New Webinar – Small Lighting For Big Spaces

New Webinar – sponsored by Datacolor and co-sponsored by Metz

Not too long ago, standard practice for lighting large spaces involved hauling a lot of heavy equipment into a venue, laying out electrical service lines, creating support stands and scaffolding, and so on. Of course there was also tearing it all down, packing it away, and hauling it off again. Things have changed. It’s now possible to carry all or most of the gear you’ll need to light a large space in a duffle bag and camera bag, frequently doing it all without touching an electrical outlet and getting an equivalent or superior result.

Join David Saffir and David Tobie as they explore newer methods for lighting interiors using lighting systems adapted from on-camera flash units, purpose-built remote units and triggers. We think you’ll be surprised by the possibilities and impressed by the results!

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

Webinar attendees will have the chance to win a SpyderCHECKR or Metz 44 Flash as well as receive exclusive discounts!

October 17, 2 PM EDT, 11 AM PDT

Register HERE!

DSLR Dynamics – The Art and Practice of Digital Filmmaking

New Workshops – DSLR Dynamics

Join us and explore the art of digital filmmaking!

The Video Visuals workshops are taught by two award-winning instructors.

Barry Andersson is the author of a top-selling Amazon book for DSLR video/filmmaking, THE DSLR FILMMAKER’S HANDBOOK, speaks at top film schools, & is a regular instructor for many NFL, MLB, NBA & NHL production crews.

planetMitch is the owner of planet5D – a highly ranked website that features blog and video reports on topics vital to the HDSLR community — and he also interviews industry leaders via his popular planet5D podcasts. In addition, planetMitch co-produced the short film “Incident on Marmont Avenue.”

The sessions will cover, among other things, best lighting practices, cameras, lenses, and camera settings, adding movement to video, and effectively capturing sound, editing and post-production.

I’ll be joining them, sponsored by and representing Datacolor, and I’ll be addressing color management issues as they relate to capture and post-production.

Cities coming up on the schedule include Seattle, Portland, Phoenix, Denver, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, and more.

For dates (sessions starting this week) and registration go here: http://dslrdynamics.com/workshop/

New Published Article, Managing Dynamic Range in Post-Production

Latest in a four part series: Managing Dynamic Range in Post-Production, published on the Datacolor blog:

Here’s the link: http://blog.datacolor.com/david-saffir-managing-dynamic-range-in-post-production/

© David Saffir 2013

© David Saffir 2013

EG7 Monterey- 2013 Wrap-Up

I just returned from the EG7 conference (http://www.the-eg.com/homepage/welcome) in Monterey, California. The name sounds a little mysterious, but the meeting is not. It’s been around for quite a while.

A couple of quotes that might help describe the event: “a gathering of and for innovators in media, technology, entertainment and education. The conference explores our most creative enterprises, by engaging a gifted mix of people — from rising stars to
living national treasures, the people who attend EG are among the most industrious and iconoclastic talents of our time.”

And… “This year at EG, Everything is Learning — and Learning is Everything. Many of the leading inventors, explorers, educators, entertainers, artists and entrepreneurs are joining us to probe these frontiers.”

Some of the “presenters” included Erich Kuhne, architecture, Nicholas Negroponte, perhaps best known for “One Laptop Per Child”,  Bathsheba Grossman, Three Dimensional Thinking,  Frans Lanting, nature and wildlife photography, Brant Austin, incredible full-scale photos of whales, Alison Gopnik, baby thinking,  Umi Garret, a 12-year old world-class pianist, and many, many more.

A long-time working partner, collaborator, and mentor of mine, Jack Duganne (http://www.duganne.com), worked with me at the conference. We focused on making prints of portraits made during the conference – these portraits included attendees and speakers. We used the HP Designjet Z6200 and Z3200 large format printers, and we were very, very busy. Our thanks to HP and Eric DuPaul, and Jennifer Wills and Monica Wolff (of W+W Design – http://wplusw.com/) for making this part possible.

The presentations hit every note possible, in the arts, music, imaging, photography, philosophy – you name it. We all left with new ways of looking at the world, and the world of learning. Hats off to the EG7 team! Hope to see you next year!

Free Webinar: Architectural Photography and Editing With David Saffir and C. David Tobie

Free Webinar: Architectural Photography and Editing With David Saffir and C. David Tobie

Join us, Thursday, April 4th from 3PM-4PM EDT, 12 Noon – 1 pm PDT as Datacolor Experts David Saffir and C. David Tobie walk you through the issues they have encountered through their years of architectural rendering and photography and offer helpful techniques to be utilized.

Architectural photography offers accurate representation of a building or structure. Achieving this is often complex. Even though photographing interiors and exteriors can be similar, they do have some differences and may require different equipment.

Corner of the Main Plaza at the Louvre, Paris

Corner of the Main Plaza at the Louvre, Paris © D. Saffir

Perspective and context issues may arise when photographing exteriors, while distortion issues may arise with interiors. Other issues may include scale, vignette, chromatic aberration and color accuracy. Technique is key. Helpful tips focusing on low light images, various HDR options, one-point and multi-point perspective versus elevation and isometric will be shared.

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

One lucky webinar guest will win a free Spyder4PRO!

REGISTRATION REQUIRED: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/268882242

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

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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