Tagged: Videos

The World of Blind Photographers

Someone recently joked about taking my photography classes even though he is completely blind. Even though it was initially meant as a joke, I wanted to let him know that this is not actually as impossible as it may sound! In recent years, there have been a number of photographers gaining recognition in the world for pursuing their art despite being blind. In some cases, the photographer has low-vision or is color blind; other individuals are legally-blind and have even been completely blind from birth, having never experienced the world in the same way as a seeing person. Nonetheless, the artistic spirit is strong with many such individuals and photography is their chosen medium. Below are a number of links I have found to various galleries and articles about blind photographers.

Sight Unseen: The California Museum of Photography at UC Riverside put on the first major museum exhibition of work by the most accomplished blind photographers in the world. Some of the biggest names in the industry exhibited at this 2009 event. TIME Magazine also ran a feature article about this exhibit.

Visions of a Blind Photographer: A New York Times article celebrating the work of Sonia Soberats.

Dark Light: The Art of Blind Photographers: An HBO documentary featuring several blind photographers who transcend their physical limitations.

Pete Eckert: One of the most well-known blind photographers. His website features his stunning photographic work and also describes his experience and process.

Completely Blind and Deaf Photographer Can Now ‘See’ His Own Work, Thanks to 3D Printing: Australian-based photographer Brendon Borellini experiences 3D representations of his photos. Check out the video at this link.

The Blind Photographers Flickr Pool: An open group for blind and otherwise visually-impaired photographers to share their work via the Flickr photo website.

Blind Photographers Documentary Crowdfunding Campaign: Fundraising effort for a new documentary on blind photographers across the globe.

Have another web resource about blind photographers? Please leave it in the comments and I will add them to the list as I can!

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Intro to Storyboards

Planning is key to a smooth and high-quality production, whether it’s a feature film or a PowerPoint presentation. Many people are accustomed to the idea of generating a script during the planning phase, but a script is often not enough. For a video project, storyboards are used to sell your idea, discover problems with the story before you start filming, and make sure everyone from the actors to the camera operator is on the same page about what needs to be done to complete the project. Before you pick up a camera, spend the time to think about what shots and angles you want (wide establishing shot, close-up details shots, b-roll/cutaways, etc), the purpose behind each shot, the props you’ll need, and the story you’ll tell with action on screen. Click to view a compilation of ideas and techniques for Cinematic Storytelling. Think about your locations and lighting, your crew and cast, and how you’re going to get from beginning to middle to end within your time and other budget constraints. A storyboard helps keep the project on track.

You can create a storyboard in whatever format makes most sense to you. Many people like to sketch out each shot on paper and then scan it. Here are two templates for you to consider using: a 16×9, 3-Up template and a 16×9, 9-Up template. Other people like to take mockup photos with their digital camera, and then use PowerPoint to arrange them. It’s up to you to choose the method; what’s ultimately important is that you do this planning before you pick up a camcorder to start shooting. Your storyboard doesn’t have to be really complicated nor artistic (stick figures are fine), but it needs to have a clear beginning, middle, and end.

In early drafts of a storyboard, there are often gaps in the story that can be further expanded. For example, there’s a whole story to be told between frames 8 & 9 in the storyboard above. How does the main character react to the news from the instructor in frame 8? What does he do about it? How does he eventually end up at frame 9? Check out one possible storyboard expansion that is meant to be give more thought and detail into what’s happening between Frames 8 & 9 of the original.

That’s the basic introduction to the process. If you’re feeling stuck, here are some additional resources detailing how to think about storyboards:

Don't forget to check out the Recommendations page for the latest products that I'm showing to friends and blog readers based on their requests. I love talking about this stuff, and every time you click on a referral link from this website to a featured retailer like Amazon.com and B&H Photo and Video, I get a small commission that helps keep this site running, at no additional cost to you. Thanks for your support, and please contact me if you need any recommendations!

Video Interview Tips

I had a recent email conversation with someone looking to do a basic video interview, but hoping to avoid typical mistakes that make the video boring or hard to watch. I wanted to share the thread for others who may be similarly interested!
 

Would like some advise from you. Our parenting ministry is doing a project interviewing couples and taping the interviews. About 30 minutes for each couple.

Any suggestion on background, and how to tape to make it less boring than just setting the camera on the tripod? We’ll be doing it at church.

 I used to teach how to do better video interviews at Stanford, so hopefully I can share some good tips. =]
 
  • You absolutely want to use a tripod for interviews. “Boring” is better than something that makes people seasick. =] 
  • In terms of background, probably the plainer the better. Try to avoid distracting background elements that appear to grow out of people’s heads, like plants, poles, etc. 
  • I would advise not having people look directly at the camera. Have them talk to the interviewer, not the camera. They will feel more comfortable and it will look more natural in the video.
  • The essence of good interviews is good audio. If it doesn’t sound good (e.g. one person’s voice is loud and the other is too soft, or there’s background noise or buzzing/hissing), the audience gets distracted and won’t have much patience for the video. If you have lavaliere/lapel mics or shotgun mics, use them!
  • Ruthlessly edit and remove unnecessary video segments so that the final product is to the point (if it is meant to be watched by an audience). If certain things the interviewees say don’t actually contribute to answering the question, etc, it should be cut out.
My favorite tutorial on producing awesome high-quality video interviews is here, but be warned — there’s a lot more work involved to “do it right!”: 
 

Don't forget to check out the Recommendations page for the latest products that I'm showing to friends and blog readers based on their requests. I love talking about this stuff, and every time you click on a referral link from this website to a featured retailer like Amazon.com and B&H Photo and Video, I get a small commission that helps keep this site running, at no additional cost to you. Thanks for your support, and please contact me if you need any recommendations!

Lightroom 4 “Files Could Not Be Read”

Last night, I was working in Lightroom 4.1, trying to import a number of video and photo files from a SanDisk Extreme IV 16GB compact flash (CF) card used early that night with a Canon 5D Mark III, but kept getting this message on two of the HD MOV files: “The following files were not imported because they could not be read.” I tried several times, and kept getting the same error. Trying not to freak out, I tried to figure out what could be wrong. I came up with several theories: 

  • The files got corrupted and could not be read because they did not finish recording properly. I was having some problems with third-party LP-E6 batteries that would just turn off my camera without any warning. Three bars, two bars, and then boom! The camera turns off. I though I would save a few dollars by getting non-OEM LP-E6 batteries, but this turned out to be a crummy idea. It also doesn’t charge properly, causing my Canon battery charger to go from 1 flash (very empty) to 2 flashes (half full) to 3 flashes (nearly full) to blinking nonstop (error) instead of lit up green and not flashing (full). Anyway, could it be that a faulty battery prevented the file header from being completed properly? The problem with this theory is that I would have thought the header would have been written at the beginning of the recording process. What kind of data is written to the buffer? What process occurs at the end of the recording to wrap it up?
  • I didn’t properly format the CF card before recording new content on it. This seemed somewhat unlikely to be the source of the problem, as I exclusively use these CF cards only on my Canon 7D and 5D Mark III, so I expected that the file system is compatible even if I forgot to format it. Also, this seemed strange because most of the videos came off the card just fine, but I just had these two files that seemed “corrupted.”

What else could have gone wrong? Please leave a comment if you’ve had a similar experience or theories. Or even better, if you have a solution!

Update: Just found out the real reason for my problems. The external hard drive I was trying to write to didn’t have enough space! I was trying to copy MOV files (each 4GB+) to a drive with 3GB left. I deleted some unneeded files, and tried again. Lightroom had no problems ingesting the files this time. Oops! Of course, it would have been much better had the error message been, “The volume is full. Cannot copy these files to volume.” In any case, I’ll leave this post up in case it helps anyone out!