Wednesday 11 September 2013

Reverse engineered - Matt Jones, super flip

In this new series of posts ( Reverse Engineered ) I am going to pick a few images I have taken over the last year or so and reverse engineer them for you, explain how I got the shot, why I shot it as I did and where lighting was, the editing process etc

From the back of the camera to the portfolio.

Some images need very little doing to them, some I shoot with the intention of changing stuff in post. I will be posting up an image in a few weeks for example, where I shot with the aim of clone stamping out a lamp post. Sometimes things like that cant be fixed at the time of shooting and are where digital work really comes in to its own.

For this first one though, we have an Image of Saracen bikes rider Matt Jones down at his secret training compound near his house in the UK.

Shot at the same time as shooting for our film Antidote last winter, so we had both Chris and myself on set for the whole day, and between shooting video I got a few still images to run along side the film.

The Idea for the shot was to show:

  • The fact it was winter in the UK ( cold, wet, dark, miserable ) 
  • Matt pushing limits and trying big tricks 
  • The full ramp set up 
With those points in mind, I wanted to shoot fish eye to make the jump look its biggest, wanted to under expose ambient a bit to get it all moody, and then use flash to bring Matt out of the back ground.

This is what the file looked like right off the camera:

Bit flat, bit dark, but everything is there and in the right place. No blown highlights. Clean.

For this shot as said above I wanted to use some off camera flash to help lift Matt out of what was a pretty boring, thick hedge back ground and over cast UK winter sky.

I use Nikon SB800 flash guns and PW2 triggers. The Nikon flashes as they are true work horses, seem to work in what ever you put them in, and with the extra piggy back battery have a recharge rate with good charge that can keep up with 7FPS shooting. As for the pocket wizards, no real need to explain. They just work.

As it says really, 2 flashes, one as Rim light and one as main Fill. Both pretty mid power and different zooms.
Thats the image captured. In the bag. But I knew I would want to do some work to it in post. Nothing to heavy, no clone work or anything like that but just giving the image the pop and punch I wanted. It was for the press release of the film part after all, It needed to grab some attention and stand out.

  • Cropped in slightly, and also rotated the image a bit to get Matt in a better place in the composition. 
  • Lightened up the roll in and ramp a bit to give him some context. 
  • Brightened him up and bit and have him some more contrast. 
  • Burned in the hedge in the back ground and bit and the darker areas of the clouds.
Shot on a Canon 5D mk3, Canon 15mm 2.8 , 2 x Nikon SB800 flash guns and PW2 triggers.

Any more questions leave a comment bellow and I will answer.

Another one next week...

Wednesday 4 September 2013

Camera bags ( Vertex 300AW, Flipside 500AW, Flipside sport 20L ) and why you need a few

I seem to have amassed a fine collection of camera bags over the years. Looking back a few years you think you only need one, something that will go on your back and hold every bit of gear you own. Done.

But that's wrong, camera bags are just a tool and like most tools, you have different variations of them that are good at different jobs, think hammers, spoons, saws, cars, cameras even. You don't use a sledge hammer to put in a tack nor do you use a point and shoot to cover a world cup. Its that same idea that has over the last few years become apparent to me with regards to bags.

Have a few, not loads, but 3-4. Small one for some gear when your scouting, big one when you need all your photo and video gear, sport ones for when you need to ride for a while to get to a spot, you get the idea. Yes you could make do with one ( I did for the first few years of shooting ) but like everything, having the right tool for the job makes it much easier.

Here are 3 bags I use on a regular basis, what I put in them and when I use them. I have a few more but these are what I use 80% of the time:

Lowepro Vertex 300AW

This is my main bag for trips when I need to take a lot of gear. Its a big bag, robust and built for the outdoors. As you can see fits in all the gear I need to do both stills and video ( although to do both with full kits of each I do need 2 bags )

Taken it all over the world, and although the airline bins at check in beg to differ, it does fit in over head lockers as hand luggage filled right up, just dont let any one help you struggle in to the bins with it haha

Like I say, the go to bag for me, use it for 70% of jobs and has never let me down.

Lowepro Flipside 500AW

This is another one of Lowepro's more outdoor bags ( kind of works with what I shoot 90% of the time ) but its a little smaller than the Vertex. It is also a bit deeper which is great for putting gear in a hurry and with pro series bodies, when a grip is on or for video cameras.

It unlike the Vertex opens on the back panel meaning you don't have to get your back all muddy etc when putting the bag down and straps etc stay clean, again its an AW model meaning it has the built in rain cover that can pull out in a second.

The front pocket isnt quite big enough to squeeze a 15" laptop in anoyingly but this isnt to much of an issue as you can just leave the top poking out and strap it in with one of the many straps on the bag.

I tend to use it for jobs where I'm shooting stills or video, not both, jobs inside, or where I need nice fast access to gear. I took it out to Eurobike recently and it was perfect for the job.

Bit of a different layout with super fast access to flashes.

Lowepro Flipside sport 20L AW 

This is the newst bag of the 3, and also the smallest and lightest. It is those 2 reason why it gets used. When I go on shoots that mean riding as well as shooting, and where I know I will only have to shoot either photos or video this is the one to take. Small so doesnt swing back and try to make you do front flips all the time, loads of straps to hold it tight to your body and well padded, but on the flipside ( excuse that awfull pun ) its got enough room in it for loads of gear and doesnt feel like im loosing any features over say the Vertex.

If you dont have much gear, or ride a lot as well as shoot then this is the one to get.

Full of spares, chargers and Misc stuff at the moment. 

With all 3 of these bags, you get the built in AW cover and the fact its Lowepro and so will just work.

Its the bits of gear that just carry on working, in all weathers, despite all the abuse, that you don't notice. They don't shout about themselves they just get on with the task in hand. That is what a good camera bag should do. Carry all your gear and work flawlessly all the time so you don't have to worry about how safe your gear constantly.

Any more info or questions just ask in the comments below or via email.