[Part four of the Photography Fundamentals series, be sure to check out all 10 posts!]
Now that we’ve covered the basics about what to let into your camera (lighting and composition) let’s focus on how all that reflected light gets into your camera: your lens.
Volumes have been written on camera lenses; which glass refracts light best, whether to shoot prime or zoom, but honestly, most of that stuff doesn’t matter. In fact through the rest of this post I’m going to assume that you can’t change your lenses, that you’re stuck with the motorized piece of plastic and glass that’s stuck to the front of your point and shoot camera.
Even without spending $1500, you can make decisions about your lens that affect the quality of the image you’ll get.
[Part three of the Photography Fundamentals series, be sure to check out all 10 posts!]
In part one of this series, we talked about luminance. A lot.
So why another post about lighting? Because it’s kind of a big deal (like Ron Burgundy).
To shake things up a little bit, I’m going to approach this one from a different angle. We’ll look at some of the most common lighting mistakes made by amateur photographers. Make these mistakes and it’s a dead give-away that you don’t really know what you are doing.
Some of these mistakes can be “on purpose” if someone is trying to achieve an effect and remember, if it looks good, it is good. Just try to avoid the following.
Since the early 1800s humankind has been trying to transfer visual experiences into physical (and later) digital images. Unlike painting or illustration, photography gave us the ability to capture an instant in time, a fraction of a second that could be preserved for generations. It’s amazing to think of the communicative power embodied in a single photograph.
To help you tap into that power, this series answers the question:
What are the fundamentals of good photography?
It should be noted that I have never claimed to be an artist. I am a technician. I do, however, have a lot of experience shooting and have had the pleasure of hanging out with and learning from some fantastic artists.
Great photographers have something beyond the fundamentals which is impossible to nail down into easy-to-follow steps. They see the world in a way most people can’t, and it’s that ability that allows them to create art.
Video compression is mysterious, kind of like your last girlfriend.
Cryptic abbreviations like H.264, MPEG-2 and AVC-HD beg the question, what does it mean?
Before I lose almost all potential readers of this post by introducing one of the most boring and technical subjects ever known to man, I promise to make it relevant. You can choose your level of interest out of these three categories.
- Video Blogger
- Film Enthusiast
- Pro Videographer
Choose which category best represents your interest in video and read only that selection if you wish. Personally, I find the intricacies of video compression to be thrilling.
I’ll be honest, it’s easier for me to design a logo for a series on Valentine’s Day than it is on the topic of integrity.
Why would this be? Well, a series on a holiday like Christmas evokes thoughts of nativity scenes, starry skies, shiny tinsel, etc. And those are all great launching pads for a design. So by comparison, it may be tougher designing a logo for something like the concept of forgiveness. It really depends on how much information & creative leeway one has upfront.
Now I don’t know about you, but for me one of the more difficult things about designing for a sermon series is attaching an idea or emotion to an otherwise abstract concept. It just seems easier to “theme out” an event than it is to theme out an idea.
This is where a typography-oriented logo may help. Text-centered logos make it possible to remain abstract while creating an engaging logo that connects with your audience.
And after the jump, we’ll look at how to leverage Photoshop & Cinema4D to create 3D text for your designs.
These things happen to everyone.
You suddenly perceive that the fourth bowl of Cookie Crisp was a bad idea. Or you’re faced with the realization that the question, “How many months along are you?” goes a lot smoother when asked of, say, pregnant women.
The point I’m trying to illustrate is that everyone has a moment where they wish they could turn back the clock. And while we don’t have revolutionary suggestions on proper colon health or how to apologize to vacant-wombed women, we can show you how to turn back time in Adobe After Effects.
Find out how after the jump!
This effect is handy in multiple situations. Here are a few applications to get you started:
- Rewind & replay potential “What if” scenarios for sermon illustrations
- Freeze a scene at a critical moment and green-screen an actor on top to break the situation down
- Combine with still shots to tweak timing interactions between 2 or more clips of footage
- Recreate movie-style “slow-to-fast” motion action shots
What about you? Do you have a list of “go-to” special effects or visual styles?
Leave a comment below.
So, you say you love 3D animation?
Maybe for you it was the first time you saw something computer animated….like Toy Story. Or perhaps all these other 3D movies coming out now?
Don’t laugh, but I absolutely freaked out when I first saw a popular 3D modeling program, AutoCAD. It was like an entire world existed inside the computer! Through enough bargaining, I convinced my parents to send me to AutoCAD “nerd camp” when I was a teenager to learn some basics….
…and I loved it. (Thanks mom.)
All that being said, it’s cool to know that After Effects has some pretty nifty 3D animation capabilities built right in. And knowing them can really punch up what you can accomplish in your videos.
So, if you’re interested in taking your 2D MoGraph skills to the next level, check out today’s video tip that introduces the concept of 3D in After Effects.
Feeling out of sync?
It doesn’t matter whether you have 3 Computers in in the same building, or 14 Computers spanned across multiple states. Now there are tools available that’ll help you keep everything together…. wherever you are.
And the kicker is?
They’re all cheap…. Or free!
After the jump, check out this quick video tour on how (and why) we use Dropbox & LogMeIn as a 1-2 “multi-campus punch” to keep the long distance driving to a minimum.
Without further ado…
Simplicity. I like it.
Photography can be ridiculously complex but it an also be quite simple. Many times people look at photographs and they say:
How did they get it to look like that?
Often the solution is easier that one might think.
There may come a time when in your ministry or church you’re asked to do some portraits for the pastors or office staff and they’ve decided this time they’re not going to Sears (thankfully!). Your portraits come out looking good, but you want to give them more punch.
The high pass filter in Photoshop can help with that and it is very easy to do. Check out the video:
Most of the time I use After Effects for message intro videos and series openers. The program was created for compositing, taking media from a whole bunch of different sources (Illustrator, Photoshop, Premiere) and meshing them together into one final output.
But sometimes you just don’t have the time or resources to make everything in separate programs.
Because of this most of the time I just use the tools in After Effects to create videos, using solids, the text tool, and plug-ins. Even though this might not be the “correct” way to do things, After Effect’s tools can create a decent video in a short amount of time.
But this week I decided to change things up a bit.
A new intern in our media department had a cool idea for the message video intro that involved some filming. I haven’t messed with video footage very much in After Effects so I thought it would be a good chance for me to learn some new tricks.
Allow me to share them with you…