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Stop Fact-checking The Movies

The price you pay for using the incredible movie-making tool is being forced to broadcast yourself on its network. Thankfully, now we have Spark Camera , a $2 app from renowned design studio IDEO that gives you the same glorious one-finger-movie-making functionalityand some other good stuffwithout any obligation to share when youre done. The app was IDEOs answer to a straightforward question: how can we give people a simple way to make great looking videos on a smartphone? Its carefully selected feature set is all about giving you things you need to create meaningful mini-movies without slowing you down. Open the app and youre ready to shoot straight awaytheres nothing pestering you for any login credentials. In familiar Vine fashion, a finger on the screen is all you need to string together a series of shots, with a maximum length of 30 seconds. Then you can apply one of 10 filters to the clip and add a soundtrack from your phones stash of tunes. The whole thing gets saved to your camera roll in full 720p with options for sharing on all the usual suspects. Sparks clearly trying to find the sweet spot between simplicity and functionality. All three of its main componentsthe ability to easily make videos with multiple shots; the filters; and the ability to add a soundtrackare transformative enough that youll probably use them for everything you make in the app. Still, Sparks definitely more of a place to record video than edit ittheres no way to move or remove shots within a clip, for examplethough that quickly gets into unwieldy territory. One thing the app should let you do, though, is pick what part of a song you want to add to your project.

Dean Obeidallah

Dean Obeidallah We have seen this self-aggrandizing spectacle of people fact-checking movies with two recent films. The first is the current box office champion, “Gravity,” with the other being “The Butler.” “Gravity,” which stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, follows a space mission that goes terribly awry. Despite its box office success, a chorus of critics have attacked numerous scientific flaws in the film — such as pointing out the allegedly inaccurate way Bullock’s hair floated in zero gravity . But that’s nothing compared to the recent barrage of Twitter attacks launched at the film by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. His tweets ranged from criticizing the direction space debris was depicted as travelling to more nuanced issues such as faulting filmmakers for showing that the Hubble Space Telescope, the International Space Station and a Chinese space station were, “all in sight lines of one another.” This is not the guy you want to sit next to in a movie theater during “Star Wars.” How realistic is ‘Gravity’? I can just hear him whispering things such as: “The Death Star is too big to fly at that rate of speed,” or “Yoda could never survive in that atmosphere.” Look, “Gravity” doesn’t even pretend to be based on anything more than the screenwriter’s imagination. And here’s the biggest thing for people like deGrasse Tyson to keep in mind: it’s science fiction, for God’s sake! You would think the “fiction” part of “science fiction” is something that an astrophysicist could comprehend. And then there’s “The Butler,” the Lee Daniels film about a man who served for decades as a butler for various presidents at the White house. This film was attacked by the left and the right for being historically inaccurate. Some have cited errors with the film’s account of specific instances of the civil rights movement while others expressed outrage over the way President Ronald Reagan was depicted — apparently some view Reagan as a deity. Here’s a spoiler alert (and by “spoiler alert,” I mean a spoiler to people who have never googled or read anything about the film): It was fiction — that means it was made up. There was no “Cecil Gaines,” the butler character played by Forest Whitaker in the film.

The case of the missing Apple TV movies

What happened to them? With the latest iTunes and Apple TV, Apple categorizes such movies (any variety of video that wasnt obtained from the iTunes Store) as home videos. When you select Computers on your Apple TV you will see an entry for Home Videos as the fourth item in the media list. If you select that item and then click the remotes Select button, all your ripped movies should appear. If, like me, you find it a bit silly to separate your Apple-purchased movies from those youve ripped (and yes, you should do this only with discs that you own), you can correct this behavior. To do so, youll need to change the media type for these movies from Home Video to Movies. There are a couple of ways to do this in iTunes. The first is to select Movies in iTunes, click the Home Videos heading in the main window, select everything in that window, press Command-I, click the Options tab, choose Movie from the Media Kind pop-up menu, and click OK. Changing the media type of multiple “home videos.” I find this method a little clumsy because there may be smaller moviesmovies of the family that youve created with iMovie, for examplethat really are home videos. Use the method I just described and that stuff gets mixed in with your Hollywood hits. What I would suggest instead is that you choose File > New > Smart Playlist and in the window that appears configure the one and only condition to read Media Kind Is Home Video and click OK. Youll be presented with a list of all the videos in your iTunes Library tagged as home videos.

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