New Video Workshop/Tour with Shane Hurlbut

The Shane Hurlbut Illumination Experience Video Tour

I’ve spent the last few days supporting the opening sessions of Shane Hurlbut’s Illumination Experience Video Tour. Datacolor is a sponsor of these events, which will take place in 26 cities.

The sessions are “intended for any filmmaker seeking industry insight on cinematic lighting and cinematography” – but they are much more than that. These workshops cover a lot of ground – from lighting basics through full cinematic setups, to camera operation and exposure management, to on-set color controls, plus post-production tips and more – and, Shane is one of the top instructors in the field.

Shane incorporates Datacolor technology into his color workflow, starting with lighting/camera setup through post-production.

shane photo

 

Quoting from the press release:

“The Illumination Experience is a two-part series; the Illumination Workshop, which will be taught in all 25 cities, and the Experience Masterclass which will be available to students in nine of these cities. (see link at the end of the post)

For the Illumination Workshop, Shane will demonstrate his avant-garde approach to three-point lighting during an interactive live shoot. Divided into three phases: discovery, creation, and execution, Shane’s students will…. design, develop, enhance, and supplement the storytelling process with lighting, script analysis, storyboard preparation, lighting schematics, and shot lists.

The Experience Masterclass is a day-long hands-on intensive consisting of two live shoots. The class will be divided into four teams. The teams will follow Shane’s lighting schematics to re-create film scenes from Crazy/Beautiful (2001) and Swing Vote (2008). With Shane’s guidance, students will learn to integrate methodical lighting with precise camera motion to achieve impactful results. Students will experiment with gear such as the Fisher 10 Dolly, the Movi, and the Kessler Crane in conjunction with various lights, filters, flags and bounces. Shane will critique each scene and provide customized feedback to each team.”

Shane Hurlbut, A.S.C., is a world-renowned cinematographer who has shot multimillion dollar blockbuster films such as Act of Valor, Drumline, Terminator: Salvation, The Rat Pack, We Are Marshall. Shane is a member of the prestigious American Society of Cinematographers and The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He is among a select group of cinematographers recognized by Canon as an “Explorer of Light” and by the Tiffen Company as an “ImageMaker”. “

For more information and registration: http://illumination.mzed.com

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California Wildflower Season Is Getting Started!

Went out scouting for wildflowers yesterday with a friend. The weather was variable ranging from sunny and windy to overcast and moody. We found this area near Arvin, close to the junction of Rte 223 and Rte 58 (not too far from the Grapevine). Fiddlenecks and pygmy Lupine were up, some lonely poppies here and there (too early for them). My guess is that this season will give us patches of good color, but it will take a bit of hunting around over a period of a few weeks to get some good shots.

wildflowers march 2013 b crop vib copy

Click on the image for a larger version. Have a great weekend!

David Saffir

Another Pic From Route 66

Gas Station on Route 66

Gas Station on Route 66

Product Review: The Flashpoint DG600 300 w/s AC/DC Monolight

I’ve been testing a studio strobe from Adorama, the  Flashpoint DG-600. Intended for use in both studio and location work, this is a 300/WS workhorse (published guide number of 58m/190ft ISO 100) that offers flexibility in many types of shooting situations. It can run on normal household power (US) or a 12v DC power pack.

The housing of the light is made of heavyweight plastic, and seems quite durable. An attached carrying handle is provided, as is a  8” metal reflector – the latter is attached using a locking bayonet-style design.

On the front end, one sees a conventional semi-circular flash tube mounted in front of an LED-array modeling light.

hero shot angle

At the back, most controls are push-button variety, with the exception of the power switch, which provides on/AC, off, and on/DC positions.

hero shot rear

The unit is provided with a nice long power cord (which is a good change – it seems lately that power cords are shrinking in length, or are not provided at all), and a PC/sync cord for those of use who haven’t yet gone to wireless triggers. The sync plug on the housing is of mini-plug variety, not the full-size “stereo” plugs one often sees.

Push button controls include flash test, sound on/off, modeling light, and slave operation. Flash intensity is read through a digital numeric display, and is controlled through a rotating knob. Flash intensity numbers are not linked to f/stop, but are displayed relative to total flash output, from nil to maximum.

Flash output is consistent in intensity right from start up, and stays that way throughout a shoot. Max recycling time is 1.5 seconds at max power (AC) – but at lower power settings is near-instantaneous. The cooling fan is quiet and unobtrusive. Stated flash duration is 1/800 to 1/1500/sec.

I also tested the light with a color meter. While I found that the light easily hit daylight color temperature (5500k) a from a cold start, it needed to fire a few times before settling in and stabilizing at this color temperature. (In other words, color temp varied a bit from shot to shot from a cold start to warm-up).

Once warmed up, variance in color temperature in the mid- to ¾-power range was not a significant issue. At full power, it took a bit longer for the light to warm up and stabilize – if you are shooting at full power, and the light has been resting a while, fire off five or six test shots to bring everything into line.

The modeling light is an LED array, which operates in proportion to flash output settings. This is a great idea – those of us who engage in day-long shoots will appreciate this. Completely cool, with no appreciable heat generated, so less wear and tear on umbrellas and soft boxes, not to mention one’s fingers!

Also, unlike tungsten or halogen-based bulbs, it is roughly the same color temperature as the flash tube, which is a significant convenience. However, the modeling light is challenged to provide enough illumination used with a diffuser or soft box, and I’d like to see available luminance increased. Otherwise, a brilliant idea (no pun.)

One might think that the lower power usage of the LED modeling light would bode well for its use with a battery pack – however, Adorama doesn’t recommend this.

Accessories available include a NIMH portable battery pack and spare battery, a speed ring for soft box/light modifiers, a beauty dish, umbrellas, and related items.

At this price point, $199, this light is a good value vis-à-vis overall build quality and light output, and it appears that it would deliver sold performance in the field or in the studio. In my opinion, at 300/ws, a couple of these would fill an average room nicely – even at levels below full power. All you location shooters and real estate photographers, take note!

The Flashpoint DG-600 is available through Adorama: http://www.adorama.com/FP600DG.html

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First Impressions, Fuji X-E1

I’ve had the X-E1 for a little while, courtesy of Fuji and Photo Techniques Magazine. I’m working on an article for the magazine, and I thought I’d share a few thoughts along the way:

First Impressions, Fuji X-E1:

  • A very lightweight camera body, due in part to its largely magnesium-based construction.
  • Controls are well-placed on the camera body.
  • LCD-based menus require some studying of the instruction manual.
  • LCD is bright and easy to read, even outdoors.
  • Camera automatically switches from LCD view to electronic viewfinder.
  • Image quality is very good (more on this later).
  • RAW processing software is subject of debate (more on this later).
  • The 18-55 kit lens provided with this camera exceeded expectations.

Here’s an image taken to test resolution and color:

Test shot, Fuji X-E1, Studio Lighting

Test shot, Fuji X-E1, Studio Lighting

Photo Plus Expo, New York City, October 2012 – David Saffir and David Tobie

Will you be attending PhotoPlus Expo in New York City, October 25-27? If so, David Saffir (me!) and David Tobie will be speaking at the Midwest Photo Exchange Stage, booth # 1027 at the show. We are currently scheduled:

Thursday 10/25
11:30: David Saffir- Screen to Print Match for Photographers
1:30: David Tobie- Moving into Motion: Video and Video Color for Photographers

Friday 10/26:
11:30: David Tobie- Moving into Motion: Video and Video Color for Photographers
1:30: David Saffir- Screen to Print Match for Photographers

Saturday 10/27:
11:30: David Saffir- Screen to Print Match for Photographers
1:30: David Tobie- Moving into Motion: Video and Video Color for Photographers

AND…….

Be sure to visit Datacolor, nearby at booth #1239. See some of the latest technology in color calibration, the Spyder4, and
lots of other cool stuff!

© David Saffir

New Free Webinar: Calibration for All of Your Display Devices

Calibration for All of Your Display Devices: including iPhones, iPads & more
Tuesday, October 16, 2012 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM EDT, 12 noon – 1 PM PDT

Most photographers, artists, and designers own more than one display device – be it a laptop or desktop computer, projector, iPhone or iPad. It can be a challenge to get them all to work together and provide accurate and consistent color, hue, saturation, and brightness – which enables the user to work with confidence and transition between display devices efficiently and effectively. One should for example, be able to edit images on a desktop computer, and be assured that those images will be color-consistent when shown to a client or colleague on a laptop or iPad.

Join us Tuesday, October 16th from 3PM-4PM EDT (12 Noon – 1 PM PDT), as Datacolor Color Management Experts, David Saffir and David Tobie discuss the issues photographers encounter when calibrating displays for use in photo studios and related workspaces. Some issues to be discussed include: accurate color calibration, ambient light and studio setup issues, studio calibration standards, and side-by-side tuning of displays for visual matching.

An interactive Q&A will take place throughout the webinar to answer any questions you may have.

Register here: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/886424690