Exploring the Plotaverse with Sascha Scheider

I recently came across an article detailing a new way to present photographs in such a way that the still image came to life.  As I read the piece I was intrigued by the name of one of the co-founders of Team Plotaverse, Sascha Scheider.  Imagine my surprise, and genuine joy, to discover she is granddaughter of the late actor Roy Scheider.  Impressed with what I read I contacted Ms. Scheider, who at age 26, was recently named to the 2019 Forbes magazine Consumer Technology 30 under 30 list.

I contacted Ms. Scheider and she graciously agreed to this interview.  After a few minutes of both of us sharing stories about her grandfather, we got down to business.

Mike Smith:  What exactly IS the Plotaverse?

Sascha Scheider:  The Plotaverse is a digital sharing platform.  I started it with my partner, Christopher Plota, who is a professional fashion, advertising and celebrity photographer.  He’s been in the industry for 30 years and has always been on the cutting edge of technology.  I have a background in painting, business and the arts.  We got together and started talking about what we could do because in the industry a lot of photography is just going straight to video.  And when you become a photographer and are passionate about that, you don’t want to just shoot video.  You want to shoot photos.  They are really two completely different things.  So when we started talking I told him that I was seeing the same thing in the fine-art world.  Artists are trying to stay relevant but aren’t sure how because everyone is moving towards moving images.  How do we help them?  He has been animating still images since the early 2000’s.  He told me about his process and we started talking about it.  When we met we became inseparable.  He’s my partner, he’s my boyfriend.  (laughs)  We’re partners in every way.  So we started developing and creating things.  We started off with Plotagraph, which is our image animation technology.  We started out on desktop and now it’s on mobile – featured in the app store, it’s number one in photo/video.  We had no idea it was going to take off this big. 

While we were creating Plotagraph we also discussed creating a community.  At the time we were living in Florence, Italy, where I studied art for almost four years.  I had an apartment there so we were in Florence taking about creating a community.  So last year, on Valentine’s Day, we launched Plotaverse, which is our mutual sharing platform where you can post high quality digital art.  Plotaverse is the whole community for the entire motion-art movement.  It’s not just Plotagraph.  It’s Cinemagraph, time-lapses, motion graphics…really anything you can think of.  We’ve added Plotaeffects and Plotamorph.  This is a hub which is one big creative tool.  

MS:  What has been the response from people that have used the site?

SS:  It’s been amazing.  They see what can be done with just one photo and they realize they can do the same thing with all of their photos.  Historic photos.  New photos.  You have your photo and you can “move” any part of the image you want to.  Say you had a photo from Jaws and you want the water to move while the shark stays still.  You can do that!  And it’s almost like being on a loop…it never ends.  And it’s very easy today to take photos.  Cameras are everywhere, even in phones.  And the process is eye-catching.  We are seeing that, when used on social media, topics are getting 10 times more engagement using an app from the Plotaverse.  Paris Hilton started using it last July on Instagram and since then she’s gained  5.7 million followers.  And we see it working well with advertising.  They say a picture tells a thousand words.  It already has a story.  It has a dialogue.  It’s just not moving.  When you add some of our technology you’re still telling the same story but you’re getting your message across a lot easier.  

People today have an attention span of about six seconds.  The days of the 30-second spot are going away.  But how can you make a whole video in six seconds?  How are you going to get that message across?  That’s were the Plotaverse really comes in and saves the day.  You already have the story within the image but now it’s moving and looping those six seconds.  

MS:  Last year you held a very successful contest in conjunction with Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday.  Are you planning anything for this year?

SS:  Right now we have nothing planned but I’ll definitely keep you posted. 

MS:  What’s next for the Plotaverse?  Do you have more surprises in the works?

SS:  Absolutely.  We recently launched PlotaTV, which will be a series of interviews covering the world of motion arts.  They will be educating and helping the community understand what motion art is and how they can use it to help monetize their work.  The whole idea is giving these artist a way to bring their art to the next level.  We also have plans for more apps down the line.  

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Exploring the differences between various hemp-based CBD products

The world of cannabis is certainly complicated for a newbie, with all sorts of variations to experiment with. In this article, our focus will not just be on non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD) products, but those that are made from the hemp plant. These are legal in all 50 US states, unlike cannabis-derived CBD products which can only be purchased by the public in states that have enacted recreational legislation.

An introduction to hemp-based CBD

Hemp is a plant from the cannabis family, but it has a markedly different cannabinoid profile to the strains that we are most familiar with. Hemp contains very low concentrations of THC, but more substantial amounts of CBD – products, therefore, only have therapeutic and dietary uses, and cannot be recreationally abused. When the Farm Bill was passed in the United States in 2014, allowing the sale of hemp products with a maximum of 0.3 percent THC, the CBD market was born – and it has since grown tremendously.

Before going further, it should be noted that hemp-based CBD products are unregulated, which makes quality that much more important. The best companies seek to assure customers by having products tested by a third-party laboratory – companies who don’t do this, or claim to carry out testing themselves, should cause alarm. Moreover, products made using the supercritical CO2 extraction method are likely to be safer and of higher quality, as this process more effectively filters heavy metals and toxins from the extract. These unwanted substances build up in the hemp plant as it grows because the plant is a bio-accumulator – they are picked up more quickly than they can be excreted.

Now let’s take a closer look at the most popular hemp-based CBD products, and how they can be used beneficially.

Full-spectrum hemp-based CBD products

These tend to be the most popular hemp-based CBD products as they offer the maximum therapeutic potential possible sans THC. Research from Dr Ethan Russo and others has shown that cannabis is more effective when a full extract is used, rather than isolated cannabinoids. For instance, the psychoactive effects of THC are not as extraordinary when CBD is also taken, as the CBD reduces the strength of the bind that THC makes with the CB1 receptor.

Hemp contains an array of non-psychoactive cannabinoids, in addition to THC, and also some useful terpenes, such as pinene and linalool. Pinene has traditionally been used to treat wounds and infections, while linalool can help to counteract anxiety.

The vape industry is thriving among ex-smokers and also cannabis users, and hemp-based CBD vape oil and e-liquid is very popular. New CBD users are advised to start on the weaker potency bottles, as this helps them to become familiar with the effects, and also to establish how much is necessary to treat a certain ailment. Some conditions require small doses, others require bigger doses. Due to a lack of clinical research on CBD for most illnesses, it can be a case of trial and error.

To avoid confusion, writing a journal on each CBD dose can help with settling on a preferred dosage. Some opt for refillable cartridges, which allow for short and long vapor draws, but those who want an exact dosage could try CBD cartridges. These are designed to only release a specific quantity of CBD with each draw.

CBD-isolate products

Despite full-spectrum CBD products arguably having more therapeutic value, there remains a big market for CBD-isolate products. As the name indicates, these are made to only contain CBD, and none of the other cannabinoids and terpenes found in a full-plant hemp extract.

CBD-isolates are perfect for those who know that they only need CBD to treat their condition, or for those who have concerns about drugs tests at work, or elsewhere. It’s important to note that testers only look for THC and not CBD, but since full-spectrum products may have traces of THC, the amount in the system can accumulate if taking high doses multiple times per day. Thanks to the much-higher amount of CBD entering the body, there still won’t be any psychoactive effects, but in an unfortunate scenario, where the test has a low THC threshold, there is some scope for a failure. This can be enough to encourage users to switch to CBD-isolates to eliminate that risk entirely.

It’s no surprise that CBD concentrates are some of the best-selling CBD-isolate products, as this the fastest way to take a huge dose. Concentrates are usually dabbed but can be mixed into vape oil and even ingested – the effects will be slower but last for longer if ingested.

CBD products infused with terpenes

CBD products are sometimes tagged with a “hybrid,” “sativa” or indica” description – and these aren’t for show. These products are normally CBD-isolates, that have been enhanced with a specific array of terpenes, to encourage a certain reaction.

This can be useful in a few ways. An indica for example, will provide more sedation, which is suitable if using CBD as a sleeping agent. These relaxing terpenes have a soothing influence on the muscles and the mind, promoting rejuvenating sleep. CBD works to regulate the sleep-wake cycle, boosting the amount of deep sleep where the most significant regeneration takes place.

On the other hand, a CBD product with a sativa slant is great in the mornings, or for a mid-afternoon slump. The pick-me-up effect is akin to that of caffeine, without the headache later on. Patients with depression who take CBD for the chemical adjustments which facilitate a mood boost may be benefitted further by the energizing nature of a sativa-dominant CBD product.

Final thoughts on hemp-based CBD

Most cannabis activists rightly call for all components of the plant to be legalized, at least for medicinal use, but the rich list of benefits that can be derived from hemp-based CBD means many have to suffer no longer. If anxiety is holding you back from enjoying your best life, then vaping CBD to release calming GABA neurotransmitters into the brain will break the shackles. If chronic pain is proving troublesome, then vaporizing or applying CBD cream to the most painful spots will deliver much-needed relief.

And researchers have barely scratched the surface. Just recently, a study from the University of British Columbia found that there may be more cannabinoids in cannabis, and therefore hemp, than we originally thought, after discovering 21 compounds that were yet to be identified. This throws up a new set of interactions and possibly new cannabis-based products in the future. It also suggests that the effects of cannabis on the body are even more complex.

Book Review “Exploring the Deep: The Titanic Expeditions”

Author: James Cameron with Don Lynch, Ken Marschall, and Parks Stephenson
Hardcover: 252 pages
Publisher: Insight Editions
Release Date: June 4, 2013

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Who isn’t completely obsessed with events of the Titanic. James Cameron really did a number on us not only with delivers us his 1997 mega hit but also continuing to make this topic relevant. This expeditions are unlike any other of the sunken ship and the mysteries surrounding it. “Exploring the Deep: The Titanic Expeditions” is a great companion to his work over the years, it gives us a detailed look into his expeditions and more than thirty dives that he and his team has made with special robotic vehicles. We get to explore the interiors and exteriors of the Titanic wreck and get a great inside perspective our the teams voyages.

Director James Cameron, since directing “Titanic” has become the go-to person for anything relating to the sinking of that ship. This deluxe coffee-table book, coming just after the hundred anniversary gets to tell the complete story of his work with exploring the wreckage and also diving into many new technological advances to assist in capturing more information. There are tons of previously unpublished images and revelations about the wreck. The book itself is a powerhouse. Insight Editions really strives to deliver quality releases and they have most definitely succeeded here. My only main issue is the size of some of the images used. Since we are talking underwater images of a hundred old wreck, the quality is not perfect. But then again, I understand that but maybe I wouldn’t have blown the image up to a full page then. That was my only main issue, otherwise the content and visual feel is fantastic.

Even though James Cameron is the man, we can’t forget his team. This book contains contributions from three of the world’s foremost Titanic experts, Don Lynch, Ken Marschall, and Parks Stephenson. It really feels like a team effort also. If you still want more there is also Cameron’s exclusive dive journal and previously unpublished images include dive maps and personal photographs. That also adds a sort of human and emotional feel to the book, which is why I also feel that should recommend it. Overall, the book is very informative and impressive, any history buff or Titanic buff should want to jump all over this book.