DPReview: Secrets of a professional photographer’s workflow: Brian Ach

https://www.dpreview.com/articles/3321963167/a-professional-s-workflow-brian-ach

“… For a lot of us, we download the images to a computer and edit a handful that catch our eye, and then… well, there are more photo shoots to pursue. Maybe we’ll apply some keywords, perhaps mark a few favorites, but too often the photos we worked so hard to create are just dumped onto a hard disk and forgotten. We know we should do better, but who has the time?

Professional photographers, that’s who….”

Icon, Photo Mechanic 6 by Camera Bits.
Icon, Photo Mechanic 6 by Camera Bits.

Commentary

Getty Images and Associated Press contributing photographer Brian Ach shoots a range of subjects and genres, often under the stress of tight deadlines, poor artificial lighting and the need to get every shot right or if not then the ability to rapidly reduce his selects to a manageable collection for submission, distribution and publication.

That is a far cry from the more leisurely paces and demands of shooting documentary or photojournalism projects over longer time periods, or portraits and photoessays for weekly or monthly magazine feature articles.

I took on a mix of projects during my magazine and newspaper colour supplement days, and came to prefer weekly or monthly magazine projects over daily newspaper assignments for the chance to really get one’s teeth into the subject.

Daily newspaper work had its satisfactions, though, especially in the challenge of producing engaging, informative and sometimes emotive environmental and close-up portraits in no more than fifteen minutes per subject, three to five such assignments per day, in locations throughout the city and suburbs, while carting lights, cameras, stands and tripods about.

That was during the analog era when the time and the stress of processing, proofing and printing after each assignment had to be factored into the equation and before the joys of tethered shooting, editing, processing, tagging, uploading and traveling on to the next job existed as we know them now.

If I were to go back to that world as a freelancer I would have to come up with a whole new workflow all by myself, or learn successful workflows from others, so articles like this come in handy.

So much so that I went straight to the Camera Bits website to download Photo Mechanic to try out, and from a so-far fairly cursory try-out under anything but professional conditions am seriously considering adding it to my software collection.

And I am now crossing my fingers for a similar feature set to appear in the library functionality that is appearing in raw processing and image editing applications that once used to be editing-only.

There is another advantage to having an application dedicated only to selecting, trashing, tagging and organizing – none of the distractions of doing it within a product that also offers deep image-editing features where one can easily be tempted into diving down the rabbit hole of a thousand and one different possible interpretations.

Sometimes, oftentimes, simpler and sharply focused is better.

Now to get to grips with that massive backlog.

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Frame.io: Why DaVinci Resolve May Be the Single Most Powerful Tool in Post

https://blog.frame.io/2017/09/06/davinci-resolve-may-be-most-powerful

“You may have heard of DaVinci Resolve as a color grading tool—it has a strong pedigree in color, and about a decade ago, you only would have seen it inside high-end post-production houses and finishing facilities, replacing the color timing workflows for film with cutting-edge digital intermediate workflows.

However, it’s also great for syncing audio, preparing dailies, conforming, and in the past few years, has even started to offer tools for editing and sound mixing. The sound mixing tools are brand new, so the industry hasn’t adopted them widely yet, and the editing tools aren’t yet as robust as what you’d see from Apple, Adobe, or Avid, but they’ll suffice in a pinch. This whole collection of tools, together, makes Resolve one of, if not the most powerful tool in post-production. It’s the glue that holds the entire post-production workflow together….”

Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Review Loaner Arrives, Testing With Leeming LUT One and Seercam Cube GH5 Cage – UPDATED

A review loaner of the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 arrived yesterday afternoon and it immediately found its way into Seercam’s Cube GH5 camera cage with Extension Kit for Cube GH5. Then I attached a Manfrotto Pixi Table Tripod-cum-handle to the Extension Kit’s coldshoe mount, ready for action should it occur.

First thing the next day, I was pleasantly surprised by a visit from Petra, one of the three young female brush turkeys whom we raised almost from the time they leaped out of their eggs on the mound next door. I grabbed the GH5 plus Seercam cage, hoped that the Griffin Hammond GH5 camera settings file I had installed late the night before would be up to the task, and jumped out the door. 

It was excellent to finally be able to try out Seercam’s one-piece cage for Panasonic’s Lumix DC-GH5 camera.
The Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 review loaner camera arrived minus several items including the eye cup, USB 3 cable and lens hood for the Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 Aspheric Power OIS zoom lens.
The Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 review loaner camera arrived minus several items including the eye cup, USB 3 cable and lens hood for the Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 Aspheric Power OIS zoom lens. We later improvised a temporary solution for the GH5’s eye cup from a spare eye cup from my GH4, attached with UHU Yellow Tack and hope.

We helped Petra recuperate from attacks by dogs who had stripped her of tail and wing feathers twice over the past six months, and she has grown up into a beautiful, confident young adult who now, it seems, has formed her own little tribe of three young brush turkeys whom she was leading about.

Still frames from my first GH5 video shoot of Petra and her friends

The footage reveals that I will need to reinforce the way we have attached the spare GH4 eye cup to the GH5 as critical focus was missed on several crucial shots due to relying solely on the monitor with focus peaking while shooting in semi-darkness.

I will be trying the GH5 out on some stills photographs next and then will load up Paul Leeming’s Leeming LUT One settings for Cinelike D and V-Log L on the GH5 for further video shoots over the two-week loan period.

I will be editing and grading GH5 footage in DaVinci Resolve Studio 14 and Final Cut Pro X and processing stills in a number of image editors, LUTs and color grading plug-ins, and raw processors. I will be relying on Lesspain Software’s excellent Kyno media management and productivity software throughout.

Snapshots from my second day with the GH5

It usually takes me a few days to start to understand and get the best out of a new camera and even longer to understand a new lens, and the GH5 and its Panasonic Leica 12-60mm kit zoom is no exception. Another factor is that it can take a while for software companies to fully support new cameras and at the moment none of them appears to perfectly support this specific lens and camera combination.

At the moment I am defaulting to Adobe Camera Raw with VSCO presets and Photoshop, but once I know enough about what the GH5 and this lens can do then I will explore how other raw processing and image editing software interprets images from them. So far, though, the images look impressive.

My current Seercam Cube GH5 cage configuration for stills and video

I often go into situations where I may need to shoot stills and video, and so a minimal rig is most useful, allowing me the flexibility to make photographs while holding the camera in vertical/portrait or horizontal/landscape mode, or quickly switch over to video without having to add extra items.

I often use my GH4 and GX8 in minimalist rigging like here, in the GH4’s case in a Motion9/Seercam CubeMix GH4/3 cage and for the GX8 a SmallRig cage. I also like going even more minimal with my GH4 and attach just a battery grip and a microphone.

A GH5 is definitely high on my wishlist, reinforced by my experience so far with the camera, and I will be adding a battery grip, XLR audio adapter and, when Seercam comes out with its special battery pack that mounts in the GH5’s rod riser, will add one of those too.

A number of GH5 users report that the camera rips through batteries especially when shooting 4K 10-bit 4:2:2 video and using stabilization. I have experienced that myself already. I will need to at least double my collection of batteries for the GH5 and look at other power options too.

Some GH5 owners have stated that they have bypassed all other brands of cages for the GH5 and have opted for the minimalist SmallRig cage due to it being one of the first to have strap-mounting holes on the camera right side. It is easy to attach straps to any cage by screwing strap-mounting into your cage’s 1/4-20 tapped holes.

Right now I am using Peak Design Pro Drive Screws as they are the only ones I found in a local camera store but other moviemakers tell me they use other, smaller screws in preference. I am sure that camera accessories makers could come up with much better optional strap-mounting drives.

On another note, I have been using a spare eye cup from my GH4 to temporarily replace the one missing from the review loaner GH5. I have tried gaffer tape, Blue-Tack and UHU Yellow Tack – proper name Sticky Tack or Poster Putty – but found that the UHU Yellow Tack works best, though the eye-cup has fallen off a few times anyway.

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  • Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera (Body Only)B&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera with 8-18mm Lens KitB&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera with 12-35mm Lens KitB&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera with 12-60mm LensB&H
  • Panasonic DMW-XLR1 XLR Microphone AdapterB&H
  • Panasonic DMW-BGGH5 Battery Grip – B&H
  • Panasonic V-Log L Function Activation Code for DMC-GH4, DC-GH5, and DMC-FZ2500B&H
  • Atomos Ninja Inferno 7″ 4K HDMI Recording Monitor and accessoriesB&H
  • Seercam GH5 CageB&H
  • Seercam Cage for GH5 with Classic HandleB&H
  • Seercam Extension Kit for CUBE GH5 CageB&H

Affinity: Affinity Photo brings professional photo editing to iPad

https://affinity.serif.com/blog/affinity-photo-brings-professional-photo-editing-to-ipad/

“Affinity Photo for iPad – the first fully-featured, truly professional photo editing tool to arrive on Apple’s tablet – is now on sale….

… We think Affinity Photo for iPad redefines photo editing once again, by bringing almost all the features in the Mac version to your iPad, so you can take all that photo editing power with you wherever you go.

The new version is tailored to harness the explosive power of the iPad’s hardware and touch capabilities, and is compatible with iPad Air 2, iPad 2017, iPad Pro 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch….”

Links:

Just Landed: BizonBOX External Graphics Power to Take Your Photo and Video Editing to 4K and Beyond

Is editing slow on your Mac Book Pro or iMac? Add an external Graphics Processing Unit (eGPU)! Movie and television workstation maker Bizon has introduced the very first external Graphics Processing Unit card solution for Mac computers including current and older Mac Book Pro and iMac.

No, this is not an old Mac Pro tower. The BizonBOX 3 eGPU measures 36cm x 8cm x 20.5cm and travels comfortably with your Mac Book Pro.

The BizonBOX eGPU is available in two versions depending on the age of your Apple computer, BizonBOX 2S for machines made between 2011 and 2015, and BizonBOX 3, compatible with the Mac Book Pro 2016 and, hopefully, the Mac Book Pro 2017 when the overdue big beef-up MBP upgrade is finally here sometime later this year.

Apple, please give us 32GB RAM maximum in the next Mac Book Pro. A total of 16GB RAM just does not cut it and, frankly, I don’t care so much about the battery when I am editing video or big, fat stills. For that I will always plug into mains power in the studio or on location.

The relentless march of technology

When editing software developers discovered that graphics processing units’ floating point calculation capabilities could be used to radically speed up image and video editing, the writing was on the wall for dependence on non-upgradeable internal GPUs.

The inevitable occurred. Digital filmmaking and photography’s relentless march of press quickly led to 4K video, three-to-seven-bracket HDR photography, massive multi-stitch panoramas, immersive 360-degree VR video, 20MP to 50MP enthusiast through prosumer to professional stills cameras, and democratized Hollywood quality movie grading and editing with the free version of Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve.

Our computers’ CPUs and especially their graphics processing units are taking a beating and it is only going to get worse. For example, Panasonic’s Lumix DC-GH5 will soon be introducing consumer-accessible anamorphic 6K HEVC video recording via its 6K Photo feature, as UK Lumix Luminary Nick Driftwood has demonstrated.

Bigger, better, more demand on processing power

Moviemakers at all levels of the industry are acquiring, editing, storing and increasingly outputting at UHD 4K and DCI 4K. Editing proxies from 4K footage is becoming a standard practice but it is not the be-all and end-all.

Fujifilm’s GFX 50S camera has arrived, bringing more affordable medium format photography to a proportion of the masses, as it were, and with it 50MP files weighing in at almost 120MB with TIFFs exported from raw processors averaging a weight of over 300MB before heavy image editing begins.

Imagine merging three to seven of those into an HDR image via Macphun Aurora HDR 2017 and the size of the consequent .mpaur file and exported TIFF. Open the TIFF in sister photo editor Macphun Luminar and watch file size blow out yet again. Imagine what will happen when the Fujifilm GFX 100S arrives with a 100MP sensor and 200MB raw files.

ON1, Inc.’s ON1 Photo Raw 2017’s developer team has wisely chosen to send in-edit image display to the GPU instead of relying on the CPU, a trend I would like to see in more image editors, NLEs and color grading suites, but that bumps potential overload from CPUs over to GPUs.

Some photographers earning a livelihood from big sensor images and big blow-ups are in a snit about Apple’s current generation USB-C Mac Book Pro portable computers and have moved over to the dark side or have dipped their toes in and found WindowsWorld wanting.

A few multi-NLE video editors have expressed reservations about the way that Apple’s latest Mac Book pro seems to play so well with Final Cut Pro X but not with other non-linear editing suites. Has Apple been up to something nefarious, given how old the latest iMacs and Mac Pro computers are now, they ask.

Meanwhile professional users have been wondering whether and how much Apple is committed to its pro customers especially those of us working in video and photography, as reported by TechCrunch late December last year.

Investigating a modern editing set-up and workflow

I have had to suspend much-needed new hardware acquisitions at the moment, not by choice but circumstance given how bureaucracy, lawyers and soon-to-be-gone nasty neighbours have thrown several kinks in our plans to finance Untitled: Stories of Creativity Innovation, Success ourselves. Consequently, Untitled’s soft launch date has been extended indefinitely despite my desire to begin producing those stories in photo essay and short documentary form.

Meanwhile, I remain optimistic and continue to investigate my options for upgrading our current machines as well as essential future new purchases.

I am still making sense of the latest and coming I/O, USB-C, storage, workflow, Thunderbolt 3 and, with macOS Sierra supporting external GPUs like the BizonBOX as reported in a Frame.io blog entry on FCPX, how to support shortcomings in computers and their hardware with third party solutions.

In the light of all that and the uncertainty as to what Apple will be coming out with this year, knowing that a solution like BizonBOX 3 exists is a relief.

Links:

Image Credits:

Header image concept and design by Carmel D. Morris.

Phase One Releases Four Custom Capture One Pro Workspaces and Workspace Settings Files

Optimum image processing workflows and workspaces are still something I have to fully work out for all the raw processors and image editing applications I use, and I suspect many other photographers are in the same boat. A similar thing applies to moviemaking with workflows. 

Some current raw processing and image editing software has the ability to choose built-in preset workspaces and a subset of that software allows you to create, save and share your own custom workspace files. A further subset of current applications has this ability coming soon.

Ever curious as to how other photography professionals do it, I always go on over and download custom workspace settings whenever I hear about them.

As soon as I read about the four new Capture One Pro workspaces being shared by in-house photographers at Phase One, I headed off to skim the articles about them, saved them into my Evernote Capture One training notebook, downloaded the custom settings files and placed them in my Capture One Pro workspaces folder.

I have yet to work out my own optimum Capture One Pro workspaces though I have a small set that are about halfway there, adapted from older workspace settings files I found on the Web.

Some day soon, I swear, I will shut all distractions out, boot up Capture One Pro, load up a typical session or catalog, then go to work on creating the best personal custom workspace that I can. Doing that will be a future timesaver even though it will eat up a little time while doing it.

The Capture One Pro Custom Workspace Settings: