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 My make-shift workflow 
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Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2008 10:21 pm
Posts: 159
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Post My make-shift workflow
My workflow is based around hardware and software that I currently own for use in my commercial photography. It's a bit different than what's been discussed in the other thread, so I thought I'd share it.

I have absolutely no training in the film industry, and am just now getting familiar with terms, phrases, industry standards, etc... It will become patently evident when I describe to you my process.

I quickly learned to shoot the smallest most compressed .jpg files I could. I typically shoot my sequences with either a Nikon D1x or a Nikon D2x. I end up with a lot of similarly numbered files, so the camera sets up new folders when I shoot to a card. Lately I have been tethering to my MacBook via the Nikon Camera Control Pro software. It is pretty powerful for shooting timelapse. It is very powerful for shooting single frames in the studio or on location. I have been shooting tethered still images for over 9 years. If I had my choice I'd shoot tethered.

I will then do one of two things:

1. If the imges need to be cropped, retouched, grey-scale converted, etc...I will import them into Adobe Lightroom. Lightroom is NOT a video editing piece of software, but what it can do is batch process a lot of images in the exact same way very easily. I can even do re-touching for dust on the sensor, or a 'hot-pixel', which some have had. I haven't had any hot-pixels with either Nikon body.

2. If I just want a quick'n'dirty solution, I'll import the string of images into QuickTime Pro and let it turn the images into a video sequence.

Either way, I do end up processing my image sequences with QTPro. I save the files (and I am still experimenting with formats, compression, etc....), then re-import them into iMovie. I can fiddle around with the editing once they are in iMovie, then add sound, titles, etc...

The back-end of my workflow is *very* amateur-ish, but it seems to get me where I want to go. I would love to get a copy of Premiere, After-Effects or anything with more 'oomph' for editing.

I'm trying to keep my shooting and editing very simple so that I can wrap my brain around how it works. I am working with about 5 different processes at the same time, none of them are very similar, so the time-lapse stuff is kind of what I'll do when I need a chance to play and look at things in a different way visually.

I just uploaded my latest 'playing-test' to YouTube. It's http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hPlfikBYsU here.

I'll figure out this vimeo thing for my next post. I like the size and clarity of it much better than YouTube. :(

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Michael Slade
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Mon Jun 09, 2008 10:44 am
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Post Re: My make-shift workflow
Interesting. So what is the difference between Lightroom and Photoshop?

As far as shooting, you might want to try RAW for timelapse. The beauty of RAW is that you can go back to a sequence years later, with brand-new RAW processing software or newly acquired RAW processing skills and totally improve a timelapse. Shooting JPEG, your image is "burned in" and there is not much you can do with it.

Definitely give FCP or Premiere Pro a try. They allow you to do so much more with your timelapses. If you have a PC you can grab a copy of Premiere Pro CS3 (or the entire Adobe Creative Suite including AE, Photoshop, etc) from bit torrents, and then decide if you like it.

That was a nice little clip you posted on youtube. Keep it up! And welcome.


Mon Jun 09, 2008 4:25 pm
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Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2008 10:21 pm
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Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Post Re: My make-shift workflow
timescapes wrote:
Interesting. So what is the difference between Lightroom and Photoshop?


A LOT. I have to run and fix some sprinklers, but I'll think about how in-depth I want to go with the reply. Really there are a LOT of differences.

I know about shooting RAW, and was an early adopter with the very first D1 back in 1999. I'm just not sure that I will want to commit that much hard drive space to a way of image making that so far is just play-time for me.

I think once I have learned the whole process I may go back and decide I wish I'd have shot them in RAW. I don't know where this experiment with time-lapse will lead me, I guess I ought not shut any doors prematurely.

I'm a really big proponent of purchasing software legitimately. I think I'll download the Adobe FCP demo and see how much it scares me. Torrents = bad in my book...but to each his own. I thought differently until I had to sue and defend my own copyright. Now I'm really striving to actually own each piece of software I use. It wasn't always the case.

Thanks for the commments and the welcome...you can see I have a long way to go.

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Mon Jun 09, 2008 5:48 pm
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Post Re: My make-shift workflow
Another option might be Adobe's Premiere Elements, which is $99. It can do most everything Premiere Pro can, minus a few options.

I really love your great salt lake photos. Those are excellent.


Mon Jun 09, 2008 6:55 pm
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Post Re: My make-shift workflow
Hey Micheal! I'd always shoot tethered if not for the power issues... I sometimes use an ASUS EEE with a 16gb SD which is not too bad on the power consumption. It's really nice to get the preview feedback as well. I'm sure there are ways out there to get scripted exposure ramping and whatnot but I've yet to find any way with super closed source nikon... :evil:

It presents a serious challenge when you venture away from the outlets!


Tue Jun 10, 2008 7:20 am

Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2008 10:21 pm
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Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Post Re: My make-shift workflow
Ahhhh yes...super closed source Nikon. Even for me, with friends deep inside Nikon, it is a challenge to get anything from them. This new camera though, let me tell you is swweeeetttt! (that's all I can say).

Lightroom discussion:

Lightroom is a powerful program, I'm not sure what it's primary function is, but I know how I use it most. It is broken down into 5 different parts:

Library:

It has a library function that can catalog your entire collection, or just parts that you choose to 'import'. It never physically moves the files, just has pointers that tell the program where to look. You can also make sub-collections from your main library, again, nothing gets moved until you want it to and designate where the images go.

You can do keywording, a 'quick develop' (which I never use...), sync your metadata or even sync your settings between images. The sync feature is neat because I can do a single image adjustment and have it be applied to an entire folder or just a few images depending on what I select. There are no actions to record, no batch folders to set up, just highlight and sync. You can also do this in the 'Develop' module.

Develop:

VERY powerful RAW conversion engine. I like it much better than ACR as far as functionality. Same conversion engine, better interface. Many controls you are familiar with, some you might not be. I particularly like the 8-channel greyscale converter and the chromatic abberation sliders.

A crop tool that lets you have presets or to custom cropping, red-eye reduction, and a spotting tool. The spotting tool is great because you can apply just the spotting tool settings to any image (say for example you have that pesky dust spot in every frame...).

You can assign a rank of 1-5 stars and 5 different colors (or any combination thereof). I love the develop module and it is what I use for 99% of my file conversions (everything except for the Hasselblad files).

Slideshow:

Make a neat slideshow, transitions, etc...simple but good.

Print:

The print module is very powerful also if you are doing custom printing of contact sheets, multiple images, sequences of images, printing an entire folder, etc... Completely color managed.

Web:

My second favorite feature. I can create websites from various templates automatically or I can get third-party templates on the web. I am using this feature constantly for my own work and for client proofing. Some examples on my site are:

http://www.tawayama.com/crewcabwebgallery/

http://www.tawayama.com/alcatel/alcatel/

http://www.tawayama.com/eileen/

http://www.tawayama.com/sladestudentsampleslideshow2/

http://www.tawayama.com/JKS/trailrunningedit/

http://www.tawayama.com/northkoreagallery/

http://www.tawayama.com/USUspring07slideshow/

Aperature is very similar, but I haven't played around with it at all. I also have friends at Adobe and so am pretty loyal to their product. I never used bridge, so can't comment on it at all, but I do use Photoshop a lot. Lightroom takes care of about 80% of the image editing needs before I import them into PS.

Any questions, just holler!

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Michael Slade
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Tue Jun 10, 2008 7:41 am
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Post Re: My make-shift workflow
The web gallery function looks very cool.

Ask your friends at Adobe to PLEASE make a Camera RAW plugin for Premiere Pro CS3 or CS4. :mrgreen:


Tue Jun 10, 2008 10:03 am
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Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2008 10:21 pm
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Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Post Re: My make-shift workflow
Can do.

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Tue Jun 10, 2008 1:27 pm
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