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February 27th, 2014

Sponsored Post: A Look at the Qualities of Light

The understanding of light is the most fundamental skill in cinematography. Watch and learn about the two basic types of light used in filmmaking and photography; hard and soft. Let’s break down these concepts and show you how to harness their power to improve your lighting.

 

Film Lighting Tutorial: Qualities of Light from Zacuto on Vimeo.

 

Hard light is a direct, often single, light source that hits its subject at a specific angle. The sun is a hard light, as is the flash on your camera.  This hard light creates bright spots of light on the subject with little to no gradation and a distinct, sharp shadow.  In the late 1800s and very early 1900s, filmmakers relied almost entirely on the hard light of the sun for lighting, along with real life practicals like street lamps or open flame. (Photographers were already exploring other options at this time, but for some reason no one asked them!) Movies were mainly shot outside or in studios made with glass roofs so sunlight could stream down upon the actors. Thomas Edison designed a special stage for the Black Maria studio that rotated, so it was at the right angle under the glass roof to catch the sun’s rays, no matter the time of day.

 

Thomas Edison's rotating Black Maria studio.

Thomas Edison’s rotating Black Maria studio.

 

Hard light is often described as harsh and severe (and maybe that’s the look you’re going for) but it can also be dramatic and seductive. Both classic and modern day filmmakers use the clean distinction between light and shadow offered by hard light to tell their story in the most ingenious of ways. Martin Scorsese’s earlier films, like The Godfather and Apocalypse Now, use hard light to great effect, using the sharp contrast between light and shadow to mirror the dark and light within the hearts of his lead characters.  The classic deep shadows and rich texture of Film Noir also come from a clever manipulation of hard light. The final scenes of George Clooney’s 2011 Ides of March are a textbook example of how hard light can be used as a dramatic tool.

 

Example of hard light. Publicity still for Ides of March, 2011.

Example of hard light. Publicity still for Ides of March, 2011.

 

Soft light wasn’t really used until the 1910’s when a sneaky filmmaker finally got the gumption to raid a photographer’s workshop and grabbed a diffuser. A diffuser is simply something that spreads or scatters and softens light. The first diffusers were most likely sheets of thin fabric hung over or in front of hard lights that broke up the direct beam creating a warmer, softer light that wraps around its subject. While the very fancy, official hanging sheets can be and are still used today, diffusers come in all shapes and sizes. Diffusers designed to attach to small camera mounted lights (as opposed to hung studio lights) are often made from curved, graduated or stippled glass or plastic. These curves diffuse the light creating a warm almost glowing look with a soft, graduated shadow. Some lights and bulbs are created specifically to give out a soft light or wash, like Fresnels, and as such are made with curves, graduation and stippling. Woody Allen is often noted for using mainly soft light. This gives his films a soft, romantic look, maybe a little hazy a times which fits the voice of his characters and films.

Most filmmakers use a mixture of hard and soft light to create a natural look that draws the viewer’s eye wherever the director wants it to be. There are, of course, notable exceptions and instances of hard light being used for dramatic effect, and then there’s the “classic” slightly terrifying sitcom where multiple cameras shoot simultaneously requiring an allover soft light with practically no shadows. What, no shadows?  Yes, it’s true. Peter Pan be damned!

We hope this overview has inspired you to look at hard and soft light as tools in your filmmaking tool kit. To learn more about light and shadow see Zacuto’s Emmy award winning film of the same name Light & Shadow and visit www.zacuto.com to see more original programming.

 

Peter-Pan

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ZACUTO, located in Chicago, IL, is known for their “Made in the USA” brand of high quality, originally designed camera accessories. Zacuto Films produces original programming with EMMY’s won in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 (Midwest region) Follow @Zacuto on Twitter.

November 25th, 2013

Sponsored Post: Interactive Portrait Studio Featuring Celebrity Photographer Mark Mann

Leica-Mark-Mann-Basel

Leica invites Art Basel attendees to be part of a living art exhibition on Thursday, December 5th. Celebrity photographer Mark Mann will be taking portraits of participants using the Leica S from 10am-4pm at Trendy Studios. The on-site printing of each image is supported by Image Pro International and print specialists Gady Alroy, of Art Media Studios, and Sean Black. The portraits will be printed on Hanhemühle FineArt photographic paper and displayed outdoors across the entire Trendy Studio space to create a living street art exhibit that will be in constant transformation as each new image is added. The exhibit will remain hanging for the duration of Art Basel, capturing a unique moment in time at this year’s Art Basel. All attendees who pose for a portrait will be given digital copies.

To sign-up please select an available window of time. Portraits will be shot on a first come first serve basis so in order to help us accomodate all guests please arrive during your designated time slot. Guests are invited to hang out and enjoy the event before and after their portraits have been shot.

*All guests posing for their portrait will be required to sign a model release.*

We look forward to seeing you there!

September 12th, 2013

Sponsored Post: Guide to Breaking into Video

whitepage-cover-350Still photographers know that keeping pace with the times today includes capturing motion. Brought to you by WPPI, Rangefinder, PDN, PhotoPlus Expo and Panasonic Lumix G, this collection of information-packed articles offers readers both education on technique and excellent recommendations for gear. Topics range from shooting hybrid photography, to marketing and promotion, to how creatives hire photographers for video assignments.

In “Hybrid Hero” from Panasonic, Suzette Allen, a long-time portrait photographer discusses how hybrid photography has allowed her to transition into an exciting new phase of her career—using the Panasonic Lumix G, she merges still and video into hybrid e-cards and film clips incorporating stills, creating innovative products for clients never possible before. Then for filmmaking basics and other essential expert insights, don’t miss “Video Lighting Tips from Gaffers and Grips,” “Demystifying DSLR Audio,” “Interviewing 101,” “How Collaboration Can Produce Better Video,” and before purchasing any equipment, “Products You Need to Add HD Video to Your Business.

Download “A Guide to Breaking into Video” free of charge at http://bit.ly/12DK8rR and begin building your filmmaking skills today.

Changing_Photography_black

October 23rd, 2012

FotoDC Presents the 5th Anniversary FotoWeekDC Festival – November 9-18, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

What began in 2008 as a week-long local photography festival has grown into a year-long, international commitment to the medium. While the venues, categories, and events offerings have evolved with each year, dedication to the FotoDC/FotoWeekDC missionremains constant: to provide exposure for photographers and make diverse, high-quality photography accessible through exhibitions and collaborations.

Now in its fifth year, the 2012 FotoWeek DC Festival features a new platform of events, exhibits, partnerships, and learning opportunities all over the city. FotoWeek Central, homebase for all things FotoWeek DC, comprises 40,000 square-feet of exhibit space in our nation’s capital and will host the Benefit Launch Party, the FotoWeek Central Lecture Series, the FotoBooks exhibit, and more than ten full-scale exhibits by the 2012 International Awards Competition finalists, Uncover/Discover 2012 winners, Photo Philanthropy, Flak Photo, and Reporters Without Borders/Magnum Photo Agency, just to name a few. Festival passes cost just $5 and offer unlimited entry to FotoWeek Central (tickets at the door will cost $7).

The Goethe-Institut will be the home to the Portfolio Reviews, a festival mainstay, FotoWeek EDU, a new series of seminars, and the winners of the FotoBook competition.  Portfolio reviews offer the opportunity for photographers of all levels to receive critical feedback and insight on their best work from experienced professionals during a 25-minute session. Registration costs $75/session and is now open – take a look at the reviewer bios and select the best match for your own style and photographic goals.FotoWeek EDU Seminars bring industry experts and photography leaders to share their knowledge, techniques, and unique approaches in the areas of photojournalism, storytelling, presentation, self-publishing, marketing, and more. Tickets for each session cost $165 and include access to evening meet-and-greet cocktail receptions that follow each seminar. Then, it’s a wrap! Review and unwind at the Closing Party on Saturday, November 17, held at the former Spanish Ambassador’s Residence, and toast the close of another successful festival.

Want to come to FotoWeekDC from out of town? No problem! FotoDC’s new partnership with Destination DC, the official tourism corporation for Washington, DC, includes hotel packages starting at $94.99 per night for the duration of FotoWeekDC (November 9-18, 2012). The ten participating hotels gift each room occupant with an extra incentive to explore the city: a $10 Metro SmarTrip card. Participating hotels include: Comfort Inn and Suites near Union Station, Helix, a Kimpton Hotel, The Dupont Circle Hotel, and The St. Regis Washington, D.C., and more. Please visit FotoWeekDC.org for more information.

Stay tuned for more information on FotoWeek By Night and even more events and programs as they are finalized and added to the new-and-improved festival calendar.

 (Sponsored Post)

October 3rd, 2012

Brazilian Artist and Two New Yorkers Transform New York City

(Sponsored Post)

Bel Borba Aqui New York (BBANY) is a multi-facetted visual art project by Bel Borba, Burt Sun and André Costantini. It was conceived after André and Burt completed a feature length documentary entitled “Bel Borba Aqui”, on Brazilian artist Bel Borba (which opens at the Film Forum in NYC on October 3rd.) BBANY overlaps the theatrical release of the film in addition to creating live street art and a new short film posted every day for 30 days. Where “Bel Borba Aqui”, the feature film, was filmed entirely in his hometown, Salvador, Bahia, BBANY seeks to bring Bel’s transformative artistic interventions to New York City.

It seems that sometimes the lines between art and life become blurred. What started as a journey documenting art became the art itself. So it was appropriate that the 30 days of street art is presented with support of the Crossing the Line Art Festival part of the French Institute Alliance Francaise (FIAF).

Bel Borba Aqui New York can be broken down into the following components. ”Diario Baiano” (The Diary of a man from Bahia region of Brazil) is a challenge to create art for 30 days on the streets of the 5 boroughs of NYC from September 14th to October 13th. While Bel creates installations and ephemeral art using mostly recycled materials, Burt and André document his actions using D-SLR’s taking advantage of both still and video capabilities. Because the art is temporary, the short films ultimately become the tangible art piece. Every day after shooting, André edits the film which is uploaded and viewable at http://diariobaiano.wordpress.com/ Then on Sunday October 14 many of the sculptural artworks created from recycled water barriers will be installed in Times Square by Father Duffy Square for a public showing for a 24 hour period.

Also in Times Square, for the entire month of October, as part of the “Times Square Moment: A Digital Gallery” will be the first film ever created specifically for the Times Square Art Alliance by Bel, Burt and André and is entitled “Universal Pulse.” The collaboration depicts visual transformations on the NYC landscape evoking at once a sense of present and nostalgia. It will simultaneously occupy 16 Jumbotron screens around the square and can be viewed once a day from 11:57pm to midnight.

August 27th, 2012

Studio Lighting Made in Germany – For Almost 65 Years Multiblitz® Creates Studio Lighting Equipment for Professional Photography.

Sponsored Post

Multiblitz®, the German manufacturer with the longest tradition in developing studio lighting for professional photographers around the world, brings German-engineered state-of-the-art lighting equipment to the US.

Named after Harold G. Edgerton’s famous multi-flash exposures in 1949, Multiblitz pioneered the development of the first electronic flash unit in continental Europe in the late 1940s. At Photokina 1976, Multiblitz forever changed the photography world, by introducing the industry’s first compact monolight, the Ministudio 202. It was the first compact studio flash that could be easily stored in a case, including tripods and umbrellas – the first studio lighting kit was born. Since then, Multiblitz was accountable for many innovative products that were well ahead of their time, culminating in the TIPA Award winning flash system Profilux Plus in 2010.

The Multiblitz Profilux monolights are designed for the ambitious amateur/emerging professional. Available in 250 & 500 Ws versions, both models feature 5 f-stops – adjustable in 1/10th increments. The battery operable Profilux Plus monolight targets the professional photographer with more energy output and shorter flash durations. It is available in 200, 400, and 800 Ws versions with 7 and 8 f-stops respectively (800 Ws model), also adjustable in 1/10th increments. The multi-voltage Profilux Plus units can be powered with Multiblitz Propac battery packs, delivering up to 3200 on-location flashes at maximum output. All flash units are fan-cooled, automatically dissipate flash energy, and covered under a 3-year manufacturer warranty.

Propac Battery Pack w/Trolley

Multiblitz manufactures at the company’s headquarters in Cologne, Germany. Here, a 55,000 sq ft facility houses the entire production cycle. From conceiving an idea, designing and engineering the product, to finally manufacturing studio lighting equipment. With over 60 years of experience in developing premium studio lighting, Multiblitz is the most experienced manufacturer for photographic lighting equipment.

“Our products are an alternative to over-priced brands or cheap imports from Asia.” said Veit Wulms, president of Multiblitz USA. “We give amateurs and professionals the opportunity to experience German-made, premium quality studio lighting at a reasonable price. Here in America, Multiblitz products are sold directly at our online store. With this strategy we can guarantee competitive prices and excellent customer service.”

Starting in August 2012, Demo Events will familiarize photographers with Multiblitz equipment. Photographers will have the chance to get hands-on experience with Multiblitz studio lighting equipment in a real-life situation.

For more information about Multiblitz Studio Lighting, products and demo events, contact Multiblitz USA, P.O. Box 36118, 
Baltimore, MD 21286-6118, info@multiblitzusa.com, http://www.multiblitzusa.com.

July 17th, 2012

Why Do You Love Photography? Win Tickets to PhotoShelter’s Luminance 2012!

(Sponsored Post)

Andrew Fingerman, PhotoShelter CEO

Why do you love photography?  Tell PhotoShelter and win tickets to Luminance 2012, a two-day event focused on the trends, innovations and opportunities in our industry — in a nutshell, the future of photography.

A first-of-its-kind event, Luminance will tap into conversations being held among photographers, creatives, designers and entrepreneurs alike.  At its core, Luminance strives to spark the new ideas and networks that will push photography, as an industry, to the next level.

We’ve got an amazing lineup of speakers: leading innovators behind Lytro, 20×200, and Hipstamatic, tech visionaries from Facebook to Google, the founders of Behance and Blurb, and award winning photographers who are changing the way we see the world. Renowned photographers Joe McNally, Zack Arias, Corey Rich, and Robert Seale will also host a limited-attendance photography workshop to help you hone your technique and gather new inspiration.

It’s all taking place in New York City from September 11-13.

And don’t miss our killer #ilovephotography party to bring everyone together to celebrate image making. Check out the full rundown on Luminance 2012.

Get Your Free Tickets

Simply answer the question “Why do you love photography?” in the comment section below. Then tweet, Like or share this post on Facebook. Every week, PhotoShelter will pick 3 lucky winners with the most inspiring and creative responses. They’ll win 2 tickets to the event, plus the #ilovephotography party on September 12th. Don’t worry if you don’t win: PhotoShelter is offering PDN readers a $25 discount to the event. To take advantage, use code PDN2012 when you register.

See PhotoShelter’s blog for full contest rules.

We can’t wait to read your responses!

March 7th, 2012

Litepanels® Ships Croma Variable Color-Temperature LED Lighting Fixtures

Croma

Sponsored Post

Litepanels®, a Vitec Group brand, announces that the Croma on-camera LED lighting fixture, capable of generating variable color temperature illumination, is now shipping.

The Croma provides Litepanels hallmark soft light with the addition of variable color temperature output ranging from daylight (5600°K) to tungsten (3200°K). It is a versatile solution for run-and-gun news shooters, event videographers or still photographers who move rapidly from one light environment to the next, with no time to change lighting equipment or add gels. Delivering powerful performance in a small package, this self-contained light can be a secret weapon on any set or location, wherever an extra kick or soft fill is needed.

Croma provides infinite control of both color temperature and lighting intensity via two ergonomic on-fixture dials. One offers the ability to dim from 100% to zero with no noticeable color shift. The second lets the user dial-in the fill light to any point between daylight (5600°K) and tungsten (3200°K) to precisely match the ambient light.

The Croma draws just 9W, and provides the equivalent luminance output of 40W – 90W traditional fixtures. To power the fixture, the user has the choice of AA batteries or optional AC adapter. Six 1.5V AA batteries install within the Croma to provide power from 1.5 to 6 hours, depending on battery type.

The compact Croma weighs just 12 oz. (.4 kg) and measures 6” x 4” x 2” (54mm H x 36mm W x 102mm D).

“Our new Croma is an on-camera color-temperature versatile LED lighting fixture that can match the ambient light with a quick turn of a knob, making it the go to light for any environment,” said Chris Marchitelli, Litepanels VP of Global Marketing. “Videographers and DSLR shooters alike will wonder how they ever managed without it.”

For more information on Litepanels LED lighting, contact Litepanels, Inc. 16152 Saticoy Street, Van Nuys, CA 91406, Email: info@litepanels.com www.litepanels.com

January 30th, 2012

BD Hope For a Healthy World Photo Competition

Sponsored Post

The need to tell stories
Social injustice is not new to our planet. As life-threatening diseases take hold of global populations, their burden weighs most heavily on the shoulders of developing and emerging nations. When organizations of all types collaborate together they have the power to make a difference where it’s needed – and they often do. But the first step is raising awareness of the issues; without awareness there can be no advocacy, and advocacy is a direct path to action.

Why photography?
More often than not we at BD choose to tell these stories through photography. We know that the power of the medium cannot be overstated: a photograph has the ability to convey emotion, mood, narrative, ideas and messages. We know that you know this, too.

So who is BD, anyway?
Often described as a “humanitarian healthcare company”, BD makes fundamental medical technology focused on improving drug delivery, diagnosing infectious diseases, and advancing research and production of new drugs. The breadth of our capabilities gives us the privilege to help combat many of the world’s most pressing diseases. Our company’s purpose is Helping all people live healthy lives, and with our partner organizations, we are able to serve mankind in both the most industrialized and the most impoverished places on earth.

For more information or to enter the contest, please visit: www.bdphotocompetition.com

February 18th, 2011

Sponsored Post: Why WIN-Initiative is the Stock Agency to Watch

Click on the picture to watch the video!



So you’ve heard of WIN-Initiative, an alternative boutique stock agency, right?

If you haven’t, there’s no doubt that you will soon. WIN is becoming more and more visible on the photo industry radar.

What’s going on at WIN? We’re shaking things up by pursuing authentic, provocative and inspiring images.

Can stock really be a fun way to make an additional stream of income? Yes, we want to show you a way that is “stock monster” free. We focus on artistic work so you can enjoy being creative again.

(more…)