Cookin’ With Clover

Clover make those point-of-purchase terminals we’ve all used at coffee shops, but they also do much more for restaurants and other small businesses. They and their creative partners, Closed Loop, were filming another digital spot in Denver, and were nice enough to ask me to do the stills. Here’s Chef Porter cooking up a storm. 

Shot by Joe Baran, the 100+ shot day featured the interior of Greenwich Restaurant on Larimer Street. In fact, they made the artisanal pizza lunches! Goodness. Get one. The lighting was by Chris Gerding and Glen Yoshida, makeup by Beth Ryan, and art direction by Savannah Johnson. For more production stills, click here.

Photo-Centric TV Spots

What a cool concept. Inspired by modern social media photographers’ love of high-speed sync flash techniques, my friends at Network Affiliates made a couple ultra-hip TV spots showcasing the style.

We got a big studio, filled it with a killer crew (2 assistants!) and got to work. Our Art Department really had the hard part: Making fake auto glass, tools, cut-out letters, and tools appear to be flying through the air! Some of them actually were.

But the best part is the behind-the-scenes video featuring me! Ha!

See more production stills here.

Photo assistants: Matthew DeFeo, Andrew Cope; Makeup: Marnie Brooks; Art Dept: Pam Chavez, Brendan Horan; Studio: PhotoSpace Denver; BTS: Scott Tuke

The Union Next Door

This month’s shoot with Bighorn Co. was real blast. The goal was to make a piece raising awareness of the union workers around you that you might not even realize are in a union!

We got to use the beautiful C2 studios in Denver, with makeup styling by Beth Ryan, and had a blast meeting these folks as they filed through: Teachers, fire fighters, nurses, etc.

Studio shoots are always enjoyable. We got the tunes and hot cocoa going, and had this thing in the bag by nightfall, delivered just a day or two later.

For more shoots like this, see my web site.

Lifestyle for Uplight

Production stills are generally a great experience, especially when you know the crew well, and the product is just gorgeous. This month’s shoot for Uplight was no exception.

The DP was Brook Aitken, directed by Waypoint films’ Jed Mortenson. Our location was this beautiful modern home in Boulder.

Production stills are often more efficient than booking two separate shoots: Stills and motion, but they do take a little time although you can shoot some during filming. Questions about doing stills during your video shoot? Just ask! See more production stills here.

Flexibility is Key

Let’s talk business portraits, AKA headshots. Last month, I had the pleasure of doing a new round of photography for Bachus & Schanker, whose faces you know from TV and billboards.

Kyle Bachus and the creative team are so great to work with, as they’re always miles ahead of their competition. In this case, they decided we should spend extra time with each attorney to capture them on unlit seamless for the designers to cut out and manipulate later, depending on the composition of whatever piece they’re making. The two-shot with them both is a composite. Looks pretty natural, right?

This round of photography is a good reminder to slow down, pre-plan for all kinds of unforseen uses, and to never make a group shot without also shooting its component parts separately.

Finally, we got to do a few exterior shots in the middle of a fresh spring snow. I think those are pretty fun!

Do You See What I See?

Why, why, WHY do we sometimes see different things on our monitors? Occasionally I hear about image brightness or color. Surprisingly though, not too often. When I edit an image, do you see it the same way I did? Depends.

Computer monitors, like almost anything else in the world of tech (thermostats, tire inflators, your Subaru’s speedometer), need to be calibrated to be consistent. What does that mean? Calibration means setting up a device to a specific set of standards. If both our monitors are calibrated, they should match in brightness, color, and contrast.

Note: Out of the box, and adjusted to your visual preference, your monitor is NOT calibrated. Calibration makes it accurate, but not necessarily pretty. How I calibrate my monitors:

Using a specific hardware device and software package (this requires specialized external hardware), I plug this little puck in and stick it to the face of the monitor. I then allow the software to access color settings, and let it rip.

The next few minutes are interesting: The screen goes black, bright white, a hundred shades of gray, and cycles through multiple colors both bright and pastel. The process takes a few minutes. The result? They call it: White Point to 6500K (D65), White level to 120 cd/m2 and Gamma to 2.2 – recommended settings for editing photographs.

If you’re in marketing or communications, or are in the business of reviewing graphics and photography, you need to calibrate your monitors! Ask a photo or graphics vendor what to buy to do it yourself, or ask your IT department to do it for you. Happy editing!

Komatsu Gives Back

It’s always nice to see your work A. Blown up huge and B. Used for a good cause. 

My friends at Komatsu recently adopted the playroom at the Central Illinois Ronald McDonald House. They fully tricked out the whole place, installing a movie area, several multiple-player game stations, and toys of all kinds including yellow trucks! 

But, just to make it even more fun, they added a giant 15-foot mining truck decal to the wall, a photograph made by me at their proving ground in Arizona. Note that this is shrunk down: The mighty 830E is nearly 30 feet tall and weighs almost a million pounds!

To see more heavy equipment photos, click here.

Is Your Photographer Insured?

You make sure the gardener, cable guy, plumber, and roofer are insured, right? Often trade licensing carries a liability insurance requirement, but photography does not. You should still require it.

Liability means that if the photographer, or any other contractor working on your property, breaks something or hurts someone, they will be responsible for it, not you or your company. Altitude Arts carries $2 million in liability, plus other additional coverage.

Here’s a standard “Acord” certificate. Once you confirm that your photographer is insured, it’s your option to request an insurance certificate, or proof that you (your company is mentioned specifically) are covered. There may be small fee.

Not sure? Ask HR. The answer will be an unequivocal yes! Read a short column by Gordon Rudd, CISSP (a risk expert) here. And call me with questions!

Social Distancing with H&R Block

This month’s shoot was super interesting. This year, tax filing deadlines were extended into summer, but that wasn’t the only issue with filing. Getting together face-to-face is another challenge.

So, H&R Block introduced a revolutionary and sanitary new way to file: On your front porch.

While their offices remain open, this is a new option. They pick up, prepare, and drop off. And everything is distanced and sanitized. Pretty innovative, and extremely customer-friendly.

We also spent part of the day in a branch shooting regular post-Corona stock for them. These two models are over six feet apart, but were photographed to look closer. We shot versions of everything with and without masks.

I worked with a small video crew, and we just switched off between stills and video. To see more stills from film and video shoots click here. To learn more about H&R Block’s pick up and delivery service, click here.

Gotcha Covered: How Altitude Arts Backs Up Our Work

Stop worrying.

That’s my gig. Nobody thinks more about lost files more than me. And that should give you peace of mind! That and the fact that Altitude Arts’s backup system is battle-tested.

Here’s why your files are safe: Every shoot, as it’s put onto my editing computer, immediately starts backing itself up both locally and in the cloud. Just copying the files onto my machine puts them in five—FIVE—places:

  • Two cards in the camera
  • My editing machine
  • My local backup drive
  • My cloud backup (Backblaze)

And after that, they get manually dragged, when editing is complete, to another cloud backup, Amazon Web Services. So, six copies total. If something terrible happens, we can probably get our hands on at least one.

Just last month, I was asked by a client for a shoot from 2001. That’s right, twenty years ago. I had it. I unarchived it (sometimes unarchiving carries a small fee, just FYI), reprocessed it, and delivered it the next day. Boom!

And guess what? This complimentary redundancy is included in the price of every single shoot. However, if you want guaranteed backup, covered by an actual insurance policy, that’s extra. Please inquire .