Here's a great tip I got from watching some grips quickly change gels on some frames. In the past, when you removed an old gel or diffusion material you always had the mess of the sticky material. Either the 2-sided tape, or the foam stuff from 3M double stick, which ever material was used it was a challenge. I was observing some grips used the following technique and it was fast. This is a standard 18"x24" frame. The first thing you want to do is apply Blue Painters Tape around the entire frame. Here you can see I'm using 1" … [Read more...] about Getting Taped Up
This is an exciting week for photographers who love shooting fast-moving subjects. Canon dropped the details of their new flagship camera with up to 16 frames per second, 4K video and screaming-fast processing power. At $6,000 US for the hulking body many speed shooters will drool over the EOS-1 D X Mark II, but only the financially flush will be scooping them up. As if on cue, Sony pulled the covers off their tiny speed demon this morning and it brings some of the rapid-fire prowess of the big professional DSLRs and it does it for 1/6th the … [Read more...] about Sony A6300 – Pocket Monster
So often someone will take the time to light the talent to look great but forget to light the background and give the image some depth: One method is to use a Cucoloris. Some will refer to it a s a cookie cutter:The Cucoloris will create a shadowed texture onto your background depending on the distance the light source is from the Cucoloris. The general rule with light is that the closer the light the softer the light, the larger the light the softer the light. Allow me to show you this theory in practical application:As you can see in the … [Read more...] about Cucoloris for Shadowed Texture
One of the most used tools on a Hollywood set, oh heck on any set, is the C-Stand. C in Roman numerals representing the numeral 100 is how the C-Stand got its name, 100's of uses. When closed it's 53" high, it can be extended to 10'6", it usually is ordered with a 40" arm and Grip Head. The C-Stand is a very versatile tool in the photographer's arsenal. Allow me to show you how to take advantage of the C-Stand. One way is a reflector holder:You simply secure a piece of foamcore or any material that you're using to reflect light onto the talent. … [Read more...] about C-Stands 101
When Nikon showed off the D5 at CES last month, Canon devotees muttered, "Just wait!" Now the wait is over and Canon has announced their forthcoming flagship DSLR, the EOS-1 D X Mark II. While the blazing 14 FPS frame rate and shiny new autofocus technology will deservedly garner much of the attention over the next few days, there are a few things about the new beefy camera that are truly surprising to me. For the record, I have been a Canon EOS user for over 20 years and I have a battered old EOS-1 to prove it. I sold my EOS 5D Mark III and 7D … [Read more...] about Canon’s New EOS-1 D X Mark II Brings Some Surprises
As a working professional who relies on Canon gear to run my business, I get excited when I wake up to news that there's a new flagship camera on the market. This morning, Canon dropped the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II. While I am a self professed non-techie, I still felt obligated to check out the specs to see what they could mean for me: Price Point: Gulp. Let's face it. This camera is $6 grand ($5,999) and that's a lot of money for most of us. That's twice the price point of what (I would argue) are Canon's most popular pro cameras in the 5D … [Read more...] about My First Impressions of the New Canon EOS-1D X Mark II
Triggertrap just released Version 4.1 of their already-amazing iOS app. Their developers re-wrote the core of the app to bring some pretty cool new features. For those that don't know, Triggertrap is a camera remote control solution that uses your smartphone to trigger your camera. The app can use things like the face detection sensor, motion sensors, internal cocks, GPS, sound and vibration sensors to trigger a camera. Whether you want to capture an epic timelapse movie, a dramatic long exposure shot or dive into explosive high-speed … [Read more...] about Triggertrap iOS Version 4.1
Some of the most used tools on a Hollywood set are C-Stands and Apple Boxes. Then there are these little babies, Baby Plates. What is a Baby Plate you ask? It's a 5/8 stud, about 3" tall, welded onto a 3.5" x 6" metal plate. It has many uses. Allow me to share a few of those that I've used on the set. One of the most common uses for a Baby Plate is a very low light stand:It has a very solid feel and is very stable for most strobe heads. As you can see in the picture, this Baby Plate has 8 holes in its base. Some will have 4. The purpose for … [Read more...] about No Sippy Cups here, just Baby Plates
Nikon had a big day earlier this week at CES 2016 in Las Vegas. In addition to launching a totally-new 360 camera, Nikon also launched a new flagship D5 FX camera, as well as a D500 DX camera. D5 The D5 has a long list of impressive specs: 20.83mp CMOS full-frame sensor Unprecedented native ISO range, from 100 to 102,400 [expandable from 50 (Lo-1) to a staggering ISO 3,280,000 (Hi-5)] 4K UHD video (3840x2160 at 30p) only 3 minutes record time at high quality uncompressed 4k HDMI output capability to record 4K UHD … [Read more...] about Nikon Introduces the new Flagship D5 and D500 Cameras at CES
Its a beautiful sunny day, you're shooting indoors looking out to a sliding glass door or window and its brighter outside than on your set. Your talent is moving so HDR is not an option. You really don't want a silhouette, if you expose for the talent then your sliding glass door or window blows out with light, what do you do? Allow me to share with you about Black Scrim material. You can purchase it as a open ended flag with various sizes as shown here at B&H, or just the fabric, stretching it over a 18x18 frame as seen here from NCIS:For … [Read more...] about Scrim for Lighting Detail
GoPro created the action camera segment. Many others followed but, with the exception of Sony, all have met with limited success. With today's announcement at CES, Nikon enters the fray and brings something entirely new to the table … 360 degree video. Named the "Key Mission" (KM), Nikon's first action cam is scheduled to deliver 360 degree, 4K video, the backbone of Virtual Reality (VR) capture. Technical details of the new camera remain vague, including battery life, price, recording codecs/formats and a delivery date. Slightly … [Read more...] about Nikon Challenges GoPro With 360/VR Capture
Drones are really a lot of fun once you safely learn to fly them. Here are a few important tips to help you get up and flying. I didn't list them in any particular order, so be sure to read through all of them before you get started. Know how to shut your drone off quickly! As youre learning to fly your drone, things can sometimes get out of control. The best thing to do is land the drone and shut it off. Practice just turning it on and off, without lifting it from the ground. Find a large, open area outside for your first flight. Its going … [Read more...] about 10 Tips for New Drone Flyers
GoPro cameras have become incredibly popular for capturing point-of-view and action shots (both photo and video). They'e also an excellent way for a photographer to get behind the scenes footage or time lapses of a project while working. The camera itself is a little awkward to hold though due to its small size. Hence the need for something to mount it to. Enter the GoPro 3-Way (yes they trademarked it, and I am sure they giggled as they asked their lawyers to do so). What Is It? The GoPro 3-Way offers three ways of holding or supporting a … [Read more...] about GoPro 3-Way: A Unique Camera Accessory
What started out as a quick 36-hour trip to Pittsburgh turned into a full-scale video production to help out a friend of mine with a shoot. Luckily for me I was traveling as a one-man band and because Im flexible, I was able to gain a new client. Originally I was headed to pick up a production van for one of my main clients when I saw a Facebook post looking for somebody to shoot a testimonial video of a lawyer. At first, the idea was to just take a backpack to Pittsburgh and drive the vehicle back to Connecticut, but then things got a little … [Read more...] about 36 Hours in Pittsburgh | Tips for Packing Essential Gear
This week we catch up with a photographer and a Lightroom expert. First Pamela Berry talks with photographer and music video producer Chris Horseman. Then Robert Vanelli talks with Bryan O'Neil Highes from Adobe about his photography, Lightroom, and Lightroom Mobile. Get the show here or get it on iTunes Don't forget to post a review on iTunes. Chris Hershman Chris Hershman is a Chicago-based filmmaker, photographer and musician. At a young age he began photographing bands throughout the Midwest, with his work evolving into video … [Read more...] about Photofocus Podcast December 25, 2015 — Chris Hershman and Bryan O’Neil Hughes
Everybody is talking about the movement to smaller and lighter cameras such as the Sony A7 series, Panasonic GH4, and Fuji models. This new group of mirrorless cameras are known as a DSLM, or digital single-lens mirrorless camera. Let me explain A traditional film camera with an interchangeable lens was known as a single-lens reflex camera (one lens, with a mirror). The mirror provides the photographer with the image you see in the viewfinder. Traditional mirrors show the environment exactly as your eyes would see it. As technology progresses, … [Read more...] about What is a DSLM?
Over the years of photographing weddings I've learned how to edit the amount of gear I take with me. In the beginning, I was unsure of what I'd come across so my car would be stuffed silly with all kinds of things that I never ended up touching. Here's what has stood the test of time and why: 1) Roller Bag: Do your back, neck, and shoulders a favor and use a roller bag. Even a small amount of gear is heavy, particularly when you're carrying it for 7-12 hours while running around a hotel, venue, and reception site. I use ThinkTank's Airport … [Read more...] about Gear I Can’t Live Without On Wedding Day
Today, the FAA formally announced plans for the registration of small unmanned aircraft (UAS), better known as "drones". The new laws apply to any UAS weighing more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and less than 55 pounds (approx. 25 kilograms) including payloads such as on-board cameras. Effective December 21st, all owners of qualifying drones are required to register them with the FAA. Failure to comply may result in civil and criminal penalties. Registration includes a $5 fee, which will be refunded for all registrations submitted before January … [Read more...] about Like It Or Not, All Drones Must Be Registered
Wedding photography comes with a lot of challenges, although none more panic inducing (for the photographer) than the nice, cushy, 90 minute portrait time you and your client scheduled into the timeline has been eaten up by every other crisis during the day and now you're left with 10 minutes to make MAGIC happen. Awesome (not). With tightened timelines, often you're left with only a small, nearby area to take photos in and if you're like me, that is a problem because I like to give my clients variety in their photos. In the beginning, I used … [Read more...] about Gain Options by Switching Your Camera’s Focal Length
Hopefully you've started on your holiday shopping and aren't waiting till the last minute to get things out for people. If you're short on ideas, here's a list of main gifts that an Apple iPhone photographer or videographer techie would enjoy. I say that these are main gifts, because well... they're not cheap :D Polaroid ZIP printer This little printer is a nice portable printer that allows you to print out 2x3 prints instantly without any smudging! It connects through Bluetooth 4.0 to an app for iOS and Android and utilizes Polaroid's ZINK … [Read more...] about iPhone Photography/Videography Giftlist!
Most people refer to it as a clothes pin; in Hollywood it's referred to as a C-47. They were named that way because back in the day there were 47 pins in a pack. The C stands for clamp, hence C-47. We'll take them and reverse the way they clamp so that they have more of a pinch tip to grab stuff better: I like using these economical tools for clamping gels to lights and softboxes. Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft stores sells them in different sizes and colors. I like using the medium clamps to secure gels inside small to medium softboxes: The … [Read more...] about C-47: The most useful tool you have in your laundry room.
Here is a great economical way to soften your light. They're China Balls: These were used on the set of Grey's Anatomy. You can buy these light diffusers from World Market or Pier 1 Imports. Here's a link to Filmtools. Filmtools is a great resource; however, on some items they are a bit pricey. They cater to the movie and television industry. They range in cost from around $3.75 for a 12" China Ball up to about $17.00 for a 30" China Ball. Most are made of paper; however, some are made of silk. You do not need the silk ones unless you're … [Read more...] about Lighting with China Balls
Are you looking to have more organized shoots? Well scouting your locations in advance is a big help as it lets you plan for what gear to bring and where to shoot. But keeping all those notes and pictures organized can be a problem. Panascout from Panavision (makers of motion picture cameras) makes it easy. You can now capture photos of your locations and annotate them quickly with extra info. Record video or photos with metadata on image and in file metadata Display Date / Time on image Display GPS coordinates on image Display Compass … [Read more...] about The Perfect Location Scouting App
Im in the market for a new camera and its been a struggle to decide which one I want. Being a techie, Ive analyzed every spec and feature from all the cameras, weighed cost and portability, and compared it to the gear I already have. And still no answer. But since Ive done the research, I figured Id share my thoughts with you and maybe it will help me make a decision. Before I decide, the best thing to do is rent each camera from LensRentals.com and test it out myself. While Ive considered it, I don't have any trips or shoots scheduled for the … [Read more...] about The Search for a Perfect Camera
The color management mavens extraordinaire at X-Rite have just announced two new products for photographers who shoot video with video cameras or with DSLRs... ColorChecker Video and ColorChecker Passport Video. Color management comes to video Frequent Photofocus readers know I am a huge proponent of using X-Rite's ColorCheckers to ensure my still photographs are color accurate. I have used the standard 24-patch target since 1981 when I purchased my first one (still have it.) Then, I used it to determine the filter pack for a given emulsion of … [Read more...] about ColorChecker Now for Video!
What's in your bag? Do you really think that the cameras and lenses that are in my bag are going to get you my job? Stop! I'm not being arrogant, however, how you shoot and I shoot are so radically different it doesn't matter if you use the same gear as I do. We are creative knuckleheads and do what we do as individuals. Wanna know about some of the "stuff" that's in my bag? Allow me to share with you my camera brethren:Altoids, gum, Mentos, or anything that will freshen your breath. I hate working around bad breath. Whether it is from food, … [Read more...] about “What’s in Your Bag?” Stuff!
I'm a huge advocate of creating depth in a photograph. One of the ways is to use a back light or at times referred to as a hair light when shooting talent. Some of the challenges I might have are when the talent has blonde or gray / silver colored hair. I'll lose hair detail in the hair light. I found a great method for helping gain back that detail without losing the depth that a hair light can create. First I'll spray paint the inside of one of my reflectors from metal to flat white. This will soften the contrast: The next thing I will add … [Read more...] about Hot Hair Lights
I know, I know: you can't possibly use a tripod in portraiture because you're moving around too much, and reframing, and chasing kids, and it'll just get in the way and slow you down. I've heard all the reasons before, and I used to say the same things. Until I made a real effort to use a tripod in every shoot, I couldn't believe I really needed it. Now I can't shoot without it and my pictures are better, the expressions are more genuine, and my keeper rate is far higher. Getting that black box of metal and glass out from in front of your face … [Read more...] about Three Tips for Using a Tripod in Portraiture
"Your greatest curse could be your greatest blessing" Shadows, at times they are such a curse, but with a bit of creative manipulating they can be a wonderful blessing. When working on a Hollywood set there are times I'll will have the Grips (the guys who rig things, their name comes from old Hollywood "because you needed a strong hand grip to secure things") set up a diffusion panel for me. If its going to be a full length shot for one or more talent you might end up seeing the edge of a 6x6, or up to a 20x20 foot frame's shadow. Its a ugly … [Read more...] about Camouflaging Shadows
Have you ever wished for more control on your Canon DSLR? In this tutorialfrom the series presented by lynda.com authors Rich Harrington and Robbie Carman dig deep into a hacked Canon camera. This option really enhances what you can do with a DSLR using Magic Lantern. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yD6hGk2FGio This specific tutorial is from the Video Gear Weekly series presented by lynda.com authors Rich Harrington and Robbie Carman. The complete course is presented as a weekly lynda.com series and offers reviews and tips on the latest … [Read more...] about Hacking a Canon Camera with Magic Lantern Menus