While still images are well suited to providing would-be-housebuyers with a visual guide to what a potential property has to offer, most estate agents are limited to using a handful of images to describe a house.
A well produced photo film provides a richer experience for the viewer. A typical 3 minute photo film can use between 60 and 100 images and have a professional quality voiceover and background music track. A by-product of the photo film is a set of high quality still images which can be used for both standard print or screen use
The current owners of The Chapel near Bristol wanted a photo-film to showase their property. The film combines stills, video and music (piano) and voiceover recordings, all captured in the property.
Audio quality is as important as image quality so we use professional studio microphones and can set up a temporary recording booth to maximise the clarity of the recording. Alternatively we can use a professional voiceover artist to read an agreed script.
Once edited, the client is provided with a web-ready high definition photo-film in a common video format and a full set of images which can be used on screen or print.
If you are creating a stop motion animation with ‘off the shelf’ characters it can be quite difficult to give personality and expression to your ‘talent’. While it is possible to tweak a mouth here or eyebrow there with applications such as Photoshop, it is very time consuming and involves making major changes to the appearance of the product you may be promoting. A very simple way to give some personality to your characters is to get them to blink or wink. A simple blink may be a character’s response to another character or an event but it does make it look like the character is awake and reacting to its environment. This also doesn’t significantly change the appearance of the character.
I normally place all of the frames in order onto the timeline in Adobe Premiere and do most of the editing. When we are happy with the rough edit I clean up the shots in one by one. Global edits such as dust removal will all ready have been done in Adobe Lightroom when I first import the images so this stage doesn’t need to be too labour intensive. Premiere lets you transfer still frames from your timeline into Photoshop. These frames can then be edited. When saved the edited version replaces the original frame in the timeline.
Edit in Photoshop
I normally use between 3 and 6 frames for a blink in stop motion animation. This varies with the frame rate of the video I am creating. For 10 FPS I use around 3 frames, for 25 FPS I use 6.
individual frames making up a blink
I use the Clone Stamp, the Heal Brush is a bit too perfect and can blend in the skin or fur so well that it removes any trace of an eye. The Clone Stamp leaves is a bit more patchy, this can look like there is an eyeball beneath the cloned eyelid. I also leave a bit of the eye at the bottom of the ‘socket’ in the frame for the fully closed eye (above image on right). This looks like eye lashes. I normally have a couple of frames to allow the eye to re-open.
Obviously a cheeky wink is done in the same way.
The above clip is from a recent stop-motion showreel
Many photographers feel that while their digital cameras produce amazing quality images when used correctly but believe the craft of the media has been taken from them and embedded in software applications. The darkroom is still a place where the true craft of photography can be found. Darkroom equipment which was once priced beyond the means of the typical enthusiast photographer can be picked up in online auctions for a tiny fraction of its original value. Sadly, courses on the subject are slowly disappearing as colleges convert their darkrooms into digital editing suites.
DeVere 504 enlarger
Traditional black and white photographic prints still have some significant advantages over their digital equivalents the most obvious being its archival quality. A properly processed and washed black and white print on fibre based photographic paper should still be around in a hundred years time. The digital equivalent would need regular conversion by the photographer and their progeny to be available for future generations.
My darkroom is just outside of Bath, it houses two enlargers, a Devere 504 covering a range of film formats including; 35mm, 6cm x 6cm, 6cm x 7cm, and 5″x4″ and an LPL C7700 enlarger for 35mm up to 6cmx7cm.
Classes are limited to a maximum of two attendees.
Typical workshop content might include; an introduction to darkroom equipment, film processing demonstration, contact printing, enlargement, use of multigrade paper, dodging and burning and split grade printing.
If you would prefer to have the workshop at your home or workplace I also have a portable darkroom which can hold between three people including myself.
The price per person which include all materials is £160 for the day
For two people booking together the workshop is £300
If you would like me to deliver the course at your home or workplace give me a call or drop me an email.
My darkroom experience
I have taught both digital and film photography for over twenty years and have worked as a commercial photographer for nearly thirty. While all of my commercial work is now digital I am still passionate about traditional photography.
My training courses can be combined into a three day workshop covering fundamentals of photography including pinhole cameras and darkroom work. Photographic lighting including flash, incandescent and fluorescent and digital image editing using Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom.
Please contact me if you would like to know more about combined analogue and digital course.
As a photographer, I often have to climb a tree or hang out of a window to get an elevated viewpoint of my subject or get down on my hands and knees to capture a dramatic low level perspective. This however was nothing compared to the contortions I had to do while shooting a recent social media campaign for Sylvanian Families. The brief was developed by Highlight PR in Bath and the aim was to get pictures from a child’s (and Sylvanians) viewpoint and place the little characters in the ‘real world’.
Sylvanian Families enjoying the sights in Bath
The shots were taken in a variety of locations around the city of Bath with the tiny figures going about their everyday activities under the noses of the city’s human inhabitants. The shot of the car (above) driving around the city’s famous Royal Crescent required me to lie flat-out across the middle of the road. While I was trying to compose the picture and avoid being reflected in the car’s bodywork my assistant had to guide traffic and pedestrians around me. None of these images have been heavily manipulated, the lighting, colour and perspective were all captured ‘in camera’.
Sylvanian Families enjoying an ice cream on the beach
The characters are only a couple of inches high so casual observers couldn’t always understand why I was lying flat on the pavement or what my lights were pointing at.
The images have been widely used to promote Sylvanians both on Twitter and Facebook and other social media though they may also be used in traditional print media in the future.
It was great to work alongside Alison Vellacott from Highlight PR and I think we managed to get some entertaining images though I think I will need to limber up with a spot of yoga before I do it again.
Sylvanian Families visiting the dentist
I am currently going through the current crop of extended pinhole camera pictures and discovered that a camera had recorded a ‘ghost’ of a structure not present when the camera was put up or taken down. On the left side of the building there is a faint image of scaffolding which must have been in place for around half of the exposure (3 months). You can see more pinhole images in the gallery section of the website
Ghost of scaffolding captured in 6 month pinhole camera exposure