Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Hybrid Photographer

Japan is one of the most picturesque countries on earth.
Text & Photography By Mark Edward Harris Published in Shooting
The Hybrid Photographer
Jaybilizer HDSLR

Hauling all of this gear shouldn't be an afterthought. When I hit the road as a self-contained mini-production company, I pack the equipment in the Lowepro DSLR Video Fastpack 350 AW, a bag specifically made for the multimedia photographer. I put my camera in the side-entry lower compartment, along with a couple of lenses and a small LED light, with my sound equipment and iDC rig going into the upper compartment. My 15-inch MacBook Pro goes into a separate and padded laptop compartment. A foldout holder and strap secures my tripod to the side of the bag.


Final Cut Pro X is the newest software from Apple, with Premiere Pro (professional) and Premiere Elements (consumer) being Adobe's editing software offerings. Whichever software you use, a good rule of thumb is to stick to one or two types of transitions between scenes per project, and only use those that add to the story you're trying to tell. Otherwise, the end result can look gimmicky.

When it comes to mixing sound, the key is to edit with your eyes on levels, not your ears on your computer's speakers. A good starting point is to have dialogue between -6 and -12 dB, and background "wild sound" and music between -15 and -18 dB. If the audio was captured using an external recorder, PluralEyes is a popular utility for sound synchronization and is compatible with most editing software.

Once a project is edited, it needs to be output, the final stage in the HD video workflow. When choosing compression options to output a finished product, the most important question is "Where is it going?" Answers range from web streaming, YouTube, iPad and mobile phone to DVD, broadcast TV and digital cinema. Since noise is a consequence of compression, it's important not to compress more than what's needed.


Now, with all the tools at the ready to capture great-looking and great-sounding HDSLR projects, it's up to us, the hybrid photographers, to create great content.

Mark Edward Harris is the author of several books, including The Way of the Japanese Bath. See more of his work at www.markedwardharris.com.

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