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 teaching classes at College of the Canyons in video production for professional photographers and photography students. I give workshops, seminars and lectures on short form video production at colleges, organizations and conferences around the world.

.THM Is Important For HDSLR Editing

Posted: January 4th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Canon, Canon 7d, Final Cut Studio, Hoodman | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

While Final Cut Pro will edit the H.264 files created by the Canon 5D or 7D, it will be slow and probably not frame precise.  A much better solution is either bringing the files in through Compressor or using the free Log & Transfer plug-in from Canon.  It is important not to strip away the .THM files if you plan on using the the plug-in.  In fact, the plug-in requires the DCIM folder to stay intact.  I suggest you copy the card on to your drive and backup drive and simply use a naming system to change only the master folder name.  The Hoodman RAW firewire card reader will help speed up the process, see side panel for link.

Once you have the original master folders safe, you can proceed to convert the files into the ProRes format of your choosing.  Most think any of the ProRes versions above standard ProRes does not gain anything in quality.

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What’s Your Codec?

Posted: October 8th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Canon, Canon 7d, Education, Final Cut Studio, video production, Workflow | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

When I first heard Codec I thought the person was saying Kodak and I thought how quaint, they were making some reference to the old cameras.  Well, there is a lot of emphasis placed on different codecs in video and you should know why.  First, the idea of a codec is nothing new to digital photographers, we just don’t usually refer to them as codec but rather formats.  Codec is really short for code/decode or compression/decompression scheme. We have them in still photography as Tiff, Jpg and so on.  In video common ones that photographers run into is H264 coming out of the Canon cameras like the 5D, 7D and T2 which are commonly transcoded into one of the many variations of Apple ProRes.

As photographers, we are all aware that some types of coding will change and adjust the amount of data the represents an image.  If we code a Tiff into a Jpg we are throwing away some data to make the file smaller and quicker to open, in video, it kind of goes both ways.  You still code from a more data filled format like ProRes into a more compressed format like H264 to make a smaller and easier to open video file for web browsers.  But and this is a big but it doesn’t work the same for editing in video.  With the present speed of computers it is hard to edit accurately in the highly compressed H264 at 30:1 because it takes so much processing power to decode (decompress) each of the 24, 30 maybe even 60 frames a second in video that the computer falls behind and skips frames in an attempt to keep up.  If your computer is skipping frames you cannot edit precisely very easily.

While it might be counter intuitive, it is easier to edit if you transcode the video file into at larger data format like ProRes than using a highly compressed H264 30:1 format.  With the ProRes codec the video plays smoother than h264 and allows easier frame by frame edit decisions.  There are endless discussions as to the different codecs to transcode into and which version of each codec to use.  In ProRes, transcoding into anything more than the ProRes LT or regular for  H.264 30:1 from the Canon cameras is generally thought of as a waste.  Those codecs seem to catch all the information that can be used from the more compressed H.264 without creating excessive made up data.

There is more to this including color space of different codec and transcoding applications, which I will get to in later blog entries.

Until then, did you hear the one about the editor who walks up to a woman in a bar and says, “What is your Codec?”  She turns to him  and says …

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5d with 44.1 kHz vs. 7d with 48 kHz sound? What’s the problem?

Posted: January 20th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Apple, Canon, Canon 7d, video, Workflow | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

First, what is being referred to is the sample rate or how many times a second sound is being measured. Without getting too deep into the science behind sound,  to have good sound it should be sampled at  least at 40 kHz to capture the higher frequencies.  So the 5d with its 44.1 kHz is sampling at a rate that is high enough to capture the higher frequencies and is considered CD quality often used for music.  Digital video cameras generally use 48 kHz to capture sound, as does the 7d, which is considered one of the professional sample rates.
A warning here is that some DV cameras that offer four tracks of 32 kHz which can lead to compromised sound quality.
To convert  5d’s 44.1 kHz sound to the  DV standard of 48 kHz is easy to do.  You will actually do it when  converting  the 5d H264 files to a more friendly format for FCP editing like one of the Apple ProRes422 formats.  If you are using Compressor from the Final Cut Studio suite, simply make sure to go to the inspector panel and select sound settings.  The settings should be the following:  Format: Linear PCM, Channels Stereo (L,R), Rate: 48,000 kHz, Render Settings: Quality Best, Linear PCM Sample size 16 bit.  This will bring the audio up to the correct sample rate without distorting the sound.

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First production Canon 7d in the US

Posted: September 29th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Canon, Canon 7d, video | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Having one of the first production Canon 7d DSLRs in the US I have to think of what glass I want to put on it. Photographers love their glass, they love the rainbow colors reflecting off the multicoating, the image snapping into focus and the silky smooth feel of a fine rotating focus barrel. Up until now, photographers have had to live with the manufacturers line of lenses which are often very good especially the high end models or after market brands of varying quality with an occasional standout. Now there is a growing line of very high quality lenses that are especially well-suited to the latest DSLRs with video capabilities.

Still photographers now have access to a line of extraordinary Zeiss prime lenses much like feature filmmakers have been able to use for years. (Lenses that are still compatible with many of the electric functions of the camera but that have been set up to have an exquisitely long manual focus pull that make manual follow focus and track focus much easier.) The very wide prime aperture, along with its nine blades, ensure that the effects of the out-of-focus areas of the picture have an attractively balanced “bokeh” so highly prized by cinematographers.

Zeiss has already created a line of Nikon mount lenses and is starting to fill out the Canon mount lens line of a Planar T 1.4/50mm and Planar T 1.4/85mm with the just announced Distagon T 2.8/21mm and more to come. For more information on Carl Zeiss SLR Lenses go to www.zeiss.com/photo.

I have already decided on my first tandem still/video production with a friend’s classic bright red convertible Corvette and a romantic couple along the beautiful California coast.

Zeiss Distagon f2.8 21mm lens for Canon cameras

Zeiss Distagon f2.8 21mm lens for Canon cameras

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7d, Canon's Latest Entry in the DSLR Video Race

Posted: September 1st, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Canon, Education, video, Workflow | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

Canon 7D DSLR camera with HD video of interest to advertising photographers.  I’m looking forward to testing the 7d to see how it might work for the videos I do for my clients.   Sept. 1, 2009 2:30 A.M. PST breaking news for those thinking about adding video to their photography and just using one camera for both.  Just announced in Sweden a few hours ago was Canon’s 7D with expanded video capablities. In light of the Collision Conference that just happened in Los Angeles this last weekend and the stir created by the video REVERIE created on the 5D Mark II, a new addition to Canon’s DSLR line with video is welcome.  The 7D is a less expensive camera than the 5D Mark II using a smaller CMOS chip of 22.3mm x 14.9mm rather than the full frame chip of 36mm x 24mm which give the 7D a magnification factor of 1.6x.  It is set to be a 18 megapixel still camera using dual Digic 4 image proscessors that also shoots the two HD formats of 1920 x 1080p and 1280 x 720p.  The ISO range is 100 to 6400 like the 5D but tops out at 12,800 expanded unlike the 5D’s expanded reaching 25,600. It has continous raw shooting speed is fast at  8 FPS for 15 frames compared to the 5D at just under 4 FPS.  The autofocus has 19 points instead of 9 points for the 5D.

For video, the long hoped for 24FPS (23.976) is here along with 25FPS and 30FPS (29.97) in 1080p with 720p being restricted to 50 or 60FPS.   The smaller chip means a depth of field much like that of the 35mm motion picture cameras as they both have about the same size image area.  The Canon 7D has an interesting choice of 60FPS for the 720p which helps with fast action, crisper freeze frames and smoother slow motion.  It will be interesting to follow the testing of this camera to see how it might best fit into a photographer’s workflow.  Canon reportly plans on shipping late September.  For more details on this camera visit Canon’s website.

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Professional Photography and Video Merge into Hybrid

Posted: August 31st, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Canon, Education, video | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

As a professional advertising photographer in Los Angeles, video production was a craft that has been around me daily. I photographed the print side of commercials and shot specials on set working closely with the crew. Then almost a decade ago, I saw the desirability of shooting video to extend my creative range and supply clients with more creative services along with my photography. I first shot in standard definition and now shoot in high definition with incredible tools such as the very cinematic Canon 5d Mark II. As the internet was starting to become fast enough to play clips and cable had a growing need for material, my clients have increasingly asked for video shot with my “photographer’s eye”.

I have taken my skills in lighting, composition and mise-en-scene and applied them to the continuous narrative that is video. I first sought out video editors to learn what was needed to join clips together to tell a flowing story. If you know where you want to end up, it is much easier to get there. As I learned editing, it allowed me to understand what needs to be shot and how it needs to edit together. From there it has been practice, shooting for clients and watching the trends in films, commercials and on the web. It has come to a point where I teach a college course for professional photographers who want to learn video.

I’m using a Canon 5d Mark II on a rig by Redrock Mirco. Photo by the well known retoucher Dennis Dunbar.

Lee White using Canon 5d in video mode with Redrock Micro gear.

Lee White using Canon 5d in video mode with Redrock Micro gear.

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Photography of healthy lifestyles

Posted: May 20th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Canon, Green, photo lighting | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

As a California photographer, I have great weather for healthy lifestyle images all year round.  I especially love the summer months for surf and turf images when I get either rich blue skies or dramatic cloud filled backgrounds.

California surfer showing healthy lifestyle

California surfer showing healthy lifestyle

Combining great locations with my lighting style allows for some stunning advertising or editorial photography.  Casting of models and/or locations is easy for California photographers and clients in the place where the healthy lifestyle trend was started.  Being on the west coast means wide sandy beaches, vast deserts and majestic mountains for striking images.

Corporate imaging here is great too!  New facilities in open green areas are ideal for portraying the new face of greener corporations.

Photo hint:  Even when shooting at golden hour be ready to use supplemental lighting techniques like strobes or reflectors.  You might find the perfect shot is towards the sun which can add real life to an image as well as extra depth.  Photography is a craft.  Photographed with Canon camera and strobe.

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NAB inspires with new ideas, techniques and equipment.

Posted: May 2nd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Canon, Education, photo lighting, Workflow | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Los Angeles photographers have the NAB convention to help keep them up-to-date. Commercial photographers like me often do advertising photography with the flavor of photojournalism to make location photography seem more real including my video work. The new video equipment I saw at NAB will help with that. When I do editorial photography, I often get to do video interviews and some of the new equipment will help with that was well.

Los Angeles photographer dramatic night portraiture

Los Angeles photographer dramatic night portraiture with Canon 5D

I had some very productive chats with the following representatives and want to thank them for all their information. In chronological order Peter of Lectronics, Fred at Audio Technica, Red of Photoflex, Joey of Mathhews Studio Equipment, Greg at JVC, Douglas at Shure, Ulrich Goetze of California Sunbounce, Mike of Marshall Electronics, Bernie of Panasonic, and Jennifer of dedoweightfilm.de.

California photographers are lucky to have so many resources locally. I have been shooting video for over seven years and there is more demand for it than ever.

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Los Angeles commercial photographer Lee White involvement with ESL teacher conference in California.

Posted: April 19th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Canon, Education | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Advertising, editorial, and corporate photography is the main stay of my Los Angeles advertising photography studio’s work. Since many of my assignments as a corporate and magazine photographer include a video interview, it was natural I would be asked to help out at Ventura College and Santa Barbara City College during video projects. Being involved with photography education, I always feel privileged to assist other educators.

ESL teacher Kari Tudman presenting at CATESOL conference

ESL teacher Kari Tudman presenting at CATESOL conference

Los Angeles advertising photographer Lee White presenting at CATESOL conference.

Los Angeles advertising photographer Lee White presenting at CATESOL conference.

The CATESOL presentation was given by the well-known ESL teacher, Kari Tudman who used producing a video in class as a classroom community building project. During the class project, I assisted Kari and the students with technical advice and a second camera when needed. Kari and the students did the bulk of the work themselves and a good job at that. The two videos turned out very funny and the students really enjoyed working together. I then did a slight reedit, grading and sweetening of the projects at my Los Angeles photography studio to prepare the two videos for presentation in a large conference room. I also helped out at the presentation to make sure there were no technical problems and answer a few questions.

Photography hints: With over fifteen years of experience in photography education, I find I have benefited as much as I have contributed to any class. Take the opportunity to share your knowledge and give to your community.

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Video class for photographers starting very soon.

Posted: April 4th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Canon, Education, Lighting, video, Workflow | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Ready to expand from still photography to HD video? Before you take the plunge, sign up for a highly informative class at Santa Monica College designed to take the photographer through all the steps of preproduction, production and postproduction while building on the skills he already has given by Los Angeles advertising photographer Lee White. By the end of the class, an experienced photographer should be able to start producing short form videos.

The class will cover DSLRs with HD video capabilities as well as traditional video cameras , workflow, treatments, estimating, planning, digital formats, camera techniques, lighting equipment and techniques, sound equipment and techniques, narrative techniques, editing with Final Cut Pro and output. At the first class, equipment from Canon, Panasonic, Redrockmicro, Marshall monitors, and Bogen are scheduled for discussion and viewing.

Photographers are particularly well place to learn the video skills that will add value to their services and a new creative outlet.

You need to act fast as there is limited enrollment contact lee@leewhitephoto.com

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