Articles written by Patrick Hall
Camera and Video equipment can be expensive! Whether you are just getting into digital media or are a seasoned professional, we are all looking for bargains and ways to justify dropping even more coin on photography gear. Everyday our email is full of readers asking about what gear we use/recommend and if there are any deals out there to be had. So we have created an Fstoppers Gear Guide that includes every piece of equipment we use for both photos and video separated into categories. You can also check out the latest Canon rebates (most end Jan 8) and Nikon rebates (most expire Dec 31st) through BHvideo.com which we find to have the best prices online. So check out the Fstoppers Gear Guide and if you want to get some new toys for Christmas, don't miss out on these Holiday rebates through Nikon and Canon.
Jay P. Morgan is a commercial and advertising photographer based out in Los Angeles, California. We have featured his work before and this time Jay is using a three light setup to make some portraits of a jazz player. If you are still uncomfortable with your lighting skills, Jay does a really good job explaining exactly what each light does and why he placed them where he did. Click on the full post for part two of this photoshoot where Jay adds some "special effects" in the form of an air canon firing at his subject.
As a photographer getting into DSLR video, I love it when a reader of ours emails us with a question we can answer or better yet a question we have not thought of before. Well FS reader Christian emailed us about how we sync our DSLR audio with audio we may have recorded in a separate unit (zoom, iphone, computer, etc). Until recently we used to just do it manually by lining up our wavefiles from both sources in Adobe Premiere. But there is a much much easier way now thanks to Plural Eyes by Singular Software. Plural Eyes simply analyzes each waveform and automatically aligns each and every camera angle and audio clip right there in your timeline. It's brilliant software and extremely inexpensive for what it does. Check out this little demo from the 2010 WEVA Expo and click the full post to see a well made tutorial on how to sync your files step by step.
Congratulations to Janis Amolins for winning the November Fstoppers Forum Photo Contest. Click the previous link to see his winning photograph or watch for it on our top rotating banner at the top of the site (first image on your mobile device). As we do every month, the winner of the contest gets to pick the next theme and Janis has chosen "Illusion". This month's winner will also win a custom image and website link on the Fstoppers rotating banner above and also a Photoflex LightReach Kit which is perfect for lighting your location photos (no assistant needed either). As always, our contests are judged by the winner of the previous month's contest so you have to impress Janis not anyone on the Fstoppers Staff. Have fun submitting to the December Fstoppers Forum Contest and good luck to everyone!
Have you ever watched a scary movie where the only part of the scene you can see is being lit by a small flash light or candle from five feet away? Well those are the conditions cave photographer Stephen Alvarez regularly works in when he climbs below the earth's surface. Together with his team of assistants, Stephen is able to light his photographs in majestic fashion by strategically placing his lights throughout large caverns. I have really never seen anything like this before, and it makes me appreciate my easy work environments in comparison. Be sure to head over to Stephen's website to check out more cave images as well as his photojournalistic work through National Geographic.
It is December 1st which means you only have 15 days left to win the Apple iPad we are giving away through our Twitter Account. If you haven't heard about this or have been living under a rock, click the video below to find out how you can win and also be sure to check out Lee Morris's post on how to use an Eye-Fi card to wirelessly tether your DSLR camera to the iPad.
Over the holiday we received a few emails about a video we shot where we used a ringflash as the key light (SB-800 Flash Mod). Obviously you can't shoot video with the ringflash look unless you have an expensive flash with a modeling light. But what if you want to shoot stills and get that hard yet even lighting that is common in macro and fashion photographs? Well if you already own an on-camera speedlight then you can use a product called the Rayflash to produce ringflash style images on a budget. I actually own one of these and use it every now and then, and what I really like about it is that I can use it on location where I would otherwise have to have a huge battery pack. If this sort of thing interests you, check out this video that was clearly made for ExpoImaging explaining the product. Any other Fstoppers readers using this product or something similar?
Fstoppers Forum member DPC shared this teaser video about a new BTS series PBS is doing on US Presidental photographer Pete Souza. It's pretty interesting to hear the issues Pete faces day in and day out shooting one of the most well known figures in the world. If you are able to tune into PBS, you can check the schedule for The President's Photographer: Fifty Years Inside the Oval Office. Click on the full post to watch a very lengthy interview with Pete about the issues he faces as a photojournalist working for the US Commander In Cheif and be sure to check out the offical White House Flickr Page for a ton of Pete's images.
Andreas Sjodin is a commercial and catalog photographer who has basically shot for everyone under the sun. Right after you watch this video you need to head over to his website and check out his amazing portfolio! I've said this so many times I hope you guys aren't sick of hearing me say this: Great and interesting photographs are almost never about technical lighting. I know with my own work, many times the best images are often not the ones that rely on the most innovative lighting but rather focus on something interesting or naturally beautiful. I love what Andreas says while shooting for mega clothing company H&M: "The easiest thing to shoot is someone looking good, what's difficult is to shoot someone looking good and interesting, and inspiring." I really think this approach is what separates the boys from the men, and it should be evident with Andreas's one light setup in this shoot. Enjoy
Every now and then we come across a behind the scenes video that falls somewhere between the scope of photo/video production and computer graphics/animation. As creative artists, we need to be able to pull from a library of visual inspiration regardless of its original context. Even though I'm not a gamer by any stretch of the imagination, I've always been fascinated by the commercials I see on television or the "movie" posters I see promoting the latest state of the art video games. Check out what Blizzard Entertainment created for the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm trailer; it's pretty amazing what can be done not only graphically but also from an advertising point of view. Click the full post to see the final trailer for one of the most mocked popular video games of all time.
Our good friend Peter Hurley has been tearing up Twitter the last few days which can only mean one thing: He's done something pretty exciting! Peter loves to film his own videos on his Flip HD camera while in the middle of his shoots so the footage is always a bit spontaneous. Check out this short clip of Peter as he shoots Twilight megastar Chaske Spencer in his studio and on top of his roof. If you watch closely you may even see the Empire State Building a half a dozen times :) Check out the final images over at Peter's blog http://www.comeontakeyourbestshot.com/ and if you haven't watched our Fstoppers Original on Peter check it out here.
If you are laying on your couch reading this after a Thanksgiving binge, then there probably isn't much hope for you. But if you didn't over due the calories (or aren't in America) then you still have 5 days to participate in our Monthly Fstoppers Forum Contest! This month's theme is "Emotion" and I still think the winning image is up for grabs. The winner of this month's contest is going to win a Photoflex Multidisc Kit which is a great tool for when you need extra light and don't have a strobe with you. We use these all the time with video, and it is crucial to have the reflector holder when you don't have an extra set of hands on set. If you win, you will also get your image and website at the top of our site for a month. So head over to the Forum Contest Thread and post your best "Emotion" photo.
I was just informed that there is a behind the scenes video on how the Doritos 360 Degree video was created. If you found that last post as interesting as I did, you will appreciate watching how they filmed it. What's going to be tough about shooting 360 video is that everything has to be done in one take. If you are as poor good as I am in front of the camera then it probably won't be a problem :)
It's pretty hard for someone to come into the film and video industry and make a huge splash but that's exactly what the Dutch company Yellowbird has done. They are using a camera very similar to what Google uses on its Streetview cars to produce not only 360 degree photographs but for the first time 360 degree interactive video! Youtube has already jumped on board with this new technology so be prepared to see videos in the future with several storylines, multiple characters, and previously unseen coverage of live events and documentaries. These sort of things really get me excited...and Hollywood thought 3D cinema was going to be all the rage :) Click the full post to see what it is like to view a large music festival in 360 degrees!
This video was released earlier this year but I really loved watching it so I figured you would too. It's a pretty clever way to advertise a product like waterproof shoes and would have make for an excellent commercial concept for an advertising ad. Click the full post to view a BTS video about this crazy new sport called Liquid Mountaineering.
When I first saw Gregory Heisler, I thought he was a college professor not a professional photographer. I guess in reality he is both since this is one of the most indepth BTS videos I've seen explaining how to construct lighting that doesn't call too much attention to itself. I'm always a big fan of images like this since shooting environmental portraits forces you to not only produce a great portrait but also create something iconic and often time monumental. Gregory does a great job with this portrait of then NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Much props to Profoto for producing some really educational videos.
I'm starting to realize how many of our readers enjoy the mix of sports cars, photography, and behind the scenes so this one is for you. I'm really not sure what is going on here but what happens at the very end is pretty remarkable! I wish the audio was a little cleaner but I'm sure if you are into drifting fast cars you probably can't hear anyways! And when you get done watching this, check out the awesome DSLR video gear over at www.cinevate.com
Dave Black is a professional photographer who shoots some of the most stylized sports images I have ever seen. In this BTS video, Dave is pairing up 8 SB900 flashes with two Radio Popper PX triggers on two Lightware Foursquare brackets. Why does he use such a crazy setup when shooting motorcross? Often times with fast action sports you need to shoot with quick shutter speeds beyond the 1/250th of a second flash sync limit. The only way to do this is to use the FP high speed Sync mode Nikon (and Canon) flashes offer when hardwired to your camera. Luckily Radio Popper (and Pocket Wizard for Canon) have created wireless radio iTTL/eTTL syncing which gives you the ability to us High Speed Sync with your flashes off camera over long distances. This setup is about as complex as you can possibly get (and expensive) but Dave has made a great video showing off the setup. Unfortunately he does little to explain WHY this setup is necessary. Head over to his Lightware Foursquare / Radio Popper Post to read more about how it all comes together and be sure to check out Dave's portfolio as well.
Dave Dugdale has been an Fstoppers reader for a while now but I had not come across his own useful site Learning DSLR Video until yesterday. He left a comment on one of our videos and I clicked on his site to check it out (yes we actually check out our reader's sites). When I saw one of his videos I immediately emailed him and asked if he would teach me how to colorkey footage in Premiere. Now Dave is not a photographer at all but rather an audio engineer, and what is so cool about his videos are that they document his progression into the field of videography. As a professional photographer myself, I feel like I'm in the same boat as Dave and I'm sure a lot of you guys feel that way too. Dave is filming on a Canon T2i and editing on Premiere CS5. If you are just getting into audio or video, stop by LearningDSLRVideo.com and check out some of his work. Hopefully you can use this information for your own BTS videos; I know we are going to do this soon on one of our FS Originals in the near future.
This video is already a year old but that doesn't mean it's not worth posting again. I was really impressed with the cinematography work and the amazing detail in the composition...and then I realized it was all completely fake! That's right, Alex Roman doesn't create that horrible Transformers CGI; his computer graphic designs are true works of art. Click the full post to see a breakdown on how this was designed as well as Alex's latest creation which features more "organic" material. If you are young and want to retire early, learn how to create this ASAP!