Friday, 20 September 2013

Bringing nature into your living room with nature videos

Nature Videos on TV

These days we are all guilty of spending too much time glued to the TV, computer or smartphone. One company who is offering a way to disconnect from these electronic devices is Uscenes. The 2013 start up of the year has set its mission to stop people watching so much TV… but putting a video background on the TV instead.

The idea is simple. To record high quality still camera footage of nature and certain other scenes. Then give people the change to use their TV as a window to the scene. The idea came to head videographer Michael years ago whilst watching Back To The Future 2. The movie featured a Scenery Channel and Michael never forgot what a great idea it would be.

Download Nature TV screensaver videos

update 2021: Uscenes now has 100 4K videos and 55 Full HD videos, which can also be bouht as Windows screensavers.

Fast forward many years into the future and Michael has helped to set up Uscenes. They have around 50 scenery videos so far with plenty more on the way. Michael says “We have an infinite number of amazing scenes to film around the world. Since we started the sales have gone really well, so we are already funnelling the money back into the project to fund new shoots.”

One example was last weekend when Michael flew to Portugal for a few days to film some new video backgrounds. One example from the trip is the beach scenes in the clip below. He also filmed atop cliffs and captured some sunsets.

Nature TV Screensavers

Click here for a sample video beach scene

Uscenes has decided not to offer DVDs or Blu Ray discs as they see these mediums as a dying breed. Instead all products are downloaded from the website. Not all of us have a media streaming device or media player yet but this seems like a great reason to get one. 

For those not quite up to date with the latest tech you can record the videos onto DVD or enjoy them on your computer. The videos all come with screensaver apps too.

DIY Nature Videos

If you want to film your own nature videos Fujifilm cameras are the best. The best lest for taking videos is Fujifilm 50mm f2 or Viltrox 56mm f1.4. But there are cheaper options too like their very good 16-50mm kit lens, which can typically be found for around $100. 

It lacks the bokeh (blurry background) of the other two, but gives you a wider range. If you have the money their 16-55mm lens is stunning. If you have even more money then Fujifilm medium format cameras and lens would be spectacular for nature videos and photos.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

How To Clean Your Driveway Without Ruining The Concrete

Most of us buy a power washer from our local hardware superstore. These machines are also known as jet washers or pressure washers. They basically send a high powered stream of water out of the nozzle to blast away dirt. The problem with using these machines on a concrete driveway or patio is that they will take the face off the surface.

Most concrete driveways have a top layer which is different to the inside. On pattern imprinted driveways this has a protective coating and coloured dye. Ornamental paving slabs also have a coloured outer layer. Repeated use of a power washer will wear this layer away.

If you are cleaning your concrete regularly the surface will become rougher which means dirt will stick easier. The finish will also deteriorate meaning loss of colour and eventually the inner aggregate stone will show.

Dan from Sale Exterior Restoration is a driveway cleaning specialist and he recommends either letting a professional company like his do the job, or follow the steps below. He says;

“a company like us will only need to do this job every 5-10 years, depending on the surface type and location. Using a cheap power washer twice a year or so will just ruin your surface.”

If you want to do the job yourself follow these steps:

1. Hire a good quality power washer instead of buying one. The top of the range machines omit a much stronger jet of water. This makes the job much faster and eliminates “streaks” from areas missed or rushed.

2. Once cleaned, sweep off any dirt which has gathered in puddles. Then leave the surface until it is bone dry. Whilst waiting purchase a suitable sealant for your driveway. Be aware than some sealants have a subtle matt finish and others have a glossy finish which can be very shiny.

3. Brush the surface with a medium brush. Then apply the sealer. Follow the instructions on the packaging. Usually 2 coats is required. Once applied you can sit back and relax for the next 5-10 years because the sealant will protect the concrete from the elements and from attracting dirt. Using a sealant will help prevent cracks in concrete which are most common in areas which freeze up in winter.

Note: if you decide to DIY check that your black waterproofing damp prevention sheet is at least 2 bricks above your paving. If not I recommend speaking to waterproofing companies to check if the water could cause damp.

Monday, 20 May 2013

UK Self Hypnosis website actually works

Now I am as sceptical as anyone when it comes to thinks like hypnosis. Self hypnosis sounded even more unrealistic than seeing a real life hypnotherapist. But I’ve been getting overweight over the past few years and my efforts to diet and exercise haven’t brought lasting results. After a friend saying it had helped him I decided to give it a shot. For just £15 I thought what the hell.

After checking out reviews online I chose the most legit looking site (Self Hypnosis UK) and ordered their virtual gastric band download. The hypnotherapist has a slight northern accent and was female which were pluses. The download was quick and came with instructions. I was soon lay on my back with my eyes closed.

It is quite a nice experience and very relaxing. You just follow the voice of the hypnotherapist as she gets you to relax. Then the surgical part of adding the gastric band (lol). To be honest I haven’t really noticed much of a difference yet but I do feel that it could help. I have noticed a few times that I have been eating smaller portions. I’m going to try a few more listens and hopefully the messages will really start to sink in.

My thinking is that even if I cut down on my eating a small amount then it is well worth it. So far I’m not sure if it has just been a temporary placebo effect so we’ll have to see. I did keep an open mind and have tried to be mindful of the messages on the recording. I’m hoping that it will have long term results. I’ll post again in a couple of months or so to let you know how I’m getting on.

Hypnosis is being regarded as a new method in treating certain diseases and ailments.  Having the knowledge and understanding of this practice is critical, so that the decision-maker is filled in and knowledgeable.  People in this position usually carry a tough educational achievement, like an online healthcare administration degree because this information is not covered in basic classes.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

The easy way to improve ski technique

Skiing is one of those activities that participants often just manage once or twice a year. That means it can be impossible to stay “slope ready” unless you live close by to an practice slope. There are a few ski simulator machines on the market but they cost large amounts of money, which means they aren’t worth buying for most people. The good news for skiers of all levels is that SkiA Designs Ltd launched a great little ski gadget last year, which is the ideal solution.

SkiA Sweetspot ski training block

The Sweetspot is a ski trainer which can be used anywhere. The blocks are attached to the bottom of your boots and designed to give you that “sweetspot” feeling you get when balancing perfectly. At just £45/$72.50 per pair this represents good value for anyone looking to learn how to ski. It is also said to be useful for experts who need to hone their technique, or those undergoing rehabilitation from a ski injury.

The Sweetspot improves balance by giving users the feeling of being on real snow. It is also able to improve other aspects of ski technique such as control, turns and posture. Some ski coaches have advised their students to use the Sweetspot to practice at home. There are instructional videos and a free ebook available on the SkiA website at Skiers in the USA can visit There are also online stores for Australia and New Zealand.