Tokina Introduces New 85mm F/1.8 FE Prime for Sony Mirrorless Cameras

Tokina kicks off its new mirrorless lens line with an 85mm f/1.8 for Sony E-mount.

Meet the debut lens for Tokina’s mirrorless atx-m series, the atx-m 85mm f/1.8 FE for full-frame Sony E-mount cameras.

This prime lens has some pretty impressive features, including a new fast and quiet ST-M autofocus motor, a smooth manual focus ring, and great low-light performance and beautiful bokeh thanks to its fast f/1.8 aperture.

It’ll also allow users to capture high-res images that are sharp from edge to edge with “well-controlled” chromatic aberrations. Its optical design includes ten glass elements in seven groups, one SD (Low Dispersion) lens, and Super Low Reflection Multi-Coating, which is exclusive to Tokina, to produce natural color, good contrast, as well as protection from water, oil, and dust.

And because this lens meets Sony’s licensed specifications, it’ll work just fine with Sony’s 5-axis image stabilization, Face/Eye Priority AF, Real-time Eye AF, MF assist, and electronic distance scale.

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Multiple Users Reporting Major EVF Issue with the Brand New Fuji X-Pro3

Users of Fujifilm’s brand new and much-anticipated X-Pro3 rangefinder have started reporting a troubling issue with their viewfinders. A number of users have taken to both DPReview and the FujiX Forum to report that their cameras’ EVFs have “all of a sudden” started showing a wildly overexposed image and preview, making it impossible to use.

The issue was first reported two weeks ago on the DPReview forums by photographer Etienne Waldron, who thought the issue was due to the fact that he had been shooting in a light rain when it first occurred.

“I just went out shooting with the X-Pro3 under light rain and suddenly noticed that my EVF was misbehaving, showing me a (way) overexposed view when shooting, and brightness issues in both the menus and the ‘Play’ mode as well,” explained Waldron. “Things look normal through the LCD, but everything looks (very) overexposed through the viewfinder, almost plain white. Have any of you experienced this?”

Waldron eventually managed to capture two images of the phenomenon, which he kindly shared with PetaPixel below:

And this is what it looks like through the OVF:

The LCD, meanwhile, shows the image as it should:

Almost as soon as his report went up, other users joined the conversation to report that they, too, had been having the same issue. But while users on both forums were relieved that this wasn’t a problem with just their camera (i.e. thank god I didn’t break it), taking the battery out and resetting the camera does not help, leading some to wonder if this is a widespread hardware issue.

One user on the FujiX Forum posted that their dealer “confirmed it is a faulty camera and has given me a full refund.”

Another users said that, including the original poster, they had heard from “at least 4 Pro3 users with the same issue. Two of them getting direct replacement.” They speculated that, “there seems to be a QC issue here on the OLED and its connection.”

While this would be a major issue on any camera, it’s particularly problematic on the new X-Pro3 because of its ‘hidden LCD’ design. It seems like the only workaround is to avoid the EVF entirely by shooting form waist-level, or eye level with the LCD flipped all the way down.

We reached out to Fujifilm for comment yesterday, but have not heard back, so we can’t say how widespread this issue is. Maybe it’s just a handful of cameras, but given the number of confirmed cases already posted on the forums, Fuji might have a bigger problem, and possibly a recall, on its hands.

We will update this post if and when we have official confirmation or a statement from Fuji.


Image credits: Photos by Etienne Waldron and used with permission.

Meet Platyball, an Inverted Ball Head with an LED Level

From the makers of Platypod comes an innovative, new ball head system that is tough, sleek, and has an electronic leveling system.

Platypod has made a name for itself for giving filmmakers unique, compact, and rugged pieces of gear on which to shoot their films. Case in point: Platypod Ultra and Max, which double as mini-tripods and mounting plates for small mirrorless and larger DSLR cameras that can be set up virtually anywhere.

To round out this system, the company has introduced both the Platyball, an inventive little ball head system that will not only make a lot of Platypod fans happy but will also give filmmakers options they may not expect to see in a compact ball head.

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ProCamera Is Still the iOS Photo App to Beat

ProCamera Is Still the iOS Photo App to Beat

I’ve been looking at photo apps for the iPhone since the phone was first released in 2007. From the start, it was pretty clear Apple wasn’t getting the most out of their own camera with the built-in app, and third parties rushed in. If you wanted to take serious photos, many of the apps were wanting, offering stickers and other features most pros would disdain. But not this app.

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Panasonic S Pro 70-200mm f/2.8 Field Test: Supreme Image Quality… for a Price

In early November, Panasonic announced that a 70-200mm f/2.8 for the L-mount was coming soon. The lens represents, which comes in at a hefty $2,597.99, is a major step closer to completing the holy-trinity lineup for their S series cameras.

Additionally, Panasonic says that this lens will offer 7 stops of stabilization on the S-Line cameras, a pretty impressive spec for a full frame tele-zoom. We were sent a sample model (with pre-production firmware) for a few days to test out.

Design

The Lumix S Pro 70-200mm f/2.8 is a hefty lens, coming in at 3.46lbs. This is in part due to its 22 total elements (in 17 groups – including 1 aspherical, 3 extra-low dispersion, and 2 ultra extra-low dispersion elements). With all of the ELD elements, the lens features minimal chromatic aberration, and results in sharp images throughout the focal range.

Similarly to the 16-35mm f/4 that was announced alongside this lens, Panasonic says that focus breathing is minimal, which is great news for videographers. The autofocus features a double focus system, which combines a linear motor and a stepping motor to achieve fast and precise focus.

On the outside, the lens is built like a tank. Every part you touch feels solid and well made, and the lens is dust/moisture resistant, as you would expect.

Unlike most 70-200mm lenses on the market, the Panasonic 70-200 features a focus clutch mechanism that allows users to quickly switch between auto/manual focus modes. The zoom ring is also nice and large, and has a fairly short throw with a moderate amount of resistance.

There are two switches near the base, one for the OIS (Off/1/2), and one for the focus limiter (Full/.95m-5m/5m-∞). The tripod collar is solid, and features an arca-swiss foot—something you won’t find on Canon/Nikon/Sony’s 70-200’s. The tripod foot also doubles as a pretty convenient handle with which to carry the lens/camera.

There are also focus hold buttons on the lens, an often seen feature on lenses like this.

Real World Use

For portrait shooters, this lens is a great complement to the 24-70mm f/2.8. The face/Eye-AF works great and does a good job of tracking a person’s eye. Hunting is minimal, and it focuses pretty fast in lower light situations.

Panasonic’s autofocus isn’t the best for fast action, but the lens did pretty well when shooting a high school ice hockey game with mediocre lighting and dirty boards. While there were a good amount of out of focus shots, it didn’t struggle focusing past the glass—the issue was moreso trying to keep up with the fast-moving players.

After shooting with the lens for a bit, I found it’s quite sharp wide open throughout the scene at 200mm. The center is equally sharp at 70mm; however, the corners are a bit softer. That said, when comparing some images taken with Sigma’s 70-200 Sport, Tamron’s 70-200 G2, and Nikon’s 70-200 f/2.8E (using cameras similar to the S1), the Panasonic seems to be the sharpest of the bunch when looking at the extreme corners 1:1.

Sample Images

Final Thoughts

Panasonic definitely put a lot of effort into this lens, both in therms of build quality and the quality of the glass. And while it does raise eyebrows at $2,600, that’s still slightly less than Nikon’s 70-200 f/2.8E.

Not having to use an adapter with an EF mount 70-200, and having 7-stop Dual Image Stabilization are definite advantages of going with the native option, but initially many people may lean towards the adapted option—at least until some rebates hit.

That said, if you’re looking for supreme image quality, and the best autofocusing possible from Panasonic, this lens is definitely the way to go.

The Panasonic Lumix S Pro 70-200 f/2.8 OIS starts shipping now, and can be ordered here.

More images in higher resolution can be found here.


About the author: Ihor Balaban is a photographer and store manager of the camera store Pixel Connection in Avon, Ohio. To learn more about the store, head over to the Pixel Connection website. This post was also published here.

Wondershare Recoverit Adds an Important New Update to Help Better Recover Video Files

Wondershare Recoverit Adds an Important New Update to Help Better Recover Video Files

When it comes to data recovery software, there are plenty of options currently on the market. In my experience it’s been super useful to have a recovery software on hand because I have had SD cards fail on me. The issue is that many available options tend not to do a great job at recovering video. Wondershare might have the answer with its latest update.

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Devotion in Photographs: Shooting One of the Largest Religious Events in the World

Devotion in Photographs: Shooting One of the Largest Religious Events in the World

Devotion is an idea difficult to capture in photographs. In this interview, photojournalist Jilson Tiu from the Philippines shares his experience photographing a religious tradition practiced by a massive number of devoted believers.

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WATCHMEN: VFX Breakdown by Framestore

Framestore presents their work on Dr. Manhattan for the HBO series, WATCHMEN:

WANT TO KNOW MORE?
Framestore: Dedicated page about WATCHMEN on Framestore website.

© Vincent Frei – The Art of VFX – 2020

The post WATCHMEN: VFX Breakdown by Framestore appeared first on The Art of VFX.

Sony releases minor firmware updates for a9 II and 24mm F1.8 GM, 135mm F1.8 GM lenses

Sony has released minor firmware updates for its a9 II camera system, as well as its 24mm F1.8 GM and 135 F1.8 GM lenses.

For the a9 II, firmware version 1.01 improves the FTP transfer functionality to speed up how soon after shooting photos the images can be transferred. Additionally, the firmware update corrects a condition where the camera can sometimes turn off at random times when looking back through Raw images and improves JPEG image quality when shooting under certain, unspecified conditions.

Both the 24mm F1.8 GM and 135mm F1.8 GM receive, via firmware ’02,’ improved aperture response when the lenses are attached to Sony’s a9, a9 II and a7R IV camera systems, as well as the ability to select ‘Focus Priority’ from the ‘Aperture Drive in AF” menu when attached to Sony’s a9 camera system.

You can download firmware version 1.01 for Sony a9 II camera systems, as well as firmware version ’02’ for Sony’s 24mm F1.8 GM and 135mm F1.8 GM lenses for mac OS and Windows computers on Sony’s website. Details and instructions on how to install the firmware can be found on the respective download pages.

What do businesses and creative professionals working in production and post need to know about AB 5?

Editor’s Note: ProVideo Coalition connected with a producer from an award-winning independent film company to better assess the landscape and offer an opinion about California Assembly Bill 5, better known as AB 5. Due to the sensitive nature of this topic and the ramifications of speaking out against it, we’re withholding their identity.

Please get in touch with PVC on Twitter or via email if you’d like to share your AB 5 thoughts or experiences.

____________

 

You can find a variety of articles that explore the impact of AB 5 on the entertainment industry and more will undoubtedly be published in the coming weeks and months. However, our insights about AB 5 come from the perspective of content creators that are making sense of it as both freelancers and business owners.

Our understanding of AB 5 is that it reclassifies those who were previously considered Independent Contractors into Employees of the person who utilizes their services. This means that every person who is paid for work by another person must fill out paperwork so that the appropriate taxes are withheld, which means that those who utilize Independent Contractors’ services must pay payroll tax on the amount paid to the employee and are responsible for paying what used to be the self-employment taxes that Independent contractors took care of as they filed their own tax returns at the end of the year (or quarterly).

The way to determine if someone is an employee is based on this ABC test that has been put into place. A: is the worker free from control and direction of the person hiring them in how they do their work, B: the hired person does work outside of the business of the person hiring them, and C: is the IC a business him or herself.

For people in creative fields, it can be almost impossible to meet these criteria if you are not incorporated. Because we in the film industry utilize call sheets and the producer tells people when and where to be to do the shoot, Independent Contractors don’t pass A. Because people like DPs, gaffers, grips, etc do work that the production company often also does, Contractors don’t pass B. And many Contractors were not incorporated before this year (some are doing so now, which then kicks in a different set of standards called the Borello Test- outlined below), which means they have to pay the Franchise Tax fee every year and go through the steps of being a business (city taxes, Statement of Information, etc).

While the production company does say what time and where to be to do a shoot, a crew member has the ability to say no to a job, set his or her day rate, or replace him or herself if another gig comes up. So, that ABC test gets murky for creatives.

To our knowledge, no creatives in film, theatre, dance, music have been exempted UNLESS they are incorporated. Then they must pass the Borello test. I’ll list those who are exempted, as well as the Borello test rules:

Exempt Professions:

  • Doctors (physicians, surgeons, dentists, podiatrists, veterinarians, psychologists)
  • Professionals (lawyers, architects, engineers)
  • Professional services (marketing, human resources administrator, travel agents, graphic designers, grant writers, fine artist)
  • Financial services (accountants, securities broker-dealers, investment advisors)
  • Insurance brokers
  • Real estate agents
  • Direct sales (if compensation is based on actual sales and not wholesale purchases or referrals)
  • Builders and contractors
  • Freelance writers and photographers (if contributes no more than 35 submissions to an outlet in a year) – most writers work on way more than this.
  • Hair stylists and barbers (if licensed and if can set own rates and schedule)
  • Estheticians, electrologists, and manicurists (if licensed)
  • Tutors (that teach their own curriculum, and that are not public school tutors)
  • Commercial fishermen
  • AAA-affiliated tow truck drivers

Source

 

Borello Test (if a business-to-business relationship):

  • Whether the worker is engaged in an occupation or business that is distinct from that of the hiring firm
  • Whether the work is part of the hiring firm’s regular business
  • Whether the hiring firm or the worker supplies the equipment, tools, and the place for the person doing the work
  • The worker’s financial investment in the equipment or materials required to perform the work
  • The skill required in the particular occupation
  • The kind of occupation—whether, in the locality, the work is usually done under the hiring firm’s direction or by a specialist without supervision
  • The worker’s opportunity for profit or loss depending on his or her own managerial skill
  • How long the services are to be performed
  • The degree of permanence of the working relationship
  • The payment method, whether by time or by the job
  • Whether the parties believe they are creating an employer/employee relationship.

Source

 

More exemptions could and likely will be made. The truck drivers just won a temporary ruling in a court, and journalists and translators are fighting HARD right now. Musicians are also fighting, and the Protect App-Based Drivers & Services takes that fight to another level.

Since the law went into effect on January 1, 2020, some fields have received exemptions, but the music, film, and journalism industries have not. One thing that has changed in our understanding of this is that if you are incorporated and are indeed your own business, you can work with other businesses and still maintain the contractor classification, but what we have learned for actors in particular is that while the Screen Actors Guild says that AB 5 won’t affect those actors who have loan out companies, the production company must be willing to hire the actor through their company (and file under their federal EIN). If the production company just chooses to make the actor an employee and put them on a W-2, then the actor (or filmmaker, or musician, etc) loses the ability to deduct expenses, since the tax law has done away with that for W-2 employees. So, it comes down to the hiring entity to decide, and we are hearing that studios may just hire everyone as employees, which would harm creatives who spend a lot out of pocket on their careers – for actors, acting classes, headshots, commissions to representatives, etc.

There’s go guarantee that anything is going to change, and even if it does, it’s impossible to say when it will happen. When in doubt, talk to your accountant or if you have an attorney, talk to them. We have been in communication with our accountant about all of this, and she recommended a payroll company for us so that we can comply.

Beyond that our advice is to stay informed and incorporate. Take part in the social media discussions that are happening, and consider incorporating yourself, as it will make freelance professionals more hirable as long as AB 5 is in effect. Yes, it costs you money to do so, but you have to weigh if the money spent to be a legitimate business is less than the work you might otherwise lose.

 

Please get in touch with PVC on Twitter or via email if you’d like to share your AB 5 thoughts or experiences.

 

 

AB 5 is cutting creative fields off at the knees

Editor’s Note: ProVideo Coalition connected with a producer from an award-winning independent film company to better assess the landscape and offer an opinion about California Assembly Bill 5, better known as AB 5. Due to the sensitive nature of this topic and the ramifications of speaking out against it, we’re withholding their identity.

Please get in touch with PVC on Twitter or via email if you’d like to share your AB 5 thoughts or experiences. 

____________

 

I get what #AB5, the CA law to make independent contractors into employees, is going for. The state claims it was done to protect gig-economy workers like the ones that drive for Uber and Lyft, and some of those people want and need that protection. Unfortunately, for those of us working as creative professionals at any level except the very top, the consequences of AB 5 have been as stark as they are negative. Let me give you an example of what that looks like…and how much it’s literally going to cost this entire industry.

Not long after AB 5 became official, I opened my budgeting software and used a $100k budget to play around with the two scenarios: the first, with every crewmember as an Independent Contractor, the second with them as employees. It was a $28,000 difference in the budget because of payroll tax and payroll company fees.

The worst part is that it’s not like that money is going into my crewmembers pocket. If I hire a gaffer for a two-day gig, I now have to go through a payroll company to make him an employee, pay the extra money to the payroll company and for the payroll tax, and am responsible for withholding the taxes that hiring entities are responsible for when they have employees (Social Security, Medicare, Federal Unemployment Tax, State Income Tax, etc), which means less money in the contractor’s pocket. Then the job is over, and I may not work with that gaffer again for months. So then I either have to keep him on payroll all that time (usually payroll companies charge a fee for each employee per month), or I have to terminate him with my payroll company and rehire when we have another gig.

Ultimately, compliance costs business owners more money and takes money out of creatives’ pockets by costing them work and/or taking away their ability to deduct expenses. People in creative fields, like music, filmmaking, writing, and acting are having to either pay the $800 to incorporate (plus the expenses to register with the state, the cost of an accountant to do corporate AND personal taxes, etc). This is a very sweeping law that is cutting creative fields off at the knees.

Freelancer Frustration

While it’s true that many in the film industry are already classified as employees, these workers are ‪often union workers. AB5 will hurt those who are starting out or not quite able/ready to join unions yet. Below-the-line crew have to rack up enough days on projects before they are eligible to join. If they cannot be paid as ‪independent contractors, low-budget indie content creators may offer lower day rates and/or fewer days on set (relying more often on skeleton crews). This means less work for the crewmembers. It means fewer days that a producer allows for those considered ‪non-essential because now they have to make their budget numbers work to include the payroll taxes and fees collected by the payroll company.

For those employees who really do only work for one hiring entity and have a fulltime job, if they are being misclassified, AB 5 helps. That’s typically not how it works in the creative fields if you aren’t on a studio project though. You do the gig from anywhere between 1 and 30 days, then the project ends and you get hired by someone else for a new project. Anyone who works for more than one hiring entity in a given year will feel the effect of this because the hiring entities that used to pay Independent Contractors are having to comply, and this costs more (the beneficiary is the state, not the newly classified employee)

Many of my freelance indie film friends are terrified that work is going to be even harder to procure. We work sometimes ‪two to five days for a production in a given year; and if a better job comes up for a better rate, it is understood we might take it. There is flexibility, which is necessary for the project-by-project nature of the job. We do not work for the same company for long periods, as is the nature of the industry unless you are on a bigger budget feature that shoots more than 30 days, or a series that offers regular work for many weeks out of the year.

Small content creators – who are trying to pay our colleagues as we strive to make work that will allow us to work on bigger budget films and shows – are going to suffer, and the crew we would typically hire will get fewer days and less money in order for us to comply with employee classifications. As a creator, I aim to pay crew a fair wage, but with the added costs, I’ll have to work through the budget to see what I can do without or who will work for less. And as a freelancer, that frustrates me.

We already stretch every cent‪ trying to create good work that will get us better-paying jobs, union membership, representation, etc. This will tighten the true indie film market significantly by forcing low-budget productions to pay more in taxes while the crewmembers get less.

Who is Really Benefiting from AB 5?

As a producer, I already hold liability and workmens comp insurance for my entire cast and crew (per SAG’s rules), so their safety is protected. This law is about giving them more protection in terms of unemployment, paid time off, healthcare, etc. But most creatives I know don’t work enough hours with the same hiring entity to qualify for benefits anyway, so it doesn’t do the things it was designed to do.

AB 5 has swept the indie film crew and creators under a general rule that should apply to those who do regular work for one company and are thus misclassified. For those of us who hop from one low-budget project to the next to build resumes, make professional connections, & improve our skills while earning money for our contributions to a project, this seems to unfairly put a burden on us that may cause low budget indies to move elsewhere or not be made, thereby hurting our ability to earn. In an industry that doesn’t exactly fund work in niche genres or by minority groups in overwhelming numbers we have to do it ourselves, and we have been. Now it will just cost us that much more which will ultimately mean less work. People are already losing work because hiring entities can’t afford to comply.

Some production companies are now asking if you are incorporated before hiring you, as it saves them on payroll tax (since it becomes a business to business relationship). This is the biggest issue – it will cost hiring entities more money – approximate 25 to 30% more to make ICs into employees. And for an industry like film, this seems crazy to me.

I have also seen people doing GoFundMe campaigns to raise the money to incorporate so they don’t lose work! That is INSANE that they have to do that.

What Now?

We are all going to have to budget in the extra costs for payroll tax and services but we may lose bids to out-of-state companies if the client wants to save money. There’s not much we can do about those numbers though, and if you don’t comply, it can cost you dearly. If hiring entities don’t comply, they can be fined massively for each misclassified worker.

The number of professions clamoring for exemptions (including, ironically, Uber & Lyft) indicates that the wording of AB5 is too sweeping and will hurt many who have functioned successfully and willfully as independent contractors for years. They aren’t being reclassified, so to me that means they aren’t really complying while us little guys feel it in the pocketbook immediately.

Overall, AB 5 will push work out of the state or create less demand in certain fields. I could foresee indie filmmakers cutting some positions in order to save the money that they now have to pay in payroll taxes. Some productions are moving out of state, or if they are already out of state, are not hiring CA Contractors. We’ll likely see more skeleton crews (and less work) as a result.

Given the pushback we’ve seen from individuals all the way up to efforts like the Protect App-Based Drivers & Services, we’ll likely see some changes to AB 5, but it’s impossible so say when they’ll happen, or what will change. In the meantime, stay informed about what’s happening and join in the conversation about AB 5 to ensure that people like Governor Gavin Newsome and Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez hear and understand how the people who make up the vast majority of the entertainment industry are truly being affected.

 

Editor’s Note: ProVideo Coalition connected with a producer from an award-winning independent film company to better assess the landscape an offer an opinion about California Assembly Bill 5, better known as AB 5. Due to the sensitive nature of this topic and the ramifications of speaking out against it, we’re withholding their identity.

Please get in touch with PVC on Twitter or via email if you’d like to share your AB 5 thoughts or experiences. 

 

 

Photographing Aaron Hernandez on the Same Day He Shot Someone

I am writing this after getting a torrent of texts from friends and family who have been watching the documentary Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez on Netflix. It turns out I’m in it… an image of me on set with Aaron appears in the second episode. My first reaction was a bit of anger as I never licensed any images from that shoot (hey Netflix, call me maybe), but as that passed it eventually got me thinking about the day I spent on set with Aaron… the same day he shot someone.

Diving into the mind of another man is enough to make one lose his own. My photoshoot with Aaron Hernandez left me questioning what lies behind the eyes of the subjects who stand before my camera.

My many years of photographing celebrities have led to great experiences and friendships, but this one photoshoot made me question my own mental depth and acuity when it came to the very people that I work so hard to learn about, only to exist until the last shutter closes.

The photoshoot with Aaron took place on the final day of a week-long campaign that I was shooting for a sports client. We had professional athletes from the NBA, MLB and NFL in the studio all day. For me I wanted nothing more than to keep up the quality of the lighting on set through the final athlete, wrap, and then take my wife to Hawaii—the next day was Valentine’s Day.

It had been a long production: through pre-pro meetings, lighting days, scouting and client dinners, mentally I was exhausted and internally I was begging for relief from the pressure that I enjoy so much.

When Aaron Hernandez first entered the studio, I was wearing the jersey and shoulder pads of Clay Matthews (the athlete that preceded Aaron), a Chicago Cubs batting helmet, and drinking a Stella Artois. Perhaps understanding the light-heartedness that I carry on set, he immediately smiled and started laughing. I introduced myself, shook his hand and we started talking pleasantries: how’s the weather, what’s your new house like, how has your day been?

The final question and answer haunt me to this day….

“How has your day been?” I asked.

“Good,” he replied, along with a calm, childlike smile.

Hours earlier, he had shot a man in the head.

As I sit here typing this years later, I still have to pause for a moment in order to digest the gravity of the situation. Having gone through mental health struggles in the past, the idea of not knowing the mind behind one’s eyes is familiar to me, but the level to which Aaron was able to keep it hidden still frightens me to this day.

Upon hearing the news, the people on my crew that day were in shock and disbelief that such a sweet kid could have done such a horrible thing, but as time went on and the details became clearer, we accepted it despite the confusion.

In an odd way, it left me with a dilemma: how do I describe Aaron Hernandez?

I can only describe him with lights and a camera—the truth that existed within him will never play out on set.

As portrait photographers, we are challenged to expose the true nature of the person that stands in front of our camera: be it angry, shy, calm, or intense. However, photographing Aaron Hernandez has taught me a lot about my approach, what I thought existed within the frame lines, and what a camera can never truly capture.

Often times photographers are celebrated for a reaction or expression they’re able to draw out of their subjects (think of Karsh’s iconic image of Winston Churchill). It’s a romantic notion that the photographer is a sort of snake charmer, the subject a willingly controlled entity—together, they make up an act that ends in a great image.

I feel this approach sells the celebrity or model short; a successful photo shoot is the result of the collaborative effort of everyone on set, subject (obviously) included.

What Aaron Hernandez taught me is that all the lights in the world could not illuminate the darkness that lived within his mind.

While he and I worked together very well to get the images that the client wanted, we were merely playing the roles that were asked of us, in a dance that benefits the choreographer more than the dancer. It’s a part of this career where form and light matter more than discovery and truth, where we are not trying to learn anything about the athlete, but rather speak through them for the client’s cause.

On set, if I feel like the shoot has gone well and the images are in the bag, I will sometimes offer my subjects the option to shoot a few frames for fun. Aaron was game, he had seen an image in my portfolio of a football player holing a ball in a profile stance and wanted to have one like it for himself.

We drew the lights and smoke machine and created this image of him in a calm, subtle, almost stoic stance. He was excited about how the pose showed off his tattoos, which seemed to mean a lot to him.

I knew that turning an action light set into an impromptu portrait session wouldn’t be as dynamic a shot as I wanted, but when I got home and looked through the files, it wasn’t the lighting that disturbed me, it was his eyes.

The images we created on set that day were packed with intense expression and focus… the portrait that he asked for was absent of this. It was absent of emotion, of life, almost as if the personality of the young kid with the smiles and laughs had left and what remained was cold and unfeeling. Maybe this was a result of him being tired, or the difference of direction. But part of me wonders what he was thinking about as the huge light source in front of him popped at full power, probably blinding him, as I could barely see after setting up the softboxes.

We will never know.

Before breaking down set, Aaron asked me about one more shot. I pitched him a few crazy action scenarios (after all, it was the style of set we had that day), but what he wanted was a straight to camera portrait… without his helmet on.

This was the last frame I shot that day, and the last shot of him before the world learned of his dark secret.

I have never shown this image to anybody. Until today, I had chosen not to talk about the situation for many years. But with the recent release of the Netflix documentary about Aaron, and my unsolicited cameo, I found myself watching and wondering what could have been. Hoping, more than anything, that his tragic fall from grace could save someone in his shoes.


About the author: Blair Bunting is an advertising photographer based in Phoenix, Arizona. You can see more of his work on his website, blog, Facebook, and Instagram. This article was also published here.

Oscar Contender: Bombshell Make-Up and Hair Styling

When Charlize Theron, producer and star of director Jay Roach’s Bombshell, was preparing to play Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, she knew that she would need to physically transform herself to deliver the most accurate onscreen portrayal possible. Moreover, Bombshell’s other main characters, notably Fox News chief Roger Ailes and host Gretchen Carlson, were going […]

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Manfrotto Launches ‘Pro Rugged’ Line of SD, microSD and CF Cards

There’s news from Manfrotto: A fresh line of tripods memory cards. Wait…what? Manfrotto ventures forth to new shores with the introduction of their Pro Rugged line of SD, microSD and CF memory cards. These seem to be a direct competitor to the already available Sony TOUGH line of cards. Manfrotto claims best-in-class resilience against the odds of nature for the Pro Rugged line.

Pro Rugged

New ‘Pro Rugged’ labeled SD, micoSD and CF cards. image credit: Manfrotto

This came a bit by surprise: Manfrotto, renowned maker of tripods, bags and all kind of camera accessories ventures into the memory card market. The freshly launched Pro Rugged line of SD, microSD and CF cards comes in both, 64GB and 128GB flavors. So far, so ordinary. But these cards seem to be very performant in terms of weather resistance, therefore the name Pro Rugged.

Pro Rugged

image credit: Manfrotto

Manfrotto Pro Rugged Memory Cards

The new cards seem to be aimed at pro photographers. In the video world CF cards are not even a thing anymore and 128GB ist OK for microSD cards but for SD? Not so much. I’d get a 256GB card instead, if possible. However, for still photography, CF is still a thing, indeed and 128GB seems to be sufficient for most jobs, even when shooting RAW extensively.

Just like Sony with their TOUGH line of SD and CFExpress cards, Manfrotto claims that their PRO Rugged line is the “toughest in the world”… I guess we’ll have to wait and see how Manfrottos latest offering compares to the Sony cards.

Specifications

All three types of cards share the same capacities: 64GB and 128GB. However, the specs differ a bit from SD to microSD and CF variants.

Pro Rugged

image credit: Manfrotto

SD XC II UHS-II Cards

  • Read/Write speed: 280MB/s (read), 250MB/s (write)
  • V30 rating (up to 30MB/s, good for 4K video)
  • Temperature range: -25°C – 85°C
  • Payload: up to 20kg
  • Waterproof

microSD XC-I Cards

  • Read/Write speed: 90MB/s (read), 90MB/s (write)
  • V90 rating (up to 90MB/s, good for 4K and 6K video)
  • Temperature range: -25°C – 85°C
  • Payload: up to 20kg
  • Waterproof

CF UDMA 7 Cards

  • Read/Write speed: 160MB/s (read), 130MB/s (write)
  • UDMA 7 (Ultra Direct Memory Access) rating (up to 167MB/s and 12ns cycle time, good for 4K video)
  • Temperature range: 0°C – 70°C
  • Payload: up to 20kg
  • NOT Waterproof
Pro Rugged

image credit: Manfrotto

The SD cards come as a one-piece design, no connector ribs or write-protection switches can be found here. That’s because Manfrotto sealed off the inner electronics completely and made the cards very durable compared to ordinary off-the-shelf ones. They are bend-proof and shatter-proof up to an impact force of 20Kg and they can survive water even when submerged for up to 72 hours. However, the CF cards are not waterproof so don’t throw them into water just for the fun of it.

Pricing and Availability

All three types of Manfrotto’s Pro Rugged line of memory cards are available now. You can get them directly through their website. Prices are as follows:

  • 64GB SD: $115 US (currently 50% off for a limited time: $57.50 US)
  • 128GB SD: 225$ US (currently 50% off for a limited time: $112.50 US)
  • 64GB microSD: 32$ US
  • 128GB microSD: $42 US
  • 64GB CF: $80 US
  • 128GB CF: $150 US

link: Manfrotto | online shop

What do you think about these new memory cards? Good for video? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

The post Manfrotto Launches ‘Pro Rugged’ Line of SD, microSD and CF Cards appeared first on cinema5D.

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