We’re slow to toot our own horn around here, mostly because we’re so busy with current projects. But I wanted to mention a new portfolio page on the site, even though we have been doing this for years: PHOTOGRAPHY.
We create iconic shots for our clients all the time. For instance, the image above is from Shakedown Mambo‘s CD packaging, which we designed (we also did their website!). The photo captures the energy of a recording session in progress perfectly, and feels like one of the iconic photos of 1970s jazz or rock bands.
We have also created one-of-a-kind architectural shots, like this one of the Los Angeles Maritime Museum. Multiple photographs from all hours of the day and night were composited to create this other-worldly image of their building. It’s a stunning image.
Event photography? Yes. Production shots for shows? Yes. Portraiture? Yes. Product photography? Of course. Check it all out on the photography portfolio pages. We will continue adding more photos to keep it fresh!
Shane Hurlbut mentions a new set of “camera styles” that Technicolor just released for the Canon DSLRs (specifically the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, but they mention that the camera styles will work on any of the current EOS cameras). These new picture styles allow the camera to more closely approximate the color and f-stop latitude of traditional film, allowing for more color-correction options in the post-production process.
These are not the first “custom” picture styles to come out; in fact, people have been playing around with (and distributing/sharing on the internet) various picture styles — SuperFlat, Marvel, Velvia, Genesis, and many more. What makes this one impressive is that it has the Technicolor name on it, and, apparently, has tons of Technicolor research behind it. So this picture style is a research-based, powerful tool for making a gorgeous picture on the Canon DSLR cameras.
But remember, adding a custom picture style like this is going to mean that the image coming out of the camera is not at all ready for prime time. These picture styles make your footage ready for post-production, not ready out-of-camera. You must take these in and do color-correction before they will begin to look like what you want. The Technicolor picture style only gives you the latitude to make some wonderful images in post-production.
Yesterday I attended a half-day session arranged by The Association on the Canon DSLR cameras. Snehal Patel led the workshop of twelve people. I think I was the only one who wasn’t working in Hollywood, and we had quite a few veteran members of the ASC there as well. The industry is changing significantly. From the tech and post side of it, I think I have an incredible grasp on the realities of shooting with these new DSLRs. Now I want to get better on the production side as well.
One interesting thing about the day was a discussion by the DPs in the room concerning the disappointing performance of the RED One camera in real-world situations. Specifically, the cost of the camera, with all of the bells and whistles, is much higher than everyone expects (still much lower than traditional cameras, but the hype doesn’t match with reality). Secondly, the processor is just not robust enough to handle low light well; in fact, during shoots, the RED consistently requires more lighting (which equals more time and more money spent) than traditional cameras — DPs were complaining that you had to stick light everywhere, even in shadows, to make sure something showed up in the footage. So I’m leaning much less towards the RED right now, and seriously getting closer to either the 5D or the 7D, which excels in low-light situations. (I’m interested to see how the new RED cameras fare, but I’m not interested in purchasing any of them, either.)
Another illuminating conversation was how the major studios are attempting to cut down on technical staff (DITs, digital managers) in an attempt to save money on set. It’s going to backfire, but I’ll talk about that in a later post.
Canon has taken the pain (or most of it, anyways) out of bringing footage into Final Cut Pro from their DSLR cameras with a new FCP plugin. The new plugin allows us to ingest footage directly into Apple’s ProRes 422 code, and adds timecode based on the camera’s date and time stamp (a workaround to actually having real timecode, but it’ll work for now).
This, along with the firmware update that was released recently, brings us closer to truly being able to use the Canon DSLRs in a professional environment, which is what I want to do. I’m considering skipping the 7D entirely and simply saving up for a 5D — which will fit my business much better than the 7D anyways.