Every now and then someone comes out with a product that really makes me say, "why didn't I think of that?" If you've ever been on the set of a serious movie production, you know that the camera operator or steadicam operator hardly ever focuses the lens himself. Instead he relies on a well paid focus puller who can perfectly eyeball every focus distance and follow focus any lens set on any aperture. It's really amazing to watch. Well now a company called Okii has developed a USB focus puller for Canon cameras that can not only pull focus but also record and save a specific movement. I have no idea why they did not include audio on this video but if you watch if you can see two different points of focus being saved and then automated. Click the full post to see a second demonstration that shows off the actual recorded footage.
Articles written by Patrick Hall
Last year Zacuto started a great series called The Great Camera Shootout where they compared film cameras with digital cameras and DSLRs. We featured the first two episodes but somehow overlooked the final show in the series. Some of these tests seem a bit excessive to me but it's good to know that there is a discussion going on with the top professionals in the field. Some of topics covered are camera resolution, color vibrancy, green screening, and shooting video in raw. As photographers, we are still going to hear people making an argument for not shooting video on DSLRs but if you watch the 3 full length short films presented in this episode I think the DSLR video haters' days are numbered.
We've featured Tom Guilmette several times on our website and each time he never ceases to amazing me. Today Tom released a fun video that he shot on the Phantom Flex while he was staying in Las Vegas. We've all seen super slow motion videos before but what really grabbed my attention was Tom's editing skills and his brilliant use of audio to help bring this video to life. If you enjoy watching and learning about high speed videography, check out Tom's website or check out the other Fstoppers Tom Guilmette posts we have featured.
Rob Moody, a good friend of ours at Fstoppers, has been working on an interesting video project with Heartsapart.org. Heartsapart has made it their mission to capture military soldiers and their families before they are separated through deployment. Photographers from all over the Southeast have come together to help this in this cause, and Rob has done a great job bringing this story to the public. I can really appreciate this because I grew up in a military family, and I know how important a photograph can be for those who are stationed overseas for extended periods of time. Check out this great video as past Fstoppers spotlight photographer Brownie Harris takes you in his studio to photograph several families.
Every month here at Fstoppers we run a photo contest that is judged by one of our readers. We'd like to congratulate Frank Lin for winning the January Fstoppers Forum Photo Contest. Click the previous link to see his winning photograph and watch for his banner at the top of the site to see more of Frank's work. As we do every month, the winner of the contest gets to pick the next theme and Frank has chosen "BIRTH". This month's winner will also win a custom image and website link on the Fstoppers rotating banner above and also a Photoflex Octodome Extra Small Kit which is our goto soft light for location shooting. As always, our contests are judged by the winner of the previous month's contest so you have to impress Frank not anyone on the Fstoppers Staff. Have fun submitting to the February Fstoppers Forum Contest and good luck to everyone!
One of my favorite things about Charleston, SC is being close to the ocean. I love being in and around the water, and although I'm not very good at it, I do enjoy wakeboarding. Charleston has become a pretty big hub for sports like kiteboarding and wakeboarding over the last few years, and this city is not short on talented athletes. I took an interest in wakeboard photography a couple years ago, and I always enjoyed shooting images from extreme angles. Although I've gotten some cool images, I never felt like I really had much control over my images with just daylight. I've tried to bring strobes outside to create something "different" but even those shots have been done a million times. I decided I wanted a way to shoot a rider flying through the air with interesting, studio quality lighting and this is what I came up with....click the full post for the full story.
If you are not already subscribed to Freddie Wong's YouTube channel, you should go there right now and watch one of Youtube's most popular animators. Well this week he has created a really simple video called The Freeze Shootout and has provided a quick behind the scenes video on how he did it. Watch the full video here and click on the full post to watch how he created it.
Each year Maybelline creates a limited edition calendar featuring crazy concepts and wild makeup. This year the cosmetic brand teamed up with photographer Kenneth Willardt to produce some very vibrant images. Make sure you head over to Kenneth's commercial section of his website to view a bunch of the images. His ability to light a set is worth taking note as well as the overall production they put into these images.
A few months ago, Patryk Kizny with Dito Gear shared a really amazing video called The Chapel with Fstoppers. I was absolutely blown away by the footage but I knew our readers would want to know exactly how he created it. So I was able to persuade Patryk to create a second video that outlined exactly what he did to create the original HDR timelapse images featured in The Chapel. With just a few Canon DSLRs, a magic arm, and a Dito Omni Slider, Patryk created a really unique looking video made from HDR stills. If you have any additional questions about the making of this video, leave them in the comment section and I'm sure Patryk will be happy to answer them. Click the full post to watch the original video in its entirety.
Philippe Kerlo is a really creative beauty and fine art photographer based out of Paris France. Some people are dubbing his work as "extreme glamour" which might be a fitting title. I was recently turned onto his work by one of our readers when they sent us this video of him shooting beauty portraits through plexiglass covered with paint, acrylic, wax, and other colored materials. The results are really stunning and the idea is so simple I thought I had to share it with everyone. Be sure to check out Philippe's portfolio because his work has a lot of interesting angles like the photos shown in the full post.
Back in the Spring of 2009, Louis Vuitton creative director Marc Jacobs teamed up with music mogul Madonna produce their new ad campaign. This video is primarily from the point of view of Marc but that shouldn't prevent you from seeing how photographer Steven Meisel executed the overall shoot. I've always been a big fan of Steven's work, and after you watch this video you can browse through most of his extensive portfolio here. After clicking through 127 pages of amazing photo after amazing photo you will probably feel both inspired and completely worthless as a photographer! Click on the full post to view the photographs from this shoot.
Clay Enos is a laid back photographer who is probably most well known for his portraits from the movie The Watchmen. Today he is taking his portrait photography to the streets and doing something most of us would find pretty intimidating by asking random people to pose in front of his white backdrop. Making people feel comfortable with you in a short amount of time is a crucial skill to have as a photographer, and Clay does a great job explaining how you can do this on the street with a relatively short 50mm lens. Now some people might not consider this real street photography but it's definitely an easy way to capture spontaneous images with a studio look.
Back in December of 2009, photographer turned film maker Vincent Laforet teamed up with Canon and Vimeo to start a social experiment in story telling. The idea was to create an short 3 or 4 minute video that would end on a single still frame. Then by taking that final frame as a starting point of reference, other film makers could continue the story and add their own twists and turns into the developing scripts. Each segment would be judged by industry heavy weights like Philip Bloom, Shane Hurlbut, Russel Carpenter, among others, and a new chapter would begin. Over the next year, hundreds of chapters were written with 6 lucky directors winning spots in the final video that is currently being shown at Sundance. Below is a summary of the final project and the final video in its entirety is included in the full post. Hopefully this contest not only inspires you in your own photography but also encourages you to test the waters in film making.
It's the end of the month which means it's almost time to judge the monthly Fstoppers Forum photo contest. The response for this month has been really great and I can't wait to see who wins it and takes home some new gear. The final submissions will be valid until Midnight (EST) on Feb 1st so be sure to submit now rather than later. As we do every month, the winner of the contest gets to pick the next theme and Jay has chosen "Power". This month's winner will also win a custom image and website link on the Fstoppers rotating banner above and also a Photoflex Octodome Extra Small Kit which is our goto soft light for location shooting. As always, our contests are judged by the winner of the previous month's contest so you have to impress Dec winner Jay Malone and not anyone on the Fstoppers Staff. Have fun submitting to the January Fstoppers Forum Contest and good luck to everyone!
We've featured the work of David Nguyen in the past and this time he has taken his whole production to new level. In his most recent photoshoot, Whispers in the Wind, David takes his creative team out to a desert and creates some really inspiring composite beauty images. The theme is sort of a Chinese New Year, and David has included wild elephants, tigers, rabbits, and birds into the final shots. I love it when artists take a concept to the max and really push their own creative aspirations. If you have not checked out David's portfolio, you are really missing out. Now if only we could get some BTS on how he made these composites!
If you haven't checked out Mark Wallace's Adorama TV channel over at youtube you really should. He does a great job creating informative and useful videos on all sorts of digital photography and videography topics. In his most recent video, Mark shows a lot of different types of hot lights that can be used for lighting both your behind the scenes videos as well as your photoshoots themselves. He also talks a bit about how to light different subjects including how to light for a two person interview. Here at Fstopppers, we are using the Photoflex Starlights for our video productions. We really enjoy the versatility they give us but of course you can use anything that fits your budget. I know photographers sometimes stray away from constant lighting in favor of strobes so if you have any questions or thoughts about how to use these to the fullest, leave a comment below.
Kevin Reed is a fantastic fashion photographer based out in LA and also NYC. He also has an excellent blog called Exposing Fashion where he has posted lots of tips, BTS, and bits of inspiration. Each year Kevin creates a new image to include in his holiday newsletter and this year he even filmed a fast behind the scenes video outlining the entire shoot. The lighting is pretty straightforward but it's always interesting to see how much work goes into the details. Usually it's these details that help separate the typical fashion or beauty images from the really great ones. Hope you guys enjoy this as much as I did.
If you were an Fstoppers reader back when we launched then you probably saw Lee Morris's humble attempt at how to photograph a Rolex watch. It wasn't perfect but I think it was helpful in shedding some light on how meticulous product photography can be. Well now Alex Koloskov has made an extremely detailed video on how he created his latest hero shot of a men's Marine Star Bulova watch. The video is very long and it might take you a second to cut through his Ukrainian accent but this video is well worth it. The quick(er) post production video is shown below so you can see how much time and effort goes into touching up a macro shot like this but you can also find the full length lighting video in the full post. Also be sure to head over to Alex's blog post if you have further questions about his workflow. Take your time on this and enjoy!
Profoto has really done everyone a great service in having photographer Matthew Jordan Smith explain some of his personal favorite images in his portfolio. In this particular image, Matthew decided to photograph NBA superstar Ray Allen in his own backyard while jumping on a trampoline. Equipped with just a single Profoto D1 Air and a magnum reflector for hard light, Matt was able to take a rather limited lighting setup and create a highly stylized image. I think it just goes to show that thinking outside the box and not limiting your shoot to any prior conception can be more important in making a great image than simply focusing on your initial plans.
One of the first early adapters of DSLR video for professional use was Shane Hurlbut of Terminator Salvation, The Guardian, The Last 3 Minutes fame. A few days ago he released a really well shot commercial for the US Marines and decided to make a short contest out of it. The video has over 27 frames shot on various Canon 5D, 7D, and 1D cameras as they do every cinemagraphic move possible. I'm thinking we might get a BTS video of the filming of this commercial after the contest is done but in the meantime Shane is going to give away a free copy of Adobe's CS5 Production Premium Suite to whoever correctly guesses what camera shot what footage. You can head over to the contest page for more details and the entries will be accepted until the end of Jan 26th, 2011.