My old mate Lee Smith turned 50 last week. For those of you who don't know much about The Australian Pink Floyd Show, Lee originally founded the band around 27 years ago in Adelaide, South Australia. He’s a fantastic guitarist and possibly the biggest Pink Floyd fan on the planet.
He initially recruited Grant Ross on drums and Trevor Turton on bass. Jason and I joined shortly after them. Lee immediately became my long lost brother in Floyd and within months we were out gigging. The rest as they say is history. Due to Lee's birthday I've been reminiscing about the amazing experiences, sights and sounds I’ve witnessed in my 27 years of doing this and I have a lot to be thankful for… The diverse places I’ve been to, the wonderful people I’ve met, the adventures I’ve had and the incredible sights I’ve seen. At times they are so unbelievable that I find myself alone with my own thoughts and wishing… “If only so and so could see this through my eyes”. I call them “Blade Runner moments”. Rutger Hauer sums it up beautifully in his “tears in rain” speech at the end of the cult classic sci-fi movie when he’s reflecting upon his incredible life as an android.
By now you may be wondering “What’s all this got to do with gadgets?”. Well the boffins on Tracy Island haven’t quite managed to figure out how to download our memories directly from our brains yet but on another island in East Asia, a company called Sony have invented a new gadget that makes capturing very high quality memories much more convenient for us Giggers. It’s even won an innovation award.
Most of our touring personnel have cameras and video cameras. However these are usually packed away with a flat battery in a large suitcase somewhere on a tour bus or simply left at home because they are just too bulky and inconvenient to carry around. We all tend to swan about in jeans or shorts and a black T-shirt so there’s little room to carry your Spielberg tackle. Let’s face it, most folk use mobile phones or iPads to take photos and videos these days but that comes at a price as they just don’t have the quality to catch our “Blade Runner moments” in all their glory. We always carry our phones with us wherever we go on tour, mainly so we can place a call to ‘International Rescue’ (the tour manager) to shepherd us back to the hotel from the pub or from the dressing room to the stage. Hello Cleveland!
So wouldn’t it be great if our phones could take far better quality photos and videos? Well, they can with the Sony DSC-QX10.
It’s a smartphone attachable lens/digital camera/video recorder. Weighing in at just 105 grams this compact lens simply clips onto your phone, syncs with it wirelessly using Wi-fi and literally turns your phone into a high quality 18 Megapixel digital camera boasting a 10x optical zoom plus a 1440 x 1080 HD video recorder. Impressive stuff! It’s small too and fits into the palm of your hand. In fact it would easily slip into a pocket in your jeans, even if you’re in a boy band.
Here it is with my iPhone 4…
Sony’s free downloadable ‘PlayMemories’ app controls the lens via the phone’s touch screen and also navigates you through the playback, save and share options.
There’s also a Micro SD card slot (needed for video and for saving your media onto if you so wish). Your save/share options depend upon your phone’s apps but mine included saving data to my phone’s memory or sharing to email, print, message, fax, dropbox, skydrive, convert to pdf, open in documents etc.
It can be recharged via any USB charger or laptop/PC with the supplied cable and it even has a standard tripod mount in the base in case you want to fix it to something for a more adventurous ‘selfie’.
Since I left my bulky camera equipment at home again this tour I treated myself to a QX10 at the Duty Free shop on our way out to Monaco for £128.00. I was assured by the friendly sales assistant that I would save a packet compared to the high street prices but I’ve since seen them even cheaper online… including duty. I also picked up a 32Gb Micro SD card that, according to the on screen display, will store around 5000 photos @ 18 Megapixel. Struth!
I’ll definitely be taking this to the next gig or festival to catch some high def memories and to satisfy my inner bootlegger. No doubt we’ll start to see a few of these surface amongst the ever increasing sea of cameras we seem to be performing to these days but in the meantime I’ll see how mine performs photographing next week’s Gadgets for Giggers!
Finally, to Lee in Australia… Happy 50th Bro!
FYI…Here’s a link to more info on the QX10 at Sony’s website. http://store.sony.com/smartphone-attachable-lens-style-camera-zid27-DSCQX10//cat-27-catid-Collections-Best-Low-Light-Cameras