Behind-the-Scenes Videos — Take Two

Posted on: June 20th, 2011 by: Zack Seckler

There’s a new twist on the ubiquitous photo shoot behind-the-scenes video and it looks less like something you’d see on YouTube and more like something you’d see on MTV (well, back when MTV played music videos). F STOP photographer Michael Levin recently showed me a stylized  short film of him shooting on the south coast of Japan. It’s stylized, it’s slick and it’s a far cry from the BTS videos that only photo geeks can relate to. At close to 75K views in just two weeks of being released it also seems to be doing a damn good job at introducing Levin’s work to lots of eyeballs. I asked Michael a few quick questions about this project; our brief interview follows below.



What was your goal in having this film made?

The film was actually the result of another project I was working on. A production company needed footage of me at work in Japan for a documentary and that’s when I decided to contact Brad Kremer. So my original intentions for the video grew into something much more as we stared filming. Brad recognized while we were shooting that the footage might be used in a couple of different ways, one of them being a short video set to music. So this is the first video in a trilogy of projects we’re working on right now. The video has provided me a platform to help expose my work to a larger audience. I think with some creative marketing I’ll be able to promote the video in areas that are photo centric based websites or magazines.

Why did you want it to be different from other behind-the-scenes video?

Well, I don’t think this is a true behind the scenes video in the traditional sense. I really think it’s a story about a day in the life of a photographer at work. It captures some of the small moments that i encounter yet isn’t really revealing in a “oh that’s how they do it” way.  After studying my photographs Brad came up with some interesting ideas on how he might want to tell this story and we ran with it. It became clear that neither of us wanted a straightforward video of me standing in front of some  picturesque scene, that’s not what my work is about. From the onset  Brad wanted to film me in ways that took my photographic style into consideration and he tried (and succeeded) to incorporate those elements into his filmic style. I think the scene at the 3:01 point demonstrates his ability to place me within the frame of something that I might shoot, yet  I was shooting something completely different. So in a way he’s taking a voyeuristic approach to filming me and I’ve unknowingly been placed within one of my own photographs. Because of the technique I use for my photographs I’m often in one location for a number of hours at a time. I was concerned that this might not be that interesting to a videographer as there’s really nothing visually dynamic going on. This proved to be quite the opposite as Brad clearly was able to make unremarkable scenes into something much more.

Why did you think Brad Kremer would be a good fit for this project?

I really enjoyed a short film he did called “Hayaku” shot entirely in Japan. I’ve visited those places that he filmed in a number of times and I really thought he had captured them in a spectacular way. It was clear to me that he also shared a true fascination with the Japan that exists outside of the big cities. The other factor was that he frequently uses time-lapse photography to create video and I thought this would be the perfect style for capturing me at work as I stood there for a number of hours in one spot.

How did you convince him to come on board?

I sent him an email basically outlining the project I was working on. We had some back and forth dialogue and within a month we were having beers and sushi in Japan.

How long did it take to create the film?

We did all the filming over 5 really long days in the beginning of January 2010. Brad and I met up in Kyushu, Japan and as soon as he arrived we started discussing concepts. Once Brad was back in the States he started assembling the rough edits over the next two months. During that time we had numerous phone discussions about the sequencing and clip choices as there was a lot of footage to go through. He then worked with his team coloring and editing the final footage to a song by Röyksopp which I think worked out quite well.By the end of May the final edit was completed, so about 4 months from start to finish.

How have your results been so far?

Once the video was completed we both realized that this was something really unique and we were both proud of it.  I’ve seen videos of photographers at work before before but nothing like what Brad had come up with.  Brad posted it on his Vimeo page and it really took off and has received considerable attention and favourable praise from around the globe. It’s been viewed over 40,000 times in less than two weeks which I think is very promising.

The Path to Becoming a Director

Posted on: September 13th, 2010 by: Zack Seckler

Written by Zack Seckler
Edited by Greg Faherty

Like many other professional photographers I’ve been keeping a close eye on the motion phenomenon and have been quickly upgrading my skills so I can create both still and motion content for my clients and myself.

In the search to educate myself about directing motion I came across an excellent book called The 30-Second Storyteller: The Art and Business of Directing Commercials by director Thomas Richter. It’s a fantastic resource. Not just because it is indeed about the art and business of directing commercials but because it comes straight from a person who cut their chops as a director, not as a still photographer.

This is important because we get a peek into the world of full-scale commercial productions. Or in other words: we get to see how the big boys roll.

I interviewed the author/director Thomas Richter about his directing experience, his views on the industry and where still photographers fit into the mix. What follows is a ton of valuable information for anyone interested in professionally directing motion.

Seckler: What was your path to becoming a commercial director?

Richter: I went to college with the goal of becoming a director. At the time there was the perception that if you start off in commercials you get to work faster, and eventually you’ll have a shot at doing movies. Some of the recent graduates at that time, like Michael Bay and Zack Snyder, had done just that, become really successful commercial and music video directors. It hasn’t always been like that. There were times when it’s been difficult to be a commercial director and make it into the movies. But there was this opportunity, and so a lot of us just thought, let’s do a commercial reel because it’s cheaper than shooting a movie.

I graduated in ’96, with a commercial reel that was very heavily children’s commercials, be it a car commercial or food commercial or whatever. Doing that served me well to start out with, because it was a specialty niche, but I got tired of it pretty quickly and switched over to a more comedic style.

Seckler: How long did it take until you were able to start making a living at directing?

Richter: It was pretty quick. I was doing really well by, like, ’98. I got my first smaller jobs in 1997. Mostly in Europe. I had some bites here [in LA], but then it started going a little better in Europe.  Public service announcements, lottery type spots, etc. The types of projects where production companies hire fresh, new, young directors. The budgets ranged from $10,000 to $20,000.

Seckler: So, those things start to come along and then you start to get bigger jobs.

Richter: Yeah. Obviously it’s different for everyone. One of my student friends back then, he did this spec spot for Budweiser, and it was so funny that Budweiser actually used it for the Super Bowl. So all of a sudden he had a Super Bowl spot. And that’s just the way it is. You start with smaller jobs, and then hopefully someone will see it and it’s good enough so that your reel looks good, and some agency will give you a shot. Unfortunately, this is a really hard time to do that because of the entire state of the industry. But opportunities are always out there.

Seckler: When you started out, did you have a production company representing you at that time?

Richter: Yes, you always have to have a company, because they have the contacts. So it’s always good, almost necessary financially, to have a production company behind you that has some clout, that can curry favors and can get the equipment and have the insurance.

Seckler: Got it. So tell me, what’s the typical career arc of a director? You mentioned in your book that directors will only spend a few years at the peak of their career. That begs the question: what happens after your peak?

Richter: You can be a director for longer, but there’s usually a time when you’re really hot. And sometimes guys manage to make that peak longer, and sometimes they manage to have sort of a second peak or a comeback type thing. It’s different for everyone. There was a time when Tarsem Singh (who directed the R.E.M video “Losing My Religion”) was the hottest shit around. And, right now he’s not really doing many commercials. He had a very specific style that was hot for a moment, and now it’s not hot anymore. And the same for people like Michael Bay, who did a very specific kind of music video and commercial that was high-production, that was very over-stylized in a storytelling way. But he managed to move on into features. Very successfully, obviously. Others start production companies. Some keep working in commercials. So you definitely want to be aware that you might have a time when you’re making a ton of money, but that’s not going to last so you’d better put the money in the bank. And try to find some kind of solid income for whatever comes after.

Seckler: Can you give people an idea of what a director could make while they’re doing really well, and then what they could make after they’ve gone through that hot period where they’re just kind of working for the bank?

Richter: Well, if you have a really good year, you might shoot fifteen commercials, maybe twenty. That’s a lot. And these are not the A+ list commercials, because those take longer, so you can’t shoot as many. You’re probably going to make twenty grand per shooting day. That’s an upper average. So you can make upwards of $350,000 -$400,000 without being one of the super-hot top guys, who can pull $5 million or $6 million quite easily. I was able to make $100,000 – $120,000 for two or three years straight by shooting between eight to ten spots a year.

Seckler: Is that still a valid range?

Richter: It’s gotten a little tougher. A lot has changed with the recession and the general downturn in advertising, so the rates have dropped dramatically. For someone like me it’s pretty much stayed the same except there’s less work. Because I would consider myself the B- range, and there are a lot of A guys that are doing work now they wouldn’t have touched three or four years ago. They’re doing detergent commercials. I’m bidding against people that, and it blows my mind. I bid against David Mamet. And I’m just like, are you kidding me? I’m bidding against a literary icon? It’s like, if I were an agency and I had the choice between David Mamet and me, I’d be working with David Mamet, just because then they can walk around saying that they worked with David Mamet. So that’s why it’s gotten hard at an entry level.

Seckler: For the people out there who aren’t at the top but are getting ten jobs or so a year what do they do for the rest of that time?

Richter: Well, it’s misrepresenting to say you have ten shooting days, because each shooting is preceded by a one or two-week pre-production phase, and in some cases you’re part of the post-production. In some cases you’re not, but usually you’ll at least do a director’s cut, which will take two or three days. So each project is generally at least a two-week project. And then you have to take into account writing the treatment and bidding for the job. That can take a week, and chances are for every spot you book you were bidding on ten others that you didn’t book. So that’s all work, you know.

Seckler: What’s your opinion about where the industry is going? Do you think that it’s specifically tied to how the economy is doing, or do you think the industry as a whole is changing because of, for example, new media and people gravitating from television to online viewing?

Richter: I think that in a way it has been the perfect storm for this industry. With the recession and the overall economic downturn, the first thing to get cut is advertising budgets. But besides that, online media and the proliferation of things like You Tube and the web have caused clients to say, ‘wait a minute, why should I pay $500,000 for a commercial, and why should I pay a TV network $10 million to run it if I can distribute it for free over the Internet, get 10 million hits, and shoot it for $20,000?’ And the main change has taken place in the mid-field.

All of the commercials that were between $300,000 and $750,000, those commercials are gone. All the top commercials, the ones where they spend $750,000 and up, they’re still around. And the whole convergence of Internet and television that we’re witnessing, and the change of the entire prime-time network model, no one has really figured out how that’s going to work. Television networks are clinging to the old models because that’s where they make most of the money. They don’t have the answers. They don’t know how they’re going to keep their model in existence, quite honestly.

Seckler: What’s your opinion?

Richter: Well, I think the good news is that content is going to be king. Good content will be what takes a commercial to the top. That’s what we’re seeing with the video sharing, with people sharing cool little clips. Internet and television are going to be the same appliance. So I think the budgets are going to stay low. It’s never going to go back to the good old times. But even with that said, there’s still a pretty good paycheck in most cases because things just cost money if you want to do them right.

Seckler: You mentioned lower production quality…when the HD-DSLR cameras hit the market, how did that impact the motion industry, specifically commercials?

Richter: HD opened the door to a lot of high-quality cameras people wouldn’t have considered before, especially agencies. There’s a perception still in many places that it’s just low-budget and low production value to shoot HD. But agencies can be convinced that shooting on a digital format can look exactly the same as shooting on film. It really depends on the project how much is saved in the budget and how big the fit is.

Seckler: In terms of influence, I was thinking that it’s made high-quality video available at a much cheaper price to many more people, especially professional still photographers. So, in that sense, have you seen an impact? Have you seen a lot of still photographers make the transition into commercials?

Richter: Anyone can go rent or buy an HD camera nowadays, but that’s not going to make them a director. The good commercial is still an amalgamation of so many things. It’s the content; it’s how you shoot it. It’s how you conceptualize it. And then there is the editing, the music, that will make it look and feel professional. I think one of the major challenges for still photographers would be editing. You know, editing in motion pictures is probably the single most powerful tool. And it’s the only thing that filmmaking has that no other art form has. Everything else we borrow. If I was a photographer trying to break into commercials, I would study editing because that’s what sets it apart from still photography. You can look at a still image for ten minutes and appreciate every inch of it. In commercials, you can’t do that. You see an image for maybe two seconds, and yet you have to communicate something with that image instantly.

Seckler: Do you have any specific advice for still photographers who might want to break into directing commercials?

Richter: The editing is a huge deal. I would study editing. I would look into how editing works, because there’s a dynamic motion that can make things seem fluent or it can create conflict. And that’s because it all goes back to storytelling at the end. It has a lot to do with how your brain processes information. In animation, for example, your brain fills in the motion. It’s actually about the gaps in the motion more than it is about showing every second of one motion.

Seckler: What about advice for building a reel? In the book you recommend spec spots, right? Why is it important to actually feature a real product as opposed to just doing something that’s good in and of itself but doesn’t feature a brand name?

Richter: Your reel is what will get you into the door, not just with a production company but also with agencies and ultimately clients. And every step of the way is less creative. People are less creative, less artistic, less imaginative. And they’re going to be looking more at some sort of bottom line, be it financial or a fear of losing their job. So each agency creative who looks at it also thinks about, ‘how can I show this, how can I sell this to my client?’ They want to be able to say, ‘okay, this guy knows what he’s doing. He’s done this before. I can trust this.’ So if you have beautiful fantastic stuff, or even super funny stuff, but it’s something that’s not quite a commercial, then it raises questions. And the fewer questions that are raised, the better.

Seckler: So it’s about safety.

Richter: Yes. If you have a reel and everyone knows it’s all spec, they’re going to be scared. Ideally you want the commercial to look absolutely real, where they don’t even question, where they don’t even ask if it’s real or if it’s a spec spot. And those are the spots that will give you the most for your money.

Seckler: So how do you recommend people start out building a reel?

Richter: Well, the first thing you have to do is take stock of what’s out there and see how you fit into that. What’s your style? Do you like comedy, do you like pretty pictures, do you like tabletop? And then you look and see, what’s hot right now. What are people looking for? And you can either buy into that completely and do what everyone is doing, or you can try to do your art form and add something to it, make something that’s interesting and at the same time commercial. In the comedy world, one way is to ask creative if they have boards. Creatives will write, like, fifty spots for every spot that’s even considered by a client, so they have tons of stuff lying around. Tabletop is easy because you can go and buy some products and just shoot it really pretty. Cars are really expensive to do, so that’s one of those things where you’ve got to sort of work your way into cars rather than do a spec car reel because otherwise you’ll be spending a lot of money.  I’ve known people who spend $120,000 on their spec reel and never get any work out of it.

Behind-the-Scenes with Martin Schoeller

Posted on: May 7th, 2010 by: Zack Seckler

A behind-the-scenes video showing master portrait photographer Martin Schoeller as he engages with and directs talent during a photo shoot.




Found it on A Photography Blog

The iPad Portfolio

Posted on: April 19th, 2010 by: Zack Seckler

This is an iPad portfolio (or “iFolio” as I like to call it) I created using images from my print portfolio. I give a tour of an abridged version of my iFolio and point out the benefits of using this to share imagery.

Zack Seckler’s iPad Portfolio from Zack Seckler on Vimeo.

When I first got my hands on an iPad (yes, the day it came out) I instantly thought ‘could this replace the print portfolio?’Ideas raced through my head: countless hours spent creating perfect prints…gone! Expensive custom made portfolios…no more! Back problems from lugging around heavy books…never again!

AND

The iPad has everything: it’s beautiful! Light! Affordable! Displays motion! Customizable! Fun to use!

I was feverish with excitement.

That was two weeks ago. I’ve since come to my senses (somewhat).

I got in touch with four art buyers at top ad agencies and they all seem to agree that print still offers a superior viewing experience. A glowing screen just doesn’t compare to big beautifully printed images on luxurious paper. If a client is looking through books, deciding to whom to grant a big budget project, a 9″ screen won’t hold up well against rich detailed prints nearly twice it’s size.

That being said, the art buyers and I agree that the iPad does have potential to be a very useful tool for photographers. First off, if you have a lot of motion or multimedia work to show then this is clearly a good bet. Second, for those times when you want to show new or personal work that wouldn’t fit in your normal books it can be a valuable supplement. Lastly, for those situations where you want to show your work but just didn’t happen to bring your 20 lbs. book along (industry event, party, you happen to be sitting next to Don Draper on a plane — or his 21st century equivalent).

Ultimately, we’re talking about a new device that hasn’t had time to branch out into the marketplace yet. So in a sense it’s too early to tell what will happen. Will iPad portfolios become all the rage? Will print portfolios start to fall by the wayside? Anything could happen.

The Move to Motion

Posted on: March 9th, 2010 by: Zack Seckler

Shooting motion has become the new it topic in the last two years. It used to be ‘film versus digital’ and now it’s ‘stills versus motion.’ Opinions about where the still and motion industries are headed and if/how/why still photographers should learn to shoot motion run the gamut. One thing’s for sure though, there are a lot of questions. I wanted to get some answers.

Liane Thomas is an executive producer at the Toronto based commercial production company Sons & Daughters. They represent nine very talented directors (including F STOP’s very own Mark Zibert who shoots both stills and motion) who shoot top-notch television commercials and online projects. I recently interviewed Thomas about topics I thought still photographers would want to know about motion: what equipment is used, what the fees are, how to transition from stills to motion, what strengths still photographers offer and what skills they need to learn.

A few fantastic commercials from the Sons & Daughters’ portfolio along with our detailed interview follow below. Please note that frequently when still shooters make the move to commercial motion they take on the title of Director; hence the constant talk of what Directors think and do.

Seckler: How has the your industry changed in the last couple of years?

Thomas:  Our business is strictly commercials, we do a ton of advertising so the shift has been towards the digital age and doing more online stuff. We’ve been forced to look at new technology and new camera equipment. We shoot less and less on 35mm film. We are really into the Red and the Phantom and all these new cameras, this new technology. Although the 30 second format hasn’t changed that much, a lot of the technology has.

Seckler: Does a director’s fee go down substantially if they’re working on an online project versus a television spot?

Thomas: One of my directors put it like this  “they are commercials with no money”. I think the industry is in transition right now and I feel that everybody is trying to figure it out. I think that there has been a lot of misconceptions in what shooting for the internet is really all about and what it really costs. And I think our job is to help educate our clients about how to do it and do it well. Anybody can strap a camera on their head and go do some YouTube type thing but I think that’s quite limited in terms of watchability and in terms of communication. I think there’s so much more you can do and I think as long as we work closely with our clients and the agencies we can grow that medium into something that is actually quite interesting and exciting.

Seckler: Are directors less interested in doing online work because there’s less money?

Thomas: No they sometimes are more interested because creatively you have so much more freedom. You don’t have the rules and restrictions of the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission) there are a lot of rules and regulations in North America television.

Seckler: So directors are okay with the movement towards online productions?

Thomas: Totally. I think we’d all like to figure out a positive business model around it because realistically we can’t do what we do for nothing because no one would be open anymore. I think we are all hoping for a model that works and I think it is a matter of time. We are all transitioning into this new world and it’s about education and working closely with people and people seeing positive results and people wanting to put more funding towards doing it.

Seckler: Can you give me an idea of what directors would get in fees for doing a television spot versus an online piece.

Thomas: It depends on the budget that comes to us. Canadian directors are usually somewhere between ten and fifteen thousand dollars a day Canadian [for television spots]. We are doing some higher priced online stuff right now and the director is getting his fee. We like to align the right type of guy to the new media stuff so he is going to get his full rate. There are a lot of great guys that have lower fees and they are more appropriate to do the online rough and tumbly type stuff.

Seckler: HDDSLR (High Definition Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras are all the craze right now, do any of your directors use them?

Thomas: We own a Canon 7D and we use the Red a lot and a lot of our guys love using the Phantom. So those are kind of the predominate cameras we are floating around but there is some new stuff coming out, it is ever changing. We look with both visual and performance based directors so all of them have different needs and different interests. Obviously it is more of the visual guys that tend to want to work through new technology and test out what’s going on out there. The performance comedy guys are really more into the performance and the actors.

Seckler: With cameras like the 7D coming out, which are so affordable and available to the masses, how has that impacted the industry?

Thomas: It is allowing them to think about new ways to shoot. It is exciting. It is just another option to us. I think creatively if the 7D or the new cameras are relevant then we will apply them. But we are not changing the way we do business because of these new cameras.

Seckler: So ad agencies aren’t saying ‘well you’re able to use this cheaper equipment, why don’t we bring down your fees now?’

Thomas: No it’s amazing. What it has done is open up new creative opportunities.

Seckler: That’s fantastic, what kind of creative opportunities?

Thomas: For example there was a really interesting spot that we quoted which was sort of from an interesting perspective, taking a bunch of stills on a road trip. Often times when we want to use something other than film cameras, clients get a little nervous because they aren’t used to it. But creatively this job lent itself beautifully to the Canon 5D Mark II and we pitched it and they loved the idea and we got to use that camera. So it’s allowing us to create a different look for a creative spot if it needs it.

Seckler: Have you seen many people the move from still photography to motion?

Thomas: I have worked with a few successful ones, one of them of course being Mark Zibert I have also spoken with quite a few others who I think have a ton of potential but haven’t quite made the leap yet. I find it is a very exciting transition.

Seckler: Tell me about making the leap.

Thomas: This business, and I am sure it is the same in the stills industry, is a lot about who you know, not always about what you know. I think knowing people in the advertising agencies, which a lot of these still photographers know, is the first step. A lot of these photographers are suppliers to agencies for their stills work so they form a great relationship, there’s a trust there and they work quite closely together. What tends to happen is there might be a commercial that might have a stills component and the creative has enough confidence to say ‘I would like to give you a shot.’ Usually they are going to be called upon for a spot that has a more visual stylistic spread. A stills photographer brings a very unique visual perspective which sometimes a motion guy doesn’t. A motion guy often thinks about pacing, thinks about performance, thinks about other things, while a stills guy is really a lot about framing, lighting, techniques, lenses. They come to the party with a really strong visual language that sometimes the other motion guys don’t have.[For still photographers who] come from more editorial and art backgrounds, it is sometimes harder for them to know the language of advertising. I have met with some great artistic photographers and the transition is way harder because it is much more of a challenge for them to understand the needs of advertising. They might have an amazing look but they don’t know how to sell that product at the end of the day.

Seckler: What advice do you have for still photographers who specialize in non-commercial genres?

Thomas: Go take an acting class. In moving pictures you’ve got to know how to move your talent. You have actors, people, and oftentimes, the number one thing I find is you have to know how to work with actors. I think [non-commercial still photographers] do get some experience with that but when you are creating moving pictures, you have to carry an emotion, a conversation, you have to know how to motivate your actors to give you the performance that  you need.

If you take an acting class you are going to better understand what you need to do to get your actor to perform. Even if it’s just a spot with a girl walking down the beach…she’s not just a prop anymore she’s a person, you have to carry the commercial with what she’s doing and what she’s thinking, and saying. It’s this element that still photographers don’t have a ton of experience with. I am not saying when they are doing a stills spot they are not talking to their subjects and motivating them but it’s sustaining that.

Seckler: What suggestions do you have for still photographers who want to build a commercial reel?

Thomas: When you look through a lens you have a point of view. Carry that point of view into motion, that is what people are going to want you for. If you already have a strong portfolio in stills, chances are you’re getting hired a lot and that’s a perfect calling card for these other people that will hire you.

Seckler: How did the directors that you represent start out?

Thomas: One guy came from being a very successful editor, another was a creative art director, another guy was a very successful stills photographer for advertising agencies, another guys’ mother was in the agency [world] and he was a treatment writer. You have to work in the business I guess.

Seckler: So what do these directors do on their first one or two projects that gets them repeat business and ultimately helps them become a successful director?

Thomas: They have a distinct point of view. They can work within the limitations and expectations of the client. They understand the art of advertising. We want to make something that looks really neat or has a different perspective to it, but at the end of the day we still understand we are making a thirty second spot. They want someone who will bring a unique perspective to their project, bring their script to life but understand they are still working within the [commercial] framework that has been established for many many years.

Seckler: As online media is consumed at an ever-growing pace where do you see motion content going in the next few years?

Thomas: I like to think it is going to be the good old television that’s going to dominate, because that’s my main business. I think quality is going to go up. I don’t think the homemade type of video is going to sustain people’s interest forever. I think people will always look for something that is going to stimulate them. I think with the onset of 3D TV the bar will be set quite high in terms of things looking good. [In the online world] things will improve tremendously. Things are going to start looking better and streaming better, and sounding better. I think we will be bombarded by visual stimulation all the time, the phone, billboards, who knows.

For stills photographers this is your time. You guys know how to make things look good. It is about coming to the table with a different perspective on visual style.

Behind-the-Scenes Shooting Stills + Video

Posted on: February 24th, 2010 by: Zack Seckler

Since the release of DSLR cameras that can shoot HD video (aka HDDSLR cameras) in 2008 there has been non-stop chatter among photographers about everything video.

It’s simultaneously exciting and threatening for still photographers. On the one hand there is the opportunity to break into a new visual industry that has many parallels with still photography. On the other hand there is the worry that a general move towards motion content as everything goes online will eat up a lot of the still photography work out there.Behind-the-scenes on a recent Laforet shoot

At the same time there are a lot of questions about how to actually use these cameras to shoot professional level video productions (there are many limitations).

Photographer Vincent Laforet (who I interviewed earlier this week for a feature that will be up in April) has removed some of the smoke and mirrors about how one of these video shoots involving HDDSLR cameras actually look. He’s posted a fantastic behind-the-scenes look at a recent hybrid shoot requiring still photography and HD video. There are dozens of images of his custom equipment and rigs plus a detailed description of the assignment and how he pulled everything off.

In our recent interview Laforet speaks at length about the positives and negatives of this relatively new technology and what it means for the future of still photography. Check back April 1st for the full interview.

Beyond the Still

Posted on: December 30th, 2009 by: Zack Seckler

The multi-talented photographer Vincent Laforet announced on his blog today a very unique film contest. People are encouraged to use Canon HDDSLR cameras to shoot individual chapters as part of a large film “each video chapter will start with and end with a still image… you need to interpret the previous photographer/filmmaker’s still to start the (your) subsequent chapter (those are pretty much the ONLY rules/guidelines (outside of the obvious))… should make for a pretty unique series of chapters in the end!”

What a fun idea, should be interesting to see where people take this.