Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Commercial Photography and Video with a Canon DSLR

Kashless.org asked me to create a commercial for their first ad campaign. It was a very interesting project that involved shooting simple images of objects to be posted on their site (see last post), print them, shoot a video and add a voiceover and soundtrack (make sure your sound is on!). A lot of people got involved and we had a decent budget to do a good job.

The fun part came from using a DSLR camera to shoot both images and video. I used an old Sony to get the "casual" Polaroid look to the images and the used the new Canon Rebel (500D or T1i in the US) to shoot a short video at 30fps. We used natural light and cut the video using Final Cut Express. A couple of trick I learned: remember to lock the exposure and use a fixed white balance (not AWB!) to keep the movie as homogeneous as possible.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

That Polaroid Look

So the client asked for a set of images to use in a video. The images had to have the distinctive "Polaroid look" to evoke a mood that is casual but elegant, artsy but spontaneous, practical but environmentally conscious. "Umm, well OK" I said. How does this translate in photographic terms? Polaroid images are famous for being blurry, having blown highlights, strong vignetting and a somewhat shallow depth of field. Yellowish high tones, blueish shadows and low color saturation are also part of that look.

Rather than grabbing a Polaroid camera and some old film
I decided to shoot with an (old) digital camera. I will have more control on the results the images won't need to be scanned and I will be able to make higher resolution prints. Using a point and shoot instead of my trusted DSLR will make the images look a little more casual. Like, a dude who got a lucky shot. But how do I change the color scheme and tones to get the desired "Polaroid" look. Enters Lightroom and its famous presets. The LR community has developed a number of them that are freely available and easy to install. So I got a few, tweaked them to my liking (usually reducing contrast, adding more vignetting and changing the color balance. And here are some of the results. Not bad.