Tuesday
Jul
2012
17

I Have Finally Found My Portfolio App for the iPad

by Scott Kelby  |  57 Comments

One of the most frustrating things about photography gear is that sometimes there are SO many options available to you, it makes it challenging to find exactly what you want. It’s why so many photographers I know (yours truly included) have so many different camera bags, and lenses, and tripods, and filters on and on. We’ll all searching for “the one” that will do everything we want.

Every once in a while, you find it.
Just like I’ve been searching for the perfect iPad portfolio App. There’s a bunch out there, but none of them did all the things I wanted one to do. Some did most of what I wanted, and some did some of what I wanted (and believe me, I tried them all), but I have finally found it. Best of all, it’s only $12.99. I’m not sure I have anything photography related that only costs $12.99.

It’s called FolioBook Photo Portfolio (by Architek, Limited).
While I was on vacation last week, I read another photographer raving about it (I wish I could remember who it was, because I’d like to give him/her credit), and the weird thing is, after I read it, I thought to myself, “Don’t I already have that App?” I did. I just had an older version. Now it’s at 3.0 and the free update addressed some of the things that I felt were missing. I was one happy camper.

Here’s why I love it
(1) First, it lets you create a custom splash screen and layout (that’s mine above — I went with a clean simple look, but it’s very customizable, and you can create separate splash screens for horizontal or vertical layouts). You can import logos and/or background images, and this splash screen is what you see when you launch the App, so it lets you just hand it to somebody and they’re ready to roll. Also, you can lock it down so they can’t accidentally make any edits or mess up the presentation.

(2) You can have as many galleries as you want (well, as many as you have space on screen for anyway), with up to 200 images per gallery.

(3) You can import images already on your iPad, or directly from Dropbox (which is what I used, since I prepped all my images on my laptop. Also, you can upload up to 200 images at once.

By the way, if you have an iPad 3 with the Retina Display, you’re definitely going to want to use higher resolution images (like 2038 x 1053 pixels). When you use the higher resolution like that, the images really look incredible. Otherwise, they look a little soft (not the fault of the App, it’s a screen resolution thing).

(4) You can drag and drop to arrange your photos in the order you want in a thumbnail view (as seen above).

(5) It’s got a great slideshow with different transitions, and it can play background music behind your slideshow, and it’s very simple to configure and use (that’s the pop-down controls shown above).

(6) You can email any photo in your port right from the App itself, so if someone wants a comp, or you want to share an image for any reason, you can do it right there.

(7) I think if any one thing put me over the top, it is the amount of customization you can do. You can really get things just the way you want them (I didn’t realize quite how much you can do until I watched their online video demos, which I strongly suggest, because if not you’ll go hunting for stuff you know it can do, but you’re not sure how). By the way, any time you’re looking in a gallery, you can have a row of thumbnails appear (as seen above) by just swiping down from the top of the screen.

What would I change?
If there is one thing I would change, it’s pretty minor, but it just feels weird. Once you’re looking at a gallery, to return to your main screen (your splash screen with links to your other galleries), you have to do a pinch gesture to shrink the image that’s on screen down to 1/2 its size, the the main screen appears. I’ve been using this App a lot, and I just can’t get used to that. It seems like there’s got to be a better way than pinching, but I’m not quite sure what that might be (tapping once in the corner? Swiping up instead of left/right? I dunno, but pinching just really doesn’t feel right.

The Bottomline
Outside of that one thing I would change, I’m amazed at what it can do for just $12.99. It’s clean, flexible, easy to use, and I love the “client” mode where you can just have them tap the app icon and it’s in presentation mode — ready to go. This is the iPad portfolio App I’ve been waiting for. Thank you Architek, Limited. This is one search I can now stop. Ahhh, now if they only made a laptop bag. ;-)

Here’s the link to it on the App store (or of course you can just go to the App store on your iPad).

 

Monday
Jul
2012
16

I’m Back From Vacation in Disneyland and Hawaii (but not in that order)

by Scott Kelby  |  47 Comments

Man, did I need a vacation (and did I get one!!!). Two full weeks off, starting at Disney’s new Aulani resort on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu, and it was supposed to end there, but we got “Disney fever” after seeing a TV ad for new Carsland area of Disney’s California Adventure theme park, so we changed our flight home to stop in LA so we could take the kids of Disneyland  for a few days.

The photo above was taken in “Carsland” —- that’s the life-sized Flo’s V8 Cafe from the movie Cars. Disney recreated Radiator Springs, full size, right down to the street lights, and they did an absolutely brilliant job — it was like walking into the movie. It was way better than I even thought it would be, and of course, the kid’s absolutely loved it! (and we rode all the rides everywhere!).

So, where are the Hawaii photos? Where’s the photo book?
Well….here’s the thing. There aren’t any. I never went out shooting the entire time. I really needed to take a break, and I wanted to spend some uninterrupted time with my family so I basically hung out around the pool, swam with the kids, and just did a whole lotta nuthin’ for days on end. It was awesome!!!!

I did have my camera gear with me to take a few shots at the Battleship Missouri and the USS Bowfin WWII sub, but nothing worth sharing. So, I mostly took shots at Disneyland (which was awesome all the way around, though  I’m still amazed at how small their castle is compared to Cinderella’s castle at Disney World in Florida), and hung out with the wifey and kids, and it really recharged my batteries (besides which, I’m heading to Ireland soon and I’m hoping to take PLENTY of shots on that trip).

One note: if you’re wondering how to get shots where there’s virtually no tourists in the scene, here’s one trick: wait until late, and be really, really, really patient. If you wait long enough, you’ll get a short gap in in the non-stop sea of people where you can grab about two frames. I did it in the middle of the afternoon at the castle and got the bridge in front completely tourist free! Keep the camera up to your eye, and your other eye open so you can see when a gap is about to appear.

Back to reality
Today I’m back in the office and back to reality (sob, sob), but I did miss all my friends here at work so part of me is really glad to be back in the saddle (though the other part is already missing those cool tropical breezes and that frozen pina colada beside the winding lazy river pool).

Have a great Monday everyday (sniff, sniff). ;-)

Monday
Jul
2012
16

Catch Kalebra’s Pinterest Show Tomorrow at 6:00 PM ET

by Scott Kelby  |  0 Comments

Tomorrow at 6:00 PM ET is the 2nd episode of my wife Kalebra’s “Playful Side of Pinterest”and she’s got a great panel of guests lined up, including Roni Delmonico, Anna Nguyen and Tana Teel who’ll be  talking about Inspiration for your boards, how to find people to follow and advice on Pinning, plus they’ll be talking about Pinterest’s dirty little secret… Men Pin!! (And she has heavy hitters Trey Ratcliff and Ron Clifford as guests to bring the male perspective). ;)

And of course they’ll be playing a round of “Pin it or Spin It” (everybody watching at home gets to participate this time) and “The Chocolate Game” (think “drinking game” only with chocolate).

When: Tomorrow @ 6:00 PM ET
Where: At this link
What: Lots of fun and inspirational stuff for Pinterest lovers everywhere!

I’ll be watching right along with you!

Friday
Jul
2012
13

Two More Free Tickets to the Photoshop CS6 for Photographers Tour!

by Brad Moore  |  136 Comments

Hey gang, Brad Moore here again to give away a couple more tickets to Scott’s new Photoshop CS6 for Photographers seminar tour!

I know I just mentioned this yesterday, but I figured you wouldn’t mind if we decided to give away a couple more tickets to these :-)

Leave a comment if you want a free ticket to the Nashville, Philadelphia, or New York City seminars!

And… for your enjoyment, here’s the latest episode of The Grid! This week was “The Gear Episode” with Matt Kloskowski and RC Concepcion. So, if you’re a gear head, this one’s for you :-)

Thursday
Jul
2012
12

It’s Free Stuff Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  248 Comments

Outdoor Lifestyle Photography with Erik Valind
I know I mentioned this class last week, but I just saw the trailer for it and thought it would do a better job of showing you what’s in the class than I could! Check it out over at Kelby Training.

Photoshop CS6 for Photographers Seminar
This month, Scott Kelby is heading to NashvillePhiladelphia, and New York City to kick off his brand new Photoshop CS6 for Photographers seminar tour! You can get more info, more tour dates, and register over at KelbyTraining.com.

Leave a comment for your chance to win a free ticket to one of the three seminars listed above!

Photoshop CS6 Book for Digital Photographers
We just got our first copies of Scott’s brand new Photoshop CS6 Book for Digital Photographers in this week! To celebrate, we’re giving away three free copies. Leave a comment for your chance to win!

Intel’s “A Momentary Lapse” Contest – $50,000 in Prizes!
Want to win a Canon 5D MkIII, 35mm f/1.4, Dell Intel Core i5 Ultrabook, CyberLink PowerDirector software, and be featured in an Intel online ad? Check out Intel’s A Momentary Lapse Contest, the contest where you can enter your best time-lapse or slow-motion video for your chance to win these prizes! And even if you’re not into video, you can submit a photo to their weekly photo contest .

All the details and contest entry info is over at YouTube.com/MyIntelEdge

Peachpit Book Club with Roberto Valenzuela
Tuesday night from 8-9pm ET, Roberto Valenzuela will be discussing topics from his book Picture Perfect Practice during the Peachpit Book Club! It’s a free webcast, but space is limited, so make sure you register soon!

Last Week’s Winners
Lightroom 4 Crash Course App
- Robsigur
- Holger
- David Levin

Photoshop CS6 for Photographers Seminar
- Todd Thompson

Wednesday
Jul
2012
11

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Jefferson Graham!

by Brad Moore  |  13 Comments

You’ve read here about the joy of using multiple flash units to produce stellar photography from the likes of Scott, Joe McNally, David Hobby and other master photographers.

I’d like to discuss here another multiple for video–as in multicam video.

Online videos have come a long way since their humble beginnings of shaky camera movement, poor sound, and minimal editing. With online videos now regularly showing up on TV sets, via Roku, Apple TV and other set-top box hookups, they’re now expected to look as polished as their offline counter-parts. Thanks to the advancements in digital technology and dramatic cost reductions, they now can.

In my new book, Video Nation, a DIY guide to planning, shooting and sharing great videojust out from Peachpit Press, I show how to dramatically improve the static old one-camera shoot. The solution: easily pair up multiple DSLRs–or even iPhones and iPads–and sync them together with Apple’s Final Cut Pro X software for TV quality like results with minimal investment and time.

I write about what I know. For the past 5 years, I have produced over 300 videos at USA TODAY for my Talking Tech and Talking Your Tech video series. All the productions are done on a low  budget (this is journalism, after all) with just two of us–the host and producer, and usually Sean, who assists me with camera, lighting and sound. It’s a rare day when we don’t use at least 3 cameras for the shoot.

The standard set-up: medium, wide and close-up. It’s one camera on the guest, another on me and the third for the wide shot of both of us.

Let’s go back in time a minute to the old one-camera shoot.

Put the video camera on a tripod, place the camera operator behind it, and open with a two-shot of me and my guest. Cut. Start again, and now the camera zooms in on the guest as we continue and it stays there until the end. Cut. To close, we zoom out for a two-shot. Next we do the “reverse” shot–me nodding, and I repeat my questions to cut in later in editing.

The problem with this type of shoot: it’s visually bland, the cut-in from the interviewer usually looks fake (it is) because of the repeated questions, and the whole spontaneity of the conversation is lost.

Three cameras takes care of all this. The conversation is captured the way it really happened.

Thanks to the mammoth size of the image sensor chip in the DSLR–about 20 times larger than that found in a consumer video camera–the DSLR is usually the camera(s) of choice. The depth of field is amazing, you can shoot in low light easily, choose a variety of lenses to use and have small cameras that are easy to tote around.

GEAR:

What we bring to every shoot: Canon 5D Mark III and II and 60D cameras, Canon 70-200mm 2.8, 24-70mm 2.8, 16-35mm 2.8, 85mm 1.8 and 50mm 1.8 lenses, GoPro Hero 2 camera, the Zoom H4N audio recorder, Sony lavalier microphones, Lowell Pro and the Lowell Rifa exchange video lights and Manfrotto tripods.

The 5D shots look stellar–but the cameras are not cheap–ranging from $2,000 to $3,500.

But we also use the Canon 60D in all of the shoots as well–and that camera can be picked up now for around $800. It has the exact same imaging chip as the even less expensive Canon Rebel T3i, which is around $600, and both match really nicely with the 5D footage.

I’ve also mixed Canon DSLRs with other cameras–most notably the Samsung NX 200, Sony A77, iPhone, iPad and the GoPro Hero cameras. Sure, the footage looks different–but it also spices things up.

Let’s face it: Any good sport telecast will show an extreme array of multiple angles–you know the shot in the race car isn’t the same camera as the one used outside on the track watching it zoom by, and yet the show still goes on. The viewer is understanding.

The clips above, with actor Misha Collins (Supernatural) and talk-show host Carson Daly, were shot on the 3 Canon DSLRs–two 5Ds and a 60D. Below, with magician Penn Jillette, was mix and match–a 60D, the NX200 and a GoPro.

What if you’re on a serious budget? You can’t afford the 2 5Ds and a 60D–or even a Rebel, Nikon SLR like the D3200 or the Sony A55. You want to just use the camera that’s closest to you–like an iPhone or iPad.

It won’t look as good–but then, with proper lighting, a tripod and good microphones, it will probably turn out better than you imagined.

I did just this in a recent Video Nation promo video

with my Peachpit publisher, Nancy Aldrich-Ruenzel. I used the Apple devices to show how they can be easily used for quality video if you put your mind to it. My shot is on the iPad, while Nancy is on the iPhone4. For the wide, I added the GoPro Hero2.

SOUND

The video from DSLRs (and even the iPad or iPhone) looks pretty cool, but sound is always wanting. The internal microphones are as good as worthless. There are several solutions: the easiest is to pick up a cable that connects to your XLR or 1/4 inch microphone jack to plug into the DSLR or Apple device. We like the handy dandy $299 Zoom H4N audio recorder. It has two XLR inputs for microphones, a headphone input to monitor sound, and two internal microphones that are surprisingly excellent. On a recent interview, we put lav microphones on two guests, and stuck the Zoom right in front of me, for my mic, via the internal option. Sean and I were blown away–I sounded just as good as they did.

Pros and cons of working multi cam

Producing videos with one camera takes a lot less time. There’s no question about it.

But think of how many movies or TV shows you’ve watched that were shot on one camera, with one, static image. (Right–it’s not done.)

With my arsenal of gear, you can’t meet someone for a 1 p.m. interview, and expect to be set up in 5 minutes. You need to position the tripods and camera angles properly, so you’re facing each other, get the lighting right, do a sound check, etc. and this takes at least an hour to get it right.

(After the shoot, I take portraits of the subjects to go with the video. Here’s a collection of some of my favorites, all shot on the 5D Mark II or III.)


Former Sonic Solutions CEO Dave Habiger–demonstrating CD burning


YouTube sensation iJustine


Hot in Cleveland’s Valerie Bertinelli–the “muse” of coupon app Veebow


Men in Black director BARRY SONNENFELD


WWE wrestler Zack Ryder


The Annoying Orange creator Dane Boedigheimer

EDITING

So now, the big question–how do you put it all together on the computer?

In 2011 Apple controversially remade its Final Cut Pro into a more consumer friendly editing program. For my purposes, it also produced an update in early 2012 that turned it into the DSLR shooter and editor’s best friend. Multicam clip editing.

You simply import your multiple takes, click “New Multicam clip” in the File edit menu and let FCP put them together–usually in less than 60 seconds. It uses audio cues, like Singular Software’s Plural Eyes plug-in, the go-to tool with the previous edition of FCP–the new setup with FCPX works quicker and more efficiently.

So now, during editing, you can choose the angles much like a TV director–camera 1, camera 2, camera 3, etc. and put together a more polished production

FIVE CAMERAS:

Now that we know how cool three cameras look for a shoot, Sean and I are starting to get greedy and hunger for even more. We recently dropped in to interview Matt Groening and David X. Cohen, the executive producers of the animated Futurama, and had five cameras facing the duo. To them, it must have looked like a press conference (with only one reporter!), but for us, the end result was way worth it.

Because it was a joint interview, we had one 5D on the two of them, for the two shot, a close-up each on Groening, Cohen and myself, and the fifth for the wide.

I’d like to believe that a year or two from now, we won’t be showing up for these meetings with nine or ten cameras, but who knows? One main shot on the 5D Mark III with a 70-200mm 2.8 lens, and an army of tiny GoPros picking up the rest?

The possibilities are intoxicating.

Lastly, a round of applause to Scott and Brad for the opportunity to talk about my first love–video–here today. The launch party for Video Nation is July 26th at {pages} a book store in Manhattan Beach, California, so if you’re on the west coast, please drop in and say hi. Otherwise, feel free to drop a comment or question here, or reach me at facebook.com/jeffersongraham or @jeffersongraham on Twitter.

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