Friday, December 25, 2015

Cinematic Photography (night)

Cinematic Photography is an expression that I came across lately. Another name for the same genre seems to be "Hollywood Look".

There is a difference in tone rendering between photography and cinematography, no doubt. However, a certain flavour of street photography, in particular during night time, adopted the Hollywood cinematography look.
To my surprise, it is very effective, and very simple to do.

Before learning about the "Hollywood Look", I just enjoyed watching Hollywood movies once in a a while. Now that I am aware what the effective colour composition used for the Hollywood look is, I am surprised to find it all over the place, e.g. in commercials.

Now, what is so particular about that "look"?

The basic concept seems to be to create a background in complementary colours of the foreground. The foreground will therefore be dominant over the background.

Movies usually tell stories about humans. Those typically have an orange skin tone. So, in order to put an emphasis on the "subject", i.e. the actor, one would tone the actor in the scene in an orange like hue. To make the actor pop, the background would now be toned in the complementary colour, i.e. turquoise.

With that knowledge, watch a Hollywood movie! You will notice, there is a strong preference to orange tones, accompanied by blueish and/or greenish backgrounds.

The Hollywood Look follows a really basic compositional principle that warm colours attract, while cold colours repel (fore- and background).

Let's have a look on a simple photography

Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto

The very same photography, with a Hollywood look applied

Cinematic look

So, what did I do to achieve this look?
First of all, this applies to nighttime images. Nothing I will tell you here will look good in daytime pics!

To achieve the look, I used 3 steps, which only concerned colour temperature.
  1. Graduated filter from the top, decreased colour temperature (getting some blue)
  2. Graduated filter from the bottom, adjusted tint to green
  3. Broad radial filter, warm up colour temperature
The above filters can be stored as presets.
I advice to store the radial filter within the above mentioned presets. 
Now, having applied a preset, the radial (orange) filter can be used as a spotlight, to determine the area to be highlighted.

Concluding, it seems that a rather blue upper portion, a greenish lower portion and a foreground mid-portion having orange tint, define the look of movies.
Very often, the blue is ignored and replaced by turquoise produced by the original process.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Charging by USB

This might be a bit of a controversy, shall or shall not digital camera manufacturers add an external charger or not. To make a long discussion short, of course they should!

Similarly controversially discussed, shall camera manufacturers add internal USB chargers in their camera. At least for me, that is a very clear yes again.

While staying in one part of the world, having dedicated chargers might be a good idea, such that while using one, a second battery can be charged. Of course, I do that!

However, the story changes when we think of travelling, in particular when travelling light.
For many years, I travel with cabin luggage only. That means restrictions concerning the equipment that travels with me.
When it comes down to travelling to a country with different wall sockets, adapters for mains supplies are slowly coming into the picture. While those things are not heavy, they add some volume to the baggage and so do chargers and power cords.
So, imagine that, you travel, with a notebook computer and a camera, a light as possible. Clearly, the computer requires a power supply, no doubt about that.

Presently, there is only one mirrorless system and one compact camera in my possession allowing for internal charging of the batteries by USB connection.

  1. Samsung's NX system (NXmini, NX300, NX1)
  2. Ricoh GR
From earlier posts, you might know that the Samsung NXmini and the Ricoh GR are my main cameras for street-photography. Good news that both can charge their batteries from USB power.

During my last 2 stays in North America, I used the NXmini (with 3 lenses) exclusively. It was always charge by the USB port os an ASUS netbook. Eventually, I just connected the camera to transfer the images, when that was done, I just switched the camera off, but left it connected, so it would charge the battery.
This method worked for me 100%.

For my next stay in Canada, I will further reduce volume by using the Ricoh GR.

With the Samsung NX system, I got a mini camera, a carry about camera and a prosumer camera, which all can be charged by USB connection.
The Ricoh GR, my favourite street-shooter got it too.
=> Lucky me!
However, I wished that more manufacturers would follow the example and add internal charging of the batteries.