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White House photographer Pete Souza shows off what gear is in his bag

Pete Souza, the former Chief Official White House Photographer for U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama, has taken to Instagram to show off what camera gear he uses for his work.

Throughout the 12-minute video, he details his equipment of choice and shows off images captured with nearly every camera and lens he mentions. Along the way, he also shares a number of anecdotes from over the years, regarding how his style and approach has changed as camera technology continues to progress.

Despite the fascinating video of his most-used equipment, Souza prefaces it by explaining the camera and lenses are simply tools to get the job done, likening them to a trio of screwdrivers; ‘They all work equally well […] I don’t know what brand or model [the screwdrivers] are. You just have to make a decision yourself on what kind of equipment to use.’

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Info on what tools I used at the White House.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

You can find more of Souza’s work on his website, as well as the archived White House Flickr account that shows more than 6,600 images captured during his time as Obama’s official photographer.

Blackmagic Design Announces ATEM Mini Pro and Updates for Hyperdeck Studio Mini and BMPCC

Blackmagic Design just announced a new ATEM Mini Pro and new firmware updates for both Hyperdeck Studio Mini and Blackmagic Pocket Cinema cameras. The new ATEM Mini Pro adds a new hardware streaming engine via Ethernet, recording to USB flash disks and new multiview for monitoring all cameras. Hyperdeck Studio Mini gets a new v7.1 free software update which adds new H.264 codec, new AAC audio, codec, longer single file record durations and faster file transfers using Ethernet. Blackmagic Camera 6.9 update adds studio camera features such as remote control, tally and DaVinci color corrector to Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera.

New ATEM Mini Pro. Source: Blackmagic Design

Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro

ATEM Mini made it easy to create multi-camera productions for live streaming to YouTube and innovative business presentations using Skype or Zoom. It offers up to 4 video camera inputs for dramatically better quality images. ATEM Mini also has a USB port that works like a webcam so customers can use any streaming software.

Blackmagic Design today announced new ATEM Mini Pro, which should be a new affordable live production switcher with all the features of ATEM Mini but now with extra features for recording, streaming and monitoring. ATEM Mini Pro includes a new hardware streaming engine to allow direct streaming via its Ethernet connection to YouTube Live, Facebook and Twitch.

New ATEM Mini Pro versus ATEM Mini. Source: Blackmagic Design

There is also support for recording the stream direct to USB flash disks in H.264 with AAC audio, plus support for recording to multiple disks for continuous recording. The new model also includes a multiview on the HDMI video output that allows all inputs to be monitored on a single monitor, as well as the live status of recording, streaming and the audio mixer.

Each of the 4 HDMI inputs features their own dedicated standards converter. That means ATEM Mini will automatically convert 1080p, 1080i and 720p sources to the video standard of the switcher. The HDMI output is a true “aux” output so customers can clean switch each HDMI input or program to this output. If users are using program/preview switching, the HDMI out can be selected to preview, or on the ATEM Mini Pro model, it can be selected to display a full multiview.

New ATEM Mini Pro. Source: Blackmagic Design

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K and 6K models can work as studio cameras with control sent via the HDMI connection to ATEM Mini. That means customers can control the camera settings as well as the camera’s color corrector from ATEM Software Control. There are two types of control interface, CCU layout for traditional tint color control and a DaVinci color corrector interface allowing the camera’s built-in DaVinci color corrector to add “looks” to their live production.

New BMPCC Update for live productions. Source: Blackmagic Design

The most important features of the ATEM Mini Pro:

  • Features miniaturized control panel based design.
  • Supports connecting up to 4 cameras or computers.
  • USB output operates as a webcam and supports all video software.
  • Live streaming via Ethernet supported on ATEM Mini Pro.
  • Recording to USB flash disks in H.264 supported on ATEM Mini Pro.
  • Two stereo audio inputs for connecting desktop or lapel microphones.
  • Automatically standards converts and re-syncs all HDMI inputs.
  • Includes free ATEM Software Control for Mac and Windows.
  • Internal media for 20 RGBA graphics for titles, opening plates and logos.
  • Includes ATEM Advanced Chroma Key for green/blue screen work.
  • Multiview allows monitoring of all cameras on ATEM Mini Pro.
  • Audio mixer supports limiter, compressor, 6 bands EQ and more.
  • Supports remote HDMI control with Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Cameras.

HyperDeck Studio Mini – Update V7.1

HyperDeck Studio Mini is a compact broadcast deck that is capable of H.264, ProRes or DNx codecs recorded to SD or UHS-II card media in either QuickTime or MXF file formats. HyperDeck Studio Mini has features such as 6G-SDI for all formats up to 2160p30, HDMI for monitoring, dual SD card slots for non-stop recording and built-in sync generator that lets customers daisy chain and synchronize multiple decks together.

New Hyperdeck Studio Mini Update. Source: Blackmagic Design

The Hyperdeck Studio Mini now gets a new free firmware update version 7.1. It adds multiple new features to HyperDeck Studio Mini broadcast recorders. The new updates include a new H.264 codec that supports true interlaced HD formats, a new AAC audio codec allowing uploading files direct to YouTube, much faster Ethernet transfers of 110 MB/s and support for longer duration in a single file of at least 3 hours.

HyperDeck Studio Mini V7.1 Features:

  • Longer single file record times of at least 3 hours.
  • New H.264 codec with interlaced video support.
  • New AAC audio codec allows H.264 file uploads direct to YouTube.
  • Dramatically faster Ethernet file transfers up to 110 MB/s.
  • Supports QuickTime and MXF file wrappers.

Blackmagic Camera Update 6.9

New software update 6.9 for Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K and 6K models includes studio camera features. Now customers can connect to an ATEM Mini switcher and get control of the camera parameters, lens, and tally light. ATEM Mini can control up to 4 cameras via the HDMI video connection and ensure all cameras are matched for a professional live studio workflow.

New BMPCC Update. Source: Blackmagic Design

Blackmagic Camera Update 6.9 features:

  • Works as a studio camera when connected to ATEM Mini.
  • Designed from carbon fiber polycarbonate composite.
  • Wide 13 stops of dynamic range for the film looks.
  • Up to 25600 ISO for incredible low light performance.
  • Features high-quality Blackmagic RAW recording.
  • Built-in 5″ touchscreen allows accurate focus when shooting 6K.
  • Blackmagic OS as used in URSA Mini and URSA Broadcast cameras.
  • Supports remote tally, lens and color corrector with ATEM Mini.

Pricing and Availability

ATEM Mini Pro is available now for $595. Both HyperDeck Studio Mini v7.1 and Blackmagic Camera Update 6.9 are free updates and they are available now for download from the Blackmagic Design website.

What do you think of the new Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro and the new software updates? Are you doing live productions often? Let us know in the comments underneath the article.

The post Blackmagic Design Announces ATEM Mini Pro and Updates for Hyperdeck Studio Mini and BMPCC appeared first on cinema5D.

A Look Into White House Photographer Pete Souza’s Camera Bag

Former White House photographer Pete Souza often gets asked about the camera gear he uses, so he posted this 11-minute video to Instagram this week to show what’s in his camera bag.

Before he starts discussing gear, however, Souza offers some words of wisdom.

“Keep in mind that [the] camera is basically a tool,” Souza says, holding up three different screwdrivers. “These are all screwdrivers. They all work equally well. I don’t know what brand/model they are. You just have to make a decision yourself on what kind of equipment to use.”

While at the White House shooting 2 million photos over 8 years of Barack Obama’s presidency, Souza used two Canon 5D series cameras. He would usually have a 35mm prime lens on one of them and a 50mm lens on the other. He would also carry along a 135mm prime lens with him on his belt alongside a flash.

You can find an archive of 6,668 photos from Souza’s time as White House photographer over on Flickr.

(via @petesouza via Fstoppers)

OWNZONES webinar: reimagining the video supply chain in the cloud

OWNZONES re-imagines the video supply chain in the cloud

Due to the cancellation of NAB 2020, OWNZONES is hosting a brief 15-minute webinar to present its latest content workflow technologies.

As so many other companies are doing after NAB 2020 was cancelled, OWNZONES Entertainment Technologies will present its latest products and technologies in a global webinar, taking place on April 7th, 2020 at 9:15am PST. The webinar includes demonstration of Connect SaaS platform that re-imagines the video supply chain in the cloud.

The cloud pioneer will highlight the latest developments within OWNZONES Connect, the next-gen content servicing and supply chain platform; FrameDNA, the AI-driven content library consolidation tool within Connect; and OWNZONES Discover, a customizable B2B content sales platform.

“With the understandable cancellation of NAB 2020, we want to give our customers, partners and industry professionals around the world the opportunity to find out about the latest developments in our cloud-based workflow technology, even if we can’t meet them in person,” said Dan Goman, CEO of OWNZONES. “We’re excited to discuss how our solutions enable organizations to handle the skyrocketing demand for content with fast, cost-effective and secure delivery.”

OWNZONES re-imagines the video supply chain in the cloud

Connect: designed natively in the cloud

Attendees will learn about Connect, the first cloud-based solution to support SMPTE IMF and ACES workflows. Connect was designed natively in the cloud to join the fragmented pieces of many post-production workflows by replacing multiple vendors, non-compatible formats and expensive data servers. The largest movie studio or smallest indie network can easily connect with their audiences by rapidly processing and delivering content in any format to any platform. Through this platform, users can transcode video content up to 35 times faster while reducing costs up to 90 percent.

OWNZONES will also showcase two new content scanning technologies, FrameDNA and Deep Analysis, which can fit into users’ workflows either as separate tools or complementary pieces.

FrameDNA uses AI technology to make frame-by-frame comparisons between multiple files, eliminating redundancies, reducing storage footprints by 73% and creating versions five times faster than traditional localization and conformance workflows. This content library tool scans millions of hours of content in hours to deduplicate and consolidate content, prepares localized versions simultaneously with the click of a button, converts 100,000 on-prem flat files into 10,000 cloud-based IMF packages for distribution in any format. As a result, FrameDNA monetizes and future-proofs content through efficient archival and delivery logistics.

Deep Analysis lets users scan their content to better understand its layout and formatting, locating scene changes, color bars, blacks, texted scenes and essences without having to watch it in real time. This information is presented in an easy-to-understand graphic interface and producers can save scanned content to reuse in future projects.

OWNZONES re-imagines the video supply chain in the cloud

IMF 101 Tutorial Session

The OWNZONES team will also discuss Discover, its cloud-based B2B sales platform that offers everything content companies need to impress buyers, licensors, and reviewers. Discover’s seamless integration with Connect facilitates the instantaneous fulfillment of avails, connecting sales and operations teams to streamline delivery workflows. Originally built as a B2C white-label OTT platform, a focus on delivering a premium user experience with a rich CMS was the driving force throughout the development of Discover and is what now sets it apart from others on the market.

Attendees can register to attend the free webinar by emailing amisass@bubbleagency.com.

In addition to the webinar, OWNZONES CTO Aaron Sloman will participate in the IMF 101 Tutorial Session hosted by the IMF User Group. Sloman will demonstrate how OWNZONES Connect leverages IMF (Interoperable Master Format) to simplify content mastering, QC, management, versioning, and delivery workflows. The session will take place online on April 22nd, 2020 at 9am – 11am PST. Attendees can register for free but space is limited.

Shutterstock: footage library now available for mobile users

Shutterstock: footage library now available for mobile users

Now you can search, save, and license over 17 million videos on-the-go from your smartphone, iOS or Android, with Shutterstock mobile apps.

Creators using the new smartphone application from Shutterstock can now search, save, and license over 17 million videos on-the-go with, as the company’s announced its footage offering is now available for license on the customer iOS and Android applications in SD, HD, and 4K. With over 17 million videos in the collection, searching, saving and licensing footage content allows customers to create engaging video content from a mobile or tablet device.

Mobile video advertising is growing at a rapid pace. According to eMarketer, mobile video ad spending in the US will increase by 24.6% to $28.52 billion in 2020. Whether it’s a social media manager creating a video ad or a creative director building a footage collection on their commute, the Shutterstock app now supports a mobile-only workflow for footage content creators.

Shutterstock: footage library now available for mobile users

Proprietary Shutterstock technology

“As consumers spend more and more time on their devices, marketers are adapting their strategies to reach them there. As a result, we’ve seen many customers transition to mobile-only campaign creation and execution,” said Jamie Elden, Chief Revenue Officer at Shutterstock. “This update enables a new generation of producers and content creators to access footage in seconds to quickly and easily create on-the-go – perhaps while on location. We are committed to continuously innovating our products and streamlining the creative process as the needs of our customers continue to evolve.”

The mobile app browsing experience also includes the computer-vision powered discovery tool, Visually Similar Video, to help users surface more content that looks similar to a selected clip. This proprietary Shutterstock technology relies on pixel data within images – rather than metadata collected through keywords and tagging – to help identify and surface relevant content.

Follow the links to explore Shutterstock’s footage offering on the customer application for iOS and for Android.

TikTok Star Draws Heat for Crashing Wedding Photographer’s Shoot

A photographer and TikTok star is catching criticism after posting a video of himself crashing a wedding photographer’s photo shoot with a bride and groom, asking the couple to take time out of their session to pose for him instead.

San Francisco-based photographer Alex Stemplewski, who has 188,000+ followers on Instagram and 6.9 million+ followers on TikTok, just shared a full behind-the-scenes clip, saying he received “a lot of heat” for his original share and that he wanted to share more of what happened to let the public decide if what he did was wrong or not.

@alex.stemp

I took a lot of heat for this TikTok where I interupted a newlywed photoshoot. Showing the full video to let you decide if what I did was wrong or not

♬ Up – Movie Theme – Giampaolo Pasquile

After walking up to the couple doing a shoot in San Francisco’s Union Square, Stemplewski introduced himself and asked them (and their photographer) if he could have 5 minutes of their time. The wedding photographer graciously agreed to put his own shoot on pause for a maximum of 5 minutes while Stemplewski shot his own photos of his clients.

Stemplewski says he only ended up using 2.5 minutes, and here are the resulting portraits he shared on Instagram:

“I saw a newlywed couple and wanted to give them a gift,” Stemplewski writes. “I politely asked their photographer if I could have 5 minutes with them to take a few photos.”

The original Instagram post racked up over 11,000 Likes after it was shared on March 8th, but many commenters weren’t amused by Stemplewski’s antics and spoke up in defense of the wedding photographer.

Here’s a sampling of some of the critical responses:

The photographer Stemplewski interrupted was Bill Payne. People have been flooding Payne’s photos of the couple with praise for both his work and how he handled the unexpected disruption.

How to Easily Remove Color Casts in Photoshop

In this post, I’ll share how I do quick and easy color cast removal using Photoshop. I will provide some examples to show you that it can work for a wide range of images. The color cast removal process I will explain may not be a universal solution but it seems to be very resilient.

That said, Photoshop is a deep well, for every task in hand there is a multitude of ways of getting the desired results. This is one in the toolbox but you may have tools superior, easier to use, or more commonly used. That is perfectly fine. I am sharing one simple way of removing color cast which works for me. I hope you give it a try.

Color Cast

When you look at an image, you may “feel” that the color is not right but be hard-pressed to pinpoint its source. In all likelihood, a slight color cast may subtly shift all the colors. This is particularly problematic in my scanned images no matter how carefully I try to adjust the colors in the scanning stage. There may be an overall green, magenta, cyan, blue, … cast that degrades the image quality.

In the banner area, you see a corrected image although no other adjustment beyond color cast removal is applied. Under that is a before/after comparison image where you can move the slider with your mouse to see the two versions for comparison. As you probably can see, the colors in the original are not quite right. The poppies in the original don’t look right and the grass is a strange shade of green. And, there is no neutral area for me to click on to set the white balance to remove the color cast. So, Photoshop to the rescue!

Color Cast Removal Steps

These are very simple, mechanical steps, there is no thinking involved. Let’s go:

  1. Open the image
  2. Click on the background layer
  3. Press Ctrl-J to create a duplicate copy
  4. From the menu, follow Filters/Blur/Average, you will have a single color layer

  5. From the Layers panel tool icons at the bottom of it, click the half-moon and select Curves to insert a curves adjustment layer

  6. From the blending mode drop-down menu, choose Color

  7. Now, look at the three eyedrop icons on the left side of the Curves panel and click on the middle icon to set the gray point
  8. Click anywhere on the single color layer

  9. Click on the eye icon to the left of the single color layer to turn it off or simply delete that layer as it is no longer needed
  10. Enjoy your image free from color cast

Here is the above image along with the color cast removed version. There is no other adjustment applied other than the steps outlined above.

Poppies in the field – Original
Poppies in the field – Color cast removed

Tonal Adjustments

Although it may be tempting to make tonal structure adjustments using the same curve, I will advise against it for the simple reason that it will not work! Remember, we changed the blend mode to Color.

In order to adjust the tonal structure:

  1. Add a new curves layer above the first one
  2. Change its blend mode to Luminosity
  3. Now, you can adjust the luminosity, the darks and the lights of the image or select a suitable one from the drop-down list
  4. You can use individual channels or Red, Green, and Blue and make them lighter or darker without changing the hue. But, be careful; a little goes a long way.

Additional Comparative Images

The images below have captions that will appear when you click and enlarge them in the lightbox. Some have a second curves layer with either Medium Contrast or Lighter may be adjusted, direct from the curves options.

At Anadolu Kavagi – Original
At Anadolu Kavagi – Color cast removed
At Anadolu Kavagi – Medium contrast curve
Back streets of Istanbul – Original
Back streets of Istanbul – Color cast removed
Back streets of Istanbul – Medium contrast curve applied
Lily – Original
Lily – Color cast removed
Guven, Jan – Polonezkoy – Original
Guven, Jan – Polonezkoy – Color cast removed
Guven, Jan – Polonezkoy – Curves/Lighter added
Cemal holding Pelin – Original
Cemal holding Pelin – Color cast removed
Cemal holding Pelin – Medium contrast curves, highlight pulled down to 248 from 255

In the last example, I finalized the image with a new curves layer, blend mode set to luminosity. Using the drop-down selector, I added a Medium contrast curve adjustment then pulled down the top right corner of the curve from 255 down to 248. That last move was to prevent blown highlights on her face and make the image fit the original mood.

Now, it is your turn!


About the author: A. Cemal Ekin is a photographer based in Warwick, Rhode Island who has been shooting for roughly 60 years. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Ekin retired as a professor of marketing emeritus from Providence College in 2012 after 36 years of service there. Visit his website here. This article was also published here and here.