Features

8 tricks to take better smartphone portraits

Using the OPPO Reno8 5G and OPPO Reno8 Z 5G

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Smartphones — no matter the price range — drastically improved in the last couple of years in terms of camera prowess.

One of the midrange powerhouses, the OPPO Reno8 Series 5G, houses an insane set of cameras. With an exceptional, accessible tool in your hands, how can you maximize it?

Fret not, here are tricks that help you take better smartphone portraits using your OPPO Reno8 5G and OPPO Reno8 Z 5G.

Practice the rule of thirds

One of my favorite compositions when taking portraits is the rule of thirds. With an amazing set of cameras, you’ll be certain to take vivid and sharp portraits especially if you follow this rule.

In case you didn’t know, the rule of thirds is a composition guideline. Using a grid, which you can activate on your OPPO Reno 8 5G or Reno 8 Z 5G camera’s settings, you can place your subject either on the left or right third of an image.

Commonly, people will put their subjects in the middle but practicing the rule of thirds gives off a pleasing, compelling shot. In a way, it gives emotional depth.

In photo: Screenshot of OPPO Reno 8 5G’s camera interface

To activate the grid, simply click the Settings icon. Under the “General” tab, you can find “Grid and Guides” where you can choose Grid, along with two other options: Diagonal Lines, and Golden Spiral.

Direct your subject

Even if you have a good set of cameras at your disposal, you won’t be able to take excellent portraits if you, as a photographer, don’t know how to communicate well with your subject.

Taking someone’s portrait also entails directing what they’re going to do and/or pose. Are they going to look up? Which angle looks better on them? Do they feel comfortable in front of the camera?

Establishing a connection helps relieve the anxiety of having your portrait taken. A good photographer knows how to calm the nerves of their subjects.

Don’t forget to assure them that their photos will come out beautifully. The OPPO Reno 8 5G, for instance, has a dual sensor  — Sony IMX766 and IMX709 — that works together for a crisp and vibrant image. It can deliver an ultra-clear 108-megapixel image, together with the OPPO Reno 8 Z 5G.

Take multiple shots, use different modes

Whatever you do, don’t take just one or two shots. Take multiple images, even if you reach 50 photographs of the same pose. Chances are there will be candid changes that happen in between taking those shots.

Maybe the smile is better, or the lighting changed because of a slight movement and that teeny bit made the subject look more gorgeous. You’ll never know what’s going to surprise you, and that’s the beauty of portrait photography.

If you already know this trick, then it’s also a good time to test your smartphone camera’s unique features. In this scenario, activating Ultra Night Portrait can do wonders in a place that isn’t really well-lit, but full of colors.

The feature helps make the photos punch with colors to make them look vibrant, while still looking crisp and less noisy.

Take note of where the light is coming from

Knowing where the light comes from is a skill that takes a while to master. Lighting is one of the foundations of portrait photography since it illuminates a person’s features and helps the photographer achieve their vision.

For beginners, natural light will always be your best friend. Go somewhere with a shade and notice where light comes in. That’s your cue.

In places with plenty of artificial lights, take your time to experiment. Sometimes, a backlit shot can do wonders if done correctly. However, this can only be done appropriately if your smartphone camera has a large sensor to take all the light in.

For instance, the OPPO Reno8 5G has a dual Sony sensor for both its front and rear cameras that come with wider and bigger sensors. On its rear, it uses a 50-megapixel Sony IMX766 sensor with a 1/1.56″ sensor size and a wide f/1.8 aperture. Meanwhile, its front houses a 32-megapixel Sony IMX709 sensor. Portraits or selfies, it’s guaranteed to be clear

Find different perspectives

You don’t always have to take photographs at eye level. Sometimes, you have to look around and see things from a different perspective. You can do a top shot, an angled one, or even a worm’s eye view to tell a story.

Don’t use in-app cameras

In-app cameras don’t fully utilize your built-in camera’s prowess. Resolutions are also dampened when you use cameras within an app such as Snow, Snapchat, or Instagram.

The Reno 8 Z 5G can produce an exceptionally high-definition photo with an Ultra-Clear 108-megapixel image. It also has a 64-megapixel AI Portrait Camera and a 16-megapixel Selfie Camera.

The same goes with the Reno 8 5G with its Sony IMX766 and IMX709 sensors that assure you of having detailed, quality photos.

OPPO Reno8 Z

The best course of action is to take a photo using your smartphone’s camera and learn how to post-process the photos on legitimate editing apps such as Adobe Lightroom, VSCO, and Snapseed. It’s guaranteed that using such apps won’t lower the resolution of your favorite portraits.

There’s also a set of presets built inside your cameras. Just go to your Gallery, select the photos you want to edit, and choose from a selection of filters.

Use the right settings when using Portrait Mode

What we don’t like about a smartphone’s portrait mode is having a solid bokeh that makes the subject look like a cutout from a magazine pasted somewhere.

Portrait mode, when done right, produces a shot that has depth and story. To make sure your vision is well-executed, adjust the settings to adjust the depth of field, and always frame your shot with a foreground or a background to help create meaning in your portraits.

OPPO Reno8 Z

Portrait mode, when done right, produces a shot that has depth and story. To make sure your vision is well-executed, adjust the settings to adjust the depth of field, and always frame your shot with a foreground or a background to help create meaning in your portraits.

On that note, the OPPO Reno8 Series 5G can produce soft, bokeh effects akin to captures from a wide-aperture mirrorless camera. If you have a whimsical background, take advantage of the setting to let your subject stand out.

For the Reno 8 Z 5G, you can ensure that your portraits will come out fresh and fabulous. With AI Portrait Retouching available on its rear and front cameras, the feature uses an AI blemish removal algorithm that removes blemishes, pimples, acne scars, and sun spots. It accurately identifies visible flaws without removing your beauty spots like moles.

Depending on the situation, the feature can enhance the skin tone and makeup without any artificial brightening. It just looks natural!

Keep yourself steady

Regardless of your shooting modes, you need to keep yourself steady. One way to do this is to try to hold your breath when taking a photo, especially if you don’t have a tripod. This keeps your phone steady, ensuring that the photo produced is sharp and crisp.

OPPO Reno8 Z

Bonus: Clean your lens

Professional and seasoned photographers know when a photograph was taken with a dirty lens. Don’t be that person. Make sure you wipe the lens of your phone with soft fabrics to steer clear of specks of dust and smudges.

The OPPO Reno8 5G retails for PhP 27,999 while the OPPO Reno8 Z 5G is priced at PhP 19,999. Order your OPPO Reno8 5G now at OPPO Brand Stores, partner dealers, and e-commerce sites.

Follow OPPO Philippines’ website and social media pages for more information:


This feature was produced in collaboration between GadgetMatch and OPPO Philippines.

Deals

5 realme travel essentials for holiday vacation

Upgrade your holiday trips

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For some, Christmas season isn’t only about gift-giving or bonding with friends and family; it’s also about going on holiday trips as they make the most out of the long break.

That’s where these five realme gadgets come in handy, giving your vacation trip a colorful upgrade.

realme 10

realme 10

The brand’s recently-launched flagship comes equipped with a Helio G99 processor, has a 6.4-inch 90Hz super AMOLED display, and a 5,000mAh battery with support for 33W SUPERVOOC charge.

The device runs on Android 12 and realme UI 3.0, and has 8GB RAM and up to 256GB storage.

Capturing memories is a breeze too, with its 50MP main camera and 16MP selfie camera.

Available in Clash White and Rush Black, the realme 10 retails for:

  • PhP 12,999 for the 8GB+128GB
  • PhP 14,999 for the 8GB+256GB

realme Buds T100

realme Buds T100

 

Music is a must for long road trips, so one should complement the listening experience with a fitting pair of wireless earbuds.

The realme Buds T100 feature 10mm dynamic bass driver, 88ms super low latency, and a total playback time of up to 28 hours.

The accessory has AI Environmental Noise Cancellation (ENC). It is rated IPX5 for water resistance.

realme C33

Whether looking for another reliable smartphone or just a spare phone, the realme C33 should do the trick.

It has a 6.5-inch HD+ LCD display, 5,000mAh battery to keep you company for long hours, and a 50MP camera.

It’s priced at only PhP 7,499 so now is the perfect time to get your hands on this budget device.

realme Pad X

For those traveling with kids or simply want to avoid boredom, the realme Pad X (6GB+128GB) can definitely keep you entertained.

Powered by up to a Snapdragon 695 5G processor and coming with a 10.95-inch 2K FullView display and Dolby Atmos quad speakers, the tablet provides an immersive viewing experience on the go.

The Pad X comes with a stylish 7.1mm Ultra Slim design. It is available in the Glacier Blue and Glowing Grey colorways.

The base price is just PhP 15,999 or if you want to opt for the 5G variant, the cost is PhP 24,999.

realme Watch 3

Lastly, the realme Watch 3 will help one burn those Noche Buena and Media Noche calories with ease.

The wearable boasts clear Bluetooth calling, all-day health monitoring, and over 110 sports modes. These can be accessed through its 1.8-inch bright display.

The realme Watch 3 retails for only PhP 3,499, one of the best fitness companions for this price point.

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Hands-On

Make moments tangible with Instax Square Link

Time to print those core memories!

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instax square link

Life looks pretty in squares — that’s how Instagram shaped our favorite moments in the past decade.

With every core memory uploaded in our social media feed for the world to see, there’s still something poignant about keeping a hard copy of your favorite moments. It feels nostalgic to be reminded of the good things in your life.

That’s what the Instax Square Link delivers. The newest instant printer comes in square, as compared to its previous siblings in the instax link lineup.

The sweet spot

The previous instant printers come in the usual mini film prints, and a wide, rectangular one. Having a square format provides a sweet spot for instant prints since it’s neither too big nor small.

Even the design of the device itself looks almost square, albeit taller. It sports the usual big button in its center that powers up the device, while there’s a smaller circle on its top-left part for linking the device to your smartphone.

It’s still as straightforward as it gets, whether you’re already familiar with previous instax printers or not. You simply click the big button until it lights up, link it to your smartphone and confirm the serial number found on the bottom side of the device, and do all the magic inside the app — which you can download via App Store or Play Store.

instax square link

New device, new features

The instax Square Link carries all the good things from the previous instax printers through its dedicated app.

You can still make personalized stickers, continuously print your best moments with just a press of a button, and collage and edit your photos in frames. They’re pretty much the same features you can find on the instax Link WIDE and instax mini Link 2.

instax square link

However, instax introduced new features that make printing more exciting. Now, instax takes AR to a new level by allowing users to print with personalized AR effects, accessible using a QR code.

It also included a feature where you can chat with a friend or loved one and have the conversation printed as text bubbles to add a more personal touch for those who are in long-distance relationships.

Printing your favorite moments

instax square link

While the new features are a much-welcome addition, I still stick to what Instax is good about. At its core, it’s still printing your favorite moments and of course, sharing them with the people you love.

Back then, I would print my photos and keep them to myself — inside photobooks and boxes that would never see the light of day unless I’m feeling nostalgic.

Being surrounded by new people encouraged me to be more giving, rather than just being selfish with my memories. And instead of constantly seeking validation and sharing my favorite moments with the world, I now love the idea of being intimate and sharing my core memories with only a handful of people.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

instax square link

The Instax Square Link is still an instant printer like its siblings. If square formats are your thing, this is easily your GadgetMatch. For wide, rectangular prints, there’s the instax Link WIDE.

And if the original, mini-sized film prints are what you’re after, you can never go wrong with the instax mini Link 2. Whatever formats you want, there’s an instax for you.

The instax Square Link comes in Ash White and Midnight Green. It’s available in all authorized Fujifilm instax dealers nationwide and Fujifilm’s online flagship stores.

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Entertainment

IN PHOTOS: Dubbing with Netflix, HIT Productions

Plus a quick glimpse of the Netflix PH office

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Netflix HIT

Have you ever been curious about how the whole dubbing process works? Netflix, along with HIT Productions, was kind enough to give us a quick tour showing how our favorite Netflix shows are dubbed in Filipino. 

HIT Productions prides itself as “The Philippines’ top audio post production house and recording studio for advertising.” And they have the clientele to back up the claim. Other than Netflix, they’ve also worked with plenty of notable brands. These include but are not limited to Jollibee, Mitsubishi, Coca Cola, and many more. 

They’ve partnered with Netflix on many shows and movies. For this particular tour, they showed us how they dubbed Season 4 of Stranger Things.

Different rooms for the talents and director

Dubbing Director Cheska Aguiluz

Heading in, I was fully expecting a Sound Booth like setup – you know, the ones we normally see in TV shows and movies. HIT has a different setup. They have the director in one room and the voice talents in another. The rooms are situated right across each other with sound engineers manning both rooms. 

The communication between the director and talents still happens real time, and they see each other through an iPad.

Each room has a monitor that displays the scene that’s being dubbed. The talents’ audio goes straight into a computer that’s in the same room as the director. 

Netflix HIT

Multiple talents will be in the same room at one time. This depends entirely on the scene that needs to be dubbed. They take turns dubbing with sound engineers adjusting the height of the mic each time to make sure it’s optimized for each talent. 

Although, they did mention this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, there will be scheduling challenges, but they’re able to work through it.

Netflix HIT

The actual dubbing back and forth is fascinating. They go through each line meticulously, making sure the cadence, the breaths, the tone, and the emotion matches that of the original actors. 

Recording a single episode will take days. And that’s just the recording. The next part is just as tedious.

Painstaking editing

Netflix HIT

The level of precision applied in the voice acting and directing extends to the cutting floor when the recordings go through post production. 

Here, sound engineers go through each scene, switching between the original scene and the dubbed recordings to make sure they match. This includes how loud or soft the voice is as well as adding effects to mimic the room environment sound of each sound. 

What makes the whole process tricky is a lot of it is guess work. I asked if they are given a cheat sheet of the effects used by the original production. They said that rarely happens. That means they rely both on their sharp ears and years of experience to make sure everything matches.

After post production, an entire episode goes through a quality check. If anything sounds off, it’s back to post processing again. 

HIT says in a month, they’re able to finish roughly around three to four episodes. Of course, that depends also on the length of the episode. Stranger Things Season 4, for instance, typically lasts over an hour. With some episodes even running as long as feature length films.

Trying out dubbing

Netflix HIT

Head of Localization Rudolf Baldonado

After a look at the voice acting and post production process, HIT took us to a room where some members of the media got to try dubbing. Here, Head of Localization Rudolf Baldonado, led the way. 

Baldonado explained that the most important part of the whole process is the script. Localization, as you may have surmised, is no easy task. There are so many things to consider: What words to use to match the movement of the lips, the general direction for each line, and making sure all the lines make sense when delivered together.

A couple of voice talents showed us the ropes first, recording a scene from the Don’t Look Up film. Baldonado, who also helmed localization for Trese, noted that mimicking the original actor’s voice is less important than delivering the right tone and emotion for the line and the scene. 

Netflix HIT

During the recording, he also noted that dubbing is more about voice acting than actual voice quality. How well you convey the right emotion is more important than whether or not you sound pleasant or not. 

Sit down with the voice talents

Netflix HIT

To wrap up the tour of the HIT Productions office, we sat down with the voice talents and the rest of the team that worked on the Stranger Things Season 4 dub. Here’s everyone who joined us: 

  • Christian Velarde (MIKE)
  • Albert Silos (WILL)
  • Steve Bontogon (DUSTIN)
  • JM Canlas (LUCAS)
  • Steffi Bontogon (MAX)
  • JM Torres (VECNA)
  • Nelieza Magauay (ROBIN)
  • Ericka Peralejo (SUZIE)
  • Cheska Aguiluze (Dubbing Director)
  • Rudolf Baldonado (Head of Localization)

Many of them shared their experiences and lessons learned while working as voice actors. 

A lot of the echo the same thing that Baldonado mentioned earlier. That the ability to understand the character’s emotion and act it out through your voice is the most important skill in the craft.

Netflix HIT

What stood out to me the most though, is how each of them seemed like colorful characters on their own. And they deserve just as much recognition as TV and movie actors. 

Quick Netflix PH HQ Tour

After the session at HIT Productions, we were taken to the headquarters of Netflix Philippines. Some interesting things to note: 

  • The meeting rooms are named after Netflix’s shows and films
  • There are areas designated for quiet time 
  • The place is spacious with many areas for quick, breakout meeting sessions
  • It’s filled with books and other ornaments that have to do with Netflix shows
  • Free-flowing drinks! 
  • This writer would like to spend a work day or two in the area (Thanks in advance, Netflix!) 

Here’s a photo dump:

Netflix

Netflix

Photo c/o Netflix

Netflix

Squid Game meeting room | Photo c/o Netflix

Photo c/o Netflix

Photo c/o Netflix

Beverages | Photo c/o Netflix

Pantry | Photo c/o Netflix

Netflix

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