On HDR Displays and Grading

Today, Samsung and Amazon announced yet another HDR standard for televisions. In case you're not familiar with the idea of a High Dynamic Range display, it's—get this—brighter than a normal display. That's it. This groundbreaking idea apparently needed about four competing standards, one from Dolby, the sound company. Now there's a fifth. I coudn't resist chiming in on Twitter.

Lightroom Mobile 2.7, Now With HDR

          <img class="thumb-image" alt="This is a photograph made with a telephone." data-image="https://static1.squarespace.com/static/53f4e093e4b085e4457080e1/t/58bdac74bebafb465e9f7458/1488825653872/This+is+a+photograph+made+with+a+telephone." data-image-dimensions="1500x1038" data-image-focal-point="0.5,0.5" data-load="false" data-image-id="58bdac74bebafb465e9f7458" data-type="image" src="https://static1.squarespace.com/static/53f4e093e4b085e4457080e1/t/58bdac74bebafb465e9f7458/1488825653872/This+is+a+photograph+made+with+a+telephone.?format=1000w" />

        This is a photograph made with a telephone.
If you look back through my recent Instagram posts, you may notice something unusual (for me): the majority of photos I’ve posted lately are not from my big, full-frame cameras (currently: 5D Mark III, Sony a7S II, and Sony RX1R II), but rather from my iPhone 7 Plus. Posting iPhone photos to Instagram is hardly unusual, but what’s new is that I’m once again inspired by the creative possibilities of my little telephone camera. Part of this inspiration comes from the ability to shoot raw with Lightroom Mobile.
An iPhone snapshot in HDR, helped greatly by Lightroom's desktop-only Guided Upright perspective correction feature.
Shooting directly into a shaded garage and, you know, the Earth's sun.
The majority of the tone mapping of an HDR shot comes from the Highlights and Shadows sliders, which default to aggressive settings that you may wish to tone down.
HDR in B&W. Guided Upright again, along with one of my Prolost Vintage Winter 2016 B&W presets.
Continue reading "Lightroom Mobile 2.7, Now With HDR"

Prolost Vintage Winter 2016: 112 Black and White Presets for Lightroom

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My new set of seasonal presets are out, and these ones are all about black and white. If you've been following me on Instagram, you've probably noticed my preoccupation with monochrome. The first photos I ever shot and processed myself were black and white (film, of course), and in many ways I find it to be the purest form of photography. There's only one problem:

Black and White is Hard

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Many pro photographers I know consider black and white processing to be one of the hardest aspects of photography to master. There are so many different ways to get there, we almost always feel like we're doing it wrong. This is where my "I'll know it when I see it" preset methodology comes to the rescue. When you run your mouse down this list of 112 presets, one of them will just feel right. When that happens, just Continue reading "Prolost Vintage Winter 2016: 112 Black and White Presets for Lightroom"

Red Giant Year End Sale

        <a href="https://prolost.com/rg-bullet" >

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Today only, everything at Red Giant is 40% off.

A Color Session with Stu, and a Huge Sale Tomorrow

This is something different than my usual tutorials. Instead of demonstrating the features of the new Magic Bullet Suite 13, I simply sat down and graded a short sequence of shots. The result is a fast-moving unrehearsed color session in which you see me explore and experiment, using the new Colorista IV panel in Adobe Premiere Pro. For more Magic Bullet Suite tutorials, check out my announcement post and a whole post just about tutorials. And if you're inspired to buy Magic Bullet or anything else from Red Giant (like Trapcode or PluralEyes), there's no better day than tomorrow. For one day only, everything at Red Giant will be 40% off in our Year End Sale. But don't take my word for it, check out this awesome video:

Magic Bullet Suite 13 Tutorials

There's so much new in Magic Bullet Suite 13 that I made like a zillion tutorials. The essential walkthroughs are all in my announcement post. These tutorials get a little more specific.

Guided Color Correction in Magic Bullet Colorista IV

There's no better example of Red Giant's commitment to make great color accessible to all video editors than the new Guided Color Correction feature in Colorista IV. The tool walks you through a step-by-step process of balancing out a shot. You get great results easily, and you stay in control the whole time.

My Color Grading Pipeline

Reduce noise and compression artifacts first. Then basic color balancing, followed by creative color grading. Then, as a final step, re-introduce grain or texture as desired. That's my pipeline on almost every shot I color correct, and this walks you through the process, using Magic Bullet Denoiser III, Colorista IV, and Continue reading "Magic Bullet Suite 13 Tutorials"

Magic Bullet Suite 13

Red Giant has just released Magic Bullet Suite 13, a massive update to our color correction and look creation tools. This is such an epic update that I barely know where to start.

Colorista IV

Colorista IV is my new favorite creative tool. It now runs as a panel inside Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects, which means that you can use it as your go-to color tool without ever having to manually apply it to your clips. Just start working with the panel and Colorista is there. Colorista IV features new Temperature and Tint controls, as well as LUT support, log processing, an updated keyer, and a new Point Curve that works seamlessly with the familiar Colorista parameterized curve. There’s also Guided Color Correction, a Continue reading "Magic Bullet Suite 13"

iPhone 7 Plus Depth Effect is Legit

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            Three cameras that can make photos with blurry backgrounds.
The star feature of the iPhone 7 Plus is its dual-camera system. The typical 28mm-equivalent iPhone camera is joined by a 56m-equivalent. This allows for a 2x optical zoom at the touch of a virtual button, but, more interestingly, it also opens the door to some interesting computational photography.
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            56mm equivalent is not "telephoto" Apple.
Two cameras don't really make for a light field camera, where a computer model is built of the captured light rays, allowing them to be projected onto a virtual image capture plane, through a synthetic aperture. That's what Lytro is doing with their plenoptic Cinema Camera (see previous post), and more analogously, what Light is promising with the 16-lensed L16 camera (two posts on that one so far).

Computational Photography is Here (and Has Been for a While actually)

I'm pretty sure that with
Original Image
Gaussian kernel, gaussian blur
Focus blur kernel, focus blur
Focus blur kernel, focus blur in gamma space
Focus blur kernel, focus blur, in linear space
Focus blur kernel, focus blur, in linear space with HDR source
Sharp BG from a Portrait mode shot
Blurred BG from a Portrait mode shot, Depth Effect version
Sharp BG with lens blur in gamma space
Sharp BG with lens blur in linear space
Gaussian blur in gamma space
Gaussian blur in linear space
Real boke from the iPhone's built-in camera
Focus blur in linear space, with artificial HDR highlights
Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 50mm F1.4 at ƒ/1.4. Because why should anything be in focus, really.
Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 50mm F1.2L at ƒ/1.8. And manual focus, if I don't say so myself.
A photo of a man punching himself in the face at a bar
A photo of the mother of a kid who loves oysters
Continue reading "iPhone 7 Plus Depth Effect is Legit"

Canon 5D Mark IV

            <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01KURGS9E/?tag=prolost-20" >

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The First 5D I’m Not Buying

Canon has announced the latest DSLR in the seminal 5D line, the 5D Mark IV. It features a 30.4 megapixel sensor for stills, a touchscreen, and 4k video. It’s available for preorder on Amazon and B&H for shipment on September 8. And I won’t be buying one.

1.74x Crop Factor for 4k Video

As has been well covered by Dan Chung at Newshooter, the only way to shoot 4k video with the 5D Mark IV is using a 1:1 center crop of the 30.4 megapixel sensor, which results in a 1.74x crop factor. That means that, when shooting 4k video, your 50mm lens gets an equivalent focal length of 87mm. Compare this to the Sony a7S II, which can shoot 4k using a full sensor readout of its full-frame, 12.2 megapixel sensor. The Sony also has 4:2:2
Continue reading "Canon 5D Mark IV"

The Binding: DV Rebel Filmmaking goes 5k, Post Workflows for RED Raw, and How to Bang Your Head Against a Wall (Literally)

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The Binding is a new feature film from writer/director Gus Krieger that was recently released on Blu-ray, and iTunes. It’s a scary and thought-provoking film that also happens to be a great example of DV Rebel feature filmmaking. I helped my buddy Gus out with the Visual Effects and color grading.

From Web Videos to 5k Feature

Gus is an accomplished writer, producer, director, playwright, and probably astronaut (unconfirmed), and has a wonderful group of collaborators with whom he’s made various web videos and short films. I highlighted one of these, a horror short called M is for Marmalade, in a previous post. Gus and company refined their tools and techniques with each video project, and eventually cinematographer Jeff Moriarty traded up his Canon 7D rig for a RED Epic, just in time for The Binding. The result is a film that looks and feels every bit a high-end
Camera Defauts
For Export
Color Grading under a LUT
Click to see the whole mess.
Premiere's excellent Effects Masks working in conjunction with the Colorista keyer to boost exposure in the doorway.
Continue reading "The Binding: DV Rebel Filmmaking goes 5k, Post Workflows for RED Raw, and How to Bang Your Head Against a Wall (Literally)"

The Return of Noir and Plastic Bullet for iOS

In the early days of the iPhone, I worked with Red Giant to bring you two photo apps, Plastic Bullet, and Noir.
            <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/plastic-bullet-camera/id372405516?mt=8&amp;at=11l4Kd&amp;ct=prolost" >

                <img class="thumb-image" alt="Just press the button and pick the one you like." data-image="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/53f4e093e4b085e4457080e1/t/573d02ab7da24f0c0915c7b2/1463616580352/" data-image-dimensions="1800x1800" data-image-focal-point="0.5,0.5" data-load="false" data-image-id="573d02ab7da24f0c0915c7b2" data-type="image" src="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/53f4e093e4b085e4457080e1/t/573d02ab7da24f0c0915c7b2/1463616580352/?format=1000w" />


            Just press the button and pick the one you like.
In a world overpopulated with photo “filter” apps, Plastic Bullet is still unique in that it runs a complete photographic simulation on your images. The light leaks and vignettes feel like an organic part of your photos. And the secret formula is different every time, so you get infinite variety, all at the touch of just one button.
            <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/noir-photo/id429484353?mt=8&amp;at=11l4Kd&amp;ct=prolost" >

                <img class="thumb-image" alt="We waited long enough that skeuomorphism is cool again." data-image="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/53f4e093e4b085e4457080e1/t/573d02c5d210b81ec50dc14a/1463616586589/" data-image-dimensions="1800x1800" data-image-focal-point="0.5,0.5" data-load="false" data-image-id="573d02c5d210b81ec50dc14a" data-type="image" src="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/53f4e093e4b085e4457080e1/t/573d02c5d210b81ec50dc14a/1463616586589/?format=1000w" />


            We waited long enough that skeuomorphism is cool again.
Noir transforms your photos into rich black and white, with beautiful, dramatic lighting that you control with a customizable vignette. Each of these two apps was downloaded hundreds of thousands of times. People liked them a whole lot. Then a terrible thing happened. Despite their popularity, these apps became unwieldy Continue reading "The Return of Noir and Plastic Bullet for iOS"


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NAB 2016, in Tweets

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Capture Everything: Lytro Cinema and the Filmmaking Process

                <img class="thumb-image" alt="Lytro_Cinema_2.jpg" data-image="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/53f4e093e4b085e4457080e1/t/570d7c42d210b8f533d6f16c/1460501575320/Lytro_Cinema_2.jpg" data-image-dimensions="2000x933" data-image-focal-point="0.5,0.5" data-load="false" data-image-id="570d7c42d210b8f533d6f16c" data-type="image" src="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/53f4e093e4b085e4457080e1/t/570d7c42d210b8f533d6f16c/1460501575320/Lytro_Cinema_2.jpg?format=1000w" />
When I wrote about the Light L16 camera, we had some fun thinking about a world where one small camera could become just about any camera you could imagine, from a large-sensor DSLR with a fast 50 to a razor-sharp telephoto beast. Where make-or-break factors such as critical focus could be adjusted in post, and where creative decisions like depth of focus could be tweaked in post. Of course, I mentioned Lytro then. Pioneers in light-field imaging with two curious but ultimately unpopular consumer offerings, Lytro have now “gone pro,” first with a promised VR capture device, and now with Lytro Cinema. Lytro Cinema is a high-end light-field camera for capturing moving images. It’s (apparently) a massive 6-foot-long behemoth with an imaging plane half a meter wide. It is said to capture 755 raw megapixels (for 4K output) at up to 300 fps, and promises 16 stops of dynamic Continue reading "Capture Everything: Lytro Cinema and the Filmmaking Process"

Sony G Master Lenses

                <img class="thumb-image" alt="Living la vida vidrio. Sony a7RII with FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM, 24mm (cropped), 1/1000 at ƒ/3.2 ISO 100" data-image="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/53f4e093e4b085e4457080e1/t/56ddde58d51cd4ed93758819/1457380965439/" data-image-dimensions="1500x813" data-image-focal-point="0.5,0.5" data-load="false" data-image-id="56ddde58d51cd4ed93758819" data-type="image" src="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/53f4e093e4b085e4457080e1/t/56ddde58d51cd4ed93758819/1457380965439/?format=1000w" />

            Living la vida <strong>vidrio.&nbsp;</strong>Sony a7RII with FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM, 24mm (cropped), 1/1000 at ƒ/3.2 ISO 100
When I wrote about the Sony a7RII, I included a section on lenses. The takeaway:
Sony has nearly won me over with their full-frame camera bodies. It’s the lenses that I haven’t fallen in love with yet.

Well, that just changed.

                <img class="thumb-image" alt="Sony a6300 with 16-70 F4, a7RII with new FE 85mm f/1.4 GM, and the also-new FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM. Just out of frame: $16 mojito." data-image="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/53f4e093e4b085e4457080e1/t/56ddf038c6fc081a0f26a5dd/1457385540207/" data-image-dimensions="1500x1125" data-image-focal-point="0.5,0.5" data-load="false" data-image-id="56ddf038c6fc081a0f26a5dd" data-type="image" src="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/53f4e093e4b085e4457080e1/t/56ddf038c6fc081a0f26a5dd/1457385540207/?format=1000w" />

            Sony a6300 with 16-70 F4, a7RII with new FE 85mm f/1.4 GM, and the also-new FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM. Just out of frame:&nbsp;$16 mojito.
Sony, with their Zeiss FE lens line, has an abundance of clinically-sharp, technically unimpeachable, and ultimately rather boring lenses. Until now, the exception to that was the FE 35mm F1.4, which I bought for myself after borrowing one from Sony. Then, just last month, Sony announced the G Master line of lenses. With the stated purpose of providing enough
That's the new Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM on an a6300, shot with a a7RII and FE 85mm f/1.4 GM at ƒ/6.3.
Sony a7RII with FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM at 70mm, 1/1250 ƒ/4.5 ISO 100
Sony a7RII with Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM at 24mm, 1/125 ƒ/3.2 ISO 800
Ben Vonwong (@vonwong)
 Without my aggressive processing you can see that there is some blue/yellow longitudinal chromatic aberration.
Sony a7RII with Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM, 1/50 ƒ/5.0 ISO 100
Jose Tutiven (@tutes) razor sharp against perfectly-round boke. Sony a7RII with FE 85mm f/1.4 GM, 1/125 ƒ/1.4 ISO 800
Continue reading "Sony G Master Lenses"

Introducing Prolost Speedramp

Speed ramps — that ubiquitous editorial trick where a shot transitions between slow- and fast-motion — are a pain, no matter how you create them. When you do them the easy way in your NLE (by dicing up the clip), they’re still difficult — and the transitions are clunky and abrupt. When you admit defeat and jump over to After Effects to do speed ramps the “right” way — with time-remap curves — you wind up in a tangled mess of confusing keyframes. What really makes this frustrating is that, if you've ever worked with a slow-motion clip on an iPhone, you know how easy it should be to ramp in and out of smooth, beautiful slow motion.
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My goal with Prolost Speedramp was to make something as easy to use as the iPhone, and that could produce the highest-quality professional results. To do that, I created an After Effects
Continue reading "Introducing Prolost Speedramp"

Introducing Prolost Speedramp

Speed ramps — that ubiquitous editorial trick where a shot transitions between slow- and fast-motion — are a pain, no matter how you create them. When you do them the easy way in your NLE (by dicing up the clip), they’re still difficult — and the transitions are clunky and abrupt. When you admit defeat and jump over to After Effects to do speed ramps the “right” way — with time-remap curves — you wind up in a tangled mess of confusing keyframes. What really makes this frustrating is that, if you've ever worked with a slow-motion clip on an
Continue reading "Introducing Prolost Speedramp"

The Prolost Bespoke Vintage Presets for Lightroom are Going Away

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But not for any bad reasons! As you probably know, the Prolost Store is where I make some of my own personal workflow enhancements available for download. Most are presets for Adobe After Effects and Lightroom, and aside from the little bit of taco money it brings in, I get a lot of value from offering these tools. I learn a lot about products, marketing, and your creative workflows. It’s a rewarding, satisfying thing. And I am always grateful whenever someone chooses to avail themselves of something from the store, free or paid.
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            <a data-title="Northern Callifornia" data-description="" href="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/53f4e093e4b085e4457080e1/56bbd8a037013bc3c0f87d57/56bbd8e0f699bb7b83a6d6a5/1455154240342/090627-IMG_4007-.jpg" class="image-slide-anchor content-fill"
              <img class="thumb-image" alt="Northern Callifornia" data-image="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/53f4e093e4b085e4457080e1/56bbd8a037013bc3c0f87d57/56bbd8e0f699bb7b83a6d6a5/1455154240342/090627-IMG_4007-.jpg" data-image-dimensions="3000x3000" data-image-focal-point="0.5,0.5" data-load="false" data-image-id="56bbd8e0f699bb7b83a6d6a5" data-type="image" src="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/53f4e093e4b085e4457080e1/56bbd8a037013bc3c0f87d57/56bbd8e0f699bb7b83a6d6a5/1455154240342/090627-IMG_4007-.jpg?format=1000w" /><br>
            Northern Callifornia

            <a data-title="Taipei" data-description="" href="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/53f4e093e4b085e4457080e1/56bbd8a037013bc3c0f87d57/56bbd952044262efb7df7597/1455154248231/140404-IMG_3923-.jpg" class="image-slide-anchor content-fill"
              <img class="thumb-image" alt="Taipei" data-image="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/53f4e093e4b085e4457080e1/56bbd8a037013bc3c0f87d57/56bbd952044262efb7df7597/1455154248231/140404-IMG_3923-.jpg" data-image-dimensions="2447x2447" data-image-focal-point="0.5,0.5" data-load="false" data-image-id="56bbd952044262efb7df7597" data-type="image" src="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/53f4e093e4b085e4457080e1/56bbd8a037013bc3c0f87d57/56bbd952044262efb7df7597/1455154248231/140404-IMG_3923-.jpg?format=1000w" /><br>

            <a data-title="San Diego" data-description="" href="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/53f4e093e4b085e4457080e1/56bbd8a037013bc3c0f87d57/56bbd98ee707ebae2ecb31f4/1455213532059/150326-DSC01222-.jpg" class="image-slide-anchor content-fill"
              <img class="thumb-image" alt="San Diego" data-image="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/53f4e093e4b085e4457080e1/56bbd8a037013bc3c0f87d57/56bbd98ee707ebae2ecb31f4/1455213532059/150326-DSC01222-.jpg" data-image-dimensions="2873x2873" data-image-focal-point="0.5,0.5" data-load="false" data-image-id="56bbd98ee707ebae2ecb31f4" data-type="image" src="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/53f4e093e4b085e4457080e1/56bbd8a037013bc3c0f87d57/56bbd98ee707ebae2ecb31f4/1455213532059/150326-DSC01222-.jpg?format=1000w" /><br>
            San Diego

            <a data-title="Santa Barbara" data-description="" href="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/53f4e093e4b085e4457080e1/56bbd8a037013bc3c0f87d57/56bccb6920c647db6f0a71af/1455213498030/020526-DSCN5910-.jpg" class="image-slide-anchor content-fill"
              <img class="thumb-image" alt="Santa Barbara" data-image="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/53f4e093e4b085e4457080e1/56bbd8a037013bc3c0f87d57/56bccb6920c647db6f0a71af/1455213498030/020526-DSCN5910-.jpg" data-image-dimensions="2048x1536" data-image-focal-point="0.5,0.5" data-load="false" data-image-id="56bccb6920c647db6f0a71af" data-type="image" src="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/53f4e093e4b085e4457080e1/56bbd8a037013bc3c0f87d57/56bccb6920c647db6f0a71af/1455213498030/020526-DSCN5910-.jpg?format=1000w" /><br>
            Santa Barbara

            <a data-title="Minnesota" data-description="" href="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/53f4e093e4b085e4457080e1/56bbd8a037013bc3c0f87d57/56bccb5c22482e51302a5429/1455213488743/140815-S0040120--2.jpg" class="image-slide-anchor content-fill"
              <img class="thumb-image" alt="Minnesota" data-image="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/53f4e093e4b085e4457080e1/56bbd8a037013bc3c0f87d57/56bccb5c22482e51302a5429/1455213488743/140815-S0040120--2.jpg" data-image-dimensions="3000x2000" data-image-focal-point="0.5,0.5" data-load="false" data-image-id="56bccb5c22482e51302a5429" data-type="image" src="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/53f4e093e4b085e4457080e1/56bbd8a037013bc3c0f87d57/56bccb5c22482e51302a5429/1455213488743/140815-S0040120--2.jpg?format=1000w" /><br>

            <a data-title="New Mexico" data-description="" href="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/53f4e093e4b085e4457080e1/56bbd8a037013bc3c0f87d57/56bccb9f7c65e4ae5776f20a/1455213521397/071118-IMG_6455-.jpg" class="image-slide-anchor content-fill"
              <img class="thumb-image" alt="New Mexico" data-image="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/53f4e093e4b085e4457080e1/56bbd8a037013bc3c0f87d57/56bccb9f7c65e4ae5776f20a/1455213521397/071118-IMG_6455-.jpg" data-image-dimensions="3000x2000" data-image-focal-point="0.5,0.5" data-load="false" data-image-id="56bccb9f7c65e4ae5776f20a" data-type="image" src="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/53f4e093e4b085e4457080e1/56bbd8a037013bc3c0f87d57/56bccb9f7c65e4ae5776f20a/1455213521397/071118-IMG_6455-.jpg?format=1000w" /><br>
            New Mexico

            <a data-title="West Oakland" data-description="" href="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/53f4e093e4b085e4457080e1/56bbd8a037013bc3c0f87d57/56bccb7922482e51302a54e9/1455213506081/020601-DSCN6043-.jpg" class="image-slide-anchor content-fill"
              <img class="thumb-image" alt="West Oakland" data-image="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/53f4e093e4b085e4457080e1/56bbd8a037013bc3c0f87d57/56bccb7922482e51302a54e9/1455213506081/020601-DSCN6043-.jpg" data-image-dimensions="2048x1536" data-image-focal-point="0.5,0.5" data-load="false" data-image-id="56bccb7922482e51302a54e9" data-type="image" src="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/53f4e093e4b085e4457080e1/56bbd8a037013bc3c0f87d57/56bccb7922482e51302a54e9/1455213506081/020601-DSCN6043-.jpg?format=1000w" /><br>
            West Oakland
One of the most unusual products I dreamt up was Prolost Bespoke Vintage Presets for Lightroom. These are collections of faded, “vintage” looks for your photos in the form of Lightroom Develop presets. You may recall that I used them extensively on some street
Continue reading "The Prolost Bespoke Vintage Presets for Lightroom are Going Away"

Raw is Not Magic

                <img class="thumb-image" data-image="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/53f4e093e4b085e4457080e1/t/56a47a64bfe873f61a2df204/1453619813181/" data-image-dimensions="1500x920" data-image-focal-point="0.5,0.5" data-load="false" data-image-id="56a47a64bfe873f61a2df204" data-type="image" src="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/53f4e093e4b085e4457080e1/t/56a47a64bfe873f61a2df204/1453619813181/?format=1000w" />
When you open an image from your digital SLR (or Cinema DNG files from something like the Blackmagic Cinema Camera or Digital Bolex) in something like Adobe's Lightroom, and reduce the exposure to reveal a huge amount of information in the highlights — or radically adjust the white balance to recover a well-balanced image from a murky orange mess, it's easy to feel that the raw files are somehow more than just pixels. It almost feels magic. This sense of raw images being a true digital negative — deep, rich, forgiving of exposure errors, and massively tunable to your ultimate taste, leads some to feel that raw is always a better choice than the other common way of capturing a high-dynamic range cinema image: log. “Log” is a broad term to describe images images stored with logarithmic (rather than linear or gamma-encoded) pixel values. You don’t see this
A Typical Scene
Reducing exposure on this raw file in Lightroom reveals a blue sky where the default settings were clipped to white.
Reducing the exposure on this Alexa Log C frame in Nuke, viewing under an sRGB preview LUT, reveals the previously blown-out detail in the sky. Screen capture courtesy of Dan Sturm.
Continue reading "Raw is Not Magic"