Remote shooting part 2
24 Nov 2020 7:04AM
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Yesterday, I spent an hour in a Zoom meeting taking remote pictures of Vampire Princess: it worked rather well, I think. Its important that she is techie-minded, and understands what shes doing with the Zoom link, so that I didnt really need to. Because shed shot remotely before, she was right on top of her technology, and had her Canon camera linked to her computer: all the controls were available on my screen, and I was able to adjust the camera with the aid of my mouse.
Yes, theres a delay with everything, but with a good model like Kay it isnt a big issue. And the delay isnt great, in reality. Most people dont shoot terribly fast, in any case More thought, fewer frames is a pretty good maxim.
I shot at a rate of slightly more than one frame a minute, and thats fine: I was learning as I went. And I feel that with several really good frames in the bag, my costs were well justified. But I would normally take rather more frames, with slight variations. For direct comparison, a one-hour shoot with VP in June, at an outdoor location, gave 141 frames, even after deducting walking time from cars to the location and back.
The wonders of modern Broadband meant that I had the RAW files downloaded around 20 minutes after we finished shooting. In some ways its a disadvantage shooting with a strange camera and lens, of course: VPs Canon is rather different from my Alpha 7, though working with live view reduces the apparent differences.
VP was shooting in her bedroom, which has the advantage of black walls at least, its an advantage for my preferred sort of low-key work. Lighting was a single Rotolight, supplemented by a little daylight for most shots. With the camera on a tripod, the necessary slow shutter speeds arent a big deal. Speedlights complicate matters, as you cant see the effect youll get, though studio flash with modelling lamps will rock it (as they usually do).
My usual style of shooting relies on fine adjustments of camera angle and focus point: obviously, thats not possible with a camera on a tripod. It was necessary to allow a larger dead area all round the subject though I caught myself out once or twice, and have sub-optimal framing in one or two shots.
A big issue could have been that I was shooting with an 18mp camera and a standard zoom, and Im used to using a 42mp camera with an 85mm lens on the front. Did it matter? To be completely honest, not really. Most pictures succeed or fail on the basis of their content, rather than absolute technical quality: and while I reckon 24mp is where film starts to lose out to digital, once cameras reached 12mp, quality was usually perfectly adequate for any shot that doesnt require fine detail to be beautifully sharp.
One thing I missed until we altered the setup if youre using a relatively weak artificial light source like a Rotolight, its important to kill all other light sources. The drama of our setup increased markedly when I saw that the curtains were open, as the daylight was providing a significant additional light source!
Would I do it again? Yes, I would. Should you? Very possibly: though you need to be sure what youre getting in technical terms. The deal I had meant that I got RAW files rapidly, and with virtual links that worked well: I can vouch for the Zoom/Digicam combination. And its worth being sure that your model understands what shes doing with her kit, and that you are happy with whats on offer. I know of at least one other model offering similarly sophisticated hardware and an incisive mind of the sort this needs at the models end to make it work.