How to do photos for a MemoryFrame (model MF-8000)
This blog entry really isn't for most of the world. But I have some family members that have started uploading digital photos to a MemoryFrame, and so I'd like to outline some tips.
1. The MemoryFrame skews yellow and bright
The MemoryFrame doesn't have color fidelity on par with a typical computer monitor. I've had two copies of the MF-8000, and both tend to add a touch of yellow. Check it out:
You might look at that and think, "It's just washed out." And it is. But also look at the yellow in the shirt on the right (kinda orangey) and then compare that with the left (pure yellow). Look at the apples in the bucket. On the left they're very pale green, on the right they're a little more true green.
And yes, I know I caught the MemoryFrame right in a transition to another photo, so there's a photo embedded in the main photo. Sorry. And yes, I know that my computer's blue taskbar is on the left side of the screen. I like it that way.
Let's look at another example, shall we?
There are 3 things to notice in the photos. First, on the left there is bright yellow in his hair. On the right, it's hard to see. That's the MemoryFrame skewing toward yellow again. You can also see it in the shadow behind his hair – the MemoryFrame shows a yellowish shadow, while the computer laptop shows a redder, darker shadow. Finally, look at the face – very washed out. The washing out actually isn't that awful when you see it live. The brightness was obviously increased to help the MemoryFrame look vivid during bright daylight.
So what can you do about the mis-coloring?
Simple answer: don't worry about it. It's better to upload photos that are imperfect than to sit around obsessing and failing to get things done. However, if you're a geek or artist who can manage to bang out some good quick changes, I'll walk you through an easy one. What you want to do is to lower the saturation of yellow, and raise the saturation of red. Your photography program will probably do it differently from mine, but at least I can give you a screenshot to point you in the right direction:
In Corel Photo-Paint, I went to the "Image" menu, selected "Adjust" and then clicked the "Hue/Saturation/Lightness" option. In the window that popped up (as pictured) I clicked the yellow channel and set the saturation to -20. I also clicked the red and set it to +20. In doing this, I ended up with a photo that looks slightly "warm" on my laptop (a bit red). That kind of photo ends up looking pretty close to normal on a MemoryFrame.
If you're a real geek or artist, drop the white level by 5% and lower the brightness by 5%. I won't bother to go into how to do that. It's getting nit-picky. But if you can do it, your photos will be slightly more accurate than everyone else's.
2. 800x600 is king
The MemoryFrame has a resolution of 800 pixels wide and 600 pixels tall. You can upload any size photo, and the MemoryFrame will resize it for you. However, bigger photos take up a lot of room in memory (the computer chips that store the information). These days, most digital cameras take photos that are very very detailed – 6000 pixels wide by 4000 pixels tall, or more. Uploading images like that not only takes a long while (because there is so much data to transfer) but it also uses up lots of room on the MemoryFrame's storage. So to conserve space, and since the frame cannot display better than 800x600 anyway, make a copy of your high-quality original file, and then resize that before uploading.
3. Small faces pixellate
If you have a photo of some people posing together, your temptation might be to stay zoomed out to get the whole shot, maybe even with establishing features such as houses in the background or whatever. While that's OK with shots of a landscape, don't do this with photos of people. Come in close. You don't have to be so up-close that everyone feels claustrophobic when they look at the photo, but you should be willing to crop out some of the background to zoom in on the subjects.
To be technical, I've found that if the head(s) in your photo are smaller than 85 pixels tall, the faces visibly lose detail, eyes become indistinct, expressions lose some of their personality, etc. A face of 120 pixels or taller seems to be very nice.
Remember, as you're doing this if you start to feel that adjusting the photos is too time-consuming, stop worrying and get the photos posted. If you've heard the saying, "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good," then you should know that it applies here. Don't bother with color correction if it's troublesome. Don't worry about the size of the faces. The only real, tangible issue to worry about is the file size. One huge photo from a powerful digital camera will take the space of 50 appropriately-sized photos. So pay attention to item #2 and get started!