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June 18, 2012 / GreenMan

Tips for Fireworks Photography

Light Em’ Up!

Summer is here and that means you will most likely be viewing some spectacular fireworks displays for the holidays, sporting events, corporate parties, etc. Want to make your friends, co-workers, and hard to impress grandchildren tell you that you’re  the most talented photographer they’ve ever seen? Well, break out your camera, because I’m about to tell you some easy tricks to capturing the best photos during any fireworks show.

1) NO FLASHING. Make sure the flash on your camera is off and remains off during the show. This may seem obvious to most of you, but it must be said, because believe it or not some people get so caught up with the pretty lights that they forget this important step. (Don’t be embarrassed, it happens to the best of us)

2) STAY STILL. Let the fireworks do the moving, not you. Since you will want to be using longer shutter speeds (we’ll get to that in a second) to really capture the movement of the light, you will want to put you camera on a tripod so as not to pick up any movement that is not part of the show. You may also want to invest in a wireless trigger or enable the timer on your camera, so it will shoot remotely, making sure there is no extra camera movement.

3) MANUAL MODE. Last time I checked, no camera had a “Brilliant Fireworks Capture” mode. When it is dark outside, cameras have a hard time auto-focusing, which means even if you plan out a perfect shot, your camera could ruin it if it is left on any Auto setting. Manually set up your exposure and focus modes before the show begins, take a few test shots, and then try not to change it too much during the display, as it takes a lot of time and you might miss the action.

4) SHOOT WIDE. CROP LATER. For the best view, line up your camera level with the horizon and shoot with a wider focal length, rather than a tighter one. This way, you can get the full effect. Then if you’d like to get fancy and have a close up or more abstract view, you can crop the photos when editing.

5) SHUTTER SPEED. The more photographers you talk to, the more they will tell you that shutter speed is crucial when shooting fireworks. Some of the best results may come from setting your camera to “Bulb Mode”, giving you complete control over how long the shutter stays open. Just be careful to not leave it open too long. Fireworks are very bright and it is easy to over expose them. A great place to start? Try hitting the shutter as the firework initially bursts, and hold it for about three seconds until it starts to fade. Along with shutter speed, make sure your aperture is somewhere between an f/7 to an f/16. (You may want to experiment with this to see what you like best)

6) GET LOW. A low ISO setting is best for getting a nice clean image. Again, fireworks are bright, so to avoid any unwanted noise in your image, try a setting around 100.

7) KEEP SHOOTING. Don’t stress yourself out too much during the show by checking every individual shot and messing around with settings. Instead, just keep shooting throughout the whole show, checking your framing occasionally to make sure you are still on target. Bring multiple memory cards and have them ready to go, so you can take way more shots than you will need. Also, give yourself time to enjoy the show as well. Because even though photographs of fireworks are often awe-inspiring, it doesn’t beat seeing them in real life. : )

8) PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT. Like I always say, the more you practice, the better you will become with any photography or filmmaking skill. So pack up your loved ones, grab a bucket of chicken and some lemonade, and hit every fireworks display you can this summer! Check out your local community website for the best viewing spots for 4th of July and Labor Day. Evening baseball games are also a good bet for some amazing fireworks shows.

Follow these few tips to get the best results and set your fireworks pictures far above the others. Best of luck, be safe, and happy summer!

GreenMan

 

April 19, 2012 / GreenMan

Event Photographers Start Here

New PhotoWorks Kit Gets You Going

With this economy, everyone is trying new ways to make money. Thought about event photography before? It may sound difficult, but trust me, it’s simple! And not only that, it’s a great way to make some quick cash. You just need the right equipment. That’s where I come in. I’m stoked to announce this new photography kit from TubeTape.com. It’s called the Green Screen PhotoWorks Digital Photography Kit. Sounds fancy, right? This kit is small but powerful. It includes a 5’x7′ green screen, FXhome’s PhotoKey Lite software, a tutorial, and over 100 digital backgrounds and overlays to get you started.

The greenscreen is, of course, the high quality muslin that you would expect of a greenscreen coming from TubeTape. If you’re looking for a larger size than 5’x7′, you can upgrade right on the spot! Every screen has a built in rod pocket that can slide easily onto a backdrop stand you already own, or you can even use a curtain rod if you don’t have a backdrop stand, or you want to save a bit of money.

If you haven’t heard of PhotoKey, then it’s about time! PhotoKey Lite is a chromakey image editing software that keys out the green or blue in your background for you, so you can get straight to compositing. You can drop in backgrounds and an overlay onto your photo to give it your own unique style. It’s a process that literally just takes minutes, it’s so quick! And it’s not complicated like PhotoShop. There are some special fx layers you can play with like contrast, hue, blue, etc. You can do some pretty neat stuff while still keeping the process simple and fast.

If you’re new to chromakey and this kit seems a bit intimidating, have no fear! There is also an included tutorial showing you how to use the PhotoWorks kit to your advantage. It shows you step by step how to set up your screen, gives you tips on lighting, walks you through the software and even shows you how to use different digital backgrounds and overlays to create awesome images.

Speaking of digital backgrounds, this kit comes with a wide variety of backgrounds and overlays for you to work with. There are many classic muslin style backdrops that add a professional touch to any portrait. There are also scenic and abstract backgrounds that look awesome when you blur it a little. It adds a more edgy modern look. There are also some fun backgrounds to play with that are perfect for party invitations, promotional flyers or just having fun with family photos. Add some flare with magazine overlays. People at events LOVE to see themselves on magazine covers. It’s a lot of fun and it’s just something a little different that grabs people’s attention.

Your clients are sure to remember your event photography set up when you use this kit. And the best part is, that this kit starts at only $99! This kit will pay for itself, and more, in just one gig. The amount of stuff you get for the price point is crazy good. You can upgrade the screen size on the spot so you can do everything from corporate headshots to larger group gatherings like weddings, holiday parties, etc. If you’ve wanted to get into the photography business, now’s the time. A greenscreen opens up a huge new world of possibilities and the price has never been better! Oh, and you’re welcome in advance for letting you in on this amazing new product. : )

GreenMan

February 3, 2012 / GreenMan

Little Words, Big Savings

Word of the Day now on Facebook

My dear friends,

I have once again come to tell you news of huge savings offered now at your favorite online store, TubeTape.com. These folks have truly outdone themselves, if I do say so myself. As you know, they are all about giving you quality products at affordable prices. And with the Weekly Deal 50% off special, they have done just that. Well, to add on to the brilliantness (I had to make up a word, this deal is so good), they are now starting a “Word of the Day” promotion only on Facebook. Every Friday, on TubeTape.com’s Facebook wall, they will announce a “Word of the Day” which will be a promo code you can use at checkout to give you a 15% discount on any item in the whole store! And it lasts all weekend long. Like I said… brilliant, right? So now you can shop til you drop all weekend long and save big money. 

So head over to Facebook (you know you have it open in another tab already) and “Like” TubeTape.com to get the savings started. They already announced their Word of the Day today. See what it is here.

TGIF!

GreenMan

February 2, 2012 / GreenMan

What to Charge for Freelance Services

Freelance Wage Calculator

You’re an amazing photographer, highly skilled graphic designer, creative videographer, or experienced editor… so are you getting paid for it? As a freelance artist you need to charge what you’re worth and that includes not just skill, but time, travel expenses, equipment wear and tear, etc. Charging too much means finding work may be difficult. However, if you don’t charge enough, you will be devaluing your place in the industry.

So how do you figure what exactly to charge your clients? I have included a link (found below) that will take you through a simple and quick fill in the blank process that will gage your time, costs, and desired profit, and filter it into a proposed rate that would be appropriate to ask for on a job. So now you have no excuse! Protect and build your business and yourself and start making the money you deserve.

Click here to get started: http://freelanceswitch.com/rates/

For the best tips and tricks, ask your favorite green man.(That’s me!)

GreenMan

 

 

January 26, 2012 / GreenMan

How to Kill Harsh Sunlight

Make the sun work for you!

The sun can be a great natural key light, but can also blow out your footage and ruin your day in post production trying to fix the hot spots on your subjects. And let’s face it, you have enough stress putting together your photo or video projects. Don’t add to it! Instead, take some tips from the pros over at TubeTape.com.

If you’ve got a 5 in 1 Reflector, you’re one step ahead of the competition. If you don’t, have no fear my friends. You can use a bedsheet. No really, you can. (Learn something new everyday, right?)The goal is to diffuse the sunlight just enough to get rid of hot spots on your subject’s face but still keep enough light to make the footage usable.

With a 5 in 1 reflector and a C-stand (or two standard light stands), you can create a nice diffused spot for your actor to stand. Using the diffusion side of the reflector, simply clamp it to the light stands and raise it above your actors head until it is directly between the sun and your subject. You will immediately begin to see the difference in your shot. *Quick tip – be sure to properly frame your actor(s) so that they stay completely in the diffused light. If they’re face is diffused but the rest of the body isn’t, it will be very distracting in your final shot, and there’s no real way to correct it in post.

But what happens when you have multiple subjects or need a wider area? This is where the bedsheet comes into play. You will want a white, relatively thin sheet. The easiest way is to get a hold of two backdrop stands and attach the sheet to both ends, creating a sort of tent or canopy over your subjects. Keep in mind that the sun is constantly moving so you may need to angle the sheet by raising or lowering a backdrop stand on one side. The larger the sheet, the more area you will have to work with. *Quick tip – be wary of wind. Keep the sheet as low to your subjects as you can, without it dropping into frame. Using sand bags on the stands and extra clamps on the sheet may help it not to move around or fly away in the wind.

See this in action! Click here to watch a short video showing all the tips I just mentioned above. TubeTape shows you, in detail, how they get the professional look even in harsh afternoon sunlight.

Go get diffused!

GreenMan

P.S. Don’t miss out on any tutorial videos from TubeTape. Subscribe to their channel now!

 

December 22, 2011 / GreenMan

I May be Green, but I’m No Grinch!

And no Scrooge for that matter… for I am about to tell you how to save 50% on video and photo supplies and accessories from now through Christmas!

That’s right, TubeTape.com is practically giving away some of their top products at incredible prices just in time for Christmas. And why not? It is, after all, the season of giving. And we all know that you have a wad of cash because Aunt Mildred had no idea what to get you for Christmas, so now’s the time to get exactly what you want!

Every day through Dec. 25th,  look here to save 50% off these items. And some quantities are limited, so the best way to get a first peek at what goes on sale each day, is to sign up for the email list here. And for the love of Rudolf, make sure you check us out on Christmas day, because we are saving the best for last. (Plus, you’ll receive a FREE gift with purchase) Woot! Can’t beat that with a candy cane stick!

So prance on over to TubeTape.com and fill up your sleigh (or cart, whichever) with all the goodies you want. Also, check here for more hot deals that will melt the frost this season.

Well, I am nearly out of cheesy holiday puns, so until next time…

Happy Holidays!

GreenMan

P.S. The new year means new products. Keep an eye open for more bloggage from yours truly giving you the low down on TubeTape’s new arrivals.

June 13, 2011 / GreenMan

The Ultimate Camera Dolly

Folks, I promised to bring you news of  amazing new products offered from TubeTape.com, and so I am jumping-out-of-my-seat thrilled to present to you, the last camera dolly you will ever buy:

The CamDolly V2.

This incredible piece of equipment will transform into ANY dolly you could possibly need on set. You can now achieve any dolly shot your mind can create,  without the high studio price tag!  The revolutionary design offers you a traditional ride along track  and doorway dolly, a slider dolly, and even an orbital dolly.

The CamDolly V2 features:

Slider track ends that give you several options for the perfect sliding shot. You will have to find your own pipes to attach, however I would suggest just heading over to Home Depot and picking out any length of aluminum or plastic pipe with a 1 to 1.5 inch diameter. The slider can then be used on the ground, a table top, or even in mid air when safely attached to support stands.

3 different sets of wheels are included with the CamDolly to provide the ultimate dolly motion, no matter what surface you’re working with. Smaller inline skate weels provide smooth motion on a track, or table top. The inflatable pneumatic wheels work great on carpet or other rough surfaces (like outdoor shooting).

The track that is included is awesome! You get two 50ft flexible rubber tracks that are 1.5 inch in diameter. This allows you more possibilities than traditional straight or curved dolly tracks because you can manipulate it to work for you in nearly any location. It can go around tight corners or S-curves, and even go uphill!

An adjustable seat provides a comfortable position when riding the dolly, while still giving you full control over your camera and your shot. The added T-bar assembles quickly and gives complete manipulation over the orbit of the dolly, as well as easy push and pull for the ride-on set up.

When using the orbital function, you can easily dial in the angle by using the included degrees vs. diameter chart. This allows you to maximize the arching function of the CamDolly.

The dolly will support any standard tripod, and will hold a good amount of weight, so if you’ve got a crane attachment, or a jib arm, imagine the possibilities!

The best part is, that the whole dolly breaks down into portable pieces. You can easily fit the entire dolly in two bags. (Nice!) And actually, it’s pretty quick to set up. This dolly is an indie filmmaker’s dream come true.

Each CamDolly V2 is custom built which is awesome, but that also means it takes about 7-10 business days to manufacture, but trust me, it’s worth the wait. So, be sure to watch the video below to see the CamDolly V2 in action. And don’t hesitate to visit TubeTape.com for more information, or call their friendly Customer Service team to place an order. (866) 485-7570

Go get your dolly on!

GreenMan