iPad For Transmitting Breaking News Photos, Revisited

A couple of months ago I wrote about using Apple’s iPad to edit and transmit photos from the field. There were a lot of problems that came up in the editing process for adding cutlines (captions, for you non-journalism types) to photos before sending them to a publication. The problem was at the time you couldn’t edit IPTC or meta data at all. Well it looks like all of that is finally changing.

Filterstorm 2, an updated version of the photo editing app of the same name has listened to photographers and added a ton of features. Among these features are the ability to adjust curves, color correct, reduce noise, sharpen and (are you ready for it?!?!) edit meta data and FTP an image directly from the app! This eliminates the cumbersome work-flow problems of downloading, editing, saving, opening email, writing a caption in the email, and well…you get the idea. It’s not a complete solution though. The photos will be sent to the publication with the cutline information but due to Apple’s restrictions on the architecture of apps, the images won’t be saved on the iPad with the updated meta data. Bummer. It’s a step in the right direction.

For a full list of the features and a couple of videos, check out filterstorm’s features page. At just $2.99 for a limited time, it looks like a steal for the advanced photo editing ability it adds to the iPad. Now if we could only get Apple to ditch AT$T for a more reliable network, we might have a solution for filing breaking news images from the field that doesn’t involve a laptop.

iPad For Transmitting Breaking News Photos?

I was listening to the police/fire scanner today when I heard a call about a wild fire. I immediately started thinking about how I would cover it and how I would transmit images from the field. I would need three things: a computer, wireless connection and a way to move images from the camera. It would also have to be light enough and small enough to fit in with the other gear I am carrying. Ideally it would fit in a belt pack or very slim backpack. Currently I would have to carry a 15 inch laptop, data card, card readers, etc. A 15 inch MacBook Pro is roughly 14 inches by 10 inches. It pretty much requires a backpack to carry. A single small device would be a great solution. So why not an iPad 3g and a camera connection kit? I think its a real possibility.

Here’s what needs to happen:

  1. Create a decent photo editing app with the ability to edit IPTC data for cutlines/captions. Ideally it should have the ability to upload the images via FTP/email directly from the app. There are some great photo editing apps already available for the iPad. Many of these apps can send images to social networking sites already. A developer needs to step up and create an app with just a few more features for press photographers. They will sell a ton.
  2. Design and build a case that can withstand the rigors of breaking news assignments and be easily carried. Think Tank Photo, I’m looking at you guys for this one. I believe that your designers have the ability to nail the design. Make it easy to access, slim, light and integrate it with your current modular system. Ideas? I already have a few. Call me. We’ll do lunch.
  3. Fix AT&Ts 3G network. (This probably goes without saying.) I don’t have an iPad…yet. Depending on AT&Ts network to move images quickly is not ideal at the moment. If there are a lot of people trying to do it, it won’t work at all. I have an iPhone 3Gs and I will admit the service has been better lately but it is far from perfect. Fix the network and widely distribute it. The money you (AT$T) spend will translate into profit when everyone uses your network.

Just a thought.

UPDATE: I just found this on FaceBook. Similar to what I had in mind but not quite as bulky.