trick involves using some kind of Unsharp Mask filter, which as defined by the Photoshop Elements help file is a technique for giving the illusion of greater detail in an image (sharpness) by increasing the contrast between the light and dark areas of the image. Photoshop, Photoshop Elements and Paint Shop Pro all have an Unsharp Mask built in. I haven’t found a good freeware plugin solution for this particular technique if you happen to use some other tool.

The small image doesn’t really do the subtle improvements justice, so I’ve posted larger versions online for a better comparison of details.

How to Make a Rotoscoped Movie

Whether you like Philip K. Dick or not, A Scanner Darkly looks amazing. The rotoscoping technique used by Richard Linklater was perfected in his previous film Waking Life and applied in a beautifully disturbing way in A Scanner Darkly. If you want to make something similar yourself, all you need is a video, Photoshop and a whole ton of patience. A guy named Jared at barnt.org walks through how to start with a video clip, export it as individual images using QuickTime Pro and then edit the resulting image files in Photoshop using specific filters before ultimately re-importing the files back into a video editing app to publish your finished file. While this isn’t exactly rotoscoping, the visual appearance of the footage looks very similar and you get a striking result.

How to Rip the Perfect MP3

Exact Audio Copy is one of the most reliable tools for ripping CDs. If you’ve ever ripped a disk only to play it back with strange skips and pops in some tracks, you know the frustration of dealing with a bad audio copy. Exact Audio Copy (EAC) solves this by building in smart error correction to handle the issues associated with ripping tracks to your hard drive. Digital Media Thoughts recently posted a tutorial on how to use EAC to rip your music directly to MP3.