In today's episode, images from inside North Korea, a photographer is murdered while filming in Africa and a new scouting app from Fuzzy Door Tech.

You can find the show notes here.

Show Notes

Greetings everybody you’re listening to the Liam Photography Podcast, I’m your host Liam Douglas and this is Episode 404 for Thursday May 23, 2024. In today’s episode, Images from inside the hermit kingdom of North Korea, a documentary photographer is murdered while filming and a new Scouting App for the iPhone.

North Korea

At the end of each day, North Korean officials would review all of the photographs taken by Tariq Zaidi — deleting the ones they didn’t approve of. But then Zaidi was lucky to be capturing any images at all from inside the hermit state.

Only 5,000 non-Chinese tourists are estimated to visit North Korea each year and the Covid-19 pandemic saw the socialist state pull up the drawbridge entirely. However, Zaidi was fortunate to have visited twice before Covid and tells PetaPixel he wanted to “explore the ordinary in this extraordinary state.”

However, what he explored and got to see of North Korea was only what his two guides — who were with him at all times — permitted him to document,

“The guides frequently requested to view my images, leading to the immediate deletion of those they deemed unacceptable,” London-based Zaidi explains.

“They evaluated the photos taken and advised which ones should be discarded, emphasising the importance of retaining high-quality images. Their insistence on achieving ‘good photos’ amused me, prompting me to pledge improvement in my photography.”

The North Korean officials barred Zaidi from taking images relating to the military which he says is consistent with global norms.

“They also discouraged photographing individuals alone but allowed group shots,” he adds.

“Many images were taken in motion, capturing street scenes from moving vehicles. Conversely, authorised locations like the Science Centre and official monuments were photographed with guide accompaniment.

“Notably, the guides consistently reviewed my images and requested specific deletions. When asked about deleting non-military content, they stressed a dedication to excellence: ‘We only want you to take the best pictures possible – please try to take only good pictures.’ This response brought a smile to my face.”

Upon arriving in North Korea, Zaidi had his equipment examined and documented before entering the hermit country. Afterward, he traveled all across North Korea visiting Dandong on the Chinese border down to the Demilitarized Zone in the south.

The photographer says that people were welcoming and hospitable, although he drew mixed reactions when raising his camera.

“Children were generally OK with me taking pictures, and adults allowed me to take photos after a few minutes of politely asking, although it did depend on where we were,” he says.

“In the metro, for instance, when I pointed my camera at people, they all shyly put their heads down to avoid being photographed. I’m unsure if that was due to cultural differences, shyness, or the lack of camera culture. Like anywhere else in the world, I photographed those willing to be photographed and respected those who were not.”

Zaidi first visited North Korea in 2017 when he planned to attend and photograph a beer festival until it was indefinitely postponed. But he embraced his structured visit capturing as much everyday life in North Korea which he has now published into a book titled: North Korea: The People’s Paradise.

“I endeavored to document what I witnessed, was shown, heard, and felt to the best of my abilities throughout my time in North Korea,” he says.

“My goal is to provide readers with a comprehensive and immersive experience, given the limitations of operating in North Korea. Forming one’s perspectives now falls upon those who engage with my work.”

More of Zaidi’s work on Instagram, Facebook, and his website.

Photographer Murdered

A travel photographer was murdered this week while filming a documentary about the Mursi tribe in Ethiopia.

Travel photographer Toni Espadas was killed on Monday following a “complex incident” while filming the Mursi tribe in Ethiopia for well-known documentary series Partners of the World (Socios por el Mundo) for Chilean television station Canal 13.

According to Spanish newspaper Sur, two individuals opened fire on the documentary crew who worked for the MkZeta production company, including the 54-year-old photographer as they returned from filming the Mursi tribe.

While the other members of the filming crew were unharmed, Espadas — who is based in Barcelona in Catalonia, Spain — was shot dead during the attack.

According to reports, the attackers are not believed to have been members of the Mursi tribe.

Sur reports that the Chilean foreign ministry and Canal 13 “Are taking all the steps so that they [the documentary crew] can leave the country as soon as possible, return to Chile, and provide them with all the assistance they need.”

Spanish and Catalan authorities are working together with Ethiopian officials to uncover the cause of Espadas’ death.

“As Canal 13, we deeply regret the death of Toni, and from a distance, we send his family all our support,” a spokesperson for the television station says in a statement.

The Catalan foreign minister Meritzell Serret says that the government would “move forward with the appropriate arrangements,” including providing “psychological support” for the photographer’s family.

Espadas, who worked as a travel photographer and tour guide, was known as an expert on Africa — a continent he had been visiting for over two decades.

According to his website, he opened his first travel agency in Ethiopia in 2010, which he later expanded to countries such as Uganda, Tanzania, Gabon, Eritrea, Benin, Angola, and South Sudan.

“For some years now, I have been advising journalists and production companies, working as a fixer for the production of reports, documentaries, and television shows focusing on the study of African peoples and cultures,” Espadas wrote on his website.


Scouting App for iPhone

Fuzzy Door Tech, the technology division of Seth MacFarlane’s production company, announced the ViewScreen Scout beta, an app for real-time scouting for the iPhone.

ViewScreen Scout can take digital assets and show how they would look on location or a soundstage well before shooting begins, allowing teams to pre-visualize scenes, virtually walk through sets, block movement, see lighting, and more. The idea is that with the ability to visualize and animate assets and VFX in proposed situations, teams can see what needs to be captured (and how) better, allowing them to get the final shot in fewer takes.

“ViewScreen Scout is an innovative scouting tool that puts the power of production visualization into people’s hands to help them achieve their creative vision. The app runs on an iPhone and is easy to use wherever your project takes you – on location or a small space that might be hard to navigate with bulky gear,” Faith Sedlin, president of Fuzzy Door Tech, says.

“Our new Beta app lets the entire production crew envision how digital assets will blend into real-world environments before the cameras start rolling,” Sedlin continued. “It lets filmmakers scout a project using their own assets to get a feel for how the suite of tools works.”

Fuzzy Door Tech says that the app works by scanning an environment and analyzing the space which allows users to then place and animate digital objects within it “in real-time and at real-world scale.” 3D assets can be downloaded into the app from Box or through the Files app to help scouts determine if a location works and the best angles in which to capture a proposed scene. It also allows them to create new blocking and animations in the field.

The app is broken into two offerings: ViewScreen Scout and ViewScreen Scout Pro. The former is meant for individual users while the latter includes shared AR rooms where the entire crew can collaborate and also has more advanced features including live markerless motion capture and motion capture suit integration, and the ability to export all VFX data. ViewScreen Scout and ViewScreen Scout Pro run on iOS devices including any iPhone 13 Pro/Pro Max and higher or any iPad Pro M1 and higher.

ViewScreen Scout is free during the Beta for users in North America (US and Canada), Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea and access can be requested via

ViewScreen Scout Pro integrates with ViewScreen Studio and is available for use on film and TV productions in North America (US and Canada). Pricing varies based on the requirements and complexity of the production.

Personal News

Well as I promised in last week’s episode, Tina and I are back home again, but we also bought caught bronchitis and an inner ear infection while up north. Most likely we got sick from a bug that one of the grandkids brought home from school as that is fairly common in elementary schools and of course the kids are usually lucky enough to only be carriers.

My truck did not get completed, the shop doing the body work and paint job told me it would only take them 3-4 weeks for the entire project and it’s been 7 weeks now and the truck is still not done. I finally had to resort to renting a car from Enterprise to get us home this past weekend as I had a doctor’s appointment with my Pain Doctor that I could not afford to miss and specialists are hard to re-schedule with as well.

I have also run into a snag with the motorcycle I bought from my son’s friend Derek and have been unable to title it in North Carolina. The bike was Derek’s dad’s bike and he has since passed and since Derek didn’t re-title the bike in his own name, NC is making me jump through a bunch of hoops to try and title it down here.

First they wanted a copy of the death certificate and will, which Derek provided and when I went back the second time they told me I also need a court order officially naming Derek the Executor of his father’s will. With my luck if Derek is able to get that they will jerk me around with more bologna.

As far as the show is concerned, the Zoom PodTrak P4 worked perfectly as a travel podcasting solution and I am very happy with the quality of audio I got from it while we were up north I did not have any issues at all using that much smaller, more compact system to record the show while we were gone. 

I love my original R0DECaster Pro audio system even if it is overkill for a one man show like this one but this week I am using my new R0DECaster DUO system which will replace the R0DECaster Pro as my main podcast station. I am listing my R0DECaster Pro on eBay to see if it sells, if not I will keep it and use it as the audio system in my studio shed once that is completed, I can always use it as the main audio system for my Youtube videos out there.

Our son, daughter-in-law and the three grandkids will be coming down the first week of June. Our son Alex is hoping to buy a nice 6 acre property down here that has a double wide on it as either a property for themselves if they decide to move down here and if not Alex said he will rent it to his older sister Heather so she and her boys can move down here closer to us! With 6 acres he could also at some point put a second double wide on it and he and his sister can be neighbors if they both decide to move down here.

And finally, now that we are back home and the annual season has started once more, I will be attending the Roxboro Cars & Coffee car shows once more so if you are in the area and want to stop by and say hello, that would be awesome! The next Cars and Coffee for this years is Saturday June 8th, 2024 so come on out see all the awesome cars and have some coffee!

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