THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS | A PRO PHOTO & VIDEO BLOG

New York Photo & Video Events

Posted in Events, Photography by Nathan Lee Bush on January 1, 2013

Our weekly events list from our (full event descriptions and option to subscribe by following the link):New York City Google Event Calendar

Michael K. Yamaoka, "Saturation & Serenity" at Atlantic Gallery

Michael K. Yamaoka, “Saturation & Serenity” at Atlantic Gallery

Wed Jan 2, 2013
7pm – 10pm  |  Workshop: Larson Harley, INTRO TO DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY – Wednesdays
(Part 1 of 4)
Where: 3rd Ward, 195 Morgan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11237

Thu Jan 3, 2013
9am – 12pm  |  Workshop: Erica Magrey, “Introduction to Photoshop” – Thursdays (Part 3 of 3)
Where: 3rd Ward, 195 Morgan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11237

12pm – 3pm  |  Workshop: Heather Russ, PHOTOSHOP RETOUCHING – Thursdays (Part 1 of 5)
Where: 3rd Ward, 195 Morgan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11237

7pm – 10pm  |  Workshop: Ken Collins, PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY – Thursdays (Part 1 of 5)
Where: 3rd Ward, 195 Morgan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11237

7pm – 10pm  |  Workshop: Davis Hawk, Intro to Digital Photography (Part 3 of 4)
Where: 3rd Ward, 195 Morgan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11237

Fri Jan 4, 2013
6pm – 9pm  |  Opening: Group Show, “239 Days— Works from School of Visual Arts MFAFine Arts Class of 2012” | Curated by Stephen Maine
Where: Allegra LaViolaGallery, 179 East Broadway, New York, NY 10002

7pm – 8pm  |  Lecture: Rise and Fall of Apartheid: A Lecture with Curator Rory Bester
Where: ICP School, 1114 Avenue of the Americas, 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036

11am – 6pm  |  Online Course: Bambi Cantrell, Building a Profitable Portrait Studio
Where: http://www.creativelive.com/courses/building-profitable-portrait-studio-bambi-cantrell (more…)

New York Photo & Video Events

Posted in Events, Photography by Nathan Lee Bush on December 25, 2012

Our weekly events list from our (full event descriptions and option to subscribe by following the link):New York City Google Event Calendar

Wed Dec 26, 2012
7pm – 10pm | Workshop: Advanced Digital Photography // Concepts and Critique (Part 1 of 6)
Where: 3rd Ward, 195 Morgan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11237

Thu Dec 27, 2012
9am – 12pm | Workshop: Erica Magrey, “Introduction to Photoshop” – Thursdays (Part 2 of 3)
Where: 3rd Ward, 195 Morgan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11237

5pm – 8pm | Workshop: Jackie Snow, “Learn Your Digital Camera”
Where: 3rd Ward, 195 Morgan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11237 (more…)

2012 Highlights in Video Tech

Posted in News, Video by Nathan Lee Bush on December 20, 2012

With manufacturers’ hands revealed, we can comfortably take stock of the trends and legacy of this momentous year for filmmakers.

Sony FS700 – Slo-mo for the rest of us
sony fs700High framerate HD has long been the domain of luxury car-priced specialty cameras like the Phantom Miro. Sony changed this with its sub-$10,000 FS700 super 35mm all-rounder. With Full HD video up to 240fps (and reduced resolution up to 960fps), slow motion is no longer an expensive and costly imposition, but seamlessly integrates with the production workflow. That the camera inherits the FS100’s low light prowess, and is 4K-capable with a recently revealed add on recorder, means this camera will be a future-proof, affordable, swiss army knife of a camera for filmmakers and DPs everywhere. Check out our Sony FS700 interview at NAB.

Canon goes all-in on Digital Cinema
Canon C500Little over a year ago, a “Cinema EOS” division was just a gleam in Canon’s eye. While other camera manufacturers seemed content to let their video capabilities on DSLR and mirrorless offerings act as value-added features to the core still-photography tool, Canon decided to take a gutsy leap into the Digital Cinema fray. By year’s end, it offers a full range of digital cameras, lenses and peripherals along a variety of price points, carving out a position among industry mainstays. We’ve seen customers enthusiastically adopting these cameras in all areas of the Digital Cinema industry: features, documentaries, music videos, commercials and more. Read our year one analysis of the Canon Cinema EOS line after our industry event.

Digital Continues its Hollywood Takeover
With a few notable exceptions (The Dark Knight Rises, The Master, which utilized IMAX or 70mm film stocks, respectively), many of the year’s biggest and most visually exceptional movies were shot digitally. Films like Prometheus, Skyfall, Life of Pi, The Avengers, Zero Dark Thirty and plenty more surreptitiously replaced their medium’s namesake for digital alternatives from ARRI and RED.

Sony Solves the Global Shutter Problem
Sony F5 ModularWhile digital cinema cameras marched slowly toward film parity over the last decade, they always lacked a fundamental advantage of their film counterparts: a global shutter. Synonymous with film cameras, global shutters allow the entire frame to be exposed at once, rather than the progressive exposure of digital sensors. Fast processors and internal algorithms and post software were able to mitigate the problems inherent in rolling shutters, yet skew, wobble and partial exposures plagued even the most advanced cameras in use today, and required artistic compromises during the shooting process. Late in the year, Sony announced two spec-heavy cinema cameras in the form of the F5 and F55. The cameras were so its impressive in their own right, it was easy to overlook the monumental achievement the F5 added to its long spec sheet: the first global shutter on a digital cinema camera. Read about the F5, F55 and other Sony 4K news.

The Year of the Price Cut 
If Martin Luther King, Jr. declared “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,” the filmmaking equivalent would be: “the arc of technology is pretty short, and it bends towards Crazy Eddie prices.” The shadow of the DSLR revolution hangs over the industry, when “film-like” depth-of-field and color range came within reach of millions of idea-rich but cash-poor filmmakers. Yet the truly high-end sheen and clarity of Hollywood imagery remained tantalizingly beyond the grasp of Indie filmmakers and small production houses. But perhaps more so than any other year, 2012 saw the dramatic price drop of cinema-grade options. First, the Blackmagic Cinema Camera and Sony FS700 ruffled players at NAB with pro-level spec sheets at consumer level prices. Then, to top off the trend, RED finished the year with across the board cuts to its entire line, in many cases practically halving the cost of camera “brains.” Of course, “cheap” doesn’t begin to describe cameras, especially when requisite peripherals are added to the cost, and renting remains the most cost-effective option for most DPs, but the fact remains – the price and quality gap between high end and low end shooting has never been smaller.

Blackmagic Ups the Ante with its Cinema Camera
blackmagicBlackmagic, no stranger to bold shakeups in every area of the industry it enters, nevertheless shocked the filmmaking world at NAB by casting its lot into the mature camera market with the Cinema Camera. The specs seemed too good to be true: common EF and Micro Four Thirds Mounts, bleeding edge Thunderbolt I/O, built in SSD and, most importantly, 2.5K, 12-bit RAW codec – all for the price of a DSLR. Its encountered no shortage of setbacks since its announcement: from endless production delays (we’re the only rental house in the city with one), to buggy firmware, limited featureset, less than intuitive UI and massive files requiring huge post processing power. Nevertheless, its fundamental advantage, incredible internal codecs and pliable final output for post work put a serious wrench in the careful pricing strategies the major players use to protect price brackets along the product range. If the BMCC takes off, 8-bit compressed codecs on 5 digit price points will not hold water much longer. Now, its a question whether Blackmagic can resolve its production bottleneck and get it into the hands of more users. Follow our full coverage of the BMCC.

4K Goes Mainstream
NAB’s big cinema camera manufacturers all had optimized 4K theaters showing off the game-changing potential of a high resolution calibrated experience. It was such a startling event that all four ARC team members on the floor in Vegas wrote about the experience in our post-NAB report. It remains to be seen whether audiences demand the hyper-realism of high resolution, but savvy filmmakers aren’t going to ignore the future-proofing a 4K+ master provides. Astoundingly, even GoPro got in on the high res action at the end of the year with its Hero 3 Black Edition shooting 4K at 15fps for only $400. Read our 4K commentary from NAB.

Full-Frame Reaches Dedicated Video-Cameras 
sony nexvg900The full-frame “look” became so common during the 5D Mark II heyday that beautifully shallow depth of field and the focus searching that attended it became a common attribute of half the films on Vimeo, an aesthetic unto itself. Yet Super 35mm remained the de facto standard for dedicated digital cinema cameras, leaving filmmakers who wanted to achieve the distinctive shallow affect with a handful of cameras aimed at stills shooters. Sony took a step toward changing this with its E-mount NEX-VG900. While the camera has notable shortcomings for filmmakers – a somewhat muddy image for film work and auto-oriented camcorder layout and interface, it still was the first Full-Frame camera with such a thin flange-mount distance, allowing for a massive array of lenses to be affixed via adapters. Here’s hoping for more large-sensor offerings in video camera bodies to come. Follow the tremendous developments in full-frame this year.

GH2 Upsets at Zacuto’s “Revenge”
The hacked Panasonic GH2 claimed long-overdue credit as a formidable filmmaking tool when it upset the major players in a blind screening of Zacuto’s annual camera test. While the strictly controlled standard lighting scenario showed the cameras falling more closely along their price points, the GH2 was able to win over the audience (including Francis Ford Coppola) when individual teams were allowed to take on each camera and compensate for their weaknesses with additional fill light. While this was as much a victory for the DPs as the camera itself, it nevertheless showed off the surprising image quality of the hacked version of the camera, with its increased bitrates and added features. Now we can eagerly look forward to the GH3, which promises to bring many of the hacked features to the native firmware. Read our analysis of the test and our interview with “Revenge” test administrator, Bruce Logan.

OM-D E-M5 Image Stabilization – The Beginning of the End of Steadicam?
Olympus OMD EM5The diminutive Micro Four Thirds enthusiast camera got plenty of plaudits from the photography press this year, but most coverage highlighted the camera’s accomplishments for the stills shooter, with unprecedented image quality from such a small sensor, speedy autofocus and fantastic build quality and ergonomics. Video seemed an afterthought for Olympus, so much so that they somehow managed to leave out 24p, the standard framerate among filmmakers and a key ingredient in approximating the “film-look.” But the five-axis onboard image stabilization was a revolutionary leap forward for hand-holding filmmaking. Micro-shake is an inescapable reality, requiring heavy and cumbersome rigs or steadicams for even the most trivial hand-held shot, or unreliable post-tools. With this camera, we got to peak into a future of IS so advanced as to potentially remove the need for burdensome peripherals.

What do you think?
This roundup is just one glimpse into some of the massive changes we’ve seen in the industry this past year. It’s all come so fast, it’s actually been hard to keep up at times. What had the biggest impact for you this year? What did we miss? Add your voice in the comments!

Also take our poll below, which change was most important for you in 2012?

The End of the World … for Instagram?

Posted in News, Photography by annakfischer on December 18, 2012

ImageInstagram released new terms of service yesterday, heralding what could be the beginning of the end of the Instagram age, at least among photographers who value ownership of their images. Pro photographer’s like Ben Lowy and Ed Kashi who’ve championed the service and helped it explode into the behemoth of the photo sharing world.  

The terms of service are lengthy but the especially disconcerting bits are excerpted below (italics mine):

“you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the Content that you post on or through the Service.”

“To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you. If you are under the age of eighteen (18), or under any other applicable age of majority, you represent that at least one of your parents or legal guardians has also agreed to this provision (and the use of your name, likeness, username, and/or photos (along with any associated metadata) on your behalf.”

To summarize the salient points:

1) Instagram now has rights to all the images you publish through its service.

2) Instagram can sell these images without your knowledge or consent.

3) This includes photos of minors.

The only way to opt out for already existing content and future work is to delete your account.

This isn’t the first rights grab we’ve seen from internet image hosting services. Back in May 2011, the then ubiquitous TwitPic underwent a similar change in terms of service. One that lead to its rapid decline

With Facebook heavily promoting the dearly bought social network to its users, we’re more likely to see a slow fade then a sharp decline, if anything. But as more services offer retro filters and streamline their mobile apps, we could see an erosion among Instagram’s savvier users.

We’re already seeing reactions from the press. The New York Times and CBS posted ominous, Dateline-style “are your kids safe” angled consumer pieces. That’s certainly valid, but we’re more concerned with working photographers’ intellectual property.

This speaks to the larger trend of Facebook’s long history of privacy violations and terms-of-use overreach. Now Instagram is the next vehicle for its information reselling business model. 

Relations between Twitter and Instagram have soured in recent weeks, with Instagram cutting its rival out of its service completely.  Twitter responded by adding its own robust photo filter and editing features. They are no doubt giddy at the latest news. They couldn’t have asked for a better holiday gift than Instagram’s right’s grab.

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New York Photo & Video Events

Posted in Events, Photography by Nathan Lee Bush on December 17, 2012

Our weekly events list from our (full event descriptions and option to subscribe by following the link):New York City Google Event Calendar

Group Show, The Young Collectors Exhibition at Leila Heller Gallery

Group Show, The Young Collectors Exhibition at Leila Heller Gallery

Tue Dec 18, 2012

6:30pm – 8:30pm   |  Opening: Group Show, The Young Collectors Exhibition | Curated by Laura
Mintz, Alexandra Wagle

Where:  Leila Heller Gallery – Chelsea, 568 West 25th Street, New York, NY 10001

11am – 12pm   |  Webinar: Raw Color Power – The Benefits of Custom Camera Profiles with
the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport

Where: http://www.xritephoto.com/ph_learning.aspx?action=webinars&eventid=1393&eventdateid=5342

1pm – 2:30pm   |  Webinar: Surviving in the Broadcast Editing World
Where: http://www.moviola.com/webinars/surviving-in-the-broadcast-editing-world/#.UMVqleTEeSo

9am – 12pm   |  Workshop: Laura Splan, Introduction to Illustrator (Part 3 of 3)
Where:  3rd Ward, 195 Morgan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11237

6pm – 10pm   |  ASMP New York Winter Party
Where:  Elk Studios, 164 West 25th Street, Penthouse, New York, NY 10001

6pm – 8pm   |  Artist Talk: Group Show, “Diaries: An Anthology of Photography from
Italy” | Curated by Peter Weiermair

Where:  Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, 26 Wooster Street, New York, NY 10013

7pm – 10pm   |  Workshop: Stephen Blauweiss, Introduction to Photoshop (Part 3 of 3)
Where: 3rd Ward, 195 Morgan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11237

7pm – 10pm   |  APA Holiday Party
Where:  G2, 400 W 14th St., New York, NY 10014

Wed Dec 19, 2012
10am – 6pm   |  Workshop: MC 239: Basic Color Correction with Media Composer 6
Where:  The Training Farm, 39 West 38th Street (btwn 5th & 6th Ave), Suite 1001, New York, NY 10018 (more…)

This Holiday Season, 3 ARC Specials to Choose From

Posted in News, Promotions by Adorama Rental Co. on December 11, 2012

Adorama Rentals Holiday-SpecialsThe Winter Solstice and New Years seasons are one of the few holidays actually honored by the unspoken industry code which controls the working calendars of most creative professionals, allowing a rare and necessary respite from demanding clients and long workdays, and much needed catch-up time with family and friends.

Still, after the first few days of eating, talking, eating, gift-giving, eating and general merry-making with my family, I always start to go a little stir crazy, as my sister and I slip back into our pre-adolescent roles, one step above hair pulling, and my grandfather starts to reiterate stories he’s delivered a couple dozen times that week. At these moments, when you start considering creative ways to end it all with a turkey baster, that I find it’s most opportune to grab some gear and head on a walk, for a little artistic experimentation. Just as the solstice and New Year have come to symbolize renewal, it’s a great chance to take stock in your work and see how you can improve and reinvent your photography and filmmaking oeuvre.

This holiday season, we want to extend no less than three specials to allow you to do just that. If you want to go all in, you can get almost two weeks for the price of one, picking up Thursday, December 20th after 4:30 and returning Wednesday, January 2nd before 9:30. For more specific time frames we’re offering two five day rentals for a weekend rate: our Christmas Special starts December 20th, with returns due the 26th, and the second opportunity running December 27th through January 2nd.

So with so many options to choose from, take this opportunity to renew your creative vision for the New Year!

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New York Photo & Video Events

Posted in Events, Photography by Nathan Lee Bush on December 10, 2012

Our weekly events list from our (full event descriptions and option to subscribe by following the link):New York City Google Event Calendar

Daniel Ballesteros, "Transparent Studio" at Bose Pacia Gallery

Daniel Ballesteros, “Transparent Studio” at Bose Pacia Gallery

Tue Dec 11, 2012
9am – 12pm  |  Workshop: Laura Splan, Introduction to Illustrator (Part 2 of 3) 
Where: 3rd Ward, 195 Morgan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11237

1pm – 2:30pm  |  Webinar: Professional Sound On Any Budget
Where: http://www.moviola.com/webinars/professional-sound-onany-budget/#.ULw9GOTEeSo

1pm – 2pm  |  Webinar: Professional Monitor Calibration for Still & Video
Where: http://www.xritephoto.com/ph_learning.aspx?action=webinars&eventid=1331&eventdateid=5271

3:30pm – 6:30pm  |  Workshop: David Karlins, “Intro to Web Design”
Where: 3rd Ward, 195 Morgan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11237

5:30pm – 7:30pm  |  Workshop: Jennifer Rozenbaum, “The Real Woman’s Guide to Posing”
Where: The Adorama Building, 42 West 18th Street, 5th floor, New York, NY

7pm – 10pm  |  Workshop: Stephen Blauweiss, Introduction to Photoshop (Part 2 of 3)
Where: 3rd Ward, 195 Morgan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11237

Wed Dec 12, 2012
6pm – 9pm  |  Opening: Shane Shane, “Electric Eclectic Beauties of the Glorious Nightlife” | Curated by Alesia Exum, Claire Fleury
Where: Strange Loop Gallery, 27 Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002

6pm – 8pm  |  Opening: Lori Landau, “Works In Series” | Curated by Lola C. Shepard
Where: New York Open Center Gallery, 22 East 30th St., New York, NY 10016

(more…)

Mobile Photo Roundup: Snapseed Comes to Android, Free on iOS

Posted in Photography by Nathan Lee Bush on December 7, 2012
snapseed

Snapseed offers more flexibility and control than rival Instagram, but do mobile users want it?

Snapseed, the powerful photo editing software for both desktop and more recently the iPhone has been released as a free app for Android devices (4.0 and up) and made free on its iOS equivalent (formally $5).

Imaging storage and sharing is seen as a cornerstone among top tech companies as they jostle to bolster their positions in the hotly contested social web space. Facebook made headlines in April with a billion dollar stock and cash bid for white hot Instagram, a deal which closed in September. Not to be outdone, Google acquired Snapseed developer Nik Software in September. And today, true to form, Google nixed short term profit to bolster its long term ecosystem growth. Expect to see specialized integration with services Google Plus (successful perhaps only among photographers), Picasa and, of course, Android.

Where Instagram siezed the market with its emphasis on instant slap-on lomo filters with minimal fuss, but also minimal wiggle room, Snapseed offers robust editing features, allowing the user to build a photo from the ground up using a large variety parameters. It remains to be seen whether on-the-go shooters, spoiled by Instagram’s tap-edit-and-share, will be compelled by the superior image flexibility offered by Snapseed. Casual shooters will likely balk, but a nascent movement could be afoot among serious photographers to take back control of the image. The massive built-in community of Instagram, at once a photo editing application and social network, is another hurdle.

Of course, with smartphone’s now accounting for over half of all mobile phones, it’s a big space, with plenty of room for a variety of niches. Indeed, the coolest new kid on the block is VSCO CAM, which offers more subtle and elegant and, for lack of a better word, “hip” filters than the more garish flavors found in Instagram.

Tomorrow: Adorama Pro Pre-Holiday Demo Day and Specials

Posted in Events by Nathan Lee Bush on December 5, 2012

21784_452703891458504_1739443232_n-1Join Adorama Pro tomorrow, Thursday the 6th from 1pm to 6pm for our Pre-Holiday Demo Day.

For one day only, our in-store specials include:

• Take an extra $100 off Canon’s 5D Mark III with 24-105L IS Lens5D Mark IIG1 X large sensor compact, EF 24-70mm f/2.8L IICanon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II and the T4i Digital SLR Camera Kit with EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens

• 10% off all GIOTTOS products not already reduced. Popular Giottos products include the Optical Cleaning Bundle with Rocket Air Blaster, Brush & Liquid and VITRUVIAN VGR9254-S2C 4-Section Aluminum Tripod with Arca Style Quick Release Ball Head

• 15% off all HELIOPAN products not already reduced and great deals on Heliopan graduated ND and polarizer filters

• Lowel’s 3 Light Tota Omni Basic Kit with Soft Case will be reduced to $599 from an already discounted $649.84.

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New York Photo & Video Events

Posted in Events, Photography by Nathan Lee Bush on December 3, 2012

Our weekly events list from our (full event descriptions and option to subscribe by following the link):New York City Google Event Calendar

Seth Casteel, "Underwater Dogs" at Dillon Gallery

Seth Casteel, “Underwater Dogs” at Dillon Gallery

Tue Dec 4, 2012
1pm – 2:30pm  |  Webinar: Sound and Music Design with Logic Pro 
Where: http://www.moviola.com/webinars/sound-and-music-designwith-logic-pro/

9am – 12pm  |  Workshop: Laura Splan, Introduction to Illustrator (Part 1 of 3)
Where: 3rd Ward, 195 Morgan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11237

7pm – 10pm |  Opening/Book Signing: Polaroids by Diego Uchitel
Where: Milk Gallery, 450 West 15th Street New York, NY 10011

5:30pm – 8pm  |  Workshop: David Piazza: Studio Strobes Made Easy
Where: The Adorama Building, 42 West 18th Street, 5th floor, New York, NY

7pm – 8:30pm  |  Artist Lecture: Sze Tsung Leong
Where: Center for Alternative Photography, 36 East 30th Street, New York, NY 10016

7pm – 10pm  |  Workshop: Stephen Blauweiss, Introduction to Photoshop (Part 1 of 3)
Where: 3rd Ward, 195 Morgan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11237 (more…)

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