Elinchrom, Phottix and Sekonic team up to create ‘revolutionary’ lighting control system

by JamesNYCAugust 12. 2015 21:58

Photography lighting companies Elinchrom, Phottix and Sekonic have announced they are teaming up to launch the ‘most revolutionary lighting control system ever’.

Each of these companies have their own domain they dabble in, but the hope is that through this alliance photographers will more easily be able to create a unified workflow, even across different brands.

The press release announcing the partnership notes design engineers from Phottix and Elinchrom are working on bringing ‘enhanced features’ to the next generation of Skyport Transmitters, specifically hyper-sync functionality (the ability to use strobes at a faster shutter speed than a specific camera is otherwise capable of). Likewise, owners of Phottix’s Indra lighting systems will soon be able to natively use Elinchrom light modifiers.

 

Sekonic is getting in on the action by partnering with Phottix and Elinchrom ‘to finalize two new 478-series LiteMaster Pro flash meters’, which will include new in-meter controls for adjusting Elinchrom lights and the ability to trigger specific Phottix lighting groups at a time.

 

Individually, none of these technologies are quite as ‘revolutionary’ as they seem. PocketWizard and Sekonic have had in-meter integration for years and PocketWizard has devices that can adjust lights from the trigger itself. What will eventually make it at least evolutionary is that over time this alliance will create an ecosystem of technologies that work seamlessly with one another without the need for third party triggering systems.

From the press release, it doesn’t seem like the new products are too far out, so keep an eye out and we’ll keep you up to date.

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Macy's ditches downtown Brooklyn studio space for Long Island City

by JamesNYCAugust 11. 2015 02:06

The department store is taking a 150,000-square-foot full floor at the Factory Building in Long Island City.

Macy’s is expanding and relocating its photo studio and set space from Brooklyn to Queens.

The department store has signed a 150,000-square-foot deal at the Factory Building in Long Island City for a new space to photograph its merchandise. Currently, the studio was scattered on various floors at Macy's Fulton Street store in downtown Brooklyn.

"As a major omni-channel retailer, we have increased needs to photograph merchandise for macys.com and various forms of marketing," a spokesman for Macy's, said in an email to Crain's. "The new Long Island City location will allow us to have the whole operation on one level with more modern facilities and space for additional sets, closets, pantries and a kitchen set-up as well as offices and conference room."

The deal is one of the biggest leases to be signed in Long Island City so far this year and reflects how the neighborhood is attracting more creative tenants. Long Island City, once seen primarily as a cheap destination for back-office operations, has begun to transition into a place where companies want to base the core of their operations.

The Factory Building is about 1 million square feet in size and is owned by a partnership between Atlas Capital, Square Mile and Invesco. According to a website for the building, Macy’s was an original tenant when the property was built in 1926. Back then the department store used its space there as a furniture warehouse.

A leasing team from Newmark Grubb Knight Frank led by brokers Howard Kesseler and Brian Waterman, represented the building’s landlords in the deal.

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Canon camera production to be automated

by JamesNYCAugust 6. 2015 21:55

OITA (Jiji Press) —Canon Inc. said Tuesday it plans to fully automate domestic production of digital cameras as part of an effort to shift production back to Japan while reducing costs.

The company will invest about ¥13.3 billion to build a technology development facility in Kunisaki in Oita Prefecture by the end of next year. The facility will bring together about 500 engineers to create automation technologies, including robots. Canon plans to implement its new technologies in four domestic digital camera plants, in Oita, Nagasaki and Miyazaki Prefectures. The implementation will start in 2018 and take place in phases. Production of high-end models and their replacement lenses will also be automated.

Canon expects the automation to cut production costs by around 20 percent. Leveraged by lower costs, the company is aiming to raise the domestic proportion of its global camera production to 70 percent from the current 60 percent. The automation of the entire assembly process would reduce the necessary workforce by more than half. Excess workers will be transferred to other posts within the company.

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Amazing Motorcycle Surfing Shoot after 2.5 years of pre-production

by JamesNYCAugust 2. 2015 18:18

 CLICK THIS IMAGE TO GO TO THE DC SHOES VIDEO SITE & MORE IMAGES

Surf photography doesn’t usually feature motorcycles, but this crazy shoot did. For its latest project titled “Pipe Dream,” DC Shoes partnered with Australian stunt bike rider Robbie Maddison for dirt bike surfing. The team spent 2.5 years working on making the idea a reality, creating a modified bike that has boasts special fins for hydroplaning, a waterproof engine, and custom rear tires.

It all came together as this: an amazing 4-minute video that has racked up over 3 million views in the first 24 hours after it was released:

 Maddison took his modified dirt bike to the massive waves of Tahiti to give motorbike surfing a trial by fire. The resulting shots were spectacular:

 

And here’s a behind-the-scenes trailer that offers a few glimpses into the creation and testing of the surf bike:

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Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve 12 Public Beta is Available Today

by JamesNYCJuly 26. 2015 02:27

If you’re a pro colorist, you probably use DaVinci Resolve. Today Blackmagic announced the public beta of Resolve 12, what they are calling their biggest update ever and is heavily emphasizing some new naming conventions and licensing re-jiggering which was confusing or misleading about prior products. I’m going to go over those new naming conventions as well as the new features in Resolve 12 as well as its final release date. The pricing explained below will cover what the software will be sold for once the beta period is over.

The free DaVinci Resolve Lite will now be renamed to just DaVinci Resolve, because Blackmagic believes there is nothing “lite” about the free version as it is complete professional editing and color grading software for individual editors working on SD, HD and Ultra HD projects. I have to admit, when I first tested Resolve, I didn’t believe I could use Lite because the name implied it was going to be a mostly-lacking software. It’s not, and the fact you can do quite a lot in it as a free software is pretty great.

Here are the versions that Blackmagic has made, and their differences:

  • DaVinci Resolve 12 is free for customers to download and is a full professional editing and color grading system that is suitable for independent users working on SD, HD and Ultra HD projects. The free version supports all of the same file formats and has the same exact image quality as the paid version of DaVinci Resolve. The free version is designed for editors and colorists who need a dependable and professional tool to grow their business.
  • DaVinci Resolve 12 Studio is $995 and has all of the same features as the free version, but also adds support for multiple GPUs, 4K output, motion blur effects, temporal and spatial noise reduction, 3D stereoscopic tools, remote rendering, and collaboration tools that let multiple users work on the same project at the same time. DaVinci Resolve 12 Studio is recommended for professional studios and collaborative workgroups.
  • DaVinci Resolve Advanced Control Surface is $29,995 and includes the award winning DaVinci hardware control panel which was designed with input from professional colorists to help them work faster and be more creative. The DaVinci Resolve Advanced Control Surface lets colorists manipulate multiple parameters simultaneously, giving them more control and creative options than is possible with a standard mouse and keyboard

 

In this announcement, Blackmagic sort of poked at the Adobe CC model, with an entire paragraph dedicated to explaining why they don’t like the “cloud” system.

Blackmagic Design believes this “free and paid upgrade” model is vastly superior to the “cloud” model for distributing software products because customers get to take control of their systems. With this free and paid upgrade model, customers never have to worry about a system going down in the middle of a job, on set or when used remotely, because a license suddenly expires. With DaVinci Resolve, there is no license to expire and, if the worst should happen, a customer can get DaVinci Resolve working on a system immediately by downloading the free version in minutes.

So what’s new in the Beta itself? It includes new support for Intel Iris and Iris Pro GPUs, which will dramatically improves performance on a wider range of systems, including laptops. This will greatly assist editors and colorists who are working remotely and on-set.

  • With the explosion of customers working with high resolution media and native RAW camera files, DaVinci Resolve 12 can now create optimized media proxies with custom settings for both the codec and resolution for even faster editorial performance. Also, a new Smooth Cut transition uses proprietary DaVinci optical flow algorithms to create a seamless transition between different parts of an interview so you don’t have to cover jump cuts with b-roll.
  • DaVinci Resolve 12 features a new, modern interface with a lighter overall color scheme and new fonts that help reduce eye strain and make it easier to work for long sessions. The new interface is scalable and has been designed to look great on high DPI monitors, such as retina displays. New top down navigation speeds up layout selections and also gives users more flexibility to customize their workspace.
  • The new multi-camera editing feature of DaVinci Resolve 12 lets editors cut programs from multiple sources in real time. DaVinci Resolve 12 can synchronize camera angles based on timecode, audio waveforms, or in/out points. The source monitor displays a grid containing the camera angles and plays them all back in sync while the editor makes cuts to the audio and/or video.
  • In addition to multi-camera editing, DaVinci Resolve 12 also features several enhancements to the core editing tools. All trim modes, multi-slip, slide, ripple and roll have been extended and editors can now select multiple points for dynamic trimming and asymmetric trimming of clips, even if they’re on the same track. Timelines can be nested, edited together and expanded or collapsed in place to greatly simplify editing of large multi scene projects. New transition curves let editors create and edit custom curves for transition parameters and new on-screen controls let editors see and adjust motion paths directly in the timeline viewer.
  • DaVinci Resolve 12 includes an entirely new, high performance audio engine that offers higher sampling rates and greatly improved realtime audio playback performance, including reverse playback and tape style slow motion scrubbing during dynamic JKL trimming. Both VST and AU audio plug-ins, along with their custom interfaces, are now supported and can be used on individual clips or entire tracks. Audio parameter adjustments can be recorded and now contain editable automation and full curve editor support. For the first time, editors will be able to export projects directly to ProTools via AAF for audio finishing.
  • Media Management in DaVinci Resolve 12 has been redesigned to accommodate editorial workflows. Customers can now manage projects and media using new copy, move, transcode, relink and consolidate tools. Whole projects, including media can be archived and restored with ease. Resolve 12 makes it easier to find media in large projects by letting users create smart bins that can display footage based on metadata tags. Users can now import media by simply dragging it in from the Finder or Windows Explorer, or by using new “Favorites” for one click access to commonly used media folders on disk.
  • DaVinci Resolve colorists will find incredible new tools that give them even more creative grading options than ever before. Resolve 12 improves upon DaVinci’s legendary advanced color science by adding support for DaVinci’s own color managed timelines as well as ACES 1.0 transforms, making it easier to get consistent results, especially when working in facilities with managed pipelines.
  • The core grading and color correction tools have also been improved with a new, easier to use curves interface, automatic color analysis and matching between two or more clips, an incredibly accurate 3D perspective tracker, and a new 3D keyer with improved matte finesse options. Colorists can now define their own smart filters, convert any window to a bezier, collapse multiple nodes into compound nodes to simplify their view, ripple grades across multiple clips, and flatten pre and post-group grades into a clip’s individual grade.
  • DaVinci Resolve 12 also now supports remote rendering so customers working in larger facilities can distribute rendering jobs to other Resolve systems that are on the same shared database and shared storage.
  • With dramatically improved editing, DaVinci Resolve 12 now has the ability to integrate with other NLEs even better. Edit timelines can “round trip” to other editing software and more of settings, plug-ins and edits are preserved. For example when importing XMLs from Final Cut Pro X, DaVinci Resolve 12 can now import multi-cam clips and preserve all the original camera angles. Also, audio support is greatly improved to match the audio timeline in Final Cut Pro X. This makes collaborative workflows better and allows different people in a facility to use the tools they prefer instead of being forced into an inflexible company wide platform.

The DaVinci Resolve Public Beta is available today for download and once beta testing is complete, the main final release of DaVinci Resolve 12 will be available in later August time frame for download from the Blackmagic Design website free of charge for all current DaVinci Resolve customers.

 

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PocketWizard Severs Ties with MAC Group Distributing, Now Deals Directly with Retailers

by JamesNYCJuly 22. 2015 15:48

From PocketWizard:
 
New distribution channel allows LPA Design a closer connection with the photographer.
 
South Burlington, VT – As the wireless market and the photo industry as a whole continues to become more competitive and challenging, LPA Design, manufacturers of PocketWizard Photo Products, has realized the need to get closer to the photographer and has started selling direct to USA dealers. This change in distribution only affects the US market. LPA Design continues to rely on their network of global distributors and dealers throughout the world. “As we transition to our new sales and marketing approach, we are excited by the possibilities of working more directly with our Dealers and building closer relationships with the community of PocketWizard photographers. We’re exploring the means to hear and respond to our customers in a more direct and informative way. We’ve already heard some comments and suggestions, and are making changes that will offer a range of mutual long term benefits. We’ve had a great partnership with the MAC Group over the past 14 years, as they’ve been integral in building the PocketWizard brand in the US market. We wish them continued success in the future,” commented Heather Ambrose, Marketing Manager at LPA Design.
 
To spearhead our direct to dealer initiative, we have engaged the services of Lorenzo Gasperini of Inovanti, LLC to represent LPA Design / PocketWizard as our National Sales Manager. Lorenzo has a deep history with PocketWizard which started back in 1994 when he encountered PocketWizard and later joined Bogen Photo (Manfrotto USA) and LPA Design as the first US distributor. In 2000 Lorenzo joined the MAC Group and as the National Marketing Manager he inspired new products, markets and partnerships that lead to significant growth and success for the brand. In 2008 Lorenzo was paramount in building the PocketWizard brand internationally as the International Sales and Marketing Manager. In addition to his responsibilities with PocketWizard, Lorenzo (Inovanti) also works with the Sekonic light meter division and Syrp motion and linear control devices. Lorenzo has a tremendous amount of knowledge in the photographic and video market and will be an asset to the PocketWizard Sales and Marketing Team once again. PocketWizard looks forward to continuing toward a closer and stronger alliance with all their US dealers in an effort to strengthen their USA-built brand.

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Orphan Works Copyright Law Being Considered Again in the US

by JamesNYCJuly 21. 2015 23:19

Photographers: major changes to US copyright law may be just around the corner, and you may or may not like what’s being proposed. The US Copyright Office recently published a report titled “Orphan Works and Mass Digitization,” which examines and recommends potential solutions for the issues of orphan works (i.e. the use of copyrighted images when the owner cannot be found) and mass digitization (i.e. projects like Google Books that digitize vast amounts of copyrighted works).

Orphan Works2015

 

Heads up, photographers: major changes to US copyright law may be just around the corner, and you may or may not like what’s being proposed. The US Copyright Office recently published a report titled “Orphan Works and Mass Digitization,” which examines and recommends potential solutions for the issues of orphan works (i.e. the use of copyrighted images when the owner cannot be found) and mass digitization (i.e. projects like Google Books that digitize vast amounts of copyrighted works).

Here’s a copy of the report for your perusal:

Wikipedia has a nice summary of the history of proposed orphan works laws in the US. One orphan works bill was proposed in 2006, but it didn’t get very far (it died in the House Judiciary Committee). Another attempt at a bill was actually passed by the Senate unanimously in 2008, but it died in the House of Representatives.

Now a third push for getting a new copyright bill written and passed into law seems to be on the horizon. While an actual bill hasn’t materialized yet, this latest report gives us an idea of some of the changes that may be headed our way.

As you may remember, the UK passed a highly controversial copyright act in 2013 in an attempt to address the problem of orphan works. The US Copyright Office wants the US to follow suit by passing its own law — a law similar to the failed Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act of 2008.

If a similar bill is re-proposed and passed, then anyone would be able to use a copyrighted work if they make a “diligent effort” to find and contact the owner but come up empty handed. As long as certain conditions are met (possibly including a requirement to file a “notice of use” for the work), the user will be protected from massive copyright infringement lawsuits being filed against them — the penalties will be limited to “reasonable compensation,” or what a “reasonable license fee” would have been had the owner been contacted.

Just like with the orphan works proposals in the UK, photographers and other creatives in the US aren’t too thrilled with many of these proposed changes. A new Change.org petition has been created to try and stop the passage of a “license to steal” bill.

Brad Holland, a renowned artist who helped kill the 2008 bill by testifying before Congress, was recently interviewed by artist Will Terry about the dangers of these new proposals. You can listen to the 1.5-hour conversation here:

Heads up, photographers: major changes to US copyright law may be just around the corner, and you may or may not like what’s being proposed. The US Copyright Office recently published a report titled “Orphan Works and Mass Digitization,” which examines and recommends potential solutions for the issues of orphan works (i.e. the use of copyrighted images when the owner cannot be found) and mass digitization (i.e. projects like Google Books that digitize vast amounts of copyrighted works).

Here’s a copy of the report for your perusal:

Wikipedia has a nice summary of the history of proposed orphan works laws in the US. One orphan works bill was proposed in 2006, but it didn’t get very far (it died in the House Judiciary Committee). Another attempt at a bill was actually passed by the Senate unanimously in 2008, but it died in the House of Representatives.

Now a third push for getting a new copyright bill written and passed into law seems to be on the horizon. While an actual bill hasn’t materialized yet, this latest report gives us an idea of some of the changes that may be headed our way.

As you may remember, the UK passed a highly controversial copyright act in 2013 in an attempt to address the problem of orphan works. The US Copyright Office wants the US to follow suit by passing its own law — a law similar to the failed Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act of 2008.

If a similar bill is re-proposed and passed, then anyone would be able to use a copyrighted work if they make a “diligent effort” to find and contact the owner but come up empty handed. As long as certain conditions are met (possibly including a requirement to file a “notice of use” for the work), the user will be protected from massive copyright infringement lawsuits being filed against them — the penalties will be limited to “reasonable compensation,” or what a “reasonable license fee” would have been had the owner been contacted.

Just like with the orphan works proposals in the UK, photographers and other creatives in the US aren’t too thrilled with many of these proposed changes. A new Change.org petition has been created to try and stop the passage of a “license to steal” bill.

Brad Holland, a renowned artist who helped kill the 2008 bill by testifying before Congress, was recently interviewed by artist Will Terry about the dangers of these new proposals. You can listen to the 1.5-hour conversation here:

Things are still very early in the process, and things could go in many different directions from here. The US Copyright Office is currently asking people to weigh in on this subject through an online form by answering the following questions:

1. What are the most significant challenges related to monetizing and/or licensing photographs, graphic artworks, and/or illustrations?
2. What are the most significant enforcement challenges for photographers, graphic artists, and/or illustrators?
3. What are the most significant registration challenges for photographers, graphic artists, and/or illustrators?
4. What are the most significant challenges or frustrations for those who wish to make legal use of photographs, graphic art works, and/or illustrations?
5. What other issues or challenges should the Office be aware of regarding photographs, graphic artworks, and/or illustrations under the Copyright Act?

If you’d like to submit your own comments to the government and need some guidance or inspiration.

Keep your eye on the progress of these proposed changes — they may have a huge impact on US copyright law for many, many years to come.

 

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Sigma’s 24-35mm f/2 Art is Like a Prime Lens that Zooms

by JamesNYCJuly 21. 2015 23:13

Sigma recently announced another groundbreaking lens in their acclaimed Global Vision line of Art series lenses, the 24-35mm f/2. This is the world’s first full frame zoom lens with an f/2 aperture. You heard that right. Prime lens speed, with the ability to change the focal length of the lens. Wow.

Some of the photos in the review were shot with the Canon 5Ds and are huge! All files were only lightly edited in Lightroom CC. Only minor exposure adjustments or minor cropping. No sharpening added.

All eyes have been on Sigma for their Art series lenses for some time now. Sigma has had prime lenses at a reasonable price for a long time, but they practically crushed the prime lens category with releases like the 35mm f/1.4 Art and the 50mm f/1.4 Art.

The popularity and positive reviews of these lenses have put the pressure on Sigma to keep coming out with top quality lenses (at a relatively low price) and it looks like they are not being shy with the innovation. It’s nothing short of remarkable that Sigma was able to achieve a constant f/2 aperture, multiple focal lengths and still cover a full frame sensor.

here are the specs of this lens, so you know what we are dealing with:

Focal Length: 24 – 35mm (Comparable 35mm Equivalent on APS-C Format Focal Length: 38.4 – 56 mm)
Aperture: f/2-f/16
Mounts: Canon, Nikon, Sigma
Angle of View: 84.1° 63.4′
Minimum Focus Distance: 11″ (27.94 cm)
Maximum Reproduction Ratio: 1:4.4
Elements/Groups: 18/13
Diaphragm Blades: 9, Rounded
Image Stabilization: No
Autofocus: Yes
Filter Thread: 82 mm
Dimensions: 3.4 x 4.8″ (8.64 x 12.19 cm)
Weight: 2.075 lbs. (941 g)

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Kodak Turns 92-Year-Old Film Manufacturing Building Into Rubble

by JamesNYCJuly 19. 2015 23:04

Yesterday marked the end of another piece of Kodak’s once-powerful film manufacturing business. The company used 100 pounds of dynamite to take down the 92-year-old Building 53 at Eastman Business Park in Rochester, New York. The sprawling 250,000-square-foot plant, once used to manufacture acetate base for camera film, was reduced to 1,500 tons of steel and concrete in less than 20 seconds.

A number of spectators gathered at the park to witness the demolition.

Since 2003, Kodak has spent $200 million in demolishing around 45 buildings. The industrial complex is being redesigned to allow other companies to move in share it with Kodak.

At the peak of Kodak’s reign during the days of film photography, more than 50,000 employees worked out of Eastman Business Park, but that number has since dwindled to around 1,000. A second plant in the business park is still operational and will still be churning out acetate film base for Kodak.

 

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The World’s Smallest Micro Four Thirds 4K Camera

by JamesNYCJuly 18. 2015 22:56

It’s not every day that a startup company launches a new camera to challenge the likes of heavyweights like GoPro and Panasonic, but that’s what the Las Vegas-based company Z Camera is doing. It just unveiled the 4K-capable E1, the world’s smallest Micro Four Thirds camera that combines the size of GoPro with the interchangeable lenses of mirrorless cameras.

 Specs and features in the E1 are impressive, given its petite size. It can shoot cinema-quality 4K 4096×2160 video at 24 frames per second or ultra high-def video at 3840×2160 and 30fps. The 16-megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor at the camera’s core has “incredible” low-light performance, Z says, and can shoot at 102,400 while maintaining good image quality, thanks in part to 3D noise filtering technologies.

 A special companion app, available for iOS and Android, allow users to compose shots and control the camera using their smartphones. Other features of the E1 include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a magnesium camera body, continuous autofocus in both photos and video, a 45-minute battery life for 4K recording, and a 2.5-inch LCD screen on the back.

Z’s goal is to give the industry a compact, flexible, high-quality 4K camera that doesn’t break the bank. The company is planning to sell the E1 for a relatively low price of $699 if/when it hits store shelves. First, the company is running a fundraising campaign to launch the camera, over on Kickstarter. Z is looking for $42,000 in funding, and early contributions of $449 and up will be rewarded with an E1 camera when it starts shipping in December 2015 (if all goes according to plan).

 

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