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Different Modes of Your Camera

Using a camera for the first time can be a little bit tricky. Especially if you’re using a DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflect) with a numerous amount of buttons.

Let’s start with the basics:

 

This is the dial of most cameras, here you can find the different modes you can set your camera to.

 

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First, we have “AUTO” which stands for Automatic. For this mode, the camera works like a point and shoot, where all it’s settings automatically change themselves for the scenario that it is currently in. For example: when it’s too dark, the flash will come up, or the ISO might change, as well as the focus of the camera. Automatic mode is one of the simplest modes you can use, because it gets your camera ready for you. (however, if you desire to change these settings for your own liking, take better looking photos and use your camera to it’s full potential, you might want to consider the different Manual modes which are the modes represented with the other letters).

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Second, we have the “P” which stands for Program Mode / Programmable Mode. For this mode, the camera works similar to Automatic mode, where the Aperture and Shutter are on automatic, but you have more control over the other settings such as: ISO and Auto Focus (things that the automatic mode wouldn’t allow you to do)

 

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Third, we have the “S” which stands for Shutter Priority. For this mode, you have control over the Shutter speed. The Shutter speed is how long the shutter will stay open, which allows you to take a variety of pictures at certain speeds. For example: at a slow shutter speed(1/15); a spinning wheel will look blurry with a lot of movement. At a high shutter speed (1/1000); the spinning wheel will look like a still.
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Fourth, we have the “A” which stands for Aperture Priority. For this mode, you will have control over the how large the Aperture will be. The Aperture will control how much light will enter the camera and how blurry or sharp the background will be. The lower (wider) the aperture is (ƒ 1,4) , the more light will enter, and the more blurry the background will be. The higher (smaller) the aperture is (ƒ 32) the less light will enter, and the more clear the background will be.

 

 

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Lastly, but certainly not the least, we have the “M” which stands for Manual mode. For this mode, the camera will be on full manual which means you have total control over your camera’s settings. This mode is what we’d recommend you to start practicing on, because from that, you can learn from your mistakes. On Manual mode, you have complete control over the ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture (which we have touched upon earlier, but I will explain much more now). ISO is the sensitivity of your camera towards light, which means you would normally want to have your ISO at the lowest possible setting, because the higher the ISO, the more grainy your image will look. There will be cases where you would also have to increase it, depending on the conditions of where your shooting. Typically, when you’re indoors and there is not much natural light, or if you’re shooting with low light conditions, raising your ISO would be beneficial towards your image. ISO would usually start at 100 – 200, and would double. So from 200, the next will be 400, then 800, then 1,600 then, 3,200. These numbers mean how sensitive the sensor is to light, the higher the number the more sensitive it is. Next, we have Shutter Speed, the Shutter Speed is how long the shutter of your camera will stay open and let in light, this helps when taking images that have a lot of motion, with a high Shutter speed (1/1000) the shutter will not be open for too long, and a moving car would look still. With a slow Shutter speed (1/15) the shutter will stay open longer, and will make the moving car look blurry, as it is moving. Also what people use this feature for is light drawing. Have you seen those photos of people in the dark writing their names with light? Well a slow shutter speed is how that works. Next, we have Aperture, the Aperture is the how much light will enter your lens, thus creating various effects. Aperture is measured by ƒ stop. So having a low aperture ( ƒ 2 ) will give you a large opening, and let in more light, but will have a less depth of field, and will make the background of your photo more blurry. Having a high aperture ( ƒ 22 ) will give you a small opening, which gives you less light, but will have a greater depth of field, and will make the background more sharp.

 

Next, we have the different Automatic modes that are most commonly found on consumer level cameras:

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First, we have Portrait mode, which on the dial would look like a person with a hat. This mode is meant for photos with one main subject, because of this, the camera will mainly focus on that one subject, and usually make the background out of focus.

 

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Second, we have Macro mode, which on the dial would look like a flower. This mode is usually used for close up photos of flowers, insects, or anything that you’d want to look closely at. (But, depending on your lens, you might not have Macro capabilities, check your lens for this feature.)

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Third, we have Landscape mode, which on the dial would look like a mountain. This mode is used for landscape images; meaning mountains, rivers, trees, etc. (Wide angled images, a wide angled lens is preferred here, but not necessary.)

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Fourth, we have Action mode, which on the dial looks like a person running. This mode is used for fast paced images, for example: a marathon, a race, anything where there is a lot of movement and you want to take a still image of what is happening.

 

– Carlos Jochico, Big City

disco, DJ, dmx, event, lighting, lights, party, rental, rentals, stage, technology, toronto

Top 5 Event/Party Must Haves

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 Creating a good event can be tricky when your unsure of whats out there. The confusing language and abundance of options can be overwhelming for anyone  not in the industry.  On top of it all trying to get the right feel or atmosphere to your venue is the most difficult but the most important part to any good event. These 5 basic must haves can open your mind to the options and will take your party, corporate gathering, or wedding, to the next level.

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1 – DELUXE LED PARS

There many different lighting options for any event but LED PAR‘s made my list because of its versatility.  LED PARs are a narrow, powerful light that have a wide rang of different colours. These lights are great for creating a dramatic back drop of a stage, wall, or pillar but can also be a cheep substitute for any small stage lighting. In edition to just a solid colour you can have it on auto control mode that slowly changes colours and can even have it go to the beat of the music.  This means MORE options, LESS equipment and MORE money in your pocket.

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2 – Wall Washers

 Similar to the LED PAR lights the wall washer has the same versatility in colour and function. Unlike the LED PARs wall washers have a longer and softer beam, mainly used for atmospheric lighting.  When trying to create a glow of colour up the wall or bar table its a great way to turn a plain dull hall or event room to the party atmosphere you want.  We rent these lights, but they are also ON SALE for a limited time for purchase.

disco, DJ, dmx, event, lighting, lights, party, rental, rentals, stage, technology, toronto

3 – G3 Wireless Lav

Lighting isn’t everything that an event needs, even if its small speeches at a wedding or a presentation, you will need a way to speak to your guests. The G3 Wireless Lav is a great and simple way to do just that. This is a small clip on wireless mic that allows you to move freely in your space and no working about cables (FREEDOM) but every event is different and have different needs. This is a good mic for any one that will be speaking for longer periods of time not so much for quick and easy exchanges from one seeker to another.  However this mic has a great sound quality and will work well for any presentation or MP at a wedding.

disco, DJ, dmx, event, lighting, lights, party, rental, rentals, stage, technology, toronto

4 – Laser Lights

There are a few different kind of lasers but the most versatile would be the High Power Animation Laser. This high powered laser has hundreds of  different preset animations making it very easy to turn on and have a lighting show –perfect for the inexperienced.Also with just a little more effort it has so many ways for you to refine the animations to get exactly what your looking for.  Your typical laser will usually only come in red and green the Animation Laser has and additional white and blue light just giving the most options as possible, making it a great entertaining peace to add to your next event.

 disco, DJ, dmx, event, lighting, lights, party, rental, rentals, stage, technology, toronto

5 – Fog Machines

Fog machines and lasers go to gather like cookies and milk, you can’t have one with out the other, so fog Machines made the list. An easy way to elevate your lasers from a simple/kinda cool basic light show to an amazing moody atmosphere and we all know that is all about the atmosphere.

If you are planning on renting one for your next event it may trigger more sensitive smoke alarms, so be sure to talk to your venue about it before hand.

If your looking for any of any of these products to rent, you can see our rental list HERE.

–Stephanie Bradshaw

Clint Adam Smyth, lighting, lights, ringlight

The Big City Ring Light in Action!

Calgary, Canada, halifax, LED, LEDGO, lighting, lights, ringlight, Toronto, Vancouver

The ring light in action, fashion photo by Clint Adam Smyth.

 

Hello everybody, today we here at Big City Lights are showing you an exceptional example of what you can produce using the Big City Ring Light. The image to the left was shot using the Big City Ring Light which only uses 65W of power yet puts out the tungsten equivalent of a 300W bulb, as you can see it can give you amazing visual effects starting with the even tone of light and appealing lack of shadows. When you look closely, you notice the reflection of the light shining off the models eyes which is also a great effect. The amazing power of this light and the way it’s used lets you show the viewers your subject in a very exciting and alluring manner. Besides the outstanding quality of our lighting equipment there’s something else we offer that might matter to you more than anything else… what’s that? An unbeatable price.

There are other lights out there such as Gekko Technologies George Light or Kino Flo’s Kamino Light which both admittedly have a dimmer on them, but they will charge you 5 – 10 times the price! We at Big City Lights understand your need for reliable, top class equipment and, we give you exactly that without burning a hole in your pocket.

The Big City Fluorescent Ring Light retails for $200 CDN, and can be purchased HERE

We also carry a dimable LED model for $350, and it can be purchased HERE

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Exclusive Behind the Scenes Video of a Pro Photo Shoot Using Big City Lights!

Calgary, Canada, halifax, LED, LEDGO, lighting, lights, ringlight, Toronto, Vancouver

Hello ladies and gentleman today we bring you an exclusive, behind the scenes, look into a professional photo shoot by Toronto photographer Clint Adam Smyth. As an acknowledged photographer/videographer Clint needs to have the best, most reliable, equipment at his fingertips to provide his customers with what they need. In this video you will see how he uses Big City Lights to attain beautiful, incomparable results. This was a calendar shoot That will be coming out in 2011 to promote a makeup, hair and wardrobe stylists work It featuring a gorgeous model and a luxurious ride (needless to say, they were very excited and completely satisfied with the final results).

Clint uses a single Big City 110, two Big City 220’s and a ringlight for this particular shoot. The two large light banks perform the duty of filling and brightening the set, they are very powerful and effective. The 110 is used to add a slightly softer touch of light in a focussed area and finally the ringlight is used for the glamorous and stylistic effect it is so well known for. The video also demonstrates the growing love for continuous lighting and the needlessness of using strobe lighting. Continuous lighting provides consistency and makes it easier to get that specific look you’re trying to achieve.  Video of shoot is below.

Written by Hash Patel

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Big City Lighting Tips Video #2 – Lighting on a White or Black Background

Ever had trouble lighting a model in various backgrounds? No need to fear, Big City is here! In our latest video we will show you how to light your subject for a white or a black background. It may seem like a simple thing to do but, if you want professional quality photo or video, you will learn the right way to do so with this instructional video. We will talk about lighting angles, metering and even, the butterfly effect. We’ve seen failures time and time again, from photographers trying to achieve crisp whites or variable blacks but, they’re just not doing it right. It’s funny how these small tips and tricks can make such a dramatic difference in the end product, whether it be a photo or a video. You can view the video below.

 

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Free resource to help teach yourself how to use green screen.

Green screen is one of the most difficult things to learn to do right and if you don’t have any test footage to help you learn it can be either more time consuming than it all ready is, or costly to shoot your own test footage.  Well the folks at HollywoodCamerawork have just published a series of test footage you can download and use for FREE!  Now you can have some great resources to teach yourself the basics of tracking, matchmoving and rotoscoping on.  They also include elements to build your scene as well, so if you want to add your subject flying in a F15 in the clouds and over the ocean you can!  I was also impressed they include footage of what NOT to do as well, as there are so many mistakes you can make when doing this kind of work.  Anyone who considers themselves a teacher or student of VFX or editing should bookmark this link now!  Green screen originals resource

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Green screen free resource footage

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Make your own home dolly

Don’t have thousands of dollars for a pro dolly, the following video from Peter Bak show you in this video how to make a cool home made dolly from roller-skate wheels and basic hardware. Probably not quite as good as the professional ones, but for the home filmmaker or indie filmmaker a cool and fun tool for under $50 and a few hours of work to build.

 

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Make your own steadycam rig

This video from Miguel Vicente show you how to make your own steadycam from standard hardware parts. looks fairly simple for those who are mechanically inclined.

For the rest of us who aren’t you can always rent a glidecam 1000 HERE

 

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Detail of home steady cam

 

Don’t want to make your own?  You can also RENT our dolly track system.
Big City Lights offers affordable lights and lighting for parties party events stage dolly track system Projector rent custom RGB LED DMX par fresnel laser rental film, video, tv, and photography.  RGBA as well. We carry LED and Flo lighting including ring lights and light banks and light panels.  We sell in Canada and the USA, with locations in Calgary and Toronto, but we ship to Montreal, Vancouver, Halifax, Ottawa, Hamilton, Edmonton, St. Johns, Regina, Victoria, Winnipeg and more.

fashion, lighting, lights, model, photo, photographic, photography, toronto

A peak at a Big City Studio photo-shoot!

Last Thursday, I got to see a professional photo-shoot at Big City Studio for the first time. The model we had, Jacqueline, had the perfect look for our fantasy make up, which was done by our make up artist Vasso Thymis. Our set was a dark dramatic space, which worked perfectly with the fantasy look of our model. It also sent a mysterious feeling and got our hopes and expectations high.

This photo shoot was lit by one of our LED light banks which was an effective and a powerful tool that lit the set, and a reflector which added more light to the shadow areas. typically, most photographers use strobe (flash) to light their photographs, but as you can see here, using a light bank and a reflector, can give you the same great result. The advantage of using continuous light is that you can immediately see your en result before you take the picture, as well for those photographers who want to shoot video, you now have the capability.

These photographs take you into a strange and unusual world, which gets the imagination going and starts to tell a story.

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Clint Adam Smyth, Director, Music Video

Behind the Scenes of a Big City Music Video Shoot!

Shot from the video

This past weekend, I was lucky enough to help out and go behind the scenes with Big City on a music video shoot. We were working with local Toronto talent, Scenario and KiKi SB. Let me tell you it wasn’t easy but it was a whole lot of fun and a great learning experience. For the video we were trying to get a Mental Institute feel, something like shutter island, and the large spaces, long hallways and old-fashioned freight elevators at Big City Studios provided that dark grimy atmosphere. Now the problem here, as any good photographer/videographer will tell you, was that “dark and grimy” isn’t quite the best place to be shooting in. And that’s where Big City’s wide variety of lights came in. We had various set-ups that illuminated all scenes brilliantly. For starters, during the elevator shots, we used two Big City 1200 LED’s on either side of our actors to bring the scene to life and one Big City 220 full frontal to add that significant glow found in many great music videos. It was a fairly simple set-up but the results were much better than you would get from most highly complex and expensive lighting sets.

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Scenario

 

The next scene was in the loooooong and dark hallway. Here, we shot the ladies dance sequences as well as a running/walking shot. Now things were getting a little trickier, the only available lighting was the overhead lamps that were each at least 5 ft apart. This was definitely not the best place to be shooting a trio dance group, especially when you’re going for that glamorous/flashy music video aesthetic. To make things worse there were no outlet sources all along the hallway, the only outlets to be found were at the beginning and very end of the hall, but we worked with what we had and our video came out looking stronger than ever. How did we solve the faulty lighting problems? Once again, Big City to the rescue! Two Big City 1200 LED’s were set at the front end of the hall, this time, with a Big City Ringlight to help our ladies really pop out at the audience. This set up was sufficient but there was something missing, the finishing touch, the cherry on top. We walked and walked and walked straight down to the end of the hall where there was a second outlet, we set up our largest light bank, the Big City 330 and, boy did that baby shine! Everyone was blown away by the effect of using the 330 at the very end of the hall, it resembled a window of beaming cool blue light.