When You Have…

When You Have…

No flaming idea what you are doing…

There is an opportunity for either horrid disaster or brilliant success. I may have lucked myself into the second camp.

I spent Sunday doing a studio shoot with a client’s mobile phone…on the client’s rickety eBay tripod and with the client’s bargain basement ring lights. It was a case of jury rigging everything to see if the client could achieve good video clips and stills at home for Instagram exposure. I was the expert technical adviser who was frightened to touch anything in case it exploded. I write this for two purposes:

a. You may be in this situation yourself one day. Your friends know you as the expert photographer of the group, and eventually it will come back to bite you. Whether you’ll find yourself doing an underwater bar mitzvah or keyhole surgery with an Instamatic camera, eventually your reputation will get you into trouble.

b. You cannot falter. One pause and you’re toast. Just go ahead and shoot the demons as they appear. If you have any experience with video games you’ll know what I mean.

The premise was the supply of video clips – called ” reels ” – for posting through an overseas agency. The client takes the images here and emails them off, appearing later to the delight of some 6500+ viewers. If you want to scoff, look at the attendance figures for your last entry into a local print exhibition…In any case she has a pathway from her phone to the publicist to the customers and it works. The bottleneck was the initial lighting. You cannot make a lady’s curves look good with only a front ring light. It makes her look like a wheat bag propped up in a shed.

If you have two or three ring lights, however, you can get them to simulate studio lighting and the casual technical sophistication of the iPhone will do the rest. The ring lights did have three settings for colour temperature so when we occasionally added a studio light to fill a gap, we could match the look. I did do the right thing: I patched up the failing lights with packing tape and I told the lady to get herself a new lighting set – and mentioned Camera Electronic. We do have video light panels and soft boxes and pro lighting that is adjustably brilliant.

But the whole venture worked. I am awed by what a mobile phone can do when you are not prejudiced against it and when the final destination of the image is another small screen. It has spurred me to get out my Fujifilm X-T2, google up advice, and set out on a video journey of my own. Already I am plaguing the family to do interviews to test out lighting and sound and eventually I hope to have a channel that will appall other hobbyists.

Have you thought of doing the same? If we all do a YouTube channel they can’t put us all in jail.

PS: It wasn’t me that shot down Facebook yesterday.

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