Technology changes. It changes everything, from the way we see the world to the way we do business. As ever, there are winners and losers in this "brave new world." Some relatively small electronics companies have mushroomed into global brands based on their supply to the digital frenzy, while giants of industry, like Kodak have suffered beyond belief.
Even for those companies not involved in the digital industry, the long reach of modern technology means they are still gripped by the threat of failure or the promise of success.
As a creative, how would you encapsulate the challenge of the modern world for today's business in an image? Here is my attempt.
Product video. Does what it says on the tin.
OK every shoot does not go to plan. Shooting in a farm cheese factory, I was well prepared. Cheese is a dairy product, and I figured that they have to keep that stuff cool, so the factory will be freezing. I turned up dressed for an Arctic winter, only to find that I figured wrong. Cheese must be made in very warm conditions to activate the culture!
So, this shoot was going to be a hot one! Next. How to shoot a dozen visitors making cheese in a working factory? Forget running cables for lights, forget soft boxes. I have about one square metre to work with. So, I am not going to get the beautifully lit portraits that I was hoping for, but just what can I get?
Well, I started by using two speed light units in place of the studio units. That solution provided a good compromise, but I was not really happy. What was needed was turn the flash units off and to push the ISO way up to 2000. Shooting available light, the constraints of the bustling factory were no longer a problem - but how to make the images stand out?
I decided to produce them as moody monochrome images, with the addition of an instant film frame. Polaroid used to make a negative film stock which provided an instant print and a negative. The negative could be placed in an enlarger mask and printed along with the surrounding furniture of the product. The finished image was much in vogue with art photographers. Here I have used a pre-prepared mask and added it as a layer in Photoshop. However, I have altered each mask by hand as I would like the images to look hand produced and not mass produced. I like it, the images have some immediacy about them and I think that the addition of the instant frame marks them out as a bit special.
In these exciting times of convergence, where stills photographers need to shoot video, maybe the film making part of my degree will kick in - but I fear all that film chemistry study won't be of much use now! (I knew there was a good reason that my brain did not want to take it in!)
Here is a personal video project that follows the rules of the classic chase scene, although strictly speaking, it isn't a chase at all - more La Chasse.
I had the pleasure of shooting the video of the 2:19 Blues Band playing the classic John Lee Hooker number, Baby Lee. Great vocals and guitar work from the band and what a great Blues tune.
The video was shot in standard colour, but I altered that in post production to black and white, and a moody surreal washed-out effect to reflect the melancholy of blues music.
Some top-grade camera manufacturers have brought some very interesting digital cameras to market recently, and all claiming great things. Sigma, the lens people, have launched their flagship, the SD1digital SLR with an eye-watering 46 megapixels! This camera, according to Sigma, is.... “Paradigm breaking. Epoch making. Liberating.” Not only that, but it also “..mirrors the landscape of the heart.” OK, stop laughing, if you want one, it will cost you £6,199, without a lens, so you can’t even take any pictures for that measly amount of wonga!
Hasselblad will charge you £24,395 for their 50 megapixel H4D - also without a lens, which will cost a further couple of grand depending on your choice. (The 100mm f2.2 is £2339.) However, they do offer the camera with a mere 39 megapixels and 80mm lens for just £9,499. Given that the ‘Blads pixels are spread over a much bigger sensor than the Sigma’s 24x16mm sensor, logic demands that the ‘Blads ought to have the edge in quality.
Hasselblad claim that “the H4D camera system will change the way you think about high-end photography.” Well, yes, it probably makes you think about just how much money you now owe the bank, and how business had better be pretty good from now on, or this high-end photography malarky will have big men in dark glasses breaking down the door!
But, there is no alternative. Or is there? For the sake of experiment, I have decided that I am going to purchase a really inexpensive film camera from Ebay and check out the results that film can deliver. With a budget of just £169 (which I happened to have in my PayPal account) I started sifting through the medium-format film cameras, and on the first visit I found what I wanted. A sexy beast of a camera!
From there, everything fell into place. I won the bidding with exactly £169 and the camera is now here and ready to go. And what a camera. It is the Mamiya Super 23, which is a 6x9cm rangefinder camera with some incredibly interesting features. I can’t wait to get started and I will be posting the results on my Blog, comparing the shots with the best digital Canon offer.
Meanwhile, here is what £169 can buy ............. just £24,226 cheaper than a ‘Blad!
If you produce video in this brave new world of digital convergence, then you need to have an animated logo to front-end your work. Think RKO, Paramount and MGM. Those guys knew what was needed.
Here is the 3D animation that I have produced from my logo.