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Watermarks - Get used to seeing them big and bold...

Watermarks – Get used to seeing them big and bold…

There’s been an awful lot of Tweeting and anger on social media channels this last 24 hours about the UK Government’s Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill. Porsche specialist and writer Phil Raby contacted me to ask what the fuss was about, as like many, he had no idea that this bill was planned. And unless you’re an eagle eyed photographer, why should you? Sop, as Phil asked, here’s a (hopefully) sensible summary of the situation as it stands on 29th April 2013.

Despite wide opposition from the photographic industry, the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill has received royal assent on 26 April, enabling the government to introduce, through regulations, controversial copyright reforms. The bill, which became an act of law last week, was sponsored by Vince Cable and Lord Marland of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The bill was originally written to eradicate unnecessary bureaucracy but presented a series of provisions, introduced through the back door by the Intellectual Property Office, to allow the use of Orphan Works such as images that lack metadata and whose copyright owners cannot be found.

While the initial idea, put forth by members of the academic profession to find a way to use very old archive images sitting in museum collections, was created with good intention, no thought was really given to the commercial aspects. The bill sweeps away many of the obstacles that commercial organisations have previously had to just taking photographs, digital or analogue, and simply using them. A previous attempt, just before the last general election, was voted down. However, a change of government in the UK seems to have been all that was required.

“The invention of photography and its mass adoption by the population created a new kind of potential value, but being analogue it was too expensive for corporations to exploit en masse the many millions of photographs they made,” comments Paul Ellis of the Stop43 campaign group. “Digital changed all that. Intellectual Property is the oil of the 20th century, and the almost cost-free duplication and dissemination of digital files has resulted in a huge stream of images. The trouble is, it was illegal to exploit them without their owners’ permission. That’s no longer the case.”

Those people hardest hit will be individual photographers, the people whose work is often used in magazines, books and TV programmes. The key reason why is due to the definition of an ‘Orphan Work” and what is required under the new legislation of making a ‘due diligent’ search.

No real definition is given to what is considered to be a ‘reasonable’ effort to find a creator. An Orphan Work is any image that it can be possibly claimed as not carrying any ownership date or identity. So those images you upload to Facebook and Twitter that have the EXIF data stripped are all, technically, orphans.

Additionally, given the global nature of the internet, I’m unable to find a credible source of information on the impact outside of the UK. For example, USA based photographers often register their work at the US Copyright Office. This gives them access to punitive damages. What would be the impact, should a USA based photographer discover a UK infringer and bring court action in the US courts?

If you don’t earn a living from your images, you’re possibly thinking, “What’s the big deal?” Well apart from ignoring a very significant body of opinion from many sources, it means that those pictures you on Facebook of the kids playing on the beach could just end up in an advertisement somewhere, whether you like it or not.

Below are several links to sources of more information and opinions that will hopefully give you more information on this issue.

The BJP:

http://www.bjp-online.com/british-journal-of-photography/news/2264780/controversial-copyright-framework-receives-royal-assent#ixzz2RrPDurzf

Edmond Terakopian’s Blog:

http://photothisandthat.co.uk/2013/04/29/is-the-uk-government-trying-to-kill-of-photographers/

The Register

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/04/29/err_act_landgrab/

The Stop 43 Campaign.

http://stop43.org/

BBC News:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-22337406

Update 2nd May. Here’s a link to someone who thinks the whole thing is blown out of proportion and actually, photographers and others are just lying about everything. You may wish to comment.

http://mark.goodge.co.uk/2013/04/stop-the-lies-from-stop43/

We’ll add more information as it’s reported, but if you have an opinion, please add it below.

Car Photography Tips

We’ve written before about the business of photography and will continue to do so, to help educate newcomers, share experiences and generally, hopefully, help the photography business. Should I Work For Free is one we hear a lot….

Here’s a great infographic by Fotoseeds showing the choices if you think that being a professional photographer is just as much fun as being an amateur, only you get paid for it……

so-you-wanna-be-a-photographer-fotoseeds_v3

Cameras and Equipment

The GoPro phenomenon continues to amaze, we see them pretty much everywhere these days and there isn’t a guest-torturing reality TV show anywhere that isn’t using them to captured the facial pain for our delight. And of course, for car film makers they’re a revelation. Probably one of the few things you’re criticise the camera for would be it’s mounting system. It’s perfectly fine for most shots, but sometimes you need an angle or a mount you won’t get with suction cups and stick on brackets. So when we stumbled across this cage from Red Rock Micro, we sat up straight and read about it.

Make your GoPro part of your main grip kit with a Red Rock Cobalt Cage

Make your GoPro part of your main grip kit with a Red Rock Cobalt Cage

The Cobalt Cage is precision machined from military grade aluminium and puts your GoPro well into harms way. It comes with industry standard mounting points that will allow you to integrate it into your existing grip gear system and use those Magic Arms and Grip Heads to mount it very securely indeed. With 1/4 inch stud threads all over the body, the Cobalt Cage will enable you to rig a GoPro and avoid that sometimes annoying suction mount wobble.

No more suction mount wobble

No more suction mount wobble

The same mount points can be used to rig a mini-light or external sound recording device. The cage can take the GoPro inside it’s waterproof housing, or by using the accessory kit, you can fix it ‘naked’ inside the cage. Doing this gives access to the SD card slot in-situ and minimizes the chance of fogging up in hot humid locations.

We’ve a Porsche 911 Turbo sitting outside just made for the job of fixing a Cobalt Cage onto and then chasing some race cars around a track. This thing is just made for mounting real close to the track and chasing a race or rally car…

Takes either naked or waterproof mounted GoPros

Takes either naked or waterproof mounted GoPros

Photography & Video

fangio-onboardLove this in-car, or more like on-car, video of Fangio driving some demonstration laps in his Maserati 250F around Modena in Italy. It just goes to show that on board cameras are nothing new, this being shot in 1957. Just how big the camera will have been that they mounted on the Maserati would probably be something to behold by today’s standards. It may not be 1920 HD but it’s great and very rare footage. Watch the man at work…

Photography & Video

M13_0197_fine-3
Hot on the heels of the great images released by Porsche celebrating fifty years of the 911, they’ve released this set of images of the new endurance racing car updates for 2013. Some great studio shots, but the EXIF doesn’t tell us who the photographer was, only that they were shot on the Canon 1DS Mk3.
We’ll be showcasing more great photography released by car manufacturers as this new series of posts unfolds and whenever possible, we’ll get some input from the photographer responsible for creating them. These images are used globally by car manufacturers and racing teams and we think it will be a good thing to give the guy behind the camera a shout out for great quality work. So car makers, don’t strip out the EXIF data, we need it to track down the shooter!

Photography & Video

Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Coupé und Porsche 911 2.0 Coupé (Baujahr 1964)
We’ve a strong Porsche bias here, in case you haven’t spotted it. Sorry, that’s just how we roll. Here’s a great set of automotive photography released by Porsche to commence the celebration of fifty years of the 911. Click the thumbs for a larger view and enjoy some quality automotive images.

Car Photography Tips

Twitter and the iPhone were born for each other. A more than capable camera and a method of global distribution to your audience. Perfect, right? Well, sort of. Like many photographers, creative industry people and website owners, I wanted to have more control over how and where my Twitter / iPhone shots were displayed.

So why would I want to host my own Twitter images?

Well, there are plenty of Twitter image hosting services out there, but they nearly all have licencing terms that I didn’t really like. For sure, you retain copyright, but you’re giving them permission to use your images for pretty much anything they please. We’ve seen over the last twelve months how many of these services can be sold to larger corporations and be absorbed, but also how some can simply disappear altogether. The high profile issue of Instagram’s change to terms and conditions is a case in point. Your image hosting company may love you and hug you today, but tomorrow?

Tweet your car photography to your own website

Tweet your iPhone car photography to your own website

What About The Clicks?

Additionally, you’re sending any click through traffic to them, not your own website. I figured I probably wasn’t alone and began searching for a way to self host your Twitter images on a WordPress based website. Is it worth the trouble? If you’re the kind of Tweeter who is working in photography or creative areas, or you simply want to make the best use of your Twitter uploads and retaken control of your images, then the graphic below shows how it can help you and check our my website to see how the finished system works in the sidebar and footer. (more…)

Photography & Video

Following on from my post on Land Rover’s TV commercial on-set video, here’s a great behind the scenes short showing how creatives The Splice Boys shot a great 360 degree multi camera array of the new Land Rover Discovery.The requirement from the breif by Black and Cameron was for a 360 degree movie. In order to keep the camera rig out of shot, the Splice Boys crew came up with the idea of dividing the 360 degrees into segments, with a different location for each shot.

camera-array

This must have been logistically very hard to pull off, with the location being China and a whole series of far flung locations to shoot the Discovery in. They comment, “We took the rig around China, shooting everything from stills, film, time lapse and lenticular 3D photography. we shot in many locations, including Tibet, Beijing, Shangrila in Yunnan Province and Dunhuang on the edge of the Gobi Desert. We set it up at 5000 metres in blizzards, got borderline hypothermia working though the night at -23 degrees Celsius, [shot in] freezing rain in lakes and rivers, covered the rig with mud and burnt ourselves to a crisp in the desert. The equipment is all packed in custom boxing and transported either in a van or on our backs. One of the biggest difficulties is just in the sheer size of the rig, and all the interconnected and delicate parts that make it work. In a studio, this is relatively easy; in the rain or at altitude, not so much.”

The result is superb and has been well received globally. Great work.

Splice Boys – Land Rover TVC + Making Of = Bullet-Time from Richard Kendall on Vimeo.

Cameras and Equipment

At the end of last year, a rather large cardboard package arrived. Sitting inside, with a crisp black finish, was Think Tank’s Airport Accelerator. It’s a bag I’d been looking forward to for some time, the one that would hopefully solve some problems I have.

You may well have read earlier about my tale of camera bag wreckage across the years. They all had good and bad points, but no one bag or case covered all the bases. I’d resigned myself to the fact that camera bags were always going to be a compromise, doing most things to get the job done, but being annoying in the small things they don’t do. Then I discovered Think Tank. I started using the Urban Disguise last year and was mighty impressed by the sheer number of places I kept finding to put stuff. Just when you think you’ve discovered all the compartments, another zip, clippable loop or velcro flap appears. Which, of course, is great for forgetting where you put stuff.

The Urban Disguise is great, it’s my Murder Bag. But I needed a bag that would carry the Canon EOS 1DS sized bodies and other stuff. The Urban Disguise is great for a Canon 5D and vertical grip, or I can get a single 1DS in vertically, but not all of my gear. Which brings me to the contents of the cardboard packaging in front of me. Slide it out of the box, slip off the plastic packaging and set it down. It’s BIG. And it’s square. Well rectangular actually, but there’s a sharpness to the edges of the design that appeals to me. Many bags on the marketplace are shaped like conventional rucksacks, giving them a tapered shape. The problem with that design is that it’s an inefficient use of space, you finish up tugging and swearing at the hook n loop flaps as you try and figure out what item of kit you can fit into that odd, tapered bit of compartment you’ve got left over. This is sharp, angular. OK, I might look a little odd if I have to sling it onto my shoulders for a hike, I’d probably look like a Marine on cross country exercise. But in my line of work, that’s not something I do too often. Far more likely that I’m lifting it a shorter distance into the back of the car or into an overhead airline storage bin.

Lots of handles and harnesses to spread the load

Lots of handles and harnesses to spread the load

However, if you are the kind of shooter that has to hike a distance, or if you dread the airport concourse adventure, then the rucksack shoulder straps are very think. Don’t forget it’s a big bag, so don’t go trying to hang it on one shoulder. That will just give you long term problems. Use the design properly, both straps, plus the waist belt that folds away when not in use. That spreads the load and saves your back.

So, What About The Inside?

Grab the industrial grade YKK zipper and open it up. It’s deep. Real deep. I take a Canon 1DS body and lens and drop it in. It swallows the thing up. Previous bags used to leave the top of the prism and hotshoe of 1D series Canon EOS bodies sitting just proud, always vulnerable to damage if the bag took a tumble. With this thing, it’s sitting deep inside. You’d get a Phase One system in here without problem. Time to do battle with the velcro dividers and figure out a layout.

Clever supporting divider for telephotos

Clever supporting divider for telephotos

It’s a right of passage for a new camera bag that I spend way, way too long trying to figure a way to house my kit. If you’re like me, you probably spend an entire afternoon working up a sweat tugging at the moveable dividers until you’ve got everything as you want it. Then a few days later, you’ll change it again. Unlike the images of many camera bag makers publicity images, I leave my cameras with lenses attached, ready to shoot. Pack shots of neatly stacked bodies with caps fitting don’t make sense to me. I want to grab it, power it up and be ready to shoot. Now that creates a problem. Because a camera / lens combo isn’t square. It’s kind of ‘T’ shaped. With Rucksack Bag I always used to have a camera / lens combo running down the centre, then slotted everything else in around it. With the Airport Monster, there’s no need. The bag comes with more dividers than you’d ever need, enabling you to pack stuff around the camera/lens combo. It also has a very useful divider with a supporting cutout for protecting a camera body / telephoto lens combination.

Lid swallows iPad and 17" MacBookPro with ease

Lid swallows iPad and 17″ MacBookPro with ease

The top takes a 17 inch MacBookPro and an iPad without a blink, plus there’s an additional, smaller compartment that’s easy to get to with velcro compartments and a strap that’s just perfect for clipping the Pixel Pocket Rocket memory card holder to.

Things I Like

It’s square. Did I mention that? Well, OK, it’s rectangular…. Why is that such a big deal? As I described above, far too many rucksack type bags have tapered shoulders, looking like a traditional hiker’s rucksack. It’s an inefficient use of space. Angular bags work for me and this one is really, really angular.

It’s deep…. I can almost fit my 70-200 F2.8 vertically into it. My Canon 1DS is totally protected and the abundance of dividers means that I can pack everything tight, with no room for movement, important to avoid damage.

Handles, lots of em…. You’ve got the rucksack harness and waist belt, plus two grab handles, one on the top, ideal for sliding it into overhead cargo bins on jets, plus a side mounted handle, perfect for carrying it like a suitcase down the airport concourse.

Top quality components throughout

Top quality components throughout

It’s built like a tank. In idle moments, I sometimes wonder if companies like Think Tank aren’t shooting themselves in the foot. This thing feels like it’s built to the highest standards, top draw components, YKK zippers, quality material and it has the feeling that it will literally last a lifetime. So why would you ever need to buy another?

Dislikes

Very, very few. The bag is top quality any dislikes are really just personal foibles. Living in the UK right now, I have only one concern and that is our UK budget airlines. The Airport Accelerator, as you’d guess by the name, is designed to international airline luggage standards for carry on bags. Fine for international travel, even within Europe, but our cunning, conniving UK airlines keep changing the rules on sizes and weights.

Pretty much everything you'll need to work all in a carry on bag

Pretty much everything you’ll need to work all in a carry on bag

Finally, not a dislike, but something to bear in mind. The Airport Accelerator will carry pretty much most things a working photographer will need to exist and produce images. That makes it heavy. The first time, I lifted it once I’d loaded it, I got a shock. Time for me to man up and get used to the weight, it is after all, the camera bag I’d looked forward to and the solution to all my woes. But gone are the days of sidling up to airport check-in casually holding my bag with a few fingertips, pretending that it’s lightweight and not worth weighing.

If I sound gushing in my praise fort his bag, please excuse me. For sure there are many good quality camera bags on the market today and indeed, the choice is a very personal one. But the quality of the construction and the sheer practicality of this bag make it a firm favourite. And did I mention that it’s an exact fit for the luggage compartment of a modern Porsche 911? Porsche and Think Tank, you guys should talk to each other….

You can order online direct worldwide on the Think Tank store here. We get some beer money if you do, which is always refreshing.