I'm an advertising photographer/videographer based in Los Angeles, California. My mission is to create striking advertising photography, corporate photography and editorial photography of people for major advertising agencies, fortune 500 corporations and major magazines. I shoot photography and video assignments throughout California including Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego as well as the rest of the world. As a photo educator I am happy to share my unique vision and methods. I'm currently also teaching classes at Santa Monica College in video production for professional photographers and photography students.
The words I hear most often to describe the Pegasus dolly are versatility, creativity and fun. We all know that moving the camera gives a feeling of presence and higher production value. As a kit, it has what you need for many shooting solutions for the independent filmmaker.
The Elements Bundle is lightweight and easily handled by one person. The Pegasus is easy to set up either as a slider dolly or a tabletop dolly. The Pegasus dolly uses steel ball bearings that run smoothly along 15mm carbon rails making for a lightweight but sturdy slider. The design allows the unit to be inverted on the rails for overhead shots that can add a unique moving viewpoint to many subjects. Once you unhook the dolly from the track, it becomes a tabletop dolly that can perform both straight and curved dolly movements.
The kit includes an All Terrain foot system but can also be mounted using adapter plates using 1/4-20 and 3/8 (my favorite) threaded holes or 5/8 holes for lighting stands.
As a advertising and editorial photographer that shoots both in the studio using strobes and on location using the sun I am covered in UV. What I mean is that both light sources emit large amounts of UV. Since, I have been a professional photographer for over thirty years, I started my career shooting film. It was popular and useful to use a UV filter when shooting film. Film is sensitive to UV, digital sensors are not. So the possible carry over of using a UV filter is needless in this age of digital photography. So the answer is Not To UV.
This hold true for shooting digital video as well as digital still photography.
I’ve been working with the Sachtler Ace M Fluid Head with 2-Stage Aluminum Tripod over the last few months and want to share some observations about it. So, let’s start at the top ad work our way down. The Ace M is made of a lightweight carbon fiber composite material. The camera plate is nice and long so as to accommodate just about any camera you might want to use. There is an optional camera plate for DLSRs. The head has a payload of up to 8.8 lbs. Both the plate and the top of the head have scale marks so you can find the balance you like and by noting the position on the scales you are able to quickly reposition the camera to the same balance point. The plate is held in place by a tightening knob on the side of the head just ahead of the safety release for the plate.
As we move down the head, in the back, under the balance plate is a place to store 1/4” and 3/8” camera screws which is handy. Along the left side is the tilt lock and in the center is a large tilt dial making it easy to set the tension dial with three settings of drag and 0 for no drag. Next to the tilt tension dial is a smaller counter balance dial that has 0 to 5 steps of counterbalance for just about any camera system you would put on the head. It seems like I have to tilt the camera forward or back a bit after adjusting the setting to activate the tilt drag and counterbalance to the new setting. Below the tilt tension dial is the spirit level which is clear but is not illuminated which can make it hard to use in low light situations.
Moving on to the front of the head there is a locking knob for the pan and just below that is the large pan tension adjust dial with three settings plus 0. This is nice because no matter how you position the system you are able to quickly ajust the pan drag setting. I like the that the large dials for both the tilt and pan tension settings makes setting them easy. Quick mention about the Pan Bar which is only on the right side but is adjustable for angle and tilt.
The head is supported on a 75mm ball allowing for a tilt range of +90 degrees to -75 degrees. The ball fits into the 75mm bowl in the two 2-stage aluminum tripod with a mid-level spreader and with a foot spreader version available. I find the mid-level spreader easier to deal with and still gives me the rigidity I want. The legs are the split uppers with single sticks for the bottom two sections. The system tops out at 66.5” and folders down to 33.5”. The feet are a adjustable from soft rubber to spikes depending on the terrain.
Lee White working with Sachtler Ace M Fluid Head with 2-Stage Aluminum Tripod
Shooting with the Ace is a pleasure; the tension adjustment range is suitable for a variety of subjects. I found the pan and tilt to be smooth from beginning to end without the jump that sometimes happens at the beginning with some heads. Equally important there is no spring back when I stop the move. The head is solid so I did not have to worry about holding it in place for the couple of beats I usually like at the end of my moves. Check out the surfing shot I just did as an example. I used the Panasonic HMC 40 recording onto a Hoodman Raw STEEL SDHC card to capture the shot.
Cinematographer Gale Tattersall, DP of the TV show House, who was part of Canon’s Cine Expo EOS presentation on using the Canon 5D for the final episode, mentioned using Marshall Monitor for False Color. First, you should know what False Color is and how to use it.
Marshall Electronics describes their False Color Filter in the following way:
The False Color filter is used to aid in the setting of camera exposure. As the camera Iris is adjusted, elements of the image will change color based on the luminance or brightness values. This enables proper exposure to be achieved without the use of costly, complicated external test equipment. To best utilize this feature, you must understand the color chart and have a basic understanding of camera exposure. Normally, when shooting subjects like people, it is common practice to set exposure of faces to the equivalent of approximately 56 IRE. The False Color filter will show this area as the color PINK on the monitor. Therefore, as you increase exposure (open the IRIS), your subject will change color as indicated on the chart: PINK, then GREY, then a few shades of YELLOW. Overexposed subjects (above 101 IRE) on the monitor will be shown as RED. In addition, underexposed subjects will show as DEEP-BLUE to DARK-BLUE, with clipped-blacks indicated with a FUCHSIA-like color. Lastly, the color GREEN is used to indicate elements of the image that are approximately 45 IRE. This represents a “neutral” or “mid-level” exposure commonly used for objects (not people).
If you have come to any of my workshops, you have seen a practical demonstration of Marshall’s HDMI monitor’s False Color Filter in setting exposure. The latest Marshall 7 inch HDMI Monitor is the V-LCD70XP HDMI.
Surprisingly, Gale found Marshall’s False Color filter so useful that he seldom used his handheld meter while shooting with the 5D.
Any photographer learning video production would have been very interested in the Cine Gear Expo 2010 at Paramount Studios in Hollywood. One of the highlights was cinematographer Gale Tattersall, DP of the TV show House, part of Canon’s EOS presentation on using the Canon 5D for the final episode. I had a chance to chat with Gale for awhile privately before and after the presentation as well, so I was able to get a bit more information on his digital workflow.
Anyone who wants to see top work with a 5D Mark ll should watch the House finale episode. To keep everything I’m going to write about this in the right perspective, we must keep in mind that Gale is the DP for what I hear is the most watched TV show in the world. He has a team of experienced professionals working with him and the resources of a major network behind him. These are not unlimited resources, but they will do. Plus, he was concerned that he and his team only had three weeks of testing to refine the workflow before he started actually using the camera to shoot the episode.
Right off there was some concern about projecting the clips on a full size movie screen at the Expo. Banding is a problem when you start off with a highly compressed format like the H264 coming out of the 5D Mark ll. Everyone in the theater was impressed including Gale and moderator Tim Smith of Canon with how well the picture held up. Remember, they made sure they started with the picture style set at neutral, the exposure was right on (I’ll write about this more later) and the color balance was right where they wanted it. Plus, (and here is a big tip) a little film grain was added to smooth everything out.
Maria Piscopo recently interviewed me for Business Trends column in the May SHUTTERBUG MAGAZINE. I discussed how everyone is becoming more attuned to being fed their information with motion images. Marketers have caught on to this and are demanding video as part of more and more assignments.
Now that almost every business of any size has an online presence, there is a dramatic upswing of moving imaging content that photographers can tap into for increased sales. The imaging content can range from simple short clips to slick professional productions.
Weddings have been videoed for many years but now brides are being more familiar with the idea that the photographer can provide video and not have to go to the extra work of finding both a photographer and videographer.
There is more but I’ll let you read the article to find out the rest.
I will admit that the first few times I walked the various halls at NAB, I was both a little lost and overwhelmed. This, of course, was before the recent flood of equipment and software directed toward smaller more independent content makers, especially those using the procomsumer video cameras and HDSLRs. The majority of the show is still directed at large productions and facilities but there is more and more short form equipment and software showing up each year.
It is so big it takes multiple days to comfortably walk through and have a chance to see even a good portion of the show. Many of the booths have demos going so you want time to stop and see them. Often there are a variety of products at each booth and so you might have to go back at a later time to catch the demo you’re most interested in. All the booths have representatives that given time will go through personal demos and entertain your questions. I got to see the latest from Manfrotto, Litepanels, Panasonic, Zeiss, RedRock Micro, Smartsound, Sennheiser, Marshall Electronics, Hoodman, K-Tek, and LaCie. This year I saw a growth in small plug-in creators for Apple products.
There are also a variety of speakers and classes on just about anything to do with every aspect of video and broadcast. A few are free and interesting but most of these cost some type of conference fee.
If you look around a bit on the web, you can usually find a free pass to the exhibit halls and depending on your pocket book this might be the best way to first experience NAB. After a few times, there you’ll get up to speed and be in the know about the latest and greatest.
By the way, 3D is all the rage this year with booth after booth touting something involving 3D. It seems to be up in the air just when and if 3D will truly become widely accepted or remain a mostly theater experience but either way you heard it here first and partly that is what NAB is about; finding out about what might be the next great hit.
Tomorrow, February 11 New York gets to see the first of two video production events. Thursday evening I will outline what photographers should consider in planning, estimating, techniques and tools when producing videos. And, of course, I get to get away a Final Cut Studio $1000.00 value and Smartsound Sonicfire with royalty free music.
Saturday’s workshop, February 13, www.tiny.cc/nyfeb13 is where I can really get into what photographers need to know about pre-production, production and post-production. We get to talk about video, do some lighting and shooting and then get into the editing of what we just shot.
Now that I have introduced myself, let me talk a little about some of the topics I plan to cover in this blog. The two major areas of discussion will be photography and video. I have long felt these two areas would merge and years ago started talking to clients about adding video to photo shoots.
And although there is much talk about the video capabilities of the new DSLR’s like the Canon 5D Mark ll which is a remarkable camera, photographers have been able to make reasonably good quality videos with the high resolution video setting on the older Canon G9 and even better with the new Canon G10. I love to have one of these point and shoot cameras with me at all times to catch those unexpected opportunities. Yet even with these advances the various digital still cameras leave much to be desired compared to an equally priced video camera for video especially in the area of exposure controls and audio. So I’ll be chatting about those issues and how to overcome them..
When possible while talking about equipment and techniques, I will discuss how they apply to both photography and video. I will share what tips I have and refer to others who I have learned useful bits from as well.
At times, I will venture into the areas of philosophies, news, experiences and just plain thoughts on photography, video, running a business and being an image maker. I think why we do something is often more important then exactly how we do it. A quick example of this might be photographing filled out model and property releases before starting a shoot. As long as they are in focus and well exposed it doesn’t matter how you photography them. The whys are more important. First ,it reminds you to get them done. Second, you have a duplicate copy immediately. Third, you have a digital copy along with the images. Fourth, you have a digital copy that is easy to deliver with the images either on disk or FTP.
This is not to say I will not share exactly how I do certain techniques. When possible, I will include pictures or video showing my methods.
Please send your comments (I have comment spam filters so it might take a little while for your comment to get through) and link to anything you like on this blog.
Welcome to my blog. I have been a professional photographer for over twenty years. I have created images for advertising, editorial and corporate use for clients across the United States and around the world. Narrative video has been an important part of my work during the last five years.
There have been moments of personal inspiration when I knew what to create and just how to create it. Other times I have been inspired by others, always appreciative of what I could learn from their creativity and craft. I hope to share some of my personal insights and pass along information I think important from others.
One of my greatest joys and an incredible learning experience comes from instructing photography classes and seminars. Preparing for them often makes me think about how I might improve my creative workflow. It makes me constantly update my thinking and look to others for the latest approaches.
I will be giving information on a wide variety of photography and video issues.
☞☛Mt. SAC, Walnut, CA Two-day workshop April 19-20, 2013
First day lecture and demo second day shooting and editing
New Jersey, Unique Photo, Video seminar and workshop
Sept 16 and 18 see blog and http://university.uniquephoto.com/e/
Continuing - Photo29 "Video Production for Still Photographers" at Santa Monica College. A class in video production for professional photographers and photography students. http://www.smc.edu/schedules/2011/fall/default.htm
Just past - Atlanta, Showcase Photo & Video, Video seminar and Workshop
August 26 and 27 see blog and
Portland, Pro Photo Supply, Video seminar and workshop
June 10 and 11 see blog and
Just past - Sennheiser sound capture event at Santa Monica College May 3 see blog http://www.leewhitephotography.com/blog/?p=825
Past - Panel discussion for Brooks, Institute of Photography.