Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Andrew Kornylak embraces the multimedia possibilities of modern digital cameras
While Kornylak was getting his start, he freelanced as a software developer to supplement his income. Because he was so comfortable around computers, he was experimenting by putting together promotional slideshows from his stills, adding music soundtracks and burning them to DVD in order to send them out to possible clients.
“Whenever I got a magazine assignment,” he explains, “I would offer a slideshow. A simple pitch: I’ll put together some photos and audio from the back story of the shoot that didn’t make print and show it on their website to resonate with the article. It worked sometimes, but most magazines were not interested in devoting any resources to their website, so it was an uphill battle. Still, a market was opening up, and I was doing all the work anyway—gathering audio and video, shooting horizontally, thinking in terms of multimedia stories—so it was good practice.”
Kornylak began working on documentary projects that were planned to combine stills and video with longtime friend Josh Fowler, a DP and regular cameraman for National Geographic. Alongside their many projects together, he learned how to use Final Cut Pro as a more effective way for putting together slideshows of his photography. Final Cut was more than powerful enough to work with the large still images that he was capturing from his DSLR, so “it was a perfect sandbox to play in,” says Kornylak. As for the process of shooting itself, he learned as he went.
“One great thing about working in lower frame rates,” he says, “is that I can use strobe lighting so I can get the lighting effects—freezing motion, shutter drag and overpowering the sun, for example—that would be difficult without elaborate, and hot, continuous lighting. So the lighting setup is exactly the same as for stills. This is especially good when the client wants stills and motion from the same production. Everything comes out with a consistent look. The only difference is that you need many, many more batteries on hand.
“Camera movement also comes into play,” adds Kornylak. “Even at 7 fps, smooth camera movements will be rewarded. Because of the buffer limitations of whatever camera that I’m using, I have to carefully plan my sequences out and be economical. I might be shooting RAW or JPEG, depending on the buffer size I need. I have to think about what my final video format will be because that will drive my decisions about shooting frame rate [how it will scale to the final frame rate], framing [how the stills will fit in the final aspect ratio] and so on. This type of preplanning is more familiar to people used to video production, but might be a little daunting for a photographer.”
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