Category “Blog”

Izmostudio on Location

First of all, please pardon me for the lack of attending to this blog. Summer has been busy with R&D, a new demo reel, and keeping our high paced volume of automotive media production rolling. The good news is now there is a stack of blog entries all lined up, with some great new updates on the time lapse and motion control equipment reviews, a new stock photography licensing business model, and more of our BTS updates.

Summer was rather nice in Belgium this year. Despite some historical rain fall and flooding there were some spectacular windows of sunshine. Yes, it is true. I just used sunshine and Belgium in the same sentence. To honor this confluence of geography and mother natures golden rays we decided to flex our outdoor location photography prowess with some off-roading rig shots.

Thanks to our studio producer extraordinaire, Alice Wouters, we were all setup with a manly combo. A rock quarry location in Quenast, Belgium, and a 2011 Toyota Land Cruiser, provided the setting for a perfect branding fit, and fun filled production day in a hot, sunny, dusty quarry pit.

All in all our location project was a success, with all the bits and pieces of our rig, cameras, and planning coming together to produce three photos in one day.  Mr. Slate would be proud.

Sunshine in a Studio

At izmostudio we have been working with image composites, as a low cost alternative offering compared to location photography and CGI. Those fine production days of full catered fun in the sun south of the boarder, with large crews and weather delays, are rare now. Quick, lean, and super efficient is how we work today.

Our snazzy Renault Megan convertible needed to be outside with the top down, so we set up a nice mix of Arri hard lights, our thirty foot overhead flying flat, and went about sculpting the car with light as if it were sitting next to a beach. We decided on a sunset/rise scene, so adding some warm gels to the studio setup and direct spot light into the lens is key to bringing the two photos together.

See the full size photo of the 2011 Renault Megan Convertible here.

Motion Control & Time Lapse Equipment Review II

This is a follow up to my previous post from March 11th this year. Since then izmostudio has been using some of the motion control equipment that was featured in that equipment round up, and I have one exciting new piece of gear to talk about too. The eMotimoPT is new to us, and we tested it for this follow up review.

Our moco equipment testing is being done while we are working with cars in the studio, which is a mix of full motion video, time-lapse, and stop frame animations. The system we used for this is a five foot Kessler Cine Slider, Kessler Revolution Head, one Oracle Controller, and elektraDRIVE motors all around. We used this rig in just about every configuration possible.

productioon photo of motion control setup

Using a video slider upside down for fly over

The Cine Slider is really a solid piece of equipment with excellent build quality. During the production of the the izmostudio demo reel all the Kessler gear traveled very well among eight international airport connections, customs inspections, and as you can see in the production stills – some funky rigging.

The Cine Slider is much more than just a horizontal slider. With this one slider rig we can achieve push, pull, rise and pan shots. And while technically it’s a pan shot, we also make “aerial” views with the Cine Slider slung upside down and mounted high above the subject

The Cine Slider can be used manually to get clean moves in video, but this wouldn’t be a motion control review without motors driving the base plate. For our rig we are using the elektraDRIVE 200 Series Motor Pod with a 264:1 ratio. On the Kessler website there are five different motors to choose from. We use this 200 series for a best of both worlds scenario, with time lapse and video production.

motion control setup in studio

Kessler Crane motion control setup for interior of car

The Kessler Revolution head provides the pan and tilt axis of motion. The Revolution head is precession machined and feels super solid and high quality. As a nice bonus, the Revolution head is also quite modular. We are working inside cars and tight spaces. Being able to remove pieces of the Revolution head to fit our needs is super advantageous. Taking the “L  shape” vertical extension off removes the tilt function and then you have an excellent on axis rotating head. Add a Magic Arm or ball head and the possibilities expand. Using just the top tilt portion of the Revolution Head is also possible. Depending on the mounting orientation it becomes either a tilt, pan, or off axis rotating head.

The Oracle controller is needed to drive the motors and record your moves for both the elektraDRIVE on the Cine Slider and the Revolution head. The Oracle firmware upgrade (April 2011 – v2.06.8SL) allows for two axis movement. We worked with one Oracle, and found that having two controllers would be much better for multi axis moves. A single controller for video is okay with some practice finding the sweet spot on the joystick between the desired axis of movement. This system is quick and intuitive for full motion video. In Live Motion mode on the Oracle controller simply assign control to the joystick in the direction you want to move. For example, left/right for the slider and twist for the pan head movement. Record your move and your done. Unless you are like me and it takes a dozen passes to get it right.

Using this Kessler system for multi axis time lapse is more challenging. Although there are three program modes to record time lapse moves on the Oracle (Advanced, SmartLapse, and Simple) it takes time and experimentation to get a super clean dual axis move recorded.

On our setup the motor speed on the Cine Slider is not matched to the motor speed on the Revolution Head. The result in time lapse moves is that the head moves faster than the slider. There are three solutions to this issue.

One. Use the Oracle advanced mode to program cycles and intervals for each axis of movement and compensate for this speed difference. The orientation of the slider and the weight load also has to be factored into motor speed. I gave this method my best car photographer effort several times, and never got it right.

Two. In the SmartLapse mode hold the Oracle controller (very) steady at a consistent speed for both axis of movement. If you are able to hold your hand in the same exact place for several minutes this will work. It’s about ten minutes on a full 5ft. slide move at 209. The best way to get this accurate is to watch the per axis speed readout on the Oracle controller. Watching the head itself will get you inaccurate speeds on the pan/tilt. The slider is easy as its full throttle left or right, with actual speed limited by the “max Speed” knob. The head takes a few practice runs to find the right speed for a precise end frame. Any fluctuation will show in the final movie.

Note: Do this before you shoot, while not under time pressure, and record the program. Eric Kessler has a quick tutorial on multi axis setup here.

Three. Buy another Oracle controller. For multi axis time lapse moves, having a second controller is the sure fire way of getting accuracy and efficient results. Tobias Straka from Swiss Film Makers presents a great tutorial on the double Oracle setup.

Overall the Kessler system is a great rig. My wish list for a motion control system priced at $5000 is pixel perfect repeatable start/stop programing, recording time lapse moves in real time and then setting the desired playback time and interval. This wish could be coming true very soon. At NAB 2011 Kessler demonstrated a new software keyframe driven motion control system with five axis of movement, which is due out in July this year.


Motion Control Pan/Tilt Head for time lapse and video







eMotimoPT is a new two axis pan/tilt motion control head. I tested the Emotimo a few weeks ago outside the studio. There are two features that make the eMotimoPT a stellar piece of motion control equipment.

One is the quick easy setup. Record a multi axis move in real time. Then tell eMotimo how long to play back this move, and your done. Then go do something else. Seriously it is that easy. The first day I took this head out for a spin – see kite time lapse – I was setup and exposing frames in seven minutes, after a quick read of the instructions the night before. Even if I forgot something the LCD readout on the side of eMotimo features an easy step by step setup for time lapse:

  • Move to start position
  • Go to end position
  • Set ramp up frames (header)
  • Total number of frames
  • Exposure time, which is actually resting time for SMS (shoot-move-shoot)
  • Number of post frames (footer)

The second stellar feature about the eMotimo pan/tilt moco head is that it will repeat a move with pixel perfect accuracy. The test I did is the San Francisco Bay time lapse sample with storm clouds. Both of these are twenty minute sequences, with ten minutes in between.

At the end of the sample video is both videos on two separate layers in After Effects, with the layers set to subtract. Notice how stationary objects like buildings and the Golden Gate Bridge are perfectly aligned. Why does this matter? Green screen keying, compositing multiple lighting passes, and multiple exposure values for sky/foreground are all achievable with this level of repeatable motion control accuracy.

Maybe this should be the first advantage of the eMotimoPT. It only costs $500 dollars. The price point and build quality of the eMotimoPT is aimed at the middle market, but it acts and works like a top level professional piece of equipment.

Coming soon on the third edition of our motion control and time lapse equipment review is the very popular dolly rig made by Dynamic Perception. The back order on these is about eight weeks and our tester just arrived. We are also keen on giving the CamBlock a test drive real soon, hint. Stay tuned and let us know how your moco setup is working.

Steven Poe

Ford Focus Production – Studio Rental

Our studio rental in Belgium has some great clients and we enjoy sharing the very unique space with film producers and photographers. Six months ago we had Czar and Rokkit in the house for over a week shooting a commercial for Ford International and Ogilvy London.

The production consisted of a international team of 55 people, with the Director Raf Wathion and the Director of Photography Patrick Otten from Belgium, Director of Photography Stephen Blackman from England, and special effects professionals coming from France and the Netherlands.

Our 18,000 square foot capacity of purpose built studio space allowed for the teams to work on four sets simultaneously, as well as setup a machine and fabrication shop for special effects and prop teams.

It’s a very nice studio, we can work on 4 stages in the same time and the advantage is that we could be in the center of 4 stages for preparing our special effects material. The studio is really nice, specifically the 2 turntables. Benoit Talenton: Special Effects Team/France

In additional to the studio space we also rented our offices, kitchen, and client lounge areas.

Filming is passed without problem, everybody enjoyed working here. The atmosphere of working was very relaxed and pleasant. Simon Van Laar: Belgian Art Director

During the studio rental the izmoEurope team provided studio support and no doubt had some fun, as one of the sets had a Milo motion control arm working full time.


Mini Cooper D – Production Time Lapse Video

Over at our izmoEurope studio in Belgium the team had some fun with this Mini Cooper D production. It must be those long winters in Belgium that had Andreas and Stephan driving the Mini on the cyclorama walls and all. Have a look at this behind the scenes time lapse video too. The video is captured over about eight hours of production time, and playing back just for you in one minute.

2010 Mini Cooper D – Behind the scenes time lapse from izmostock on Vimeo.

How to build a cyclorama

Imagine being inside an empty egg. There you are, surrounded by white, with no horizon in sight. You’re depth perception is gone, but it’s not stressing you out, because you are calm, zen like, suspended in the illusion of endless space of silky white and smooth.

This is what a car sees inside a cyclorama, also known as a cove. And this is why we build cyclo’s to photograph cars. At izmostudio we have purpose built cycloramas, for photographing very high volumes of automotive media, and custom photography.

Many other parts of the media industry use cycloramas for all kinds of media production like fashion, large product sets (think furniture), movies, green screen, and television sets. Common to all are the smooth walls sans horizon, and the creative capacity to play with light, and shadow, on curvy cyclorama walls.

As common as cycloramas are, there are many times I see a blank look of confusion, when discussing cycloramas with different people. Maybe I’ve mistaken the calm, suspended, zen look, for a blank stare of confusion. In case it is confusion, I thought it would be cool to write a quick review of the three basic forms of constructing a cyclorama.

Building a cyclorama is basically building walls, with smooth curves instead of right angles. The difficult part is the corners, where two or more curves meet. The three different structural materials I’ve used successfully are wood, steel, and fiberglass. Each one has advantages, which I will review. All three different approaches, require some form of drywall and plaster. For our European friends, this material is known as Gypsum plaster.

finished cyclorama stage

Finished cyclorama stage

Building a cyclorama is like any construction project. The space you have available and the budget for time, materials and labor drive the process. Make sure that these elements will meet your production goals.

Producing video or photography of large shinny objects requires much more cyclorama than beautiful models with wind blowing through their hair, or a small green screen set for composite and EFX work.

Now that you know the size of the cyclorama that you need to cover the subject, and provide enough background from your field of view (FOV), lets look at the all important radius.

What is a Radius?
A full radius is half the diameter of a circle. A radius on a cyclorama then is ¼ of a circle to cover the horizontal distance from floor to wall, or vertical distance, from wall to wall in the corners.

The goal is to hide the right angle intersections from wall to floor, wall to wall, and possibly wall to ceiling, with a top radius. All radius joints need to be as smooth as possible, with no visible seams, just like the inside of our egg.

How much radius will you need? The size of the subject will determine some of this decision. The radius key is – the larger the curve of the radius – the greater the achievable distance from the subject, and the more cyclorama background you can have in the FOV without seeing the radius. Larger = smoother transition.

If someone says you can light a radius enough to hide it. Forget about it. Unless you plan to shoot on 100% white all the time ignore this distracting idea, and take the time to build it right, so you can focus on lighting the subject, and not fight with the background, or add extra post-production costs.

01 Pre-fabricated Fiberglass
Naturally this seems like the easiest solution – Pre-fabricated fiberglass pieces. You can buy radius pieces, corners, or as a complete cyclorama system. With the radius delivered to your door, it is relatively easy to install, and all you have to build is the structural (studs) and flat wall parts.

Pre-fab pieces of a cyclorama

The real joy of the pre-fab fiberglass solution is the corners, which I spoke about earlier as being – not so fun to build.
Some providers of pre-fab cycloramas offer a modular freestanding system – “cyc on wheels”. Ready made and modular sounds really cool for some applications.

Taking fiberglass one step further is a custom built solution, where a model maker can make the mold for you and then just push out the radius pieces.

The biggest advantage of pre-fab cyclorama systems, and fiberglass radius pieces, is that they can be used, disassembled, and re-installed, when your studio business moves. It’s worth considering the lease terms on your studio space, when making this decision.

In the USA Pro-Cyc is the leader and offers several pre-fab, modular, and permanent cyclorama systems.

In Europe talk to Hassan at Servix, or have a look at Colorama Photo in the UK. And for a superb custom mold and install check with Christian Bogaert in Belgium.

Wood and plaster are excellent materials for building more permanent cyclorama installations because these materials are more flexible to form, and a bit less forgiving to errors. In my case I always worked with a good contractor or carpenter to make the parts. Working with a contractor is a good way to approach this option because there are four professions required, framing, carpentry, drywall, and painting.

Framing the walls of your new cyclorama is basic wall construction. Make the frame to code for your local area!

Wood radius pieces

Wood radius pieces

Make the radius from 4X8 sheets of plywood. Use a table saw to cutout the radius. Place one radius at each frame stud. It is possible to get two 5ft.(1.5m) radius from one 4×8 sheet of plywood.

Make support blocks from 2×4”s. For the bottom radius, I would make one support block for every foot of radius distance. If you plan a top radius you could use fewer support blocks, since it’s unlikely anyone will walk or skateboard up the top.

Place two sheets of ¼” plywood on the bottom radius to cover. You might be able to use just one sheet depending on the amount of traffic and support needed. If making a top radius the plywood is not needed for support, and it adds too much overhang weight.

Wood cyclorama corner

For the corners use wood slats and chicken wire. These two materials will provide a good base to add plaster. Plaster and sand to make the corner shape. Start the corners at this at this step, or in parallel with drywall, since the amount of plaster required will have long dry times.

Now drywall, tape, and mud the entire cyclorama. Place the drywall horizontally on the radius. Although it seems a bit counter intuitive, the horizontal orientation will bend enough. A light misting of water will help bend just enough to get it in place. The reason for the horizontal bend is that it is less tension, and therefore less likely to crack over time with temperature and humidity changes.

The last step is to finish the surface by sanding, a coat of primer, and painting. Generally cycloramas are painted white. I would suggest not using a pure super white paint, for light exposure value reasons. And if your budget and sport the cost go with Silicate Dispersion Paints.


Steel radius support

The benefits of steel are its structural load capacity and lower labor cost compared to wood. Depending on where you are located the material choice can vary widely between steel and wood. Not to mention responsibly harvested sustainable wood. Commonly steel is a higher material cost, with a lower labor cost. Steel studs come pre-cut from the vendor, and are much faster to work with.

The process for the walls is the same with steel. The difference is in the radius. The actual curved supports for the radius are still made from wood. Although for this steel structural method, use ½ inch pressed particleboard, or chipboard in Europe.

Instead of layering plywood for the surface of the radius use steel studs placed horizontally the length of the wall. For a five foot radius, I used four horizontal steel studs evenly placed, from the top down through the arch of the radius. This method is super fast. Just screw the studs into braces on wood radius pieces.

The horizontal steel studs also provide the support for the drywall surface. Place the drywall horizontally at the top first, and down toward the bottom to the radius where it meets the floor.

A excellent Portuguese gypsum professional pointed out the that two thinner pieces of drywall are better than one thick piece, for resistance to cracking due to temperature changes. Who would argue with Portuguese gypsum professionals? Not me, so I took this advice and used two layers of ¼ inch drywall, for the radius surface, instead of one 1/2” inch sheet.

If you are installing a top radius one horizontal steel stud, with layer of drywall, is enough for the top return, without adding too much weight. A five foot overhang needs to be supported securely from the top and sides, so adding any extra weight to the top radius just means added expense for its structural support.

Painting a cylorama stage

The last step is to finish the surface by sanding, and making sure the transition joints are super smooth. I recommend good lighting for this finishing phase. Add a coat of primer, and then paint. I would suggest not using a pure super white paint, for light exposure value reasons.

These are three basic options for cyclorama construction. Albeit a little on the large scale for cars, but the methods will pan out at any size. Do you have some experience to share? Send us comments and pictures of your new cyclorama or one that you are building.

Steven Poe

Motion Control & Time Lapse Equipment Review

Motion Control and Time-Lapse Round Up

At izmostudio, we produce high resolution stop frame animations to create automotive media. Most of the time, we move the subject in front of a locked down camera to make the final animations. Now that time-lapse is such a fast growing market, I thought it would be cool to do a blog on new equipment that is making production easier, more creative, and affordable.

Up until recently, fully motion controlled camera rigs, which give the photographer the ability to control three or more axis of movement, have been very expensive. Even big automotive budgets only afforded rental of fully motion controlled equipment. Whilethe Milo is still the king of  MoCo  for the studio, and probably always will be, there are other viable options now available.

Thanks to all the new DSLR’s shipping with HD video capability and the increased interest in time-lapse photography, there are now several innovative and affordable options for motion control. Depending on the needs of the project, this equipment round up looks at the equipment options available for both quick smooth video pans and long programmable stepped motion for time-lapse sequences.

We will start out with the lower cost options and move towards the higher price tags. While one can certainly achieve the same visual effects with the lower cost, and do it yourself (DIY) options, it’s worth understanding, from my perspective anyway, the less money spent on the equipment, the more complex the setup time. Consider every axis of movement adds some complexity to the setup, so its worth thinking about that and planning all this before light, people, weather, start moving and your exposure is drifting while your batteries are running low. Aggghh!

FIXED POSITION – Intervalometer
The easiest and most obvious way to record a time lapse movie is to lock your camera down on a good heavy tripod. Take a sequence of pictures over a period of time and, wow, you have a movie recording of scene motion. What you need to accomplish this is an intervalometer. This is a cable release that communicates to the camera your instructions for exposure, how long to wait between exposures (interval), and how many exposures total. iPhone time lapse calculator
There is much to think about with this first step, so make it easy, and try this free iPhone application by Dan Thompson.
Depending on the scene brightness range or your creative intent, it is also common to bracket at each step for High Dynamic Range Imaging (HDRI) time-lapse. An intervalometer I like to use is the Promote Control, because it is so simple and quick to setup. Some cameras have time-lapse exposure control built in, and most offer one as an accessory. Of course if you are not moving around much, a laptop with camera control software works great too. Here are intrevelometers at each end of the budget spectrum:

  • Promote Control
  • Digisnap 2000
  • DIY

Once you get a few nice fixed position movies accomplished, it’s time to add a new layer of calculation to your planning and pizazz to your movies. The goal of dolly’s and sliders is to achieve linear axis motion during your captures. Think of a 3D space and the movement like this:

X = left/right, or lateral
Y = up/down, or vertical
z = push/pull, or in and out

Depending on how the dolly is supported and the orientation of your camera, all three of these can be achieved easily. The catch is achieving the slow incremental movement and programming how much movement over a specified period of time. There are many DIY dolly sliders being made today. No doubt many more than I’ve found, so if you know of one you want to share please post a link here.

One more thing to know before the equipment round up. Motors. There are three common types:

  • DC motors
  • Stepper motors
  • Servo motors

The motor choice is a balance of cost, speed, repeatability and what you require.

Under $1000
At the heart of most DIY dolly rigs, is the Arduino controller, and the best resource I know of is the OpenMoCo forum, where you will find a great community of time-lapser’s and innovative dolly builds.

If you are like me, and just want to get to making great images, then here we go. Next step up is the Jay Burlage’s (aka MiLapse) Dynamic Perception Timelapse Dolly and the MX2 Dolly Engine, which is based on the OpenMoCo mentioned above. You can definitely burst out the creativity and experiment with this lower cost entry at around $900 dollars, which also includes the intervalometer to control the camera.

Dynamic Perception Stage Zero Dolly

Dynamic Perception MX2 Dolly

One nice aspect of this dolly is that the rail is standard #1030 aluminum, so you can make any size you want. What you should know about this dolly is that it’s made with DC motors, so demanding uses like composite, video, and special effects are limited.

For the mid-range budget, there is Ditogear’s Omnislider. This is super clean slider with a joystick for controlling movement, dampening to ramp up to speed, and record/playback of motion. To me, a system that records the motion is a key component, because it is one less calculation you have to make. For example, if you’re doing a night to day pan and you miss calculate the lateral distance too short, your move could stop before the sun rises, or even worse during.

Ditogear OmniSlider Dolly

DitoGear Motion controled dolly slider

Then you have to start over some other day. It’s a big time investment. So having the a system that records a distance from point A to point B, and then plays back over a specified time, is super nice to have. DitoGear Omnislider

As a bonus for outdoor users, their controller has some nice weather proofing features. Ditogear is also addressing common problems like lens condensation with their new DryEye Lite system, which prevents dew and condensation buildup on the lens in humid, long term, and changing temperatures. Nice!

The Kessler CineSlider with the Oracle Controller and elektra drive is an amazing price point for the build quality and amount of control. The CineSlider comes in a couple different lengths, and for the $3000 I priced it, with the five foot slider. Might as well, right? Cars are big and reflective so we need lots of movement.

There are also lower cost dolly’s like the Pocket Dolly, which not only costs less, and it works with the same motors and Oracle Controller. The thing to note about Kessler systems is the motors come in different speeds and average about $200 each. So whether you are doing a time lapse or video, you will have to plan this into the budget. On the plus side though, all the sliders have a hand crank and tension control for nice smooth manual slides.

Kessler CineSlider and Oracle Controler

Kessler CineSlider & Oracle Controler

The real pièce de résistance here is the Oracle Controller. It’s super easy to use, very precise, and has what Kessler calls, SmartLapse, for recording moves in real time and time-lapse playback. While it’s not based on open source, it does sport CAT5 / CAT6 cable with RJ45 connectors and standard 12v battery power. So, if your outdoors or a traveler, this is really nice common connectivity.

Have a look at this equipment with Tom Guilmette. You can see some excellent tutorials and the Kessler setup here:

Being kind of a gadget geek, I drool when I see the Camblock Motion Control. This rig is also a great topic transition into the next topic of pan/tilt heads,

camblock motion control system

camBLOCK multi-axis motion control

because with the Camblock motion control system, you get full multi axis motion control from a PocketPC and every thing fits in one case. Yes, it’s the most portable, configurable (think tinker-toys), and functional. CamBlock and the Camblock Vimeo group.

The next layer of motion to add is what is known as panning and tilting the head. This gives you motion control output of two more axes of movement, and of course, more planning. Both the Dynamic Perception and Ditogear dolly/slider time-lapser’s have been creative, and use astronomy star tracking heads.

The MX2 controller will work with these low cost motorized telescope heads, where the MX2 takes over for the hand controller by connecting with a special cable.

photo of acuter merlin mount

Acuter Merlin Star Tracking Mount

* Acuter Merlin
* Merlin SynScan AZ GoTo
* Orion Teletrack
* Skywatcher Multifunction
* Celestron Skywatcher

The DitoGear OmniSlider seems to work well with the Mead DS2000 series#494 and #497 heads. I haven’t seen this in action and I’ve been told Mead locked out any ability to place custom firmware on their controller in 2010. If you plan on going this route, check in with Patryk Kizny at DitoGear, as he has done some really nice movies with the Mead head, like on the Chaple video.


kessler crane revolution pan/tilt head

Kessler Revolution Pan/Tilt Motion Control Head

Kessler’s Revolution Pan and tilt system is once again really nice build quality and quite affordable considering. Controlled by the same joystick mentioned previously, Oracle Controller, this would be a good buy if you are considering a rig that will do both video and time-lapse. At the time of this post the controller will only record either a linear dolly move or the pan/tilt. There is a Smartlapse controller upgrade coming in a few weeks that will record two axes of simultaneous movement. So, the only way to have a three axis Kessler rig is to buy two Oracle Controllers. Added to the cost o the Cineslider, this would make the total cost so close to that of the CamBlock, that its a better option for a portable three axis motion control rig.

Compared to just a few years ago, motion control is expanding really fast. As you can see from this post, there are many affordable points to jump in for exploring your creative motion genius. Stay tuned to izmostudio as we develop new creative visuals for automotive media. And for some amazing visual inspiration, and MoCo networking, jump over to Tom Lowe’s

Steven Poe

Renault New Master Trucks | Nouveau Master

Renault France recently posted photography produced by izmoStudio last year. April 2010 seems like a long time ago now, but I remember having a ton a fun on this photo shoot with photographers Andreas Lunde, David Marlé, and assistent Stephan Sturges.

Naturally being a car photographer the super fast eye candy cars are the ones that get us going, but these trucks were a refreshing change. Everything is bigger! And higher, if you look closely you’ll notice that many of these are taken from high camera angles of 10-20 feet up. To really show the capacity and illustrate functionality of these magnificent trucks, with stop frame animations of moving parts, we found that the high POV was the best place shoot from. As an added bonus, this high POV provided some laughs watching Andreas climb down from the cherry picker after getting the camera set.

Thank you Benoit Chimenes, for your supreme art direction and working with izmoEurope on this project.

Steven Poe

Hadise Music Video Studio Rental

Occasionally at izmoStudio we rent one of our cyclorama stages. Most of the time its a treat for us because, well, its a production thats not of cars. Of course we love cars and studio work, but its a real treat to see and work with different talent and productions.

Recently we rented one of our cyclorama stages to 11H09 for a Hadise music video called Kahraman by director Senol Korkmaz. See the video below. Hadise is a Belgian singer with Turkish roots who was a semi-finalist at The Eurovision Song Festival 2009.

Our 225 square meter cyclorama, with a six meter top return, was perfect for this music video production. The lighting director utilized the cyclo for an eloquent play of light (1:28) and motion on the six meter high walls. The izmoStudio team was quick to notice and drool just thinking about owning several Arri 10K lights like the ones used on this music video set.

The production crew was vast and man did they move fast. They shot this video in just a couple days. A bonus they say is our six meter diameter motion controlled turn table. Check out the Rolls Royce Phantom in the video (2:07, 2:19) Both the motion of the singer Hadise and the Phantom were done with the turntable.

Thank you Senol and everyone at 11h09 for the rental business, and a fun break from our automotive media.

Steven Poe

Imagine Whirled Prints

Here at izmostock I’m fortunate to deal with many different kinds of vendors in different parts of our wonderful whirling blue ball in space. Often there are vendors who go far above and beyond the customary level of service and quality that it creates a total jaw dropping pattern interrupt. Enough to make my little busy busy pedal to the metal production whirled of car photography stop and take notice.

This time around its a printer. Not just any printer mind you. Canterbury Media Services in Berkeley, California is in the vortex of stellar prints. FTP uploads, spot on profiles, amazing print quality, and so extremely flexible with scheduling.

Many print shops use the Epson 9900 with UltraChrome HDR ink sets. How many can make a print sing with the first pass?

Having been a custom printing production manager in the past and now a creative with a perfectionism handicap I’m admittedly not the ideal customer. This didn’t phase Art Kotoulas and the team at Canterbury at all. I’ve been printing our izmostudio advertising portfolio with Art at Canterbury for the past few months.

The process can be gruesome. As many of you know, lighting a car in the studio for that visceral feel of every sheet metal shape and form to seemingly touch the textures, is no easy task. Then in post everything looks awesome on the gazillion dollar meticulously profiled monitor. It’s beautiful! All the pixels are harmoniously spinning congruently in blissful expressionism. Ahhh, but then comes the odd conformity of cramming all those pixels into a smaller color space, different profile, and reproducing them on a flat two dimensional piece of paper.

I have done a ton of color printing myself and I’ll admit it really does take a master craftsman that can balance the art and technology of digital printing like Art and the guys at Canterbury. Thank you! And while I’m giving out the major props in this post…I might not have never found Canterbury if it were’t for the referral from Mark Spandorf at the Bay Area’s major player in the digital printing and processing industry, Image Tech. Thank’s Mark.

Steven Poe