Review: Bluristic Camera App for iPhone.
Turns camera blur into an artform. ★★★★★
Your iPhone Camera app is designed to freeze a moment in time, which is normally what you want. But Bluristic gives you a unique visual storytelling technique: capturing 8-16 seconds of time in a single image. Developer Johannes Pfahler has concocted an app that blends multiple photos for a fluid, poetic image.
The best tracking.
Bluristic’s superpower is the ability to track a moving subject. (Most blur apps struggle and usually leave you with unintelligible color streaks.) Just tap the subject on the screen and hold the shutter. Bluristic will do its best to keep the subject in focus. You’ll get the best results if you use the single focus setting in the toolbar and keep the red tracking dot close to the focus rectangle.
Like most blur apps, you must manually save the image in Bluristic. (Since the technique is experimental, there will be failures you don’t want cluttering your Photos app.) In Bluristic manual save can be useful, since you have some post processing options. Once the image is captured you can tap the sliders icon to set the image’s black, white and gray point or let Bluristic do this automatically. (I’d turn on the button on the bottom of the sliders and leave this up to Bluristic.) In Bluristic’s settings (gear > wrench) you can save your image as an Ultra big, uncompressed PNG file, which photographers will find meets the standards for professional editing.
A word about RAW.
Bluristic essentially shoots a movie and creates your final image from it. You can save the RAW images as a .DAT file in Bluristic’s iTunes File Sharing Folder or save a hi-def .MOV video. But that’s all added work that can detract from shooting images.
Bluristic is a real dream for “long shutter” experimentation. I’m getting so many nice results hand-held that I’m not relying on the tripod for blurred images as much. Nice to b able to experiment without having to bring anything along, but the iPhone on your pocket.
Technique: The yin of stillness and the yang of movement.
When you blend stillness and movement in an image it can help balance as well as strengthen both. The Blend mode in Bluristic gives you nice even exposures with blur, as well as focus, and is a good place to start. Here are a few possibilities:
- Tripod with moving subject. Mount your phone on a tripod to get a still background for your subject to move against. This is useful for blurring waterfalls, streaking car headlights and contrasting moving subjects.
- Follow a moving subject. If you move with the subject and keep the red tracking dot near the focus box, the subject will remain in focus while the background blurs. You can follow the subject as it moves or walk in an arc around still subjects.
- Move in a pattern. If the subject is bold, try moving in a pattern, like streaks or tiny circles. Less will be in focus, so your results will be more abstract. This can create patterns that become the composition. For example, lights will take on the shape of the movement.
- Just hold still. Hand hold your iPhone and hold the shutter for the full 8 seconds in normal light or 16 seconds in dim light. While a still subject will stay in focus, you’ll get soft focus on the edges.
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