Red, Green, Pink, Yellow and Blue Cameras

Posted August 13, 2010 by cameraaddict
Categories: Design, Photography, Technology

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I was talking recently about the differences in shopping habits between men and women and how these differences affect camera design and esthetics.  Most men usually like black or silver cameras, beefy, two-handed creative tools (or so I have observed), while many women look for small, pocket cameras that are easy to carry, easy to use, and produce good quality images.  It doesn’t hurt if the camera comes in a cool designer color, too.

Let’s see….heavy, bulky, black camera vs small, light, designer color camera….Maybe I need a small, red camera.   Above are a few of the new breed of colorful cameras.

What do you think about this?

Video Book Trailers

Posted June 25, 2010 by cameraaddict
Categories: Video

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My background in video and film has lead me back into creating productions, including  video book trailers for noted author Diane Chamberlain.  One video trailer, “Secrets She Left Behind“,  was featured on the writer’s social media site Red Room last year, while the most recent, “The Lies We Told”, shown at the top of this post, was recently featured on the UK media site, NME.

They’re a lot of fun to do, especially coming up with an approach to interest viewers in the book without giving away too much of the story, all in less than  two minutes!

Convergence of Video and Still, Part 2

Posted June 24, 2010 by cameraaddict
Categories: DSLR Video, Tools and Techniques

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Canon 5D MK II being used on the set of "House". Photo Courtesy Greg Yaitaines and Philip Bloom.

OK, last time I talked about my experience using a Canon 5D MK II DSLR on location to shoot both stills and video.  The 5D is an amazing tool, shooting both high-definition video at a number of different resolution and frame rates and huge, beautiful 21 megapixel still images, switching between the modes almost seamlessly.

Since the introduction a few years ago of professional video/still DSLRs, a community of filmmakers and bloggers  has sprung up, using these cameras to create amazing work.

One of my favorites is Philip Bloom, a UK-based filmmaker who makes films using DSLRs, primarily Canons.

Another is Shane Hurlburt, ASC, cinematographer on this fabulous short, “The Last Three Minutes,” shot entirely on a Canon 5D MK II.   Almost as entertaining is his story of the making of this film.

Equipment manufacturers such as Zacuto are also turning out all kinds of specialized equipment for DSLRs, and adapters to use the cameras with more traditional film and video equipment.

And, recently the Canon 5D was used to shoot an episode of the Fox medical drama, “House“. Pretty impressive for a camera that sells for about $2,500.  The picture above was taken on the set of this episode, and is used courtesy of  Greg Yaitainis and Philip Bloom.

The Convergence of Video and Photography

Posted June 17, 2010 by cameraaddict
Categories: change, Photography, Technology, Tools and Techniques, Video

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Marines conducting field medical drills at Camp LeJeune, NC.

I’m very excited about how motion media and still images – video and photography – are converging in the latest generation of hybrid cameras that shoot video footage as well as do traditional still photography.  Cameras such as the Canon 5D Mk II, the Canon 7D and the Nikon D300S break down the boundary between video and stills and provide truly amazing capabilities at a reasonable price.

Last week, I shot my first video/still assignment using a Canon 5D MK II DSLR, and it was wild. Non-stop, run-and-gun video at Camp LeJeune of Marine medical drills staged in an open field under blazing sun, running in and out of medical tents following  stretchers that were carrying make-believe patients. The 5D performed like a champ, delivering beautiful, well-exposed hi-def video in conditions ranging from bright sun to near darkness. A great feature of the 5D is that you can take a still photograph while it is recording video, and return automatically to recording video. Very cool!

The new equipment does, however, upset the established division of labor for both video shoots and still shoots. Before hybrid cameras, you needed a still camera to capture stills and a video camera to capture video. On location, this usually meant a video crew of at least two or three people: camera operator, sound recordist, and producer/director; and a still photographer. Now, agencies are trying to squeeze this down to one person with a hybrid DSLR tasked with both jobs.

Shooting both stills and video with a DSLR can be challenging for one person to do, especially in a fluid, fast moving  environment where that person has no control over events.  When to shoot video? When to shoot stills?  Shooting stills with a Canon 5D while it is shooting video is easy, but it interrupts video recording for about one second.  Will that second contain important action?

As well, the on-board microphone is really only good for recording a background sound track;  it also picks up all of the camera handling noise.  A remote microphone is needed for a good sound track, either a wireless or a directional mic that mounts in the camera’s hot shoe. Now, that one lone photographer/videographer has a lot of balls to keep in the air!

Nevertheless, I’m convinced that this is the future of video/photography, and photographers and videographers will need to learn each other’s  job and become good at using the this new equipment.

Times Square 25 Years Later

Posted May 26, 2010 by cameraaddict
Categories: Night Photography, People Photography, Photography

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I’ve done a lot of work in New York City over the years, including a wondeful  project  documenting the construction of a giant hotel in Times Square. For more than a year, my crew and I filmed the progress every month, as the building climbed more than 40 stories into the sky.

I rarely went back to the area after that project ended, until last night. Wow! Has it ever changed!  A few years ago, NYC closed off some of the traffic lanes on Broadway, from 42nd Street to 47th Street, and converted them into a huge pedestrian plaza, complete with tables, chairs, and a terraced seating area that was filled with people from all over the world, enjoying the light show.

The place is cleaned up, bright with neon and giant TV screens, and is a blast to visit.  I wandered around for a couple of hours with my Canon G10 camera and a monopod, making pictures and just trying to take it all in.

I’m going back tonight!

Do You Color Outside The Lines?

Posted November 7, 2009 by cameraaddict
Categories: Digital Printing, Photography, Photography workshops, Tools and Techniques

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New York skyline, approaching storm.

Profiles.  They can be good or bad, your left side or right side, or what you write about yourself on Facebook.  But in digital printing,   profiles are part of the the glue that connects the colors your digital camera captures to the colors in your digital print.

A printer profile is a bit of software, called an ICC file,  that describes  how a particular combination of printer, inkset, and printing paper reproduce colors at a specific printing  resolution. For example,  the ICC profile SP7898 PLPP260 PK 2880.icc describes how an Epson 7800 printer using the K3 inkset with Photo Black ink printing on Epson Premium Lustre 260 paper at a printing resolution of 2880 dpi reproduces color.

Profiles are useful because they let Adobe Photoshop  accurately  preview what your image will look like when it’s printed, and  to control your digital printer’s output so it matches that preview. (or, at least, as close as ink on paper can look to pixels on a monitor).

Once the appropriate profiles are installed, Photoshop  uses them in the View>Proof Setup command on the top menu to preview images,  and in the Print dialogue to control your printer. Voila, an accurate print.

Or maybe not.

Along with ICC profiles, colorspace helps to determine what colors your camera records, that Photoshop displays and  your print or digital file reproduce. A device colorspace defines the range of colors, or gamut, that a device, such as a camera or printer, can reproduce. An editing colorspace is device-independent, but determines the color range you can work in with, for, example, Adobe Photoshop software.

The main colorspaces photographers work in are Adobe RGB (1998), the traditional editing space for, naturally, Adobe Photoshop;  sRGB,  which is primarily used for  images posted on the web; and, more recently ProPhoto.

sRGB  has a smaller gamut than Adobe 1998, which has a smaller gamut than ProPhoto. Why is this important?  Because to know how the beautiful colors in your digital image will look in a print, your devices need to be using the same colorspace, your monitor needs to be calibrated accurately to the same colorspace, and your editing software needs to display the same color space.

See what I meant by insanity?  BTW, for you people working with Adobe Lightroom, it uses the ProPhoto color space.

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My, What A Beautiful Profile You Have!

Posted October 16, 2009 by cameraaddict
Categories: Photography, Photography workshops, Tools and Techniques

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Surfside Dawn

One of the great things about digital photography is convenience. You can see your pictures right away, and delete those you hate and take more.

You can take a bazillion pictures and they’re saved on a teeny tiny memory card that’s barely bigger than your thumbnail.

You can load them into a computer and store them,  erase the memory card, and go out and take more pictures.

And you can make prints yourself, hooking your computer up to a digital printer, and – sometimes they look great.

But too often, digital  prints are a disappointment because the colors are wrong, or the pictures are too dark, or they just look gooky -  not at all like the glorious images you saw through the viewfinder.

I teach digital printing workshops, and the question I hear most often is,  “Why don’t my prints look the same as my pictures looked on the monitor?”

That’s a good question with a complex answer.

It’s because  digital cameras see (and record) color differently than a computer monitor, which sees color differently than a digital printer. Metaphorically, while they’re all talking the same basic language, it’s like each one is speaking a different dialect and missing a few words of what the others are saying.

In my digital printing workshops, I teach how to get all these devices talking to each other properly to get consistent results, to have your prints match what you see on your monitor, and how to control the digital printing process so that you can make artistic choices in how to render an image.

Or, in other words, the art and science of  using a color managed digital workflow.

And, just as the future rested on single word, “plastics,” whispered to Dustin Hoffman in “The Graduate,” digital color management also rests on a single word: “profiles”

Next Time:  Profiles, Color Space and  Insanity.

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