I'm an advertising photographer based in Los Angeles, California. My mission is to create striking advertising photography, corporate photography and editorial photography of people for major advertising agencies, fortune 500 corporations and major magazines. I shoot photography and video assignments throughout California including Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego as well as the rest of the world. As a photo educator I am happy to share my unique vision and methods.

Advertising Photography and Video Together

Posted: October 14th, 2009 | Author: Lee White | Filed under: Canon 7d, Lighting, photo lighting, video | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Now that the Canon 7d is out, can new video from Nikon and Panasonic be far behind?   Some more interesting new products are out to help photographers move into doing short form video.  One of the problems that photographers got away from long ago was the need to use constant lights with the advent of strobes.  The constant lights were hot both to handle and on the subject, it took a lot of wattage to get a decent exposure, and were 3200 K so had to be gelled to balance with daylight which brought down the power even more.  Well, as wonderful as strobes are and I’m a big advocate of using them whenever possible except for a very few highly specialized stop motion systems, they are useless for video.

If you want to shoot video, now there are a number of choices beyond the old tungsten lights.  One type that is finding favor with cinematographers is the new LED light.  As a light source, they are powerful (for their size), small, sturdy, draw little power and a are daylight-balanced source that run very cool.  As of now, to light large areas you still might need a number of 1 x1 panels that can cost quite a bit but that will surely change in the near future.  For now you can start by trying one of the smaller battery powered on camera LED lights like the Litepanels Mirco or MicroPro.   Powerful enough to light small scenes or use as a fill in some cases, it can be dimmed with little color change.  I have found them useful off camera for interviews or as a kicker and on camera for an eye-light and run and gun situations.  I wish I had had some when filming in the catacombs of Paris a few years ago.  The quarters were cramped with no place for stands and these LED lights could have been hand held right where I needed them. Image by © Lee White

Litepanels Micro LED

Litepanels Micro LED

Zeiss continues to grow their line of Canon mount manual focus lenses that are especially suited for the DSLRs with video capabilities.  The latest is the ZEISS Distagon T* 2/28 ZE which is a moderate wide-angle lens designed for full-frame (D)SLR cameras, delivering a 74-degree field of view. Like the other Zeiss ZE lenses, it incorporates a CPU and data contacts for communication with the camera body and long focus pull.  This lens is meant to be used on the Canon cameras such as the 5d Mark II and the new 7d.  As I have mentioned before, Zeiss already has a line of Nikon lenses for video capable DSLRs.

Zeiss Distagon F2 28mm lens for Canon

Zeiss Distagon F2 28mm lens for Canon

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Canon 7d video hybrid camera first production model in US

Posted: October 7th, 2009 | Author: Lee White | Filed under: Canon 7d, video | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Canon 7d the new DSLR with expanded video capabilities; I just received one of the first production Canon 7d cameras in the US. It probably comes as no surprise to most of my clients and professional friends, since I have been shooting tandem stills and video in my projects for a decade now, that I would be one of the first to get this camera. In fact if you look back a few blog entries, you will find I announce the 7d just a few hours after Canon officially announced it in Sweden in the middle of our night. Why Sweden? I have no idea. I like Sweden; I have shot in Sweden and found it a beautiful and welcoming country.

Since many of my projects include video as well as stills, a DSLR with good video capabilities was something I am very interested in. Yes, I shot with the Canon 5d MarkII and found it somewhat lacking in a few critical areas. Mainly it was restricted to the one HD format of 1080p (progressive) at a true 30FPS, which is a non-standard frame rate for anything. Plus the sound is not only automatic gain controlled but also recorded in 44,100 kHz, which is CD quality instead of 48,000 kHz, which is digital video quality.

The canon 7d has taken care of the format issues by giving us five HD formats – Full HD in1080p at 23.976, 1080p at 25 and 1080p at 29.97, HD in 720p at 59.94 and 50, all of which are standards for NTSC and PAL, see one of the images below. The audio is still automatic gain control but has been bumped up to a DV standard of 48,000 kHz in linear PCM. At this point, I should probably bring up the chip size which is the smaller 22.3 x 14.9 AFS-C which some might think is not the direction to be going in but I find it a positive move. This is near the same size as 35mm movie film and so the look is very similar. One of the problems I found shooting with the Mark II was the depth of field at times was so shallow that even trained actors would shift slightly and end up out of focus on close-ups. Remember the auto focus is virtually non-existent shooting video with these cameras; you need to manually pull focus if you are tracking focus.

The controls on the camera body have changed as well. The on and off switch has moved to just below the mode dial and there is just a lock switch where the on, off and lock used to be. I guess this prevents one from turning the camera off when trying to unlock the settings. There is now a dedicated liveview shooting button that also turns on and off the video recording. The print button has the added feature of being a one touch Raw-Jpeg button. Another completely new button is the Quick Menu button that gives you quick menu in the LCD to change shooting functions.

canon_7d_back

Canon 7d back showing video formats

Enough tech stuff; what about shooting with the 7d and the images? I was looking forward to trying one of the new Zeiss prime lenses out with the first outing with the 7d but no joy there. I ended up using my trusted Canon EF 24-105 mm f/4 lens but remember the smaller sensor creates a 1.6 magnification. A side note: you can do a decent job of zooming and short follow focus with this lens if you give yourself a bit room to start as the lens seems to jerk a little at the beginning. I wanted to test the contrast range with the 7d considering the 5d has been noted for crushing the blacks so I picked a friend’s gloss black and chrome classic Harley-Davidson (see the video test below) for a dramatic subject. The 7d does show a real time histogram with livepicture in the still mode, but there is no realtime histogram in the video mode. After shooting a bit of footage, I took a look at its histogram and there still appears to be some crushing of the blacks although the highlights seem to have very full gradations and there is good rendition through to the lower values. This is a very unsophiscated real world test but I’m not sure how valuable shooting color charts are either.

Classic Harley_Davidson on Canon 7d

Classic Harley_Davidson on Canon 7d

The weekend brought almost 30MPH winds to the California coast preventing my doing the girl at the beach test I did with the 5d. However, it did bring some angry seas with interesting waves, so I tried the different formats to get an idea of the motion representations. I also braved the wind out on the break water to get some clips of the seagulls floating on the winds to get another motion test of the three NTSC HD formats (see sample clips below of coastline, wave and seagulls.)

The clips were converted for the web and so don’t fully represent the original footage which would be impossible to stream. Videos by www.leewhitephoto.com

New Canon 7d camera used by Los Angeles photographer Lee White to shoot video along California coast.

New Canon 7d camera used by Los Angeles photographer Lee White to shoot video along California coast.

1080p @ 30FPS

1080p @ 30FPS

1080p @ 24 FPS

1080p @ 24 FPS

720p @ 60FPS

720p @ 60FPS

wave1080p30-poster

1080p @ 30 FPS

1080p @ 30 FPS

1080p @ 30 FPS

1080p @ 24 FPS

1080p @ 24 FPS

720p @ 60 FPS

720p @ 60 FPS

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7d, Canon’s Latest Entry in the DSLR Video Race

Posted: September 1st, 2009 | Author: Lee White | Filed under: Canon, Education, Workflow, video | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

Canon 7D DSLR camera with HD video of interest to advertising photographers.  I’m looking forward to testing the 7d to see how it might work for the videos I do for my clients.   Sept. 1, 2009 2:30 A.M. PST breaking news for those thinking about adding video to their photography and just using one camera for both.  Just announced in Sweden a few hours ago was Canon’s 7D with expanded video capablities. In light of the Collision Conference that just happened in Los Angeles this last weekend and the stir created by the video REVERIE created on the 5D Mark II, a new addition to Canon’s DSLR line with video is welcome.  The 7D is a less expensive camera than the 5D Mark II using a smaller CMOS chip of 22.3mm x 14.9mm rather than the full frame chip of 36mm x 24mm which give the 7D a magnification factor of 1.6x.  It is set to be a 18 megapixel still camera using dual Digic 4 image proscessors that also shoots the two HD formats of 1920 x 1080p and 1280 x 720p.  The ISO range is 100 to 6400 like the 5D but tops out at 12,800 expanded unlike the 5D’s expanded reaching 25,600. It has continous raw shooting speed is fast at  8 FPS for 15 frames compared to the 5D at just under 4 FPS.  The autofocus has 19 points instead of 9 points for the 5D.

For video, the long hoped for 24FPS (23.976) is here along with 25FPS and 30FPS (29.97) in 1080p with 720p being restricted to 50 or 60FPS.   The smaller chip means a depth of field much like that of the 35mm motion picture cameras as they both have about the same size image area.  The Canon 7D has an interesting choice of 60FPS for the 720p which helps with fast action, crisper freeze frames and smoother slow motion.  It will be interesting to follow the testing of this camera to see how it might best fit into a photographer’s workflow.  Canon reportly plans on shipping late September.  For more details on this camera visit Canon’s website.

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Professional Photography and Video Merge into Hybrid

Posted: August 31st, 2009 | Author: Lee White | Filed under: Canon, Education, video | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

As a professional advertising photographer in Los Angeles, video production was a craft that has been around me daily. I photographed the print side of commercials and shot specials on set working closely with the crew. Then almost a decade ago, I saw the desirability of shooting video to extend my creative range and supply clients with more creative services along with my photography. I first shot in standard definition and now shoot in high definition with incredible tools such as the very cinematic Canon 5d Mark II. As the internet was starting to become fast enough to play clips and cable had a growing need for material, my clients have increasingly asked for video shot with my “photographer’s eye”.

I have taken my skills in lighting, composition and mise-en-scene and applied them to the continuous narrative that is video. I first sought out video editors to learn what was needed to join clips together to tell a flowing story. If you know where you want to end up, it is much easier to get there. As I learned editing, it allowed me to understand what needs to be shot and how it needs to edit together. From there it has been practice, shooting for clients and watching the trends in films, commercials and on the web. It has come to a point where I teach a college course for professional photographers who want to learn video.

I’m using a Canon 5d Mark II on a rig by Redrock Mirco. Photo by the well known retoucher Dennis Dunbar.

Lee White using Canon 5d in video mode with Redrock Micro gear.

Lee White using Canon 5d in video mode with Redrock Micro gear.

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NAB inspires with new ideas, techniques and equipment.

Posted: May 2nd, 2009 | Author: Lee White | Filed under: Canon, Education, Workflow, photo lighting | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Los Angeles photographers have the NAB convention to help keep them up-to-date. Commercial photographers like me often do advertising photography with the flavor of photojournalism to make location photography seem more real including my video work. The new video equipment I saw at NAB will help with that. When I do editorial photography, I often get to do video interviews and some of the new equipment will help with that was well.

Los Angeles photographer dramatic night portraiture

Los Angeles photographer dramatic night portraiture with Canon 5D

I had some very productive chats with the following representatives and want to thank them for all their information. In chronological order Peter of Lectronics, Fred at Audio Technica, Red of Photoflex, Joey of Mathhews Studio Equipment, Greg at JVC, Douglas at Shure, Ulrich Goetze of California Sunbounce, Mike of Marshall Electronics, Bernie of Panasonic, and Jennifer of dedoweightfilm.de.

California photographers are lucky to have so many resources locally. I have been shooting video for over seven years and there is more demand for it than ever.

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Video class for photographers starting very soon.

Posted: April 4th, 2009 | Author: Lee White | Filed under: Canon, Education, Lighting, Workflow, video | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Ready to expand from still photography to HD video? Before you take the plunge, sign up for a highly informative class at Santa Monica College designed to take the photographer through all the steps of preproduction, production and postproduction while building on the skills he already has given by Los Angeles advertising photographer Lee White. By the end of the class, an experienced photographer should be able to start producing short form videos.

The class will cover DSLRs with HD video capabilities as well as traditional video cameras , workflow, treatments, estimating, planning, digital formats, camera techniques, lighting equipment and techniques, sound equipment and techniques, narrative techniques, editing with Final Cut Pro and output. At the first class, equipment from Canon, Panasonic, Redrockmicro, Marshall monitors, and Bogen are scheduled for discussion and viewing.

Photographers are particularly well place to learn the video skills that will add value to their services and a new creative outlet.

You need to act fast as there is limited enrollment contact lee@leewhitephoto.com

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Advertising photography- dramatic lighting of a Ryan PT22 classic airplane

Posted: April 2nd, 2009 | Author: Lee White | Filed under: Canon, Green, photo lighting | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Classic Ryan PT22

Classic Ryan PT22


This is a location photo out of a quick edit of a recent advertising photo shoot I did, near Los Angeles, with a classic Ryan PT22 1935 airplane. The model is John Campanella, son of the well-known actor, Joseph Campanella and quite a good talent himself. I‘ll post a few from the final edit soon along with a video of the shoot.

Until then for you photo enthusiasts, I used a Canon 5d, along with a chimera soft box and Canon 580 EX strobes, with rechargeable batteries to stay green, connected by pocket wizards, again rechargeable. The sun was in and out all afternoon so this combination allowed me to move quickly and light the face beautifully just as the sun came out of the clouds. Location photography is an art in itself, so remember it is about the craft not the equipment.

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Video-Students jumping for joy.

Posted: March 18th, 2009 | Author: Lee White | Filed under: Canon, Education | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Lee White filming the exciting conclusion of a scene.

Lee White filming the exciting conclusion of a scene.

[caption id="attachment_156" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Lee White with students involved with a class video project. "]Lee White with students involved with a class video project.  [/caption]
Here are a couple of shots, taken with a Canon G9, during a recent video session I did at Santa Barbara City College for a non-photo class. I have been teaching and lecturing in photography classes as well as volunteering to do photography and video for non-photo classes for over fifteen years. I’m always happy to help out and find the student’s enthusiasm contagious.

In the future, I hope to see more interaction between the image making and non-image making classes so image-making students can learn how to deal with situations they will face out of school. Almost all image-makers, except a few fine art creators, have to learn how to communicate with non-image making people and become team players while not losing their individual identity. As image-makers, we are usually part of a collaboration in creating something more than just images, our images are combined with text, spoken language and music to convey a total message that communicates information and emotions about an idea, an event, a service, or a product. The sooner students can enjoy the interaction and creativity that comes with collaboration, the sooner they will be comfortable with the world after school.

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