Danita Delimont

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  • Danita’s Musings on Footage Topics

    Monday, January 10, 2011

    I’ve been contemplating the whole “footage subjects” idea now for some time. I’ve talked with clients to see what they have on the horizon (if anything) and in general here are my thoughts on the types of things you should keep in mind for footage subjects.

    First of all, think story ideas when they lend themselves to that.  Look at a topic and think “single” clip or “story idea.”  I’ve talked at length to textbook researchers and editors and they tell me that in the near future they’ll be incorporating footage links along with stills of the same subject.  Therefore, try to “double shoot” so you have both a clip as well as a still of a similar subject.  The idea is that the student will see a still shot in their electronic textbook, and then click on the footage link and see it in motion.  Teachers will also use this kind of technique when teaching in classrooms.  If any of you have kids in schools with Smart Boards, you’ll know what I mean.  The new schools have digital projectors and are hooked up to the internet so they often project the textbook (from password protected websites) while teaching and the video aspect will (hopefully) catch the attention of the students more than a still image will.

    With that said, think in terms of what kind of motion will show and teach our students about the natural world, world cultures, geography, math, etc.  Think about watching a grasshopper hop verses looking at a still image (Biology).  Think about a construction crane lifting and moving a very heavy object, or an escalator moving or a baggage conveyor belt moving (levers/pulleys/gears–Math books).  Think about traditional ritual, customs and ceremonies, dancers, rites of passage, (World Geography and/or Cultural Anthropology).  Try not to make your clips too long, so you are actually self-editing, but if you see a whole story that takes a few minutes, shoot it.  Clients can edit or cut the clips to their own needed length.

    You can come up with a million ideas really.  If you have any kids’ textbooks close at hand, thumb through them and you’ll see the kind of content they like.  It’s really not any different than all the other subjects you’ve been shooting in stills.  Just add the motion aspect to it, given the opportunity.

    Simple subjects too…a colored leaf falling to the ground in the Autumn, slowly floating down to the pile of leaves on the ground….  a babbling brook flowing over a rocky stream….palm trees blowing, weather in any form, waves crashing on a beach…

    In general, with editorial, you won’t need model releases, but if you have someone up close and personal doing something, even smiling or blowing a kiss to someone or the camera, you should try to get releases.  Think of someone licking their lips, smooching the air, high fiving someone, tossing a penny, taking a walk,

    maybe a couple from the back holding hands as they walk somewhere….or kids doing the same.  The subjects are endless.  Also when traveling in Europe look for French people greeting each other with kisses to each cheek or Italians talking with their hands (foreign language textbooks).  Regarding travel footage, just shoot the destination in a way that would appeal to travel clients trying to seduce someone to their country or culture.  More and more travel clients are moving towards on-line website marketing and/or e-blasts with links in them.  Motion is used more and more with travel destination marketing.  Just short clips are fine–10-30 seconds on a subject that you’re shooting stills of, adds another dimension to your offerings.

    I will say too that many agency colleagues have told us that they’re not selling much footage “yet” which is the key word.  If we position ourselves with content, then we can have it available as more and more clients move into those kinds of needs.  Our plan is to distribute through our sub-agents in other world markets as well, so we can get as much mileage as we can on the footage.  It’s a lot of work for everyone so we need to get it as many places as we can and be in a position for sales when people really start looking.  This is definitely a long term process. Remember too, that if you have elements in your photos or footage that represent a time and place, they will date much faster.  Nature is pretty much timeless, but people with certain hair or clothes styles or cars on the street will not last as long.  Try to avoid logos on clothing too because you can’t Photoshop them out of video very easily.

    Ok, enough of my musings.  I’m sure I’ll have more to say on this as 2011 evolves.  I just wanted to give you my take on what may be coming up down the road so you can keep these thoughts in mind as you move about the world in 2011.

    Footage Topics for Photographers to Consider

    At a recent program on Stock Footage, there was a panel from several stock agencies, each with their own presentation showing how their clients were using motion clips.  The following is a listing of topics that I jotted down while the clips whizzed by.  The variety of subjects here exemplifies just how wide open the subject matter is:

    Toddlers walking Water fountains Car problems
    Playground Traffic Fresh fruit picked
    Soccer Beg Ben Energy turbines
    Stadium Thames River Times Square
    Horse jumping Sidewalk cafes Floating markets
    Bicycle race Signs Arches
    Speedboat Venice gondolas Sedona
    Race cars Light bulb Family
    Skidoo Supertankers Parenting
    Sailboat Cruise ships Teens
    Surfboard Organic food/farmers Dancing
    Rafting Baskets of produce Jogging
    Heli skiing Jump roping Horseback riding
    Running in fields Bathing People
    Rushing river Camping Surgery
    Aerials Carnival Swimming
    Glaciers Sprinklers with kids Signing
    Clouds Couple/waves/beach Shopping
    Speeding train Cranes lifting/building site Ipod music listening
    Waterfalls Relaxation Relaxation/resort
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    Posted by Dave in Shooting Tips, Stock Footage || Comment Now ||
  • Dave’s Footage Update

    Monday, December 27, 2010

    Greetings Photographers and budding Videographers!

    Footage is a hot topic these days as the stock photography industry struggles to keep pace with the rapidly evolving needs of the new digital landscape.  Danita and I recently exhibited at the Visual Connections event for photo buyers and attended the Picture Archive Council of America 15th International Meeting: Focus on Motion, where we were able to speak with both users and providers of footage.

    At Visual Connections we talked with a number of textbook publishers and discussed their upcoming plans to incorporate footage in their new products.  This is still a very new area for the editors and it was difficult for them to describe their upcoming needs with much clarity.  However, they all agreed that they are starting to use it more frequently and that with the changes they see evolving in current projects, that adding motion to their offerings is happening now and will accelerate in the near future.

    The textbook editors didn’t have a shopping list of what they need or what is difficult to find.  Yet when we described what we are encouraging our photographers to shoot, they were in agreement with what we have been saying for some time – anything that moves in reality is a potential subject for a footage clip in an educational product.  The potential shoot list is so large that no one has attempted it!  And the timeframe for when a particular subject will be needed is hard to predict.  Therefore, we stick by what we have been telling you for some time:  Whenever you are shooting, double your potential output from the shooting opportunity by capturing both stills and motion.

    At the PACA meeting we were shown the latest digital magazines by Conde Nast Vice President Drew Schutte.  Most of the digital versions of magazines are simply the same magazine pages formatted to be viewed on a computer screen.   You can see the large number of magazines with digital editions already available at various sites such as emagazine.com.  Conde Nast feels differently.  They believe that the iPad and its quickly arriving imitations will create a significant shift in a large part of how consumers will “read” magazines.  In addition to offering entertaining sounds and video, they also provide an opportunity to drill deeper into a subject with supplemental information.  The products have very high production value, and high production cost.  Most of the material in them is being shot on assignment as there is little stock available that matches the rather spectacular topics they are offering in their introductory issues.

    As Wired puts it, “The tablet is our opportunity to make the Wired we always dreamed of. It has all the visual impact of paper, enhanced by interactive elements like video and animated infographics. We can offer you a history of Mars landings that lets you explore the red planet yourself. We can take you inside Trent Reznor’s recording studio and let you listen to snippets of his work in progress. And we can show you exactly how Pixar crafted each frame of its new movie, Toy Story 3.

    To deliver this rich reading environment, we’re using new digital publishing technology developed by Adobe. The yearlong effort, spearheaded by Wired creative director Scott Dadich, will allow us to simultaneously create both the print magazine and the enhanced digital version with the same set of authoring and design tools.

    The arrival of the tablet represents a grand experiment in the future of media. Over the next few months, we’ll integrate social media and offer a variety of versions and ways to subscribe in digital form. We’ll learn through experimentation, and we will watch closely as our readers teach us how they want to use tablets.

    There is no finish line. Wired magazine will be digital from now on, designed from the start as a compelling interactive experience, in parallel with our print edition. Wired is finally, well, wired.

    Unlike the simple digital re-presentation of print magazines, I view this as an entirely new use for photography and video.  Conde Nast disagrees and is trying to get licensing rights for their new iPad version of Wired and their other iPad offerings included in the regular print edition license, and for an unlimited timeframe!  This is totally unrealistic and the audience members, including me, let them know in no uncertain terms that we loved the new product and that it was not going to be covered as a free add-on to their license agreements.

    As most stock footage is being created for the traditional “lifestyle” stock market, there is quite a lot of expense outlay for an uncertain revenue stream.  These types of shots usually require a studio, models, lights, and tons of other equipment.  Your mission is significantly easier!  Just double shoot with your DSLR (or even a small HD Video camera) whenever you are on a shoot and see a suitable subject.  Just be sure to follow the few basic guidelines we have mentioned before.  The following excerpt from the notes taken by Pat Hunt of Huntstock at the PACA panel discussion on video (with my pithy commentary inserted) reiterate why most stock photographers find it so hard to shoot footage and how your mission to supply us with footage clips is so much easier!

    Use of the storyboard can be the biggest challenge from the beginning. Going to a shoot with a thorough brief is a key to success. Bill Miles likes to explain that, “you have to learn how dumb you are.” Understanding the equipment and directing the talent and crew are skills that have to be acquired.(Let’s skip this step as it need not apply to you) He recommends hiring a cameraperson skilled in motion equipment to start, as they can be cost effective, and allow you time to properly conceptualize and direct. (Ever direct a lake, building, or maybe a salmon?) He also explains that, “a lot of talent may not be good at acting. You have to watch them like a hawk. There are 100 things that can mess up a clip.” (Duh! But not with our subject matter!) Smooth camera movements and a lack of trademark logos in the images are constant issues that separate the pro from the amateur. (Simple but very true and extremely important!) How you see motion in a frame and how you see space and subtleties may offer high production value. (This just takes a little practice.  I did it and so can you.).

    What equipment is acceptable for professional production is always the first thing on the minds of image producers about to make the change. According to Lisa, Image Source demands that all production be done on HD. There is a small list of cameras they accept, including the Red, the Sony EX cameras, the Canon 5D, and 7D, along with the 60D and 550D, and also the Panasonic P2 series. (Your Canon and Nikon DSLRs will do just fine if you work within their limitation and feature their strengths)Thought Equity, on the other hand, will take any format and their decisions depend on the content of the footage. They say there are as many as 80 file formats that need transcoding. (We are skipping this headache and so can you with our simple guidelines.) Issues that most concern Thought Equity are exclusivity of content, and rights & restrictions, making the content as accessible to client use as possible. (We need those model and property releases when appropriate, but you already got those for the stills, right?)

    The Red camera is very technical and the image quality has very large files sizes. It only offers raw files at production, which are not easy to view on the computer screen. The 5D is excellent for immediate screen viewing, but more restrictive for motion and pulling focus. On the other hand, production costs go up a lot with the Red and the revenue in price per clip will be the same. Photographers have to decide with they can afford, as, according to Alan of Rubberball, it can cost from $50,000 to $100,000 to outfit yourself in the Red and under $10,000 for the 5D.

    What is the return revenue for this business? There still seems to be a lot of speculation on this matter, as the industry is still growing. However, Alan Bailey says they have an inventory of 5500 clips now and they are commanding about twice the revenue per clip as the still imagery. However, it can be two years before one gets a return on investment. Rubberball hopes to be producing content that will be relevant for ten to fifteen years out. Alan aptly reviews the pros and cons to making the move to motion:

    Pros – It’s still an unsaturated market, and there are tons of holes to fill. The global transition is happening; the market is growing; there are more technological options; and the cannibalization by amateurs is less likely.

    Cons – It’s harder to create good content; and talent is difficult to direct. It’s almost impossible to Photoshop out logos (let Adnet do it – see below) ; and your storage requirements are much higher. Also there is no clear standardization on delivery format. (One size fits all for us)

    These challenges will seem like the cost of doing business for some and insurmountable for others. It’s key to know your strengths, your niche areas for success and your ability to endure change and innovation as you chase the technology of the future.”

    If in doubt about any of the above, please give me a call.  I just used my 5D to create a web infomercial and did the editing myself in Final Cut Express on a MacBook.  Keep it simple and create clips with little effort that will sell for years to come.  It is not too late to get into the game!

    So, there you have it!  Got any other excuses?  If not, send us those clips.  If you do, give me a call at 425-562-1543 to discuss how to overcome your concerns.

    Dave

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    Posted by Dave in Stock Footage || Comment Now ||
  • A Treasure Trove of HDLSR Resources!

    Tuesday, November 30, 2010

    A huge tip of the cap goes out to dslrvideoshooter.com for compiling this wonderful and comprehensive list of resources for DSLR users. Check out some of these sites to get the latest news, reviews and inspiration! And be sure to keep us on your radar as well! Enjoy.

    Blogs

    Philip Bloom - Now known as a leader in the HDSLR revolution, Philip Bloom has a lot of knowledge to share on his very popular blog.
    Planet 5D - Videos, news and more.
    DSLR News Shooter - DSLR News Shooter is dedicated to the use of the latest HDSLRs like the Canon Eos 5DmkII, 7D and Nikon D300s for news, documentary and factual shooting.
    Hurlbut Visuals - Shane Hurlbut shares knowledge on using HDSLR for filmmaking.
    FreshDV - Industry news, reviews and training resources for HDSLR users.
    Negative Spaces Blog - Ben Cain tests DSLRs and shares some tips on how to use them.
    Vincent Laforet’s Blog - Vincent is another leader in the DSLR revolution and is continually pushing these cameras to create captivating images.
    Cinema 5D News – Daily news feed for DSLR filmmakers.
    Wiegaertner Films – Sebastian Wiegärtner shares info, teaches HDSLR workshops and much more.
    DSLR HD - Blog with a interesting series called: Why You Should Not Shoot Video With A DSLR.
    ProLost - Stu share info on color correction, cameras and the like.
    Learning DSLR Video - Best blog for beginning HDSLR users. Dave explores shooting video on DSLRs and shares findings.
    No Film School - Home of The DSLR Cinematography Guide.
    Canon Filmmakers - One of the first kids on the DSLR-for-film block.
    DSLR Cinematography - News, reviews and tutorials for DSLR filmmakers.
    El Skid’s Blog – Robin Schmidt’s killer blog on filmmaking, HDSLR filmmaker and more.
    Nino Film - Commercial and documentary shooting with a stellar blog.
    A 550D User’s Blog – Michael Schmidt shares links, videos and more.
    7D Pro - Designed simply to provide an online presence for Canon EOS DSLR users
    Wide Open Camera – Tests, giveaways and great information for HDSLR users.
    Cheesy Cam – If your interested in DIY and DSLRs this is the blog for you.
    FStoppers – Information pertaining to professional photography of all kinds.
    Tom Guilmette – Sports and nature shooter who is always sharing tips and tricks.
    DV Culture – Online platform focused on Digital Video News, Product Reviews.
    Phil Hoyt – Sharing info on HDSLRs, gear and more.
    Digital SLR Shooter – Blog on Hybrid shooting and video production.
    Scene Blog – A Blog by Filmmakers For Filmmakers.
    Daniel Freytag’s Blog – DSLR related blog content.
    Need Creative – For those who are passionate about HDSLRs, Macs and other visual tech.
    Next WaveDV – The Next wave of digital video.
    5D Mark II Team – Improvements and Gear.

    Podcasts

    The C47iTunes – Learn lighting, shooting, and post workflow from a DSLR user.
    16×9 Cinema | iTunes – The home of Carl Olson’s ”Digital Convergence Podcast” and blog where he shares information, resources, and interviews industry professionals.
    Crossing the 180 | iTunes – Ron Dawson interviews filmmakers and talk about DSLRs in production.
    My DSLR Show – weekly web series for filmmakers using DSLR cameras.
    RED CentreiTunes – Wait… RED??? Yes, but lately Mike Seymour and Jason Wingrove cover a lot of DSLR topics and info.

    Forums

    EOS HD - Forum and blog sharing news and videos.
    Cinema5D - International HDSLR Forum with a great community.
    DVX User – Its a DVX user blog with HDSLR info to boot!
    Creative Cow – Creative Community of DSLR Users.

    Vimeo Groups

    Cinemacuteo Free Film School.
    DSLR Cinema.
    Canon DLSR Video Users Group.
    DSLR Filmmakers Group.
    Canon EOS 7D.

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  • Firmware Updates for Canon EOS 7D & Rebel T2i

    Tuesday, November 30, 2010

    Update your firmware!

    Last week Canon released firmware updates for the EOS 7D and  Rebel T2i DSLRs. Firmware v1.2.3 for the 7D andv1.0.9 for the T2i fix minor bugs in both cameras. The latest versions can be downloaded from Canon’s website. Links are provided below:

    Canon EOS 7D firmware v1.2.3 update

    Canon T2i firmware v1.0.9 update

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    Posted by Dave in Cameras, Canon || Comment Now ||
  • Firmware Update for 5D Mark II

    Wednesday, October 20, 2010

    This firmware update (Version 2.0.8) incorporates the following changes and fixes.

    - Fixes a phenomenon in which movies are not taken at the shooting mode registered in the user’s settings if a shooting mode Aperture priority (or Shutter priority) is registered in any of the camera’s user settings (C1, C2, C3) and the user attempts to shoot a movie.

    - Fixes a phenomenon in which the shutter will not release when pressing the shutter button when the auto power off function is set to “on”.

    Fixes a phenomenon in which overexposure occurs when shooting a Live View shooting simulation with the ISO speed set to L.

    - Fixes a phenomenon in which the settings of the Speedlite transmitter ST-E2 revert to the default settings when both the camera and the ST-E2 are set to auto power off.

    - Fixes a phenomenon in which the Macro Ring Lite (MR-14EX, MT-24EX) and slave flash do not sync while shooting wirelessly.

    Download: http://web.canon.jp/imaging/eosd/firm-e/eos5dmk2/firmware.html

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    Posted by Dave in Cameras, Canon || Comment Now ||
  • Nikon Announces D3100 with Full HD Video

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010

    Nikon is finally getting it’s act together in regards to capturing HD video. This camera is the first Nikon DSLR to shoot full 1080p video and offers 24 fps. Successor to the popular D3000, it is built around a 14.2 CMOS sensor and a 3 inch LCD. As well as movies it gains Live View shooting, a wider ISO range ( 100-3200 expandable to 12800) and a host of small revisions. The camera will be available soon at a retail price of $699.99 with the 18-55mm VR lens.

    Full specs after the jump.

    Read the rest »

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  • PF Bentely DSLR Workshop Coming to Seattle in September

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010

    From his website: pfworkshops.com

    Take your vision to the next level. Start creating polished documentaries and cinematic journalism. Begin to see our visual world with new potential.  You will complete your own film in five days.

    Documentary filmmaker PF Bentley is now on the road and coming to you in the comfort of your hometown area in a fun, small intimate boutique setting. Bentley, a former TIME Magazine award-winning photojournalist and an Apple Certified Pro, brings 12 years experience teaching cutting edge technology as Lead Instructor for the Platypus Workshops.

    Apparently there are only 4 spots left in this session. It is BYOG (bring your own gear) and requires an intermediate level of skill with your footage capable dslr camera and Final Cut Pro 7. Check out all the details HERE and mark your calendars!

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    Posted by Dave in Workshops || Comment Now ||
  • From Still To Motion

    Tuesday, June 29, 2010

    From what I have read online and seen in a few tutorials, this book is an excellent resource for all photographers looking to make the move to video with their new DSLRs.

    All killer and no filler. Written by the experts in easy to understand language, From Still to Motion breaks down each step to get from beginner level clips to full length professional looking video production. It also includes a DVD with further instructions and tutorials to round out the most important lessons.

    Get your copy today and start the journey!

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    Posted by Dave in Shooting Tips || Comment Now ||
  • Tips for Shooting Video With Your New DSLR

    Wednesday, June 16, 2010

    Here is a great beginners list taken from the Gadgets Blog over at the NYTimes. The author got to spend a day working with Canon expert Bruce Dorn on a commercial for the Canon T2i and came up with some very helpful observations:

    • It will take some practice, but you must learn to focus manually. For Mr. Dorn, autofocus is just not acceptable.

    • If your camera allows, use manual exposure settings when shooting video because exposures will change as you pan the camera.

    A good shutter speed for video is 1/50th second. That’s the “classic sweet spot,” Mr. Dorn said.

    • Set the ISO to 200.

    • He recommends an aperture setting of F/5.6, which he says is used by many cinematographers.

    • If your camera accommodates 24 fps video capture, use it.

    • Avoid auto white balance at all costs. Instead, pick one white balance mode and stick with it throughout the video.

    Use the camera’s neutral image setting; it will give you the most latitude for postproduction work.

    Focus where your subject will be, not where it is.

    • Always shoot a minimum of 15 seconds per take.

    Never shoot vertical, unless you want to mount your HDTV sideways.

    Invest in a good high-performance memory card. Slower cards will conk out when their buffer becomes overloaded.

    • If you’re serious about video, invest in an add-on microphone, like the $200 Sennheiser MKE 400 shotgun microphone.

    Use a neutral density filter, like an N.3 or N.9; stick with one brand if you buy several filters.

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    Posted by Dave in Shooting Tips || Comment Now ||
  • The Great Camera Shootout 2010

    Wednesday, June 16, 2010

    The fine folks over at Zacudo undertook a very daunting task back in March of this year. They set out to compare each of the best ‘Video DSLRs’ on the market side by side next to 35mm film.

    This resulted in a 3-part web series that is sure to surprise a lot of you. If you currently own one of these DSLRs, are thinking about purchasing one, already shooting video like a pro or looking to get started this is a very informative and interesting viewing experience.

    Head over to www.zacuto.com/shootout and get out your popcorn.

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    Posted by Dave in Cameras, Canon, Gear, Nikon || Comment Now ||