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Hollywood pros are starting to use smartphones to record music and film

3 min read
Patrick Gilles with his camera.
Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg/ Getty Images

Patrick Gilles with his camera.Phone Upgrade: Olive, a full-length movie, was shot by Patrick Gilles (pictured) and Hooman Khalili using a Nokia smartphone fitted with professional film lenses.Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg/ Getty Images

When Los Angeles songwriter Chris Price got his first iPhone last year, he filmed himself playing a couple of songs. “I was so struck by the quality of the sound, I ended up doing the whole record that way,” he says.

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From WinZips to Cat GIFs, Jacob Ziv’s Algorithms Have Powered Decades of Compression

The lossless-compression pioneer received the 2021 IEEE Medal of Honor

11 min read
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Photo of Jacob Ziv
Photo: Rami Shlush
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Lossless data compression seems a bit like a magic trick. Its cousin, lossy compression, is easier to comprehend. Lossy algorithms are used to get music into the popular MP3 format and turn a digital image into a standard JPEG file. They do this by selectively removing bits, taking what scientists know about the way we see and hear to determine which bits we'd least miss. But no one can make the case that the resulting file is a perfect replica of the original.

Not so with lossless data compression. Bits do disappear, making the data file dramatically smaller and thus easier to store and transmit. The important difference is that the bits reappear on command. It's as if the bits are rabbits in a magician's act, disappearing and then reappearing from inside a hat at the wave of a wand.

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