Archive for the ‘Videos’ Category
Hey gang….blog’s been, well, a little light lately. Truth be told, I had a hard book deadline to meet, so I shot 13 portraits (none of which I can show here quite yet) in 17 days, then jumped on a plane and headed out to California for a Digital Landscape Workshop Series stop. Whew!
In between finishing the portrait series and coming out here, I managed to spend a wonderful day with Scott Kelby and a video crew from NAPP. They started in my studio, and my garage, and shot everything about that day in the field from the conceptualization of it, to the lens selection, to the packing of the truck. In between we took a tour of the studio workroom, and talked about pictures, from the ones we were about to shoot to the ones hanging on the wall. I’ve got some of my own stuff up on the walls, but we are blessed at the studio with lots of work from other shooters I have known for many years. And we talked about it all. And then we talked and filmed some more while driving through traffic into the city. And then some more, walking around, assessing the location. And then some more, while shooting. And wrapping. A whole day in other words, from packing the lights to using them, from shooting the job to going back home.
The above is the kind of stuff I shot, which is to say the kind of stuff I’ve shot in NYC for thirty years. A day in the life of a shooter. It won’t be out right away, as they’ve got a bunch of editing to do, but it should be a fun class to take a look and have a listen to. One Quadra flash, with a honeycomb grid. That’s it. One light, high angle, done deal.
Many thanks to Scott and the gang for hanging in the Big Apple for a day. Nothing like shooting in the city……more tk….
At the studio, we’ve been, well, busy. A big reason why revolves around this announcement, dovetailing with the announcement last week of the Strobist/Numnuts rolling speed light extravaganza, otherwise known as The Flashbus. (You’ll want to ping DH’s blog, BTW. Big news over there as well.)
We jumped into this project last summer, and have shot and edited pretty intensively since then. A lot of flash stuff in this 2 DVD set. From studio to location and back again, we show f-stops, shutter speeds, setups, break downs (mostly mine), things that didn’t work, things that did, and just about everything in between. There’s also, ahem, guest appearances, and interviews. And an ongoing ramble through my brain (be careful what you wish for) about why light is good or bad, and the thought process one has to engage in when summoned to shoot either a face or a place. How to light it? How to speak with the light? How to describe a scene or a person best to someone who is not right there with you as a witness. Storytelling light, in other words. Descriptive, fluent, ornate, simple, TTL, manual, rich, gelled, clean, warm–you name it–we use it, show it, and, most importantly, describe the thinking behind it.
Tomorrow, Monday, 9am EST, the Flashbus ticket sales go live. If you are digging that idea, and want to join us at a stop along the way, head that way ’cause the DVD is available discounted along with the tickets. Adorama is the exclusive distributor for the DVD, so to jump on the bus, hit the Flashbus site, and follow the path for bundled ticket/DVD. Below is a taste of the recorded mania…..
If you’re not able to join us on the tour, stay tuned for an Adorama URL to get just the DVD. More tk….
Had a blast last week with the gang from Tampa out at PhotoShop 20th anniversary in San Fran. Though a couple folks let me know that no one out there refers to their fair city in those terms. It’s either full blown San Francisco, or just simply, SF. Okay. Nicknames or no, it’s still a great place. We dovetailed with the Kelby Online Training video team, led by the intrepid Scriv, and shot a new video. We had great fun, and great subjects.
How can you not like a bunch of guys who sing nothing but Leonard Cohen songs, acapella, and call themselves a Conspiracy of Beards? When they perform, they are 30 strong, but we were happy that 4 of the guys showed up at the Java on Ocean Coffee Shop.
I just wanted to put the camera down and listen, I tell ya. No instruments, no music, just the power of their voices. Jeff, the guy with the gray beard, smiled and said, “Yeah, load in’s a bitch.” (They just walk into a venue as they are and start singing.) They were great to work with, and Hossam, the owner of the shop, not only makes great coffee and killer deserts, he couldn’t have been nicer about letting us shoot in his store. You know how some people understandably get nervous when they see c-stands, wires, power packs walking in the door? None of that. He was totally cool, and we got good pix without driving too many folks crazy.
Used big light sources for these pix. Shot both with two Elinchrom Quadra heads, each with their own power pack. For the lineup, the lights are in the street, and we stitched together swatches of diffusion for the window. This should make for good video. Window was so big we were taping everything we could think of to block the straight sunlight from pouring in. Used Lastolite one stop diffuser material, tri-grips, bits of the local newspaper, concert posters, you name it. I stopped just short of going into the mens’ room and stealing the toilet paper. For the table pic above, the light source is just over my head, a 3×6 Lastolite panel, rigged horizontal, with the two heads popping through it. Shooting multiple faces close together, soft, wide light sources are the way to go, at least most of the time.
Been having a lot of fun shooting the Kelby videos. I shoot every shot as if it’s for a portfolio piece, and sometimes I fall short, right there on video. But that’s the nature of the location beast. Sometimes you da window, sometimes you da bug. But I keep looking and talking as I go, trying to find solutions that work.
This one worked pretty well, also shot recently for an upcoming training video. Big light in the background, hot shoe flash for the foreground (30″ Ezybox Hotshoe Softbox) on a paint pole. In between…smoke! And another light way camera right, gelled and defining the far wall. When working in a space like this, sometimes your light has to not just light the person, but define the space.
Enjoying doing the tours stops for the NAPP gang as well. Now wait a minute here fella…you’re actually saying you enjoy having every single frame you shoot pop up on screens in front of 800-900 people? Are ya stupid or just plain crazy?
No, I really do enjoy them and feed off the energy of the kindhearted (mostly:-) people in the audience. It’s hectic, and while I have a game plan, I do riff around pretty continuously. I’ll say to Drew, hey, you know, we could do a double exposure in camera right now, don’t you think? Drew will just roll his eyes and adjust admirably.
But we do move fast. In NY, we made our model look these three ways, in, as they say, a NY minute.
The three above were shot mostly small flash, with a bit of big flash for the fashion shot. As I recall, anyway. At the end of those days, I am a wet noodle, and really sometimes ask Drew when we are reviewing frames, “How did I light that again?” Sheesh…
Last week in SF was great. Anytime I can head out there, it’s a good trip. Did some shooting, found a ballerina in the woods, went to the PS20 deal. I had no business being there, but hey, nobody said anything. As I tweeted the night of the fest, they rejected my idea of the Jennifer Aniston slider, which makes everybody beautiful and appealing, at least for a while:-)
Nor did they accept the “Lindsay Lohan Transform Tool,” which puts a dull glaze in everyone’s eyes. Even bounced back my notion of a Tiger Woods plug in, for, I guess, their own reasons.
Gotta go…packing for Dubai….more tk….
So this Kelby guy walks into the locker room, see. He’s got a burger and fries. I’m in the middle of a shoot, but I’m hungry. Next thing you know…..
Had a blast at PhotoShop World. One cool thing…the world’s largest tattoo convention was right next door. Needless to say, it attracted a bit of a different audience than PSW. Drew and I did some quick Iphone scouting pix for future subjects. Amazing stuff..
I kept telling Moose Peterson he should go over and get a set of antlers done:-) No luck though…..More tk…..
That’s how it goes, right? Or is it mad badgers and Englishmen? Mad dogs? Can’t remember, but that’s okay, cause Drew Gardner reminds us in his lighting video. Lessee, this video is about location selection, apparently dead fashion models, trees, tractors, Elinchrom Rangers, booms, C-stands, makeup artists, live badgers, animal trainers, fences, lighting theory and diagrams, water buffalo with naked women atop them, smoke machines, smoke wafting, backlighting, sidelighting, mood lighting, post production, and of course, the ring master who can control the action in all three rings of the bigtop of his brain, the aforementioned mad Englishman, Drew Gardner. Check out this teaser. Drew keeps his clothes on (thank you!), the model gets a bit naked.
Drew is a piece of work, as anyone who has encountered him knows. He’s got one of those singularly crazy sensibilities behind the camera that always pushes the envelope of what is possible. Thing is, he has always got a destination in mind, which is great, especially for somebody who likes a story line. He links these pix into a narrative. An admittedly hazy, madcap narrative, but a narrative nevertheless. Witness his epic fashion shoots with fashion models in 6 inch stilettos impossibly outrunning heavily armed Russian special forces troops. There’s a bunch of these. Makes me wonder what eventually happens? Stay tuned! Are they caught and brought back to a nasty prison for the outrageously overdressed? Do the SWAT guys propose marriage on the spot? Or do the young ladies turn on their pursuers and start wielding their Manolo Blahnicks as fearsome, unusual weapons, ala Go Go Yubari and her chain mace ball of death in Kill Bill, Part I? I want to know! Drew, next installment please!
This installment is a load of fun and information, and pushes Drew further down the road of his ongoing forest adventures, which are already notable, and involve, as always, fairies, nymphs, real animals, animals from story books, exquisite staging and styling, a Phase One back and a smoke machine.
Ahh, the smoke machine. Drew has not got your garden variety, take it out of the closet every Halloween and see if it works type smoker you can buy at Partytime for $19.99. No, no. He has got a state of the art, industrial strength, planet Dagobah type smoker. Think LA on a bad day, and you’ve roughly got what the forest looks like after Drew gets done with it.