Sony FE 100-400 F4.5-5.6 GM OSS Review

Sony FE 100-400 F4.5-5.6 GM OSS

There has been a powerful addition to the Sony family of lenses. I finally got a chance to really play with this lens and push it to determine whether if it had any limitations like other long range zoom lenses in it's class. I wanted shoot something fast moving as well as panning then doing the same shooting fast objects while panning on a tripod. All shots provided were shot on Sony a7rII full frame and I used a MeFOTO Road Trip tripod which is ultra light yet sturdy enough to handle the weight distribution. 

One of the biggest I l noticed about this camera set up of the Sony a7rII + Sony FE 100-400 F4.5-5.6 GM OSS was it's weight. Sony's innovative modular exterior construction and magnesium components reduce weight and size for improved portability and mobility. I have used other DSLR's in the past with their compatible lenses and you will notice right away the DSLR's weighs significantly more than this Sony combo. Using a DSLR for a day handheld with an equivalent lens felt heavy after a while. 

I acquired this lens originally for wildlife, portraits, video, and long range shots. Naturally, I would use it for other creative shots but I needed to get up and close to grizzly bears without actually cuddling with them. Unfortunately, when I received the lens it was late in the season and was unable to test it for bears. I'll have to wait until they wake up in the spring.

Fast focus can be a challenge with long lenses on mirrorless cameras, but Sony FE 100-400 F4.5-5.6 GM OSS utilizes two Floating AF groups – both a Direct Drive SSM and a double-linear motor – for fast AF across the entire focal range. It focuses all the way down to 3.2 ft/0.98m for 0.35x magnification at 400mm – perfect for shooting tight portraits while bringing in the surrounding background. Excellent for wildlife which is why I bought it in the first place.

I decided to test it on airplanes landing while standing practically underneath them. To make it interesting I shot close to sunset or just after to test how it performed with a larger aperture up to (F 9.0), which isn't really ideal for low light, to see how it performed. I wanted an object to be speeding near me while I tested various shutter/ISO and focal lengths. Also airplanes are way cooler than cars. 

I tested the lens on airplanes flying overhead or slightly overhead seconds before touching the ground. I was at the beginning of the landing strip posts and purposefully shot this close to sunset as I wanted to see its low light capabilities vs focusing accuracy. When I shoot wildlife, for example bears come out at sunrise or sunset so low light performance is a key factor for me and my tests. 

Let's get to it!

The Sony FE 100-400 F4.5-5.6 GM OSS is roughly the size of Sony FE 70-200 F2.8 GM, it’s the first Sony FE lens over 300mm (congrats Sony) and Im confident it won't be the last. 

Sony FE 100-400 F4.5-5.6 GM OSS Gregg Jaden Blog.jpg

Key Features:
• E-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format
• One Super ED Element and Two ED Elements
• Nano AR Coating and Fluorine Coating
• Direct Drive SSM Focus System
• Two Floating AF Groups for Fast AF
• Optical SteadyShot Image Stabilization
• Zoom Torque Adjustment Ring
• Internal Focus, Focus Range Limiter
• Dust and Moisture-Resistant Construction
• Nine-Blade Circular Diaphragm
• Focuses to 3.2 ft/0.98m for 0.35x Magnification at 400mm
• Best-in-Class 49 Ounce Lightweight Design
• Focus Hold Buttons can be Assigned Custom Functions
• Compatible with Sony FE 1.4x and 2.0x Teleconverters

SPECIFICATIONS AND FEATURES

Premium G Master series super telephoto zoom lens
Linear motor and Direct Drive SSM (DDSSM) for agile, highly precise focus lens control
Sony Nano AR Coating to eliminate flare and ghosting
Circular 9-blade aperture for beautiful defocus effects
Dust and moisture resistant design.2
MINIMUM FOCUS DISTANCE
3.22 ft/0.98 m
MAXIMUM MAGNIFICATION RATIO (X)
0.35
FILTER DIAMETER (MM)
77
WEIGHT
49.3 oz (Without tripod mount) 1,395 g 

Zoom Torque Adjustment Ring Smooth or Tight for added control

Zoom Torque Adjustment Ring Smooth or Tight for added control

It houses two Floating AF groups for fast AF to 3.2 feet. Another key feature was the shake compensation switch which gives you mode 1 or 2. 2 being for moving subjects for focus accuracy

It houses two Floating AF groups for fast AF to 3.2 feet. Another key feature was the shake compensation switch which gives you mode 1 or 2. 2 being for moving subjects for focus accuracy

Focus Handheld Test vs Tripod using Mode 2 

I went to the LAX where I can stand underneath a runway of oncoming planes while they land. I purposely went to test out its low light focus capabilities which are a big priority for my style of shooting. First, let's look at tripod. Below are some images and I've also provided the settings for you. I used "Zone Focus Area" for these shots.  All photos were shot full frame RAW. 

1. Tripod @ F9.0 1/2000sec 400mm ISO 4000 Ultra Sharp focus no hunting. Landing pole left and next landing pole on right hand side of image. Demonstrating its Precision G Master optics ensure consistently high corner-to-corner resolution at any focusing distance throughout the lens’ zoom range. 

1. Tripod @ F9.0 1/2000sec 400mm ISO 4000 Ultra Sharp focus no hunting. Landing pole left and next landing pole on right hand side of image. Demonstrating its Precision G Master optics ensure consistently high corner-to-corner resolution at any focusing distance throughout the lens’ zoom range. 

2. Tripod @ F9.0 1/2000sec 203mm ISO 5000 - Ultra Sharp focus again no hunting. Landing pole on left.

2. Tripod @ F9.0 1/2000sec 203mm ISO 5000 - Ultra Sharp focus again no hunting. Landing pole on left.

2A.  A cropped version of the above image Tripod @ F9.0 1/2000 sec ISO5000 - 203MM

2A.  A cropped version of the above image Tripod @ F9.0 1/2000 sec ISO5000 - 203MM

3. @ F9.0 1/2000sec ISO 5000 - 200mm

3. @ F9.0 1/2000sec ISO 5000 - 200mm

4.  @ F9.0 1/2000 ISO 5000 260mm - Notice the focus had no problem picking up the speeding plane just over the landing pole and following the plane for that split second while distinguishing between the landing pole and the airplane.

4.  @ F9.0 1/2000 ISO 5000 260mm - Notice the focus had no problem picking up the speeding plane just over the landing pole and following the plane for that split second while distinguishing between the landing pole and the airplane.

As you can see when this lens is stable on a tripod it is razor sharp. Naturally I would've been closer to F5.6 for optimal shooting and not F9.0. But the purpose of this was to try to push the lens to see how it performed. Even in these low light conditions and an ISO much higher than I like to use it was very sharp. I was super impressed as I was underneath these planes landing and it was sunset. As you know the the tripod was only a partial stabilizer as the plane sound alone shakes the ground. These airplanes are just over the height of two lamp posts high as they fly over my head. The focus was fast and could easily distinguish between trees, poles and any of the landing poles that guide the planes in. Again, I used "Zone Focus Area" for these shots. 

Hand Held 

Below are some photos of handheld panning left to right. The focus was sharp but I purposely used a lower shutter speed and lower ISO to see what I could find for limits on the speed of a plane landing -  also given that the sun was either set or almost set. 

5. @F5.6 1/640sec ISO 320 - 300mm. Handheld it managed to get pretty impressive focus even though I feel these settings would be too slow to "freeze" the fast moving plane.

5. @F5.6 1/640sec ISO 320 - 300mm. Handheld it managed to get pretty impressive focus even though I feel these settings would be too slow to "freeze" the fast moving plane.

5A.  Here's a crop in of the above image to give you an idea of the focus just a little shy of an ideal shutter speed to eliminate minor blur.

5A.  Here's a crop in of the above image to give you an idea of the focus just a little shy of an ideal shutter speed to eliminate minor blur.

6. @F8.0 1/1000sec ISO 500 - 400mm handheld you will see here upping the shutter to 1/1000sec made the plane that much sharper. Again the sun had just set. 

6. @F8.0 1/1000sec ISO 500 - 400mm handheld you will see here upping the shutter to 1/1000sec made the plane that much sharper. Again the sun had just set. 

Ideally the shutter speed I would use for this fast of a moving subject would be 1/2000sec or above. 1/1000sec with low light wasn't quite enough but would perform better in optimal light conditions. 

Conclusion should i buy this lens?

Sony FE 100-400 F4.5-5.6 GM OSS at roughly the size of a 70-200 2.8 and weighing just 49 oz, offers more reach that’s also great for shooting news, events, street and travel. While a larger 200-500mm might be better suited for the needs of wildlife photographers, when coupled with the Sony FE 1.4x teleconverter (which I haven't tested) it offers that reach without the focus issues that plague the long end of 150-600mm adapted superzooms.

Side View Sony FE 100-400 F4.5-5.6 GM OSS Gregg jaden blog.jpg

This lens in my opinion has so much added technology to help solve traditional problems found in other zoom lenses in this focal range. I was beyond impressed with my low light fast moving object findings. I found the focus system especially superior to other lenses I have used in this focal length. Remember I shot this with Sony a7rII 5fps full frame not a Sony a9 @20fps. All shots taken here were full frame. The a7rII having double the sensor resolution only gave me a few shots then started writing the massive resolution files to the card. Although this lens was made to go with the lightening fast a9 release. If you have an existing Sony for sports or fast moving action like the Alpha 7 series or Alpha 6000 series bodies – then the Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS is an excellent choice.

The best thing was that my findings were all based on quick shooting.  I didn't want any controlled environment at all. This is similar to my usual shooting locations with light that changes rapidly. In fact the sunset was a faster sunset due to winter. I shot for less than an hour each day (2 days only). There wasn't any special planning just pick up and go. I treated this test as I would any day where I pull any lens out on an expedition and need to shoot something fast. The biggest advantage of this lens is G Master technology. Creating stunning visuals previously unattainable levels with state of the art focus combined with extremely high resolution while softly dissolving background bokeh. Yes this lens is worth every penny. Stay in touch on my Instagram for more upcoming shots with this lens. Instagram @gjaden

Disclaimer - Sony didn't compensate me for this review. This review is my opinion of what I think would be important features for my shooting style. I will add wildlife images in the spring here or on social media. 

Data Backup - Hang Son Doong Vietnam with G-Technology RAID

Never leave your backups to chance

I get a lot of questions about how and what I use to backup data when on an expedition. We sometimes take multiple TB or more of data between stills and video when working with a client.  On a cave style expedition there is no room for error and we must have the reliability for data backups that can't fail us. Especially in moist gritty environments we cannot chance anything and must use the best. My team relies on G Technology drives and RAID system to keep client visuals safe. 

On a recent expedition to Hang Son Doong Cave in Vietnam, we decided to capture the story of the world’s largest caves and relied on the support of the G-Technology as his go-to back up storage solution. Read more of his journey and the workflow process he used with G-DRIVE to share the story:

Hang Son Doong Vietnam Gregg Jaden


Hang Son Doong Cave Vietnam Watch our for Dinosaurs one of our team stands up top of the massive stalagmite looking rocks to show scale

Gregg Jaden Hang En Cave Vietnam

Inside Han En Cave on route to Hang Son Doong Cave Vietnam is a stopover after 12km jungle trek through rivers and mountain ranges. Down below is our camp at night time where we offload data.


Capturing the Hang Son Doong Cave

As part of my workflow I needed a solid solution that was rugged enough to handle 12km treks, rock climbing and extreme environments. I needed the drive space to do redundant backups while inside a cave or in my tent/campsite. Capturing images is one thing but when memory cards fail that is a whole other problem you never want to deal with.

Inside Hang Son Doong Vietnam River Crossing Gregg Jaden

A river crossing above a waterfall in Hang Son Doong Cave Vietnam how we transport our rugged G-DRIVE ev ATC thunderbolt drives
 

Gregg Jaden G Technology Hang Son Doong

Behind the scenes Inside Hang Son Doong Cave in the evening while offloading onto G-DRIVE ev ATC inside my tent

G Technology Gregg Jaden Hang Son Doong Vietnam

A look at our charge station inside the cave powered by generator and offloading to 2 G-DRIVE ev ATC Thunderbolt drives

Workflow

As part of my workflow after each shoot or during the shoot I backup the data on to portable drives that can withstand the grit, moisture and shock of a cave environment. Rugged travel life means you are pretty much wet or dirty all day including your hands covered in some form of grit from rock bouldering. I needed a workflow solution that could solve the need to have immediate backups inside a cave or up a mountain and also have the ability to make redundant copies keeping client’s work safe until I return from an expedition.

Campsite Doline 1 Hang Son Doong G Technology Gregg Jaden

A look at camp environment where we offload data every night onto our G-DRIVE ev ATC Thunderbolt drives

Must Haves in your Photography Bag

One of my “must haves” for any trip is the  G-DRIVE ev ATC with Thunderbolt, a super rugged hard drive. I needed these all terrain drives with me as I journeyed through Hang Son Doong. The great part is that the G-DRIVE ev ATC hard drive stays protected while sealed inside the watertight, dust resistant shock proof case.

This cave alone is a lifesaver because I only need to plug in the Thunderbolt cable to offload my data. This avoids having a delicate hard drive exposed to extreme nature environments and possibly failing due to grit, water or dirt being exposed. I usually travel with at least 4 or these drives while making copies on each.  It is the worst feeling losing data that you shot and have no way to recover it other than a re-shoot. So I explicitly trust G-Technology hard drives because they truly help me become a better storyteller. And it’s re-assuring to know they go the extra mile in technology and reliability to have my back.

Hang Son Doong Gregg Jaden G Technology

Behind the scenes: Hang Son Doong After a day of Grit - We rely on offloading onto G-DRIVE ev ATC Thunderbolt.

Home Base Back up Solution

For our team’s home base in Los Angeles we have a G SPEED Studio XL RAID 8-Bay Thunderbolt™ 2 Storage Solution. This is our “data control center” as we call it. It has 8 bays to add up to 60 TB of storage capacity for offloading. The real beauty of this solution is we can configure it how we want and replace or upgrade drives for any slot as needed. The biggest advantage is that we can offload wirelessly when we get back to base to our G SPEED Studio while making redundant RAID copies of the data. Our goal is to have a minimum of 5 copies of all data in case something becomes corrupt or we lose memory cards during our travels.

Any traveler knows memory cards are so small it is easy for them to go missing especially rushing through a TSA inspection! With G-Technology RAID, you can avoid a catastrophe like this altogether. With a transfer speed of Up to 1300MB/s this helps tremendously with our 4K and 6K footage due to larger file sizes.

Performance and reliability are vital to my success as a storyteller. I have utmost confidence in G-Technology as my workflow partner for any project size or location. Plus I’m happy to say that finally, there’s a solution to accommodate my field needs and grows with my team as we grow.

One of the Best Photography Backpacks for Trekking, Hiking or any Outdoor Adventure Lowepro Tactic 450

Lowepro Tactic 450 Best Backpacks for Trekking, Hiking or any Outdoor Adventure

Top 10 tips for Rainy Backpacking - Trekking Trips

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Heading out during a stormy backpacking weekend? Or even a soggy hike through your favorite Canyon? Don't let the dampness ruin your initiative. Hypothermia is the number one killer of hikers. Backpacking or trekking through constant rain can still be fun if you're good at staying dry. Here are some tips for your next backpacking trip in wet rainy weather. 

1 - Layers, layers, layers

tart with a nice base or mid layer tights and a long sleeve shirt underneath all of your other rainwear. Definitely use marina wool. The reason is sweat can evaporate quicker and maintain your body temperature. You are looking for a skin coverage and to keep the wet cold jacket off your skin with plenty of stretch and comfort. I often skip traditional hiking pants and rely on trekking pants to dry superquick. Or if I know the rain is going to be bad I will be relying on my tights for warmth under waterproof hard shells. 

2 - Seek hard shell jackets and pants with vents. 

On the longer adventures your outer layer on your hardshell will definitely wet out. This drastically lowers the fabrics breathability. But pit breathe zippers will never fail you and make that hike much more enjoyable. 

3 - Wear synthetic fleece with insulation

For this I usually use some form of merino wool as a base layer with a fleece mid layer. When it is dry I definitely want a down jacket. But when everything is damp or wet, synthetic installations and mid layer fleece are definitely the way to go. They maintain some of their warmth and puffiness even when the wetness sets in. They are also easier to dry. 

4 - aterproof your backpack

There are many backpacks on the market. Some which absorb water and some that repel water. When you're carrying sensitive camera gear you definitely want to test your backpack out before you head out into the wilderness. I like to take a garden hose and spray my backpack. Making sure that water will not soak in even with the zipper closed. If it passes my Garden hose test then it is coming with me. If you have a backpack already that is water resistant then definitely try to find a waterproof cover for it. If you don't have one, you might want to just use a traditional garbage bag for this. 

5 - Keeping your equipment dry

camera equipment as you know can be very expensive. One of the key things to do when exploring nature is to keep it dry at all times. One thing you can do is definitely open your backpack as little as possible. Every time you open your pack or take the cover off a bit more rain will get in. This wetness can build up in my potentially stay with you for the rest of the trip. To minimize this, store all your regular snacks in your pockets or outside of your pack. There are waterproof bags on the market they can also help with this keeping your camera dry at all time. 

6 -  Common household item will save you

One of the best ways to combat wetness is utilizing Ziploc bags. To prevent water damage of any items that you are concerned about such as batteries, cables, memory cards etc. definitely put your items in a Ziploc bag to double protect them. 

7 - aterproof trekking boots with waterproof gators are a must

You definitely do not want to have any Gore-Tex in your boots when it is wet out. Contrary to what many people believe, Gore-Tex will hold the water and not dry out fast. Do your research and look for Waterproof trekking boots or water boots that will dry out fast. 

8 - Footcare

You want to find a good natural oil balm along with an antifungal foot powder. If you want to be super prepared, definitely try to find some dry packets to help your items dry when you can find shelter. When it is overnight you will want dry packets to draw your items out as best you can. Anti-blister kit is a must. Blister prevention will save you. Wet socks will quickly rub the natural oils off your feet which leads to water absorption, prune like skin, and a much higher chance of blistering. Especially if your boots are tight. You want to reapply balms and oil's to prevent foot irritation such as Bonnie's balm to help keep feet from blistering. 

9 - Proper socks for trekking

ne of the things a lot of hikers don't realize is your body temperature can drop with what you wear for base layers and socks. The type of socks you will want to find is merino wool hiking socks. They are thick enough to help prevent blisters and also maintain foot temperature. When your feet get wet in cotton socks it can be dangerous. Body temperature can drop from anywhere on the body especially your feet. You do not want cold wet feet while you were out trekking. Maintaining body temperature is key so do not wear regular cotton socks.

10 - Best underwear and beanie

ne of the three main areas of her body temperature lost his head, groin, and feet. You will want to try marina wool underwear for your rainy day trekking. The nice thing about merino wool is it will help maintain and regulate body temperature even when wet. Merino wool or acrylic style beanie will be perfect underneath your waterproof hood. 

emember safety first. I know we all want to capture great images… But if you're wet and cold and catching hypothermia will trying to do so then it won't be worth it. You can enjoy taking photos in any type of climate. Preparation and planning is key. 

Happy Backpacking - Trekking

Desire -Determination - Discipline

When it came to ice hockey my principles I used to live by was - be the first one on the ice and the last one off the ice has a pro athlete. Due to an unexpected shoulder injury/freak accident I was left unable to play at the pro level.

As I returned to the passion pit/square one. I had to figure out what I was going to do with the remainder of my life as my dream had come crashing to a halt in my early 20s. I always wanted to live a life designed by passion. I had lots of friends that used to work jobs just to support themselves and their loved ones but they used to complain about their jobs but didn't know how to change. I knew I didn't want to do that. What I did was I made a pact with myself. I made an agreement and said whatever it takes I will follow my passions and that will provide me with a living. 

The reason I titled this article with the above three words because this was a "code" I had established for myself early on in life.  

1 Desire - for me this meant the desire to be the best at whatever I choose to do. The desire to be successful and the desire to help others. 

2 - Discipline - for me this meant the discipline in order to get it done. I had a lot of friends who used to procrastinate and I recall it would drive me nuts. Even though I don't really like that saying I'm going to use it anyways. Watching people procrastinate their precious hours on this planet is tough to see. For me I was wanting to discipline myself to make sure I was focused on my goals and did whatever it took to achieve them. this meant disciplining myself and not wasting too much time but having a healthy balance in life of fun and work. 

3 - Determination - for me this meant the inner test. To see what I was made of. To find out if I was determined enough to succeed and reach my goals. To find out if I was determined enough to acquire the education or the skill set in order to achieve those goals. The determination to do whatever it took. And the determination to keep my head up and my attitude positive when things were down all around me. 

I am writing this because even in photography these three principles apply. I want to share a photo with you. I have been out shooting all day and was just finishing dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in Banff Canada. I was tired but I wanted to go and shoot at a certain place that I love to shoot at. If I did this and that meant I wouldn't get back to the city until 4:30 AM. But the full moon was out and I just had to do it. 

When I arrived to my favorite location at Vermilion lakes in Banff Nationl Park Canada. I saw another photographer doing a shoot. We quickly became friends and were in synergy with ideas flowing and shots happening. 

This was the shot >>>

Night shot long exposure Banff National Park Canada – Vermilion lakes - gregg jaden visuals  

Night shot long exposure Banff National Park Canada – Vermilion lakes - gregg jaden visuals  

I think the shot turned out great considering Ryan was probably getting eaten alive by mosquitoes and it must've been lab ext to impossible to standstill but he used his determination to stay perfectly still.  Imagine if I would've packed it up and gone home early then the chances are I would've never had this shot. What's even crazier was I just had major neck surgery two weeks prior to this shot so really I shouldn't have been out there at all but I saw it as an opportunity to "build my strength" which was the doctor's orders. One of the things about photographers that makes them successful is collaboration. Obviously people want to make a name for themselves but I think it is Way more powerful to collaborate as a team. 

Ryan is the fellow on the Paddleboard. He stood still for 200 seconds to get this exposure. What a champion. The other photographer was doing shorter exposures which looks awesome as well, but I wanted to push this to the limit to try to bring out the colors of the background.

if you could ever do one thing in life… Definitely follow your passions. If you do just this one thing all the other concerns ends up taking care of themselves and as always everything just works out.

Happy Shooting! 

Tweet Your Way to Success - How to use Twitter Effectively

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I often hear - "I don't get twitter" from some of my clients friends and family. I used to "not get it" either, but once you "get it", you would want to make Twitter part of your daily ritual.

How to use Twitter Effectively

If you maintain a perspective on why you are using twitter and what type of results you expect to achieve from it, then it will be a powerful network when used correctly and efficiently. For example, if your only intent is to "push" products or services with an automated message, then you will probably have a lower success rate. However, The real power comes when you see and use Twitter as an opportunity to connect with people (without limitation) that you might not have otherwise. Used wisely and smartly, it can be a chance to source out other networks and start to "be known" among them. This is the start of a potential connection of value. If only Bud Fox had could have grabbed Gordon Gecko's attention from his consistent tweets, it would have saved all those office visits and phone calls.

Initially, social networks were invented primarily to be social. Meaning without limitation? A good example is Facebook. When you friend someone that wasn’t in your email contacts, it’s like you’re asking “do you know this person personally”? The answer is “not yet Facebook, I’m trying to network on your social site, stop blocking me”. Facebook’s limitations pose a massive disadvantage when you are trying to build your network; you have this buffer preventing you from making brand new connections. Meaning, a social network shouldn’t push you in a corner, practically making brands “buy” likes with advertising. Imagine going to a cocktail party and being told “you can’t make a connection with that person because you don’t already know them” it’s one of those things that make you go hmmm. Boggle the mind, doesn’t it? Since when does social marketing become semi-social marketing? Facebook’s social conversation tools are awesome for personal connections but it’s not the right platform for networking yourself to success; the limiting connection gatekeeper is less desirable making Twitter far more attractive.

Twitter, on the other hand, allows you to follow anyone and everyone. They might not follow you back, but at least you have an honest chance making that connection. Even if they don’t follow you back, you can still be on top of topics that they tweet about and engage with them on the conversation. You can do this on Facebook but has way less impact as it will only show up on one page, on specific news feeds and not a general tweet listing.

Twitter for Social Relationships

From a relationship building perspective, consistently being seen, sharing thoughts, content links and supporting other like minded tweeters can only help you make a successful business connection. It doesn’t help to learn from them.  It can also help you improve your reputation online, be a thought leader in your industry, and hopefully lead to "potential" customers researching your brand and want to do business with you. If they think you know what you are talking about, they will go a step further and look over your corporate site. Additionally, you can connect with others that you might not have had the same traction as you would on FB or other networks. Also the UI allows you to be in on many topics even if you don't have a connection with the people tweeting and try to establish a connection or share an opinion.

Some of the best business relationships start on a personal level. Twitter can be super fun to find new connections during "hot topics"; for example sports playoffs are a blast to tweet the #hashtags of an event while it is happening and share/read comments with other passionate tweeters. From a keyword perspective, it is awesome to be "in" on topics being discussed - example #MKTGdebate or to start a topic on your own. Remember, originally Twitter was modeled after the NYC cab style radio communication and I think it does a great job of replicating that. Whoever is "listening" (reading) gets to "hear" (read) the tweet. Broadcasting snippets that either make a point, help someone share knowledge, thoughts, ideas, hot topics or opinions. This allows people you have never met see what you have posted, ultimately giving you a chance at a business connection that can lead to more.. You would want to consistently be seen in all marketing channels Use twitter correctly, you will gain attention or find a connection of interest.

Ultimately social networks are about connections, opinions, influence, sharing, relationships, consistency, awareness, and most of all, new connections to help build your brand. They are a great vehicle to drive traffic, engagement, and gain interest. They take patience and hard work. In most cases, the long-term goal is to gain more customers and sales, but as long as you are genuine in your approach you will see results. We coach many companies in this regard to find their "voice" for each network and have clear goals when penetrating communities on twitter which ultimately leads to measurable ROI.

There might be a lot of fluff on Twitter; however, if you know how to master the right tools and techniques, then you can stay on top of the right topics and drive target traffic to your site.

Author - Gregg Jaden

New Screenwriting Technology Can Create Storyboards ForScripts

It’s been a long time since screenwriting has relied on the typewriter. In fact, you often hear through the Hollywood grapevine that no one will even look at your script if you’re not using the right software, whether it’s Final Draft or Script Magic. For years I’ve contributed for several screenwriting publications, and I’ve often been concerned about Hollywood being more concerned about the software the script was written with, instead of whether the script itself is actually any good or not.

Nevertheless, there’s been some interesting technology for screenwriting that has definitely piqued my interest. John August (Big Fish) came up with a screenwriting app called Fountain, which his personal website johnaugust.com tells us allows you to “write screenplays in any text editor on any device, from computers to iPads to smartphones.” And now, as Deadline tells us, Amazon has developed a program that can turn your script into storyboards.

Storyboards have of course been used in films and animation since practically the dawn of cinema, and it’s always been a good way to lay out a road map for your movie. Alfred Hitchcock never worked without them, and although Hitchcock’s storyboards were incredibly detailed, some directors feel the less detailed they are, the better, because it gives you more flexibility when shooting.

As a press release tells us, “For years, Amazon has been developing new programs, services and features to make it easier for content creators to make and distribute their work. Amazon Studios, the original film and series production arm Amazon, announced a new innovation for writers and filmmakers – Amazon Storyteller.”

This technology “is a free online tool that turns scripts into storyboards, complete with characters and dialogue that can then be shared with others for feedback.” This technology is available at www.amazonstudios.com/storyteller, and as the press release continues, “Storyteller provides a digital backlot, acting troupe, prop department and assistant editor – everything you need to bring your story to life.”

All this could be great fun to play around with, and in some circumstances it could help sell a movie that’s hard to visualize. Just imagine if George Lucas had this when he was writing Star Wars, which was pretty much gobbledygook on paper and impossible for practically every Hollywood executive to decipher. I also wonder if you can do this with recreations of celebrities. Can you illustrate your movies with A-list actors in an attempt to convince them to star in your film?

In any event, this is all cool stuff that can make your script look more professional in the right hands, but you have to have a good story in the first place, or else all the technology in the world can’t make it any good. It’s an old cliché, but it’s the truth: If it ain’t on the page, it ain’t on the stage. Replace page with “computer screen,” and the cliché still holds true today.

Written by David Konow via @Broadwave