Monthly Archives July 2012

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 :-)

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

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

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

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.


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.


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


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


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 or @jeffersongraham on Twitter.

d1-41Hey gang, Brad Moore here with a quick walk-through of this photo from a recent assignment…

A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to cover the opening of D1 Sports Training’s new facility in Orlando. While I was there, I was able to grab a portrait of one of their trainers, Taylor Scott.

This was the one of the last things I did at the event. Throughout the day, while covering everything else, I was trying to formulate a creative portrait in my mind. I finally decided to just use edge lighting, remembering something a wise man once said… “If you want something to look interesting, don’t light all of it.”

I knew going in that I wanted to have a clean black backdrop for this image, but I didn’t have any seamless paper to create said clean black backdrop. What do you do in this situation? Three things…

1) Camera Settings
First, knock out the ambient light in the room.

I know my shutter speed is going to be about 1/160 of a second because I’m using artificial lights, and that’s a good sync speed.

ISO needs to be as low as possible, ISO 200 in this case, so less light registers in the image.

With those two settings in place, the only variable left is f/stop. At f/10, there’s no ambient light registering in the image, and the strobe lights don’t have to be cranked up too much to register in the image. Exactly where I want to be.

2) Lights
Here’s the lighting setup:

That’s an available light shot of Pete Collins standing in while all the settings are getting dialed in and tweaking the lights.

I used the Elinchrom Ranger Quadra set to 4.0 (about 100Ws), a Rotalux 39″ softbox (sans front diffuser) and a Westcott 12×36″ strip bank. They were positioned in front of Pete/Taylor so that they were basically rim lights.

Here’s how it looks with all the correct camera and light settings dialed in:

And then framed up properly:

You can still see some minor clutter in the background, but that’s easy to clean up in post, which brings us to the third step…

3) Separation from the Wall
That little bit of clutter is showing up in the background because it’s getting a hint of the strobe light. If this had been set up near a wall or closer to any other objects, they would be lit up and even more distracting. That’s why separation between your lights and background are important in creating a clean background.

Here’s the final image again:

Since this shot was for D1, I wanted to make sure there was some branding showing as well. I asked Taylor to step forward, a little closer to the lights, allowing some of the light to wrap around his back to show the branding on his shirt.

In Lightroom, I darkened the blacks around Taylor with the adjustment brush to finish cleaning up the background (no cloning necessary) and bumped up the clarity quite a bit on him.

After that, I jumped over to Photoshop to add some grittiness via high pass sharpening and Nik Filters (the soft light layer blend mode is your friend!).

Hopefully this is helpful and can give you some ideas for creating great images in less than ideal situations!

You can find more from me at, and on Google+ and Twitter

Hey everybody! RC here. I wanted to share with you a bit of a confessional and a great lesson that I just got this weekend- from an unlikely source. Past being giddy, it was one of those moments that gave me inspiration, closure, and excitement at the same time.

My confession – I spend a lot of time making pictures. Here at Kelby Media, we try our best to keep a foot in the training space and a foot in the real world shooting space to make sure that we can bring relatable information to you every week. This means that all of us strap a camera to our shoulders and hit pavement making images. These images end up on a computer, and we run Photoshop on them to make them great. Some of them get posted on a website, and some even get sold or donated to clients. For this, I am truly very happy.

Do you know where my pictures dont end up? My own walls.

On The Road
After filling hard drive after hard drive full of pictures, I can count only three shots that I’ve put up in my own home. Everything else has this barren feeling – pale white walls just staring back at me when I walk into my house. We finally jumped into buying our house down here in Tampa this past December, and my wife and I have been sitting there chatting with one another wondering what pieces of furniture we want to switch. Which pieces of furniture we want to add. Which graphic designer friend we want to bring in from the office to help us with with this conundrum of a home that feels to transient to be our own.

Secretly, I have been fighting a very different fight in my own head. As much as I have had celebrated moments in the pictures i’ve made, I cant help but have this pit in my stomach that says that my pictures are no good. Every time I share a shot, I think to myself “Eh, its ok.. but you see here.. this part could have been better if only.. ” and I rattle off the part that I thought was missing in it. Now don’t get me wrong.. I absolutely love being a photographer, and I absolutely love being “On the Road” of it. You see, I tell everyone that the moment that you pick up the camera in earnest and say to yourself “I want to do this, and I want to get better at it” you invariably end up on this road. At the end of it are the greats in your mind. In front of you, all of those specific things you want to learn. Where you are in that road is the absolutely most exciting place to be because you are always learning. I believe in this so much – the journey is the most important part. However – every now and again you just feel like you have been taking two steps forward and one step back. There are absolutely no signposts on this road, and you just yearn to wonder if you’ve made it a mile or a meter..

So we want to feel like home, and I want to feel like im closer to my goal, and no amount of shutter clicking is making this happen.

However, I’m still printing. Im still sending out the odd print here and there to a client. What could they possibly see that I dont?

Hipping My House
So I get a word from my friend Kevin at work that says Mpix is partnering with us to do something called “Hip My House” Where a winner gets their house done up in Mpix prints. (I’ll chat about that later.. it’s not really about this now..) There was one line in it that made me think .. “your own art”. Im sitting there thinking to myself, “Why dont I just own up to the pictures that I have and print what I love up there?”

I told Kevin that i’d be cool to make a video just showcasing my situation and talking about the contest. Separately, however, I bit the artistic bullet and went through Lightroom and looked for pictures that I thought I would want to see.. things that made me happy when I looked at them.

My Sources of Inspiration
As much as I loved so many pictures, the ones that I kept coming back to again and again were the fun shots that I would do on the weekends with my daughter Sabine. More and more I was going “Oh, this one is cool.. this one she looked cool… this one she looked so happy”

The more I did it, the more I noticed that she was the person that I turned to when I wanted to recharge photographically. Jenn and Sabine were the people I ran to do pictures of when I wanted to re-inspire. I picked a bunch of shots and I said “Im going to just get these done and fill this wall.. see what happens.. ”

In Front of Me All Along
I got my friend Rich Porupski (THANK YOU SOO MUCH!) to come in and organize them on the wall (Last time I tried to hang pictures, they had to call in a contractor to fix the wall at work.. ugh), and the more pictures went up, the happier I was. Jenn was over the moon too.

As it turned out, putting these pictures on these walls actually made our house feel more like a Home. Instead of looking for a Pier 1 or a Magazine for inspiration, the very pictures that I have been shooting all this time actually made my house feel like mine. (Sorry for the dark shot.. iphone late at night, but wanted you show you!)

Another thing happened – I started looking at the pictures and going “Hey.. this is pretty good. Hey this didnt come out half bad. Hey.. I really like what i’ve done with this.”

Right there, in front of me in my dining room were all of the signposts that I was looking for. Putting them in front of me on a wall let me see where i’ve been, where I am, and how far I am on this road. That gave me a great feeling of accomplishment. AND, I got the wall done!

I Learned Something Today
So.. a long ramble.. what are the takeaways:

Go through your pictures.. find the common bond that makes you go “wow, i’m so glad I did this one.” When you find that, thats your inspiration. Go there photographically when you need to recharge the batteries.

Find a spot in your home where you can put several pictures of yours, print them and hang them. The more you see them up there, the more you will realize that you are better than you think you are. You’re on the road and you’re moving forward.

And your art is your proof. Have a great Monday everyone!

(If you want to follow me, you can go to my G+ page at or my blog at

Hey everyone, RC here with pretty cool news!  Nik Software has just released a new version of their killer HDR software – HDR Efex Pro 2.  They’ve got a new tonemapping algorithm, some sweet speed increases, and a new interface.  Rather than me sit here and just go on and on about it, I figured it be a neat idea to just walk you through the process with one of my files.  I’m even including the file for you guys to play with at the bottom of this post!

Scott Kelby Fans Get a Jump Start and a Great Discount!
So, here’s the deal.  We are all getting advanced access to Nik HDR Efex Pro at a very reduced rate.  How reduced?  Its like 40 dollars off…   In order to check it out, go to this link:

Some Samples of Images Tonemapped with HDR Efex Pro 2

I know that just showing a quick video of a tonemapping process wouldn’t be enough to convince you that this is something that you should really look at.  That’s why I went ahead processed all of the images below with HDR Efex Pro 2.  This thing is the real deal.

Download the RAW Files Used in the Video
I didnt want to just show what I can do here with the program – I also wanted to see what you guys come up with!! To that, I figured it be cool to get you a link with the RAW Files (its about 108MB in size.. 8 RAW Files). This way, you can play with them and share with me what you come up with. Download the program, take these files for a spin and share with me what you come up with!! Download the file here:

You can follow me at my Google+ page ( or at my blog ( – Enjoy!!