Video

The Photographer’s Introduction to Video in Lightroom 4 and Photoshop CS6: Now available!

Have you upgraded to Lightroom 4 or Photoshop CS6 but are still not quite sure how to start working with video files from your cameras? With The Photographer’s Guide to Video in Lightroom 4 and Photoshop CS6, you can begin to realize the full video potential of the software you invested in. You’ll get the most out of this eBook if you’re a still photographer starting to integrate video into your workflow.

The Photographer's Introduction to Video in Lightroom 4 and Photoshop CS6 cover

Why I wrote this ebook

While Lightroom and Photoshop can work with digital video files, they’re designed to streamline very specific photographer-oriented video workflows. In addition, what they can do is different in scope than what you’d be able to accomplish if you were using a professional digital video editor such as Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro. I wrote this ebook to help you understand when Lightroom or Photoshop is the right choice for your video project, and how to use them.

The book assumes you already know how to use Lightroom or Photoshop in a still-image workflow. I wanted to build a bridge between what you already know about your cameras and your Adobe software and the new challenges of organizing, managing, and creating output from digital video.

How to learn

Download and read The Photographer’s Introduction to Video in Lightroom 4 and Photoshop CS6 as an ebook in multiple formats, including Kindle, PDF, and  iBooks. Here are some links to get you started:
Amazon.com for Kindle
Peachpit.com for Kindle/MOBI, ePub, and PDF
iTunes store for iOS devices

More info

Below is the publisher’s marketing copy if you want to learn a bit more…

Use the image tools you already know as a photographer—Lightroom 4 and Photoshop CS6—to edit HD video from your DSLR camera or smart phone. This ebook will help you make the transition from still to motion, learning how to organize, edit, export, and upload your HD video. Take advantage of the advanced features in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop and bring your work to life.

Highlights of this ebook include:

  • Understand which software application is right for your project
  • Get tips on planning, shooting video, and recording audio to make post-production easier
  • Organize and prep your video clips by taking advantage of metadata, filters, and using Collections
  • Prepare still images in Lightroom for video
  • Learn about the Photoshop Timeline, making basic edits and cuts and creating transitions and fades
  • Color correct your video files and adjust audio
  • Create a video slideshow of your photographs
  • Fully grasp all the concepts and techniques as you go with step-by-step instructions

Combining photos and location audio: “Palio di Siena: L’Atmosfera”

In an earlier post, I put together a quick-and-dirty Flash-based slide show of photographs from Il Palio in Siena, Italy just to give you an idea of what kind of work came out of that trip. But I didn’t want to leave it at that. I wanted to convey a more complete sense of what it felt like to be in Siena during Il Palio, so I created a two-minute video focused on the atmosphere of the Palio.

Note: If you view this video full screen (which you really should), be sure to change the resolution at the bottom of the full-screen view to 720p or the highest resolution your internet speed can handle.

I think of this video as like a movie preview trailer for this personal photo project, generating interest and setting expectations for the larger project in progress. The video helps communicate why I went there, as well as the tone of the place, time, and culture.

And I’m happy with it. Read on if you’re interested in the decisions I made and things I learned while planning, capturing, organizing, and editing the media for this piece.

(more…)

Canon SLR video: Technicolor picture style optimizes dynamic range

Canon EOS 7D

In an earlier article, I talked about how customized Canon picture styles (rendering profiles) can optimize the dynamic range of video captured on Canon digital SLRs for better image quality during post-processing and color grading. Now you have one more option: The Cinestyle picture style by Technicolor.

Unlike the picture styles available so far, Cinestyle was developed by Technicolor color scientists together with Canon USA and the ASC Directors of Photography…it’s hard to beat a team like that. And the Cinestyle picture style is free.

Cinestyle is optimized for the Technicolor post-processing workflow, but Technicolor says you can use Cinestyle together with any non-linear editing system (NLE) as well. Also, while Cinestyle is optimized for the Canon EOS 5D MkII, they say it should work fine with other Canon SLRs that capture video, and based on the online comments so far that seems to be true. I personally haven’t tried it out yet. In reading through the information available online, it works best if you also apply an S-curve lookup table (LUT) that’s available as a free download. For more information and to download Cinestyle tools and documentation, go to the following links:

Technicolor Cinestyle and LUT download and documentation
Technicolor FAQ for Cinestyle picture style
Vincent LaForet’s blog post about Cinestyle with examples and tips

Canon 7D: Optimizing DSLR video dynamic range

There’s a great tutorial over at Vimeo on controlling the dynamic range of digital SLRs when capturing video. It turns out that the video mode of digital SLRs is tuned like a typical JPEG mode: To get a contrasty, “finished” look right away. But like JPEGs, this means a lot of tonal and color information is tossed out before the capture is saved, which can be limiting if you need a look that’s different than what the camera gives you. If highlights are blown or shadows are plugged, you may be left with nothing to work with at the high or low end when you try to adjust the image quality.

The technique covered in the video linked below involves using Canon Picture Styles (presets for how the camera processes images) to dial down the contrast and color in an attempt to squeeze as many of the original scene’s tones as possible into the range the sensor can capture. A file captured this way looks flat and lacks contrast, and isn’t something you would show as finished. But that’s because, as with raw capture or like Ansel Adams shooting film, we are at a step in the process where we’re not trying to create a perfect picture at the moment of capture, we’re trying to capture enough of the right data from which we can produce a perfect picture in post-processing. That’s an important difference.

It’s also important to understand that this capture technique isn’t quite as good as actually capturing video in raw format, but video cameras that do are pretty rare and I think most of them are expensive and called RED. This technique is about doing the best you can with the non-raw capture you have.

This capture technique is often called increasing or maximizing the dynamic range, but I prefer to call it optimizing. You’re not making the sensor capture more tones, you’re rearranging the tones you’ve captured before they’re recorded. I suppose you could call it maximizing the available dynamic range.

Here’s the URL to the video:
http://vimeo.com/7256322

While the video talks about the technique in terms of the Canon 7D, Canon Picture Styles can be used with the 5DMkII and others. And the principle can be applied to other brands of cameras that give you control over the image quality of the video.

(Update: [May 2011] You might want to try the new Cinestyle picture style by Technicolor and Canon, a more “official” version of the picture styles described in this post.)