Recent Posts

The Key To Taking Great Product Photos

Going off our most recent post, I thought it would be a good idea to continue writing blog posts about techniques that you can start with today.

While selling items online can be a great source of income, you won’t be able to make much without good photos. No one wants to buy an item that they can’t see.

Thankfully, if you follow these simple tips, you’ll consistently be able to snap the perfect pictures of the items you’re selling.

Choose The Right Background

A messy or distracting background can be a big turn-off the buyers. Not only does it look unprofessional, it can make it much harder for people to see the details of the item.

It’s always best to photograph items in front of a white background. While a white wall is normally fine, hanging a white sheet can help people to get even better results.

Lighting Is Key

The difference between a mediocre photo and a great one is usually the lighting. A light source will make a photo less clear, and can make an item look a lot worse.

Check out these examples of product photography

If you have a room with a lot of natural light, you may want to take photos there. It’s easy to take attractive photos if you have a lot of sunlight.

If you don’t have access to things like this, placing lamps around the item you’re photographing is key. Experiment with different lighting setups until you find one that works for you.

Don’t Overdo The Editing

A little bit of editing can really clean up a product photo and make it look more professional. However, if you edit a photo too much, you’re being misleading to customers. In addition, an obviously-edited photo can be a turn off.

Make sure you keep things simple when it comes to editing. The more natural your photo looks, the better.

Anyone can take great photos on products if they keep these simple tips in mind. If you’re looking for some more tips check out this link below:

http://www.diyphotography.net/7-functional-tips-better-product-photography/

 

What to Look For In a Camera in 2016

If you are looking for the top video cameras in 2016, you are going to want to make sure that you do a good amount of research so you can find the best one. The key to finding the best video cameras of the year is going to be through research.

In this article, we will be going over some of the top things to consider and look for when you are trying to identify the top candidates.

1. Brand.

One of the first things that you want to do is check out the brand of the video cameras in question. Ideally, you will want to try to find the top brand because you are going to be able to rest easy knowing that you are investing in a company that cares about it’s products. The truth is, there are a few brands that reign supreme in all of the different product niche’s and industries. In the case of video cameras, there are a few that stand above all of the rest – Sony, Cannon, Nikon.

2. Reviews.

Cameras in 2016Another thing that you are going to want to look at and carefully monitor is the reviews of the different cameras. Amazon is a great place to start, however, speciality sites such as BH Photo as great too.

Ideally, you are going to want to select a camera that has a really good review pattern. After all, the more people that are reviewing a product well, the better the chances that the product is going to be a good purchase. The reviews can tell you a lot about a particular product. It is always wise to avoid any product that receives a ton of negative reviews and criticisms. This is likely a product that you will want to avoid completely.

3. Price.

The price is always going to become a factor at some point in time. If you are looking for the top overall video cameras, you will likely want to check out the top cameras based on their actual value. While a video camera might be the best on the market, if it has a ton of features that you do not need and/or if the camera is only marginally better than the next tier down, it is very likely that it is not going to be worth the premium. For this reason, you will want to invest in the camera that offers the most band for your buck.

As we get more into 2016, I’ll start to single out particular cameras that I’ve test and offer my thoughts and opinions. Stay tuned…

Case Study: Becoming a Freelance Video Producer On The Side

As promised in my first post of the year, I’ve been meaning to dig deep into real people who are working in the industry, so today I’m highlighting an old pal who’s doing some pretty cool work.

A few generations ago the idea of having a side job would have been a completely strange. However, in today’s day and age it’s never been easier, and in some communities more important, to have two or maybe even three sources of income.

Henry_at_work
Henry Capturing The Beauty Of British Columbia

I recently met with an old high school friend, Henry Wright, who, among many things, is working as a freelance video producer. As soon as I hear this I knew this would be perfect for the blog. Henry always had an interest in film and video and was always tinkering with cameras so it was a surprise to me and everyone else when we found out he had started his own home renovation company. Henry explained that it was more circumstantial than anything.

He took over the family business, which allowed him to gain the cash flow that kept him interested in his side hobby. Henry continued to niche down even more, creating his company Furnace Repair Vancouver. It was around this time that he started to also take on side gigs during the summer slow season. This was a perfect balance for him, a decent income from his renovation business and extra cash doing what he loves. Having a bit of extra cash is a great way for you to experiment with new equipment, classes and projects without the pressure of having to earn an income from it.

His freelance video career is just starting to take off. He’s been hired to create corporate videos, wedding videos and has even made a few music videos. Check out some of his work on his vimeo channel linked below!

I thought this story was worth sharing for those readers who are looking to get into the video world but are stuck with their 9 to 5. Henry is a good example of how you can slowly transition from one career to the other without completely cutting off your main source of income.

DSLR Revolution. Is it over?

I recently took part in a round-table discussion with several other cinematographers and photographer in New York. The discussion was in front of film students and one of the most surprising topics that kept coming up was about the quality of Digital SLR cameras compared to high end film cameras. Many of the experienced panelists were, and still are, against the DSLR cameras as a professional film device, this could be for a number of reasons, but I’m lead to believe that this has to do with lack of quality and control many of these cameras have.

As we knew this would be a topic of discussion the moderator had prepared a series of short film clips, some were shot of film cameras, other on high end digital cameras and finally, some on prosumer level DSLRs. While viewing the clips, each panelist was asked to write down which camera they think was used for each clips. Surprisingly, the veteran filmmakers were stumped. What some thought was shot on film was actually on a SLR. In fact, none of the films were shot on film or RED cameras, every film clip we saw was shot on an SLR.

The SLR revolution isn’t just limited to the cinematography world, access to a wide range of lenses and cheap camera bodies has proven to be a great aid to both amateur and professional photographers. I recently found some work by a small photography company in san francisco. Check out some of their work, specially their food and product photography. http://marketmevideo.tv/san-francisco-photographer/

I contacted MarketME on Facebook to ask specifically what gear their using to produce such impressive work. I wasn’t surprised to hear that although they have a studio full of high-end camera gear, they’ve found that using a Canon 70D gets the job done 9 out of 10 times.

Another company that is really producing some great work. Is Gotham Photography in NY, their stunning real estate photographs are helping their clients close multi-million dollar deals. I wasn’t surprised to learn that light techniques and great post-production is the secret to their fantastic work.

“The camera is just a tool to tell the story”. I think we get too caught up in what we’re shooting with and forget to look up and think about what it is we’re shooting.

Let me know on twitter if you like these type of posts. I’d love to hear from you.

The Finer Points Of Cinematography

This is the first in a series of #centurycinema101 posts where I try to dig deeper into the finer points of cinematography.

When you go and sit in the movie theater, you see cinematography come to life. It unfolds from scene to scene showing how to director used tricks to create an entire story. Each scene has a story behind it where the director purposely did things to interact with the audience. It is a big reason for why they get paid the big bucks. It is an art where you have to be persistent as a director or the scene won’t justify the message being relayed to the audience.

Some of the best directors have suggested advice such as the tips below for what you should be doing.

Subconscious Control Through Lighting

Ever seen a sad scene and how the lights are manipulated to convey that particular emotion. The lights start to darken and everything becomes grim. It is done on purpose and is not an accident. It lets the audience know this is a sad scene/moment in the movie.

They are then able to cause that emotion to spark inside the audience and make the words and actions in the movie look even sadder. It is important to play with the subconscious mind that uses light as triggers.

Spatial Awareness

If you are hoping to get good shots as a cinematographer, you will need spatial awareness. It is not just about what is in front of the camera, but what is behind it as well. You need space to move around and get the high, low, and middle shots that are needed.

You might not be planning to take high or low shots, but anything can happen and you do want that option in your back pocket. It will give you more control and as a cinematographer, spatial awareness can do a lot for your movie.

If there is one movie-related issue people do end up not know what to do about, it would be the details. How do you get those transitions to flow? How do you get the words to be said right to evoke emotions that can push the story? How can you make a scene look even better through suggestive changes?

The cinematography is not easy, but you end up making it even harder when you don’t look at the finer points of the craft. If you looked, it would lead to movies that are up for awards in the end.

What Coming in 2016

Century Optics is a new way for us to share the latest and greatest in cinematography. With over 10 years experience in both the film and photography worlds, my goal is to share the latest news, tips, tricks and techniques. If you’ve come here from my original blog, then you know the drill – I don’t post often but when I do, I make sure you’re getting the high quality information.

Here are a couple blog posts you can expect this year. I’m getting into the camera world and looking for the best cameras in the industry. I’m going to be interviewing a few people who are creating cameras that are shaping the way we capture the world. I’m also going to be following a few interesting Kickstarter campaigns that are showing promise.

Drone tech has really started to peak my interest so I’ll be covering a lot more information about how to fly, where to fly and more importantly which ones you should be buying. I’m also going to be chatting with companies who are producing some fantastic work that I can share with you all.

Lastely, this new blog is going back to basics. I’m going to talking about camera lenses and cinematography techniques. I’ve lined up interviews with a few big names in the industry. Some work in feature films while other are on the business to business production side of things. My goal is to talk about the best ways to achieve creative goals in a way that keeps reasonable budgets in mind.