Thursday, September 26, 2013

Is there a correct lens choice for Portrait or Head Shots ?

There are very few lenses that cannot be used as portrait lenses. Lenses with focal lengths ranging from 14mm through 800mm can be used to capture the world's most valuable (but not always the most cooperative) subject - people. Still, not all lenses are good choices for all portrait situations, and some lenses truly excel for portrait photography.
The first portrait photography concept you need to be aware of is perspective. If you move in too close to your subject, the part of their body closest to the lens is going to appear drastically enlarged relative to the rest of their body - due to the perspective. That body part is usually the nose - and few people want their nose enlarged - and doing so can make them uncooperative. The subject may also be uncomfortable with you in their personal space - an uncomfortable subject will not likely photograph well.
The converse is also true. If you are too far away from your subject, their features become compressed in appearance. I find this look far more attractive than the big nose look and often prefer to use longer focal lengths for my people subjects, but be aware of what is happening in your images. Being too far from your subject makes communication difficult. Physical obstacles (such as a wall) can also inhibit the use of longer focal length lenses.
The portrait lens focal length decision should be based on the perspective you want, the subject framing desired and the working space available. A wide angle lens makes the most sense when used for environmental portraits - where your subject is in the environment they are to be photographed with - such as a workplace. And conversely, a long telephoto lens should be used for a tight head shot - to keep the nose nicely-sized.
Conventional teaching is that the 85-135mm focal length range is ideal for portrait photography (field of view crop factor included). I generally agree with this teaching, though I will often use wider focal lengths - such as 50mm for full body portraits or 24mm for large group pictures. And I prefer a longer focal length for tightly-framed portraits - such as head shots my 18-200mm is

A blurred background will make your portrait subjects pop. Longer focal length lenses will make blurring away a distracting background easier, as will wide apertures. The wide apertures will of course reduce depth of field. The right balance of depth of field and background blur must be achieved - the mouth & both eyes in focus is often my minimum standard.
Are you shooting in a studio with a special background (such as rolled paper) and using studio strobes? You will probably be using narrow apertures such as f/8 or f/11. In this scenario, your lens choices increase dramatically. Most decent lenses in the focal length you need will perform reasonably well for you.
The sample portrait included at the top of this page was captured with an 50mm prime lens and an f/1.2 aperture using a crop Canon 60D body. The background is almost completely melted away while a pleasing perspective has been captured.

Monday, September 23, 2013

My Videos booked, what to wear ? Read these tips below and make your production, an award winning production

So you are getting ready to shoot your big interview or scene, and your on-camera talent looks you straight in the eye and asks, "What do you want me to wear?" This is not a silly question. What your talent wears while on camera is very important, and there are some cardinal rules you should follow when establishing the wardrobe of the day. In this column, we will take a look at the do's and don'ts of clothing, jewelry, hair and makeup for the camera.

Why Worry About It?

While today's video technology is a lot more forgiving than the video of the past, you still need to be careful when making a wardrobe selection for your on-camera talent. There are four major areas of concern when dealing with clothing and other accessories: pattern, contrast, color and shape.
The clothing's pattern can be a big problem. Close, high-contrast pin stripes, corduroy and herringbone all create a wavy rainbow-colored pattern called a moiré effect on television. The reason? As you probably know, standard American television has 525 horizontal scan lines. Horizontal scan lines have trouble displaying vertical lines in your video, and thus you get a moiré effect right in the middle of your talent's shirt, jacket or tie.
High-contrast clothing is another major problem. Video cameras cannot handle high contrasts between bright and dark objects, and this includes skin tone and clothing. Dark-skinned people should avoid wearing white or very light colors. If they do, their shirts will glow when you set the camera to expose the face properly. Extremely light-skinned talent should avoid black or very dark clothing. A black shirt will become a formless hole in the video, because it will have to be very dark if you set the camera so that the skin tone is properly exposed.
While video does not handle high contrast very well, it has even more trouble handling some colors. Reds and oranges have a tendency to glow on camera. Yes, there are some television talent who insist on wearing red or orange on camera, but unless it is a deep, dark red, it probably glows in the television lights. Cameras have a hard time recreating the red and especially red/orange colors, and thus you should avoid them if possible. Additionally, many consumer camcorders tend to over-saturate the red channel to warm up skin tones, which can magnify the existing problem.
One of the major considerations when choosing an on-camera outfit is its shape and fit. Video does tend to make people look at least ten pounds heavier. Think about it. When you look at people, you see not only them but also the world around them, and that has a tendency to make them look smaller than they actually are. In the video monitor, you see only the talent. There is nothing else to make them look smaller, so they tend to look bigger. For this reason, it is very important that you make sure your talent is wearing something that will emphasize shape, emphasize a waist and give a taller look, not wider. Shapeless clothing will make the talent look bigger and lumpier on camera.

Clothing Do's and Don'ts

Always keep in mind that, if you are shooting a movie scene, the character will dictate the type of clothing the talent will wear. However, you still need to be careful how you dress your characters.
Now, walk to your costume closet and remove anything with close, high-contrast pin stripes, like white shirts with closely-placed black or navy stripes. Toss out any herringbone or corduroy and a lot of busy plaids. You can keep the white shirts, but only if they are going to be worn under a darker jacket. Anything orange or reddish-orange should be tossed in the burn pile. Blues, greens, grays and earth tones all work great for video.
For men, a shirt with some type of collar looks better than a t-shirt, unless of course the character would always wear t-shirts. Jackets also look very good, especially with good tailoring to emphasize the talent's waist. The jacket can be a solid color or have a faint low-contrast pin stripe or pattern. A light blue, pink, cream or burgundy shirt will usually look a lot better under the jacket than a pure white shirt. If your talent is very fair-skinned, a light-colored jacket, such as a soft gray, would look best.
You will probably want to avoid vests because they are too constricting and look very formal. A tie is a great accessory, and here you can get away with red, although you should still avoid the reds that lean towards the orange side of the spectrum.
Always make sure that socks and shoes are appropriate for the character. Too often, we forget the small things that set our characters apart from the rest.
For women, avoid the same color and pattern problems as the men, but add to the list bright, huge, flowery patterns and your favorite red power suit (unless it is a very deep red). Avoid drab earth tones, because they have a tendency to blend into the background. You can spice up any outfit by adding a scarf. However, you still want to avoid reds, oranges and stripes.
Women will also want to avoid bow-tie blouses, unless they are trying to look like they are in uniform. Wear clothing that emphasizes the woman's figure, to reduce the effect of the lens. If you want your talent to wear a short skirt, make sure she is comfortable in it and knows how to sit without constantly tugging to keep it down. Make sure her stockings, socks and shoes are appropriate to the character.
If you are shooting a professional interview, your talent should look the part. Match the outfit your talent is wearing with the subject matter. You wouldn't want your talent to wear a suit and tie for interviews at a rodeo and you certainly wouldn't want a t-shirt for an interview with the governor. If you are shooting a studio interview, your talent should be dressed in typical broadcast attire: shirts, ties and jackets for men; skirts, dresses or pantsuits for women. The talent's shoes should be polished, socks should be long enough to cover the leg when crossed and colors should be muted to draw less attention. To make the jacket look better and keep it from riding up on the back, have your talent sit on the jacket's tails.
Video needs light to make a good picture. Light reflects off shiny objects. Jewelry contains shiny objects. Therefore, you should be very careful about the type and amount of jewelry your talent wears during a shoot. Unless the character requires it, your talent should avoid wearing anything large and sparkling. This includes large rings, bracelets, dangling earrings, necklaces and pins. Simple and tasteful are two key words in video. Pearls and small neck chains with cameos or colored stones look best. Watches should be as non-reflective as possible. If possible, spray them with hairspray to cut the shine a bit.


While the character will most likely dictate the talent's hair, always remember you are working with bright lights and always have to worry about flyaway hair and the weird (occasionally downright surreal) shadows cast by big hair. Both men and women should have nicely-styled hair, with shorter styles being more appropriate for professional interviews. Braid longer hair or tie it up in a ponytail to prevent the hair from flying in the talent's face. You want to avoid wispy flyaway hair that will catch the backlight. As with jewelry, simple and tasteful are the key.


Men can use a light base coat a shade darker than normal skin color, to even out skin tone and reduce the shine on cheeks, forehead and nose. A good shave before going on air will prevent or reduce the look of the five o'clock shadow. Any facial hair should be neatly trimmed - again, the character dictates this.Gone are the days when both men and women had to wear heavy makeup to look alive on television. Today's cameras are very sensitive and generally recreate color very well. Makeup is primarily a means by which the talent can even out skin tone and add a bit more color to the face.
For women, normal street makeup is fine. Women do want to avoid dark reds and maroon-colored eye shadows, lip gloss and rouge, because the camera has a tendency to accentuate the blues in these colors, which will in turn become darker and be overly emphasized. Always make sure your talent wears makeup that is not only appropriate for the character, but also for their particular skin tone and natural coloring.

Final Dress

Always keep your talent's character in mind when making clothing and accessory decisions. Use the guidelines above to make your talent look great and your video production look very professional. Have fun searching the closet!

Dance Media Aurora Newmarket

3 Quick reasons why VIDEO is important to your business

Video marketing has taken over marketing in a big away since 2011 and this is really just the start of the video revolution. Youtube and other video sharing sites are immensely popular. Facebook and Google both allow for video chat and Facebook encourages anyone to share video, either by posting a link or by updating their own.
Video marketing is going to get bigger and more important to you, your credibility, your business and your brand, no matter what your position is or what you are promoting. If you need to reach an audience, especially in large number and via online methods, then video marketing is the right marketing campaign to adopt.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

10 Things to consider if your Business needs Video Marketing

1. Experience. The experience of the key professionals involved (director, cinematographer and editor) are without a doubt the most important factor to consider when producing a video. You can gauge the experience of the professionals involved by checking out their reel or portfolio. If they don’t have samples of their work online, you should think twice about hiring them to create a web video for you.
2. Creative. Every video should be produced with the goal of achieving business objectives. Whether you are providing your own creative or hiring an experienced marketer to help you, a blueprint must be created. Creation of a concept, script and storyboard are essential and even if your production is an unscripted, documentary-style video, there should still be a plan.
3. Talent. One thing that will be determined during the creative process is if your video will feature real employees from your business (who are typically free), or hire professional on-screen talent. Specialized on-screen talent can make a huge impact on your final video, but are one of the most costly line items in a video production.
4. Planning. Once there is a concept in place for your video, a plan of how it will be executed needs to be created. Making budgets, schedules and booking the key personnel, equipment and locations are all part of the planning process. A simple business profile video might only need a few hours of planning, where larger productions can take days to plan.     
5. Location. Will your video be shot on location at your business, in a studio, or at third-party locations? Shooting on location at your business is free, while renting a studio can cost several hundred to several thousands of dollars per day, depending on the studio. Additional locations, even if sourced for free, will add time to the production – and time is money.
6. Crew. Although many corporate videos can be shot with a small group of key personnel, bigger productions will require a larger crew. Production assistants, sound engineers, lighting techs, hair and makeup artists … the list goes on. These people will go a long way to making larger-scope videos possible, and they will also add to the final tally on your bill. 
7. Camera. The camera used in your production can make a huge difference in the quality of your final video and will often be an extra cost on top of your shooter/director. This can range from a few hundred dollars per day to over a thousand. If your video is being purposed for the web, a DSLR Camera with a good lens kit (and a capable shooter) should do the trick.
8. Additional equipment. Small productions can usually be executed with a camera, microphone, a few lights and a tripod, but as you increase the scope of your production, you may need to bring in additional equipment. This might include camera rigs like a dolly, jib or crane, special sound equipment or additional lights. These items will likely need to be rented and will certainly add to the cost of the production.
9. Post-production. This is where raw footage is magically transformed into a polished video ready for your audience. First, we need to consider how long it will take to actually edit your video, then, consider all those little extras. Things like titles, motion graphics, sound mixing and color correction can go a long way to add to the look and feel of your video and also to its cost. There might also be charges for things like rendering, encoding and outputting.
To understand exactly what’s included with your video, ask for a clear breakdown of post-production services in your estimate.  You should also ask about their revision policy and determine exactly how the video will be delivered to you.
10. Bells and whistles. Will you need professional voice overs, wardrobe or set pieces? What about special permits, green screen or stock footage? Maybe you need animation or an original music score produced?  The point is, there are dozens of line items that can be added to a video production. The bigger you go, the bigger the bill.
10+1. Optimization and distribution. Although it isn’t part of the production process, how a video is optimized for search and distributed online plays a huge role in its overall success.
At the end of the day, when answering the question of “how much does a video cost?" The answer is: It depends. The scope of the production and all the elements involved will determine how high the price climbs. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Halloween Photo Contest Rules


Agreement: These rules govern the “HALLOWEEN” Photo Contest (“Contest”). No purchase is necessary to enter the Contest. The act of entering the Contest constitutes acceptance of the Contest rules and the decisions of the Sponsor and the Contest judges, which decisions shall be final and binding upon all entrants.

Sponsor: The Contest sponsor is Dance Media & Snap Newmarket. (“Sponsor”).

Eligibility: This Contest is open to residents of the town of Newmarket. You may submit as many entries as you like. Incomplete or illegible entries, bulk drop offs, photocopies, scanned copies, facsimiles or other mechanically or electronically reproduced entries will not be accepted and will be disqualified.

Contest Entry: To enter the Contest, go to the Facebook link located on DanceMedia Facebook page click on the “HALLOWEEN PHOTO CONTEST” tab, read these Contest rules, and follow the on-screen instructions to fully complete and submit the Contest entry form and upload your Halloween photos during the Contest Period. A valid e-mail address will be required. The Contest Period begins at 9:00 AM ET on September 7, 2013 and ends at 5:00 PM ET on November1, 2013. Each entrant under the age of thirteen (13) must have the consent of his/her parent or legal guardian to submit his/her personal information and enter the Contest. The parent or legal guardian must complete all the required fields of the relevant portion of the entry form, including his/her name and address. If a parent or legal guardian does not provide consent, the entry will be disqualified. One (1) prize will be awarded to the photo that has obtained the most votes. You may enter as many times as you like. By entering this Contest, you acknowledge and agree that all entries become the property of the Contest Sponsor and will not be returned or acknowledged. To be eligible, an entry must be the entrant’s original photograph, may not have been entered in any other contest, won any other prize or have been previously published in any other medium. In connection with your submission, you affirm, represent and/or warrant that: (i) you own or have the necessary licenses, rights, consents and permissions to use and authorize Sponsor to use all copyright, trademark or other proprietary rights in and to your submission to enable inclusion and use of the submission in the manner contemplated by these Contest rules; and (ii) if applicable, you have the written consent, release and/or permission of each and every identifiable individual person in the submission to use the name or likeness of each and every such identifiable individual person to enable inclusion and use of the submission in the matter contemplated by these Contest rules. Sponsor reserves the right to reject and disqualify any submissions that could be offensive or inappropriate or that do not meet the terms and conditions of these rules.

Voting: Upon submission, entries will be posted on the Dance Media Facebook page to be voted on by the public. There is a limit of one vote per person, per photograph – no one can vote more than once for any particular photo. Voting will close at 5:00 PM ET on November 1, 2013. The photo with the highest number of votes will be selected for the prize. In the event of a tie, the photo with the highest resolution will be selected. Each potential winner (or his/her parent or legal guardian if a minor) will be contacted by telephone or email by a representative of the Sponsor by November 6, 2013, and must reply within 48 hours to maintain eligibility. If a potential winner (or his/her parent or legal guardian if a minor) cannot be contacted within this time period or fails to respond to any attempted contact, such potential winner will be disqualified, his/her entry will be declared null and void and the Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to select the eligible entry with the next-highest number of votes in the relevant category, in which event these provisions shall apply to such other eligible entry.

If the winner does not claim the prize within five (5) days of notification, the eligible entry with the next-highest number of votes in the relevant category will be contacted and the first selected entrant will have no further claim to the prize. Sponsor will not mail or courier the prize and is not responsible for unclaimed prizes.

Release, Copyright Assignment and Waiver of Moral Rights: Each entrant irrevocably assigns and transfers to the Sponsor any and all rights, title, and interest in each photograph submitted including, without limitation, all copyright. Sponsor shall have the right in perpetuity to reproduce, copy, display, distribute, edit or modify any entrant's photo for use in connection with this Contest or other marketing and advertising purposes, and each entrant waives any and all moral rights he/she may have in any photo submitted. Each entrant agrees to complete and sign all documents necessary to confirm the rights granted under these official rules. By entering this Contest, each entrant consents to the posting of his or her entry, including any photo or related caption or comment, and the use of his or her name, likeness, image, photograph, and comments online, in connection with the Contest, without any further notice, review, approval, consent or compensation. In addition, each entrant acknowledges and agrees that posting a photograph online brings that photograph within public view, and the Sponsor will not be held liable for any copying, reproducing, re-posting, or unlawful use of the posted photograph, or any other injury, damage or loss to entrant or any other person that may result. As a condition of being declared a winner and prior to being awarded the prize, each selected entrant will be required to show valid photo ID and to sign a declaration of eligibility and release form (i) releasing the Sponsor and its related parties, as well as Facebook Inc., from any and all liability in connection with the Contest and/or the prize; (ii) confirming compliance with these Contest rules; (iii) consenting to the use of his or her name and photograph, in any and all forms of media, without further compensation, in any publicity carried out by the Sponsor and/or its advertising and promotional agencies; and (iv) assigning all intellectual property rights, including copyright, in the photograph to the Sponsor and waiving his/her moral rights in the photograph. If a potential winner is under the age of majority, his/her parent or legal guardian must also sign and return the declaration of eligibility and release form.

Banning: The Sponsor may, in its sole discretion, prohibit any person from entering the Contest whom it believes to be abusing the rules. Such abuse includes entering false information and voting more times than is permitted under these Contest rules.

Other: Odds of winning depend on the number and caliber of eligible entries received. This Contest is governed by the laws of Ontario and the laws of Canada applicable therein and is void where prohibited by law. The Sponsor reserves the right to cancel or modify the Contest or the Contest rules at any time without notice. All prizes must be accepted as awarded, are non-transferable and are not convertible to cash. The Sponsor reserves the right to substitute any prize or portion of the prize with a prize of equal or greater value. All prizes are awarded as-is and no warranties or guarantees are implied or expressed. Sponsor is not liable for any lost, late, misdirected or stolen entries or inability to process entries, or any errors, damage or negligence that may arise in connection with this Contest, including technical failures on any website or software, viruses, website disruptions, malfunctions or website down-time, human error or property damage incurred by any Contest entrant. Sponsor is not responsible for any errors or omissions in printing or advertising this Contest. Use of any automated system including robotic or form-filling software to enter or participate in this Contest is prohibited and will result in disqualification of all entries by anyone using such assistance. If a dispute arises regarding who submitted an online entry, the entry will be deemed to be submitted by the authorized account holder of the email address provided at time of entry. Authorized account holder is the natural person who is assigned to an email address by an Internet access provider, online service provider, or other organization responsible for assigning email addresses for the domain associated with the submitted email address.

Facebook Disclaimer and Release: This Contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Inc. You understand that you are providing your information to Sponsor and not to Facebook, Inc. Any questions, comments or complaints must be directed to the Sponsor, and not to Facebook, Inc. By participating in the Contest, each entrant releases and agrees to indemnify Facebook, Inc. and hold it harmless from and against any and all costs, claims, damages, (including, without limitation, any special, incidental or consequential damages), or any other injury, whether due to negligence or otherwise, to person(s) or property (including, without limitation, death or violation of any personal rights, such as violation of right of publicity/privacy, libel, or slander), due in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, to participation in the Contest, or arising out of participation in any Contest-related or prize-related activity, or the receipt, enjoyment, participation in, use or misuse, of any Contest or prize-related activity, whether hosted by Sponsor or a third party.