DPP Home Profiles Mark DeLong: Master Of Perfection

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Mark DeLong: Master Of Perfection

Mark DeLong sees in still and in motion, and he is as meticulous as he is creative through all aspects of both


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DeLong: I did some assisting with some very successful photographers. We worked in film, but I started messing around on my own with the digital equipment very early on. Compared to today, the technology was terrible, but at the same time, it was exciting. I saw the potential.

DPP: You do some compositing from time to time. How do you assemble the pieces and people for ads such as the one you did for HGTV's Design Star show?

DeLong: We get a lot of assignments where we have to build shots through compositing. It's a fun side of the commercial work, trying to figure out how to get that to happen for the art director, for it all to come together and look believable. For Design Star, we shot both the people and the backgrounds separately, then put it all together. It had to be done that way because the participants would be kicked off the show as the season went on. So one by one they would disappear from the shot. Those people were not even in the same building when that "photo" was taken. They had to have a group shot, but none of the people could see each other. This is where the medium format has its real strength. If you try to pull this out of a motion frame grab, you're not going to get that. I use different tools for different jobs. It's very intricate work.

DPP: You obviously like to solve visual problems. Clients come to you and ask, "How can we convert this idea into a photograph?"


Many of his jobs require intricate setups, and DeLong is a problem-solver who relishes a complicated task and getting it done. A photographer who can pull off just about anything you throw at him or her is a rare and highly valued artist.
DeLong: "Here's the challenge. Can you make this happen?" Yes. Absolutely. I feel like we can pull off pretty much anything. There a lot of very talented people out there. The people we work with are extremely professional and make up a really tight crew.

DPP: How do you handle the postproduction for the motion projects?

DeLong: I had been working with Final Cut for a long time, but have recently begun implementing Adobe Premiere. I'm trying to build this grand imagery with all these little parts. Lens choices make a big difference in terms of the look. With the older REDs, it seemed like the softer lenses would help a little bit. I really like the Cooke lenses with the ALEXA; it seems like a really magical combination. With the new RED, it seems like the Zeiss Super Speed lenses have a nice look; the jury is still out on that one, though. They're all PL mounts. I think in the motion picture world there's sometimes the approach of using a bigger paintbrush and fixing it in post. I'm looking at it from the still photographer point of view, trying to get it in-camera. There are still differences between the two worlds even though we've all come together in a way.

DPP: Transmedia is the new catchword. The difference between "multimedia" and "transmedia" may be that the former is like a stew, while the latter is more blended.


DeLong shoots with the RED EPIC on a recent motion project. There are so many avenues for expression in the world of new media today, yet in each one he tackles, DeLong's work rises to the top.
What's your advice for people entering the marketplace now?

DeLong: Do what you love. The gloves are off. You can do what you want. There's going to be a market for what you want to do if you can do it well. If not now, then there will be. Everybody is going to have a place in the multimedia world—whatever you want to call it—multimedia, transmedia, new media. As long as I've been doing this, it kind of feels like a rebirth. We have a new perspective on a kind of worn-out model. But now with all this technology, it's almost overwhelming how many choices of media there are for self-expression. We have so many layers, the way that a simple sound or a little bit of music can completely change motion footage. We can manipulate the lighting, the speed, the flow/rhythm with a few clicks of the mouse. Those layers are what's so amazing to me.

To see more of Mark DeLong's photography, visit www.markdelong.com.

 

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