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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Review, Adorama Flashpoint 180 – Portable Flash Unit

I have a new portable flash unit in-house for testing. It is the Flashpoint 180 – a highly portable, lightweight unit that produces up to 180 watt/seconds of output. It comes complete with portable battery pack and charger, a diffuser dome, a reflector, a shoot-through white umbrella, a brief instruction manual, and a carrying case.

180 1

According to the manufacturer’s specs, it is capable of up to 700 flashes at full power. Flash duration ranges from 1/400 to 1/1100 of a second, depending on power output selected. Specifications state that color temperature is 5500k +/- 200k, which is reasonable.

The battery pack consists of two Sony rechargeable units housed in a plastic case; these are removed and charged via external charger. The manufacturer provides two charging units. Good news is that 700 shots should get you through a full day’s shooting. If you are shooting consistently outdoors in bright light or direct sun, depending on your needs you may want to get two of these, one of the 180 model, and another of the 400 model, using one for key lighting and the other for fill or add-on.

Overall, this is a lightweight unit, favoring portability over bullet-proof construction. The controls are sturdy and well made, and should hold up over time. Most of the flash body is aluminum, and a diffuser dome does double duty protecting the flash tube and LED-based modeling light. This is definitely not water-proof, so I would take care outdoors in mist or rain.

180 2

Power output is controlled via a stepless rotating knob, providing about 5-stops range. A slave sensor is also provided, along with an on/off switch for a triggering audio signal.

An LED modeling light is provided, but it’s anemic at best. Not too surprising, as many people will leave it turned on throughout a shoot, and that will drain batteries quickly.

Adorama also provides a short padded handle which can be inserted into the mounting socket – it’s easy to carry the unit around in the field – you would just clip the battery pack to your belt or carry it in your off hand.

Like any other studio flash unit, time to recycle depends on power output selected. This ranges from 1-5 seconds; not surprising at all on a battery-powered unit supplied by a lower-voltage power pack.

I also like that the unit is Bowens-compatible. As I own some Bowens gear, that’s a big plus in my book. I can use their light modifiers on this flash unit, for example.

Overall, a good, lightweight unit, highly portable and suited for use in the studio or just about anywhere you want to go.

Link to the Adorama page: http://www.adorama.com/FPBPLB.html

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!

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

Fuji X-E1 review by David Saffir, published in Photo Technique Magazine

Full text of the review I wrote published on Photo Technique web site: http://phototechmag.com/the-fuji-x-e1-print-sized-photo-powerhouse/

From the E-X1

From the E-X1

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

Selective Color Adjustment in Adobe Photoshop

This is the full text of an article that was recently published in Photo Technique magazine, PhotoTechMag.com. (there may be some minor differences in the text)
______________________________________________

Selective Color Adjustment in Adobe Photoshop, by David Saffir

There are quite a few ways you can edit color in Photoshop, even down to the colors of leaves on a tree. The advantages? You can target specific parts of an image for a simple color boost, change the color completely, add a color tint or color cast, improve dimensionality and more. I define selective color adjustment to also include selective color replacement.

I encourage the use of Photoshop, because many of these techniques can be applied to a new layer, or an adjustment layer, or a series of layers. This gives you maximum flexibility in editing although it can sometimes increase file size. I’ll review several methods I use, but keep in mind that there are also many more color adjustment options in Photoshop.

Figure 1 (iStockphoto)

Figure 1 (iStockphoto)

Some of the tools in Photoshop require working knowledge of the color wheel. Figure 1 is a modestly stylized version of a color wheel.

Note that that color blue is opposite yellow, red opposite cyan, and green opposite magenta. If an image has a blue color cast, adding an appropriate amount of yellow can balance the image and give a more neutral appearance. Adding even more yellow would result in a yellow color cast, or “warmer” appearance.

Color Balance Adjustment Layer

The Color Balance adjustment layer is a powerful tool: you can activate this from the Layers Panel, or go Layers>Adjustment Layer>Color Balance. Note the “warm tone” in this image. (I think of the Color Balance panel as a selective color adjustment, because you can balance the image using the color wheel as a guide, and also work selectively among highlights, shadows, and midtones).

Figure 2

Figure 2

I suggest that you work in small steps. For example, add a small amount of blue in the highlights, then switch to midtones, and repeat the cycle until the image is pleasing. Figure 2 is the ‘before’ photograph. In Figure 3 I’ve “added” blue to the image in the highlights and midtones, pushing it toward a more neutral appearance. In this case, I’ve added a bit more blue than necessary just so you can see the effect on this printed page.

Figure 3

Figure 3

Selective Color Adjustment Layer

This option offers a wide range of combinations. First, the panel offers a drop-down menu that contains six main colors that can be adjusted: red, yellow, green, cyan, blue and magenta. (Familiar, aren’t they? These are primary points on the color wheel). It also offers adjustments for white, neutral and black. Figure 4 is the ‘before’ photograph.

Figure 4

Figure 4

In a way, this panel is a “cousin” to the Color Balance tool set. It offers much more flexibility, however—examine the example in Figure 3—we have the option of increasing or decreasing the amount of cyan, magenta, yellow, or black in any of the choices offered in the drop down menu. In this case, (Figure 5) if we select red and increase cyan, its opposite on the color wheel, the reds become subdued. Small steps are best.

Figure 5

Figure 5

You may find it necessary to combine adjustments and/or corrections to get the look and feel you want. If you change the layer blending mode to “color” you can create multiple adjustment layers, and stack them for cumulative effect.

Replace Color

This is one of my favorite tools in Photoshop, particularly when editing landscape or still life images. It is frequently used by photo retouchers to change hue and saturation in commercial photography—and it can be adapted to use in landscape and scenic photography to add depth, dimensionality and tone separation to an image.

Here’s an image (Figure 6) that I took near the California Poppy Reserve some time ago. Basic adjustments, such as levels and curves have been completed. Partially overcast conditions make colors on the ground looks a bit subdued, and a little flat.

Figure 6

Figure 6

Next, we’re going to open the Replace Color panel (Image>Adjustments>Replace Color). At the top of the panel, enable “Local Color Clusters”. This will improve your control of any changes, in many cases limiting those changes to a patch of color, or a patch and its neighbors.

Next, use the left hand eyedropper to select a color area. In this case, (Figure 7) I’ve selected the yellow patch in the distance, on the left hand side near the horizon. I’ve also pushed the Fuzziness slider to the right, to include some of the colors in the grass. (Note that I’ve enabled Selection view in the panel, which provide a black/white view similar to the Threshold tool—the white areas show the selection quite clearly. You can use the +dropper tool to select additional areas—but take care to limit your selections to colors that are close to your original choice).

Figure 7

Figure 7

I then increase the saturation in the selected area. Note the change in the yellow areas of the photograph, Figure 8.

Figure 8

Figure 8

If you want to use a different color, you can move the Hue slider to the right or left. Keep in mind that this adjustment is very intense and challenging to control. I prefer to use the Color Picker, which can be accessed by double clicking on the color square just to the right of the Hue slider. You can select almost any color via mouse click, or by typing in the RGB or HSB numbers for a color (Figure 9). The Lightness slider can also be useful—particularly if you’ve increased saturation in an area, and it’s looking a bit too prominent. You can pull the Lightness slider to the left just a touch to subdue it.

Figure 9

Figure 9

You can continue this process of selected color modification in targeted areas. Note the changes in the grass and flowers on the left side of the image—and now, off in the distance, you can see a stronger hint of the orange color of the poppies in bloom. (In Figure 9, I’ve exaggerated the effect a bit to improve visibility on the printed page).

Final image - all images © David Saffir 2010

Final image – all images © David Saffir 2010

It takes a light touch to get well-controlled and realistic results. Color intensity, dimensionality and tonal separation can be improved. Practice is the key to success—and of course, take full advantage of multiple layers to mix and match and create your final image.

Another Pic From Route 66

Gas Station on Route 66

Gas Station on Route 66