Once every five years, Canon goes all out and invites the world to see its latest and greatest technologies—in a grand way. This September the company kicked off Canon EXPO 2010 with its theme “We Speak Image.” The EXPO debuted in New York City, and will make appearances in Paris, Tokyo and Shanghai. Not everyone may be aware that Canon has expertise in areas other than cameras and inkjet printers—printing systems and copiers, binoculars, camcorders, both consumer and professional broadcast quality, security and medical imaging systems—all make up the array of product lines. Over 150,000 square feet of exhibition space at the Jacob Javits Center in NYC was filled with Canon innovations and new technologies.
Products on Display
The recently announced EOS 60D DSLR was on display for photographers to handle, along with a range of lenses, Canon EOS camera bodies and accessories. Support personnel were on hand to answer questions on cameras and imaging, Canon software and small- and wide-format printing.
One of the great aspects of the Canon EXPO was a full lineup of seminars over the course of the two days to discuss best practices, or educate attendees on the benefits of specific Canon products. Photography seminar topics covered wedding photography, the future of print, fashion photography, integrating Canon HD DSLRs into commercial and aerial photography, and celebrity photojournalism.
I attended three such seminars: Eddie Tapp’s “Best in Process and Printing from your CR2 Workflow,” Alex Buono’s "HD DSLR Cinema 101," and Robert Farber’s "Fashion Photography: A Career Overview." All three photographers are Canon Explorers of Light. Tapp and Farber are still photographers but Alex is a cinematographer who happens to use a range of video gear in his job, including Canon DSLRs.
Eddie Tapp is a color management guru, so he began his presentation reiterating the importance of fully calibrating and profiling your entire workflow, from display to output, if you want consistent results over time.
To illustrate this point, Tapp showed how the video projector being used for the seminar first displayed his images and then with the correct colors after he calibrated it. There was such a noticeable difference, that attendees really understood the importance of doing this, especially if you often show images on equipment that isn’t yours. (However, you do need to regularly recalibrate because bulb life can change over time.)
Canon’s Digital Photo Professional software can do what Adobe’s Lightroom or Apple’s Aperture does for managing images. He noted that because it is created by Canon, the software offers the best RAW processor available for working with Canon’s RAW CR2 file format.
• Best practices for a simple workflow:
1. Import images
2. Rename files
3. Find what you consider are your winning images from the shoot and flag them
4. Make exposure corrections and any tonal/color alterations you want
5. Bring photos into Adobe Photoshop to work with layers, do major retouching
6. Export images for web or print proofing
7. Flag your customer’s choices for their favorite images
8. Do work needed to complete final image for customer use (print, digital file, etc.)
9. Back up files after the job is complete
• When you are outputting images for web proofing purposes, use the sRGB color space
• When you are outputting images for printing, you want to use the ProPhoto or Wide Gamut color space(s), not Adobe RGB (especially when printing on the Canon ImagePrograf ipf6100 wide-format printer)
Alex Buono is most known for his work on "Saturday Night Live." Over the past few years, SNL has turned to Canon HD DSLRs for some of its location and studio shooting. Buono explained how the television show came to use Canon HD DSLRs. Mary Ellen Matthews is the SNL portrait photographer, responsible for the still images of the special guests seen on each episode. Because she uses Canon DSLRs and is familiar with the HD video capabilities, she suggested the cameras be used when shooting the opening sequence for last year’s season, which she directed. His cameras of choice are the EOS 5D and 7D, the 5D for location shooting, and the 7D for work in the studio.
The HD DSLRs he says, combine the best of film, HD and digital. The low-light, slow motion and time lapse capabilities of the cameras allow him to shoot much of his work with the HD DSLRs. And, the small size of the camera lets him use accessories like suction cup mounts to place the camera on a car and drive through NYC to get footage without the need for a police escort and intricate rigs that the larger pro video cameras require. Especially when shooting alone or with few production assistants, the small footprint of the HD DSLR makes it an ideal choice on location.
Alex Buono’s Gearbox:
• Canon EOS 5D
• Canon EOS 7D
• Canon EOS-1D Mark IV for time-lapse video capture
• Zacuto Z-Finder Loupe
• Zacuto Target Shooter Stabilizer
• LitePanel LED light (balanced for ambient light)
• Genus Fader ND filters
• Lenses of choice:
o 16-35mm f/2.8 (workhorse lens)
o 24-70mm f/2.8 (workhorse lens)
o 70-200mm f/2.8 (workhorse lens)
o 14mm f/2.8
o 24mm f/1.4
o 50mm f/1.2
• Alex will also use Cine-lenses, which require the addition of a PL-mount on the camera body, however he noted that this will void your warrantee.
• Lexar 300x 4GB UDMA CompactFlash cards and FireWire card reader.
• For time-lapse video capture:
o In addition to the HD DSLR you need an intervalometer
o Use a panning telescope motor head on a tripod for motion-controlled time-lapse
• In-studio accessories:
o Red Rock Cinema DSLR Bundle
o Fluid head on a tripod
o Matte box
o On-board monitor
o Iris rods to follow focus
• Alex regularly shoots at ISO 750. He is confident going up to ISO 1600 on the EOS 5D and 1250 on the EOS 7D for broadcast TV.
• When shooting, you can’t use the LCD and an external monitor at the same time, so to add a second monitor, use a splitter to split the video signal.
• Because the cameras are not designed for audio performance, you really need to use an external mic.
• The ideal way to shoot video with audio is to use a separate audio recorder, capturing 24-bit sound. Use a clapper at the beginning of each take, and sync the audio to the video for post-production.
• Transcode the footage for post-production editing -- Convert H.264 to Apple Pro or DVC pro for post-production purposes, because it will be easier to edit.
• The EOS cameras don’t add a timecode to the video footage, but Canon offers a plug-in for Final Cut Pro that adds it.
Robert Farber told his audience that he hadn’t wanted to go to school for photography, but art. He got his first camera in the 1960s and found he was creating images that looked more like paintings. Throughout his career, he has kept true to his style of fine-art photography and applies this highly recognizable look commercially when he works on a job. The biggest take away point I got during his seminar was to be true to your own style and shoot what you want. You don’t need to change your style to please others.
Farber explained that he would often shoot a fine art image, and then be asked by an art director or client to reproduce a similar feeling commercially, so he would further refine the concept for ad campaigns.
He also explained that he utilizes his outtakes from commercial shoots, because you never know when you’ll be able to use something for something else, i.e. for fine art purposes or your own licensing uses. Doing so can be a lucrative addition to your primary income.