Hopefully, we are all doing our part and are sheltering-in-place as we continue our fight to control the spread of COVID-19. That probably means we are watching a lot of television.
Personally, I am growing tired of watching what my cable provider, Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, and other commercial sites have to offer. It’s not that I have run out of things to watch from their offerings. It is just I would like to watch or listen to content that is stored on my computer.
Sure I can watch videos, listen to music, and look at slide shows or groups of photos sitting at my computer. But there is not room for more than a couple of people (for now family members) to crowd around my computer monitor. And my speaker is OK for speech, but not for music.
What I really want to do is watch and listen to the content I have on my computer from the comfort of my family room on my flat screen TV. I even have a sound bar that provides much improved audio than my television.
Luckily, since my PC is running on Windows 10, there is an easy way to do this. For those of you who use Macs, I am sure there is a way that is equally simple that allows you to do the same.
All you need besides you PC to do this is either a smart TV or, as in my case, a smart DVD player. What follows are the steps required to view photo images, listen to recorded music, or watch videos stored on your PC or one of its hard drives on your television.
Step 1 Turn on and Prepare Your Smart Device
This needs to be done before you do anything on your PC. The figure below shows the Home screen on my Samsung DVD player. The arrow points to the mode that is used to mirror what is playing or being displayed on my PC in another room.
Not described here, but I have also set my sound bar to the right source.
Step 2 Set Up Your PC for Streaming
Click on the Start button > Settings.
Click Settings > Devices.
Select Bluetooth > UBP-X700 (my DVD Player’s system name)
UBP-X700 is the system name or ID for my DVD player. This can be found in your DVD’s System Settings screen. Note the figure below was captured while setting up to play audio files. That is why the XBP-X700 video icon is not connected.
Step 3 Select the Media to be Streamed
Using File Explorer, select the files to be streamed. This example is for casting an audio file. At this point it could also be video files. In the figure below, only a single file was selected. Multiple files (songs in this case) could have also been selected.
Right click on the selected file or files and then click on Cast to Device > XBP-X700 as shown below.
Step 4 Click on the Play/Pause Button
Step 5 Return to your Easy Chair and Enjoy
A couple final tips:
You can select one folder at a time for music. All of the songs in that folder will play and then repeat when the last song has played.
For videos and photo images, you can select multiple folders in Step 3, and they will all play.
Once the files begin streaming you can Pause etc. from the devices remote – in my case, my DVD’s remote.
This last one is strictly for my benefit, and most likely is not applicable in many/most cases. I keep my cable box/DVR on and select the applicable input of my DVD player on my TV to begin the steps.
There you have it. Let me know if you found this post helpful.
Until next time…
This morning Scott Kelby presented his latest free webinar on backing up your photos. I tuned in a bit late, but the webinar is still available at the following link.
In fact, you can also view previous webinars here as well.
The webinar is focused on those who use Adobe’s Lightroom Classic. For those of you are are Lightroom users, who are familar with Scott Kelby, you may already be familar with his SLIM – Simplified Lightroom Image Management system.
There is a complete updated course on Slim on KelbyOne.com
But even if you do not you will probably get multiple tips by watching the webinar.
Some of the key points discussed in the webinar include:
Put all of your photos on one external hard drive.
Backup up your photos to a second external hard drive.
Also, back up your photos to cloud Storage.
Put all of your photos on your external drive into a single super folder. Your existing folders are then sub-folders of this super folder.
In Lightroom Classic, use only one Catalog.
The webinar goes on to discuss additional Lightroom topics. Even if you do not use Lightroom, the above practices are worth doing.
Until next time…
As I read the discussions in various forums and Facebook groups, it is apparent that many users continue to use older versions of Photoshop Elements. Many users are even using older versions than PSE 11, released in the Fall of 2012. This version is significant, because Adobe changed the complete look and feel of the program in that version.
One of the most commonly asked questions from users of older versions is whether or not it is worthwhile to upgrade to the then current version. The answer for a given user depends upon their circumstances. It is often driven by changes in the computer they use, its operating system, and/or the camera they use.
Today, we are probably about half way through the product life cycle of PSE 2020. If history repeats itself, PSE 2021 will be released sometime this Fall. So the question many users ask is should I upgrade to the latest version. Adobe has a excellent table that compares PSE 2020 features with previous ones going back to PSE 15. You can access it at the link below:
For several years now I have maintained my own table. It is more detailed than the one in the above link and goes back to PSE 11. The link below is to my current version. It is an Excel spreadsheet.
If you have been struggling to decide whether to upgrade or not, I hope you found this information helpful. If so please star-rate it or Like/Share the post. Also, I am always open to comments.
Until next time…
Addendum: Some were not able to open my spreadsheet. I have converted it to a PDF file. The link to it is below.
In this post, I am going to demonstrate how to bring out detail in landscape photos using traditional/legacy commands in Photoshop.
In more recent versions of Photoshop, we have new commands such as Clarity and Texture that essentially do this. But sometimes it is fun to revert to the old way. Besides, there is always that potential to better control the final result.
In this demo, I will be using Photoshop 2020, but the same techniques can be used using Photoshop Elements as well. I learned this technique from Dave Seeram in a magazine article he wrote several years ago.
Click on the figure below to view the tutorial.
If you found this AppTip Sheet to be helpful, please give it a star rating, or click on the Like or Share buttons at the bottom.
Until next time…
Lightroom Classic can be used to edit your video clips. Editing video is not the first thing that comes to mind when using Lightroom. It is its advanced digital image management capabilities and ever expanding photo editing features.
It can also be used to trim your video, as well as removing sections in the middle of the clip.
The tone and color editing features are under Quick Develop in the Library module.
Timeline editing tools are also readily accessible. Using these tools along with those in the Slide Show module, you can assemble a multimedia presentation with simple transitions, text overlays, and background music, all within Lightroom Classic.
I used Lightroom Classic to edit the color and tone of the video I shot recently at the beach from my Mavic Pro drone. I find that it often works better for me. I did choose to use PRE 2020 to do the timeline trimming, since it has a Smart Trim tool that I often use to get started. For this video, I also chose PRE 2020 to add the title text.
But the fact remains, I could have stayed in Lightroom Classic to do the entire project, including producing the final 1920x1080p video.
The link below shows my final video. By the way, to see the best quality, switch YouTube options to play 1080p HD. Its default is 720p HD.
I plan to use Lightroom Classic more in the future to edit the tone and color of my videos.
If you like this video, please Share it and give it a Like. Thanks.
Until next time…
Well now that the Holidays have been over for a few weeks, I should post another AppTip Sheet. The Color Range command is often used to change the color of a garment or other object in a photo.
This tip is how to use Photoshop CC’s Color Range command to select the sky or other background to enhance it in some way. Although this example does not deal with this tip of image, the technique is often used to enhance or replace the sky shining through tree branches, which often present a significant challenge using other selection techniques.
Click on the figure below to view or download the AppTip Sheet.
If you found this AppTip Sheet helpful, please Share it and/or give it a Like below.
Until next time…
I have used Techsmith’s Camtasia and Snagit for several years. For the most part I have used them to produce tutorial screen casts. Over the years, Camtasia has added features that rival consumer level video editors, such as Adobe’s Premiere Elements.
Much of my photography is centered around taking videos and photos of my granddaughters competing in sports. On a recent weekend, I videoed Lucy in one of her soccer games as the goalkeeper.
I decided to use Camtasia 2019 to produce the final video. However, I took multiple steps and programs to create the final short video.
Here is what I did.
Shooting the video Clips
For this project I used my Sony AX53 Camcorder to take the 1080p video.
This camera is lighter and easier to hold for extended periods than my Canon 7D Mk 2. Since Lucy is a goalkeeper, much of the time the action does not involve her. I keep her roughly in the frame as I watch the game. When she tenses and begins to prepare for action, I begin the video.
Doing this I end up with a large number of short video clips by the end of the game.
I used Lightroom Classic to Import and then add Keyword tags to all of the video clips.
Then using the Picks and Rejects flags I identified those that are not worth retaining. This is the vast majority. I deleted them.
Then I used the Star Rating system of Lightroom Classic to identify just those very few clips that I wanted to include in the current project.
My camcorder did a pretty good job of recording the raw video. However, for each clip I used Lightroom Classic’s Quick Develop mode within the Library module, and selected Auto Tone. This brightened up each clip. Lightroom Classic is not optimized for video editing, but it does do a nice job here.
I used Premiere Elements 2020 to convert two of the clips to slow motion, since the action was too fast to follow easily.
I saved the edited clips back into the same folder the original clips are stored, but with new names. And then I Imported them into Lightroom Classic and tagged them accordingly.
At this point, I would normally finish the project by adding transitions, titles etc using Premiere Elements 2020, but this time, I chose to use Camtasia 2019 to finish my project.
Specifically, I did the following in Camtasia 2019:
Imported the four clips to a single track.
Added Transitions and adjusted their duration. I used a couple of different transitions.
Added lower thirds title for the video, customizing it a bit from the default.
I added a music background and deleted the audio that my camcorder originally recorded, except at the very end of the video, which I thought was cool. The music I added came from Techsmith’s selection of free music.
Finally, I saved the project as an MP4 HD 1080p video file on my hard drive.
So for this project, I used three separate programs. Lightroom Classic is pretty unique here in what it does. However, I could have used Premiere Elements 2020 to do everything that I did in Camtasia 2019. I could have also converted the slow motion clips with in Camtasia 2019 instead of Premiere Elements 2020, but the process would have been harder.
So, I often find in creating a video project, I end up using multiple programs. And remember, the features of Camtasia 2019 for this simple project only scratched the surface of its capabilities. In future projects, I will explore more of what it can do.
CLICK HERE to see the resulting video.
If you liked this post, give it a LIKE, Ok?
Until next time…
Adobe has released their latest version of Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements. They have continued their march to add improvements each year to both programs that make organizing and editing your photos and videos easier.
Applying advanced techniques to your photos and videos that typically take multiple steps have been reduced to either a single click or a few well of well defined steps called Guided Edits. Photoshop Elements 2020 now includes 55 Guided Edits, and Premiere Elements has twenty-three.
In the coming weeks I will highlight some of the new features, but in the meantime, check out the Adobe website for multiple short videos highlighting the capabilities of both programs.
Click on the figure below and scroll down to see several videos describing new and existing features of Photoshop Elements 2020.
To see the features included in Premiere Elements 2020 click on the link below.
Check back here soon for additional demonstrations of the various new features in both programs.
Until next time…
For some time now Adobe as offered a free website building tool to help you build your own online photo gallery. It is called Adobe Portfolio, and it is free with any subscription to the Creative Cloud. In my case I subscribe to the option that gives me Lightroom Classic, Lightroom, and Photoshop CC for ten dollars a month.
Adobe has added new features since they first introduced it. I played with it a couple of years ago, but never really got into it. So today I began my second venture. I have put up a very basic gallery so far. There are plenty of additional elements I can and will in time.
But my first attempt at least allows the viewer an easy way to view the few pictures I have uploaded so far. It is easy to upload your photos from Lightroom. You just put your photos in a Lightroom Album and upload the pictures from there. If you are a Lightroom Classic user, you must sync the desired Collection with Lightroom where that Collection becomes an Album. You can also just upload pictures directly from your computer.
Here is the URL for Adobe Portfolio https://portfolio.adobe.com/
Here is the link to my first simple gallery. https://donstouder.myportfolio.com/