Thursday, June 14, 2007
David Sacks - Creative Fusion
David Sacks keeps his imagery fresh by seeking a balance between work that pays the bills and work that energizes the soul
On a recent shoot for a major accounting firm, Sacks and his team were on the streets of Tribeca in Manhattan, working with more than 11 models. They rented a 40-foot RV and hauled a lot of lighting equipment to the shoot. His studio manager was in the RV with a laptop, downloading images the assistant brought to him as soon as the 2 GB CF cards were filled.
Studio manager Meyer downloaded the images from the CF card and immediately backed them up to portable LaCie 80 GB FireWire drives, leaving the images on the CF card for added security. During any given shoot, if all 12 of Sacks' CF cards are filled, only then will they recycle cards as needed. With this procedure, the team never has lost any data during a shoot.
It's not time-critical for Sacks and his staff to review in detail all of the images on location. They can afford to wait until they're back in the studio to assess the day's shoot. Toward the end of the day, they will copy the 80 GB drive to another 80 GB drive and give that to the client to take for review. Those drives contain the RAW files, not low-resolution JPEGs. “It's what my clients want to see,” Sacks explains.
Sacks edits the pictures personally, generating a list of selects. The art director also will edit the day's shoot and generate his or her list of selects. Then they discuss their choices. Afterward, Sacks receives the final list of image numbers the client wants with suggestions and/or comments for postproduction treatment. He'll process the images to the client's exact specifications and give them match prints.
Sacks does all of his work in Phase One's Capture One Pro software. He prefers this tool instead of Photoshop for RAW processing because, for him, the application is both powerful and intuitive. “I gave up editing with the File Browser in Photoshop several years ago because it took time for it to render the RAW images and generate an image cache,” says Sacks. “I grew frustrated not knowing right away if my images were sharp or well-exposed. With Camera One, the feedback is instant.”
After the RAW images are processed, Sacks' staff does all of the work in Photoshop pertaining to tonal adjustments and printing.
Once the client has their final images, Sacks' studio does extensive archiving. “If movies have taught me anything, it's that you can never be too sure when an EMP is going to come along and wipe out everything in a flash,” Sacks notes with a great degree of sarcasm.
Everything is backed up to a LaCie terabyte hard drive (his main client drive) and another terabyte hard drive, which is stored in a safe. Lastly, images are burned to DVD. That takes a lot of time, but it's necessary to ensure the life of the data. Sacks acknowledges that with the costs of DVD media dropping and the write speed of DVD-R drives increasing, it's getting easier to put files on DVD for long-term storage.
The Creative Edge
The search for balance is a recurring theme in Sacks' photography and his life. As a respected professional and cutting-edge digital shooter, he maintains a high-pressure schedule, delivering job after job to a combination of editorial and commercial clients. Never satisfied with creating a formula and going through the motions, he continually seeks new ways to approach an assignment. Sacks' work in Africa stands out as a way to keep the creative batteries charged by feeding his desire to help people and make a difference for those who need it. If only he could do more work for free.
To see more of David Sacks' photography, visit www.davidsacks.com.
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