Flower and Film

I had an idea for a stop motion piece bubbling around in my head for some time. It was very loose and incomplete but fate presented me with the exact things I needed to tie it all together, a box of old slides and prints. These were recently given to me by a family member and there's more nostalgia than in the images alone. Holding and viewing the chrome slides and seeing the old way we used to capture, view, and appreciate images was great fun. It made me reflect on how photography has changed. This stop motion piece uses the old media as props and to create a color palate. Much the way a latent image would become visible as it soaks in developer in a darkroom, this image comes to life before the viewer's eyes. To complete this effect we worked in reverse.

Little piles a sawdust were placed for each frame of the stop motion.

Slivers of the frame were cut off and small pieces of the flower print were ripped away after each shot. The final video shows the framed photo appear from nothing. This took a while to create but I'm very happy with the final piece. 

Plow Video

Recently I created a time-lapse video for Plow, one of my favorite restaurants, on Potreo Hill in San Francisco. The concept was to show a day at the restaurant. Such a big part of that is not only the amazing food, but the community that gathers there.

The video starts with the owner baking before sunrise and ends with the staff toasting the completion of a day well done. I personally love the top view which shows half the kitchen area and half eating area. It’s cool seeing the food created and consumed in the same frame.

Time lapse often seems like a simple process, but you need to think about how often to capture in order to make the video smooth, plus exposure and color changes that will lead to camera flicker. I used a Canon 5D MKII to capture the outside and a GoPro 4 for the inside stuff. I used an ND filter on both the Canon and GoPro which kept the shutter speed low. This gave a small amount of motion blur which helps blend the images together making things look smoother. Image grading was done with Lightroom and LRTimelapse. Final video was created with Final Cut Pro.

You can see the video on the Plow website: http://www.eatatplow.com

It’s on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/130173317

Stop Motion Fun

Donut Fun

I love donuts and I love stop motion so why not combine them? That’s what I’ve done with this playful video, it’s short but sweet—just like the donuts in it. The creation of the video took several days. It may look simple but it took lots of planing and strategizing. One issue is that donuts change their appearance over time. I had to plan each part to be completed within a day. If I wasn’t able to get the shot done, I had to wait until the next day to start again with fresh donuts. Another issue was that the donuts left a sugar/grease trail as they moved. Rather then clean the surface after each move (which I did in the beginning) I backed each donut with cardboard. This made it much more efficient to move the donuts around without the hassle and mess.

Another big part of completing the video was finding some great music to set the tone. Thankfully Craig Bromley was on board for creating some custom music for the video. I am amazed he was able to develop such a range in the relatively short time span of the video.

View on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/109470568 View on Youtube: http://youtu.be/lKMNmyF1ErU

Pump It

I was inspired by my son’s weekly soccer games for the theme of this stop motion video. I wanted to create something fun and simple. While I was attracted to the basic theme of the idea, I learned simple things are not always easy! In this case, making the pump hose move fluidly was tricky. I needed to be able to move the hose in small, precise steps. Rather then run a wire in the hose I used a metal rod to hold each position of the hose in place. Later the rod was digitally removed. Hopefully the result looks simple and fun.

View on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/109470570 View on Youtube: http://youtu.be/EJw-hALtd_k

Capture One Workflow

I've been asked several times to share my Capture One workflow. Everyone has their way of working and mine is by no means a fit for all. Grab your pillow, this subject might just put you to sleep. I use a tethered session rather than a catalog. The new session is named with the date, job number, and client name. In this case, the session name is Date-Job#-Client. The default location of the Session in Capture One is set in the Pictures folder but I locate the Sessions on the Desktop for quick access and organization. Capture One recommends locating all Sessions in the Shared folder to prevent any problems with permissions. I've yet to experience any issues locating files on the Desktop. Hopefully, I didn't just jinx myself.

My workflow normally requires one computer for capturing and another for organizing and processing. This way I don’t have to wait for my assistant to finish naming and organizing before I can continue to the next shot. The most efficient way to move files between computers is to capture images as an EIP file. This is done in the Capture One Preferences, click the check box "Pack as EIP when capturing." An EIP (Enhanced Image Package) file format bundles the original Raw file with the image settings like Color Tag, Rating, ICC profile, White Balance, Crop and other metadata. Transferring these EIP files from computer to computer will keep the settings intact and allows them to travel with the image.

Before shooting, I setup the appropriate naming convention. Other settings I use are Copy from Last in the "ICC Profile" and Copy from Clipboard in the "All Other" dialog boxes.

After the first image is captured, I apply my presets for metadata, sharpening, white balance, etc. I copy the image settings to the Clipboard. In the "Adjustment Clipboard” I select everything I want to copy. Now all the information will automatically transfer to the following captures. Each time I make a change as I'm shooting I will copy everything to the clipboard again so all further captures will reflect the new changes.

The next step is to process the files. Capture One has basic recipes but you can create your own according to your needs. Lifestyle shoots often have significantly higher shot count than a product shoot so I include quickly viewable jpgs to accompany the hi-res tifs in a secondary folder. This way, the client can view and select the jpgs and reference the corresponding tifs when they are ready. The Default setting outputs processed files to the root Output folder created at the beginning of the session. This can be customized so that the output files are designated to specific locations. My Recipes include subfolders within the Output folder. Subfolders are a great way to automatically separate the file types like tifs and jpgs or other ways the processed files are best differentiated. Congratulations you made it this far, I stopped for a donut break halfway through.

Macworld April 2013

I've posted about making animations for editorial


. This is the latest short animation created to go with the digital version of the April issue of Macworld magazine. It was used to introduce the featured article called "100 More Things Every Mac User Should Know."

After photographing the main photo for the print magazine, the animation was created by taking the Post-it notes away one by one. When creating the animation with Apple's Motion, the photos were arranged in reverse so it looked like the Post-it's were being added rather than taken away.

I'm also testing out

Vimeo Pro

as a clean way to present my videos. Once I have enough videos I'll incorporate it into my site.