Same but different – Intro to Digital Cinema.

As a professional photographer, transitioning into the HDSLR Cinema world for the past 3 years has been a fascinating journey. I would like to share the five main similarities and five main differences I have encountered. Read through, I can guarantee it will save you some time.


• White balance. Think Jpg. You can tweak the White Balance in post, but you are very limited to what you can do. Instead of using Auto White Balance, set a specific color temperature (5200K for example), especially if shooting with more than one camera.

• Exposure is very critical. Pay special attention to the highlights. It is time to use again that good old Light Meter or get one specifically designed for HDSLR shooters like Sekonic’s L-308DC. Like White Balance, do your best to get it right on camera, not in post.

• Camera Settings. We are still using ISO, aperture, and shutter, but because of the frame rate, the shutter is not really a variable factor anymore. Now, we also need to add fps (frames per second), picture styles, and other interesting things to the mix.

• Composition. We go back to the basics. Rule of thirds, symmetry and patterns, texture, depth of field, viewpoint, and cropping. Luckily, that has not changed. If you have a good eye, you are good.

candle light image

• Lighting. All cameras are light-tight boxes that admit controlled light only through a lens. Just because we can push sensors to 25,000 ISO does not mean you are telling a story with light. You need to light.


• Lighting. Wait! Wasn’t this one of the similarities? Yes, it is also a big difference. Remember strobes? They turned into hot lights and continuous lights. Also, keep in mind that now the camera moves, and the light should work for several angles.



Can’t miss seminars at PDN’s PhotoPlus Expo 2011.


Last week, my great friends Ted Kawalerski, Matt Stanton, and Justin Katz helped me shoot this 45-second video to promote my upcoming seminars at PhotoPlus Expo in New York City.

On Friday, October 28, from 8:45 to 11:45 a.m., I’ll be co-teaching “Portrait Lighting Techniques & Lightroom Workflow” with Bobbi Lane. Expect a very energetic and intense seminar.

The same day, from 3:45 to 5:45 p.m., I’ll be presenting “Intro to Digital Cinema.” This 2-hour class is specifically designed for photographers transitioning into HDSLR video, and my goal is to provide enough tips and resources so that attendees will be able to start shooting video by 6 p.m. that same day. I guess I love challenges. As the title says, this is an introductory class.

To truly understand all the technical concepts, filmmaking techniques, and upcoming trends of this amazing digital revolution, I suggest you attend one of my upcoming 2-day PDN HDSLR Video Workshops in New York (Oct. 30-31), Washington D.C. (Nov. 5-6), and Los Angeles (Nov. 11-12).

Let me know if you have any questions!