SURVIVE the Future of Imaging 

by Gary Regester, edit 2003.02.02 

See now the shrinking pro photographic marketplace. It's not even called "photography" anymore.  Now, it's "imaging".  Technology has simplified the former effort and expertise.  The "priesthood" no longer controls the networks, the ad agencies, or publishing.  Advertising, "print" photography and television is now in the hands of former "amateurs" - the secretary and the janitor - the "everyman" is the new imageman.  Pro "imaging", what remains, is moving towards continuous light (sorry, flash is dead!) and tool of the future is the simple, inexpensive DV or MPEG cameras for motion webcasting. Dare we say: "film is more than dead!! a short 150 years!" and "print advertising is dying". Then there's the new taking and viewing color standard of today's digital imaging work space which is "D65" - say good bye to Kodak's 5500K invention and what is D65?  But, cheer up, here's a crash course in survival.  You have the "know how", all you lack a little continuous light, some small camera movement and "D65". 

First, a Quick Primer in Continuous Light- O.K., boys and girls, keep those pencils sharp. What is the first thing that comes to your mind, when you think the words, "Continuous lighting?" By chance, is it, "Tungsten  Light"? (aka: quartz halogen, incandescent)? Certainly, tungsten light was the first and last thought in the "minds" of my competitors, Chimera and Photoflex. But tungsten light matched with digital imaging is the worse possible continuous light source - the HOT devil incarnate. (You will be tested!) Why? 

REASON One: No blue! and no blue.  If good color balance is important to your customer, then you must match the weaknesses and strengths of the sensitivity of media to the weaknesses and strengths of the output of the light. Tungsten light at 3000K has less than 10% of its total visual output with in the blue [400 - 500nm]. This could and should be at least EQUAL RGB for digital capture meaning at least 33% in the blue (400-500nm), as it is with 6500K- the color of overcast sky. On the same count, Digital (CCD) sensitivity has the similar input problems -less than 10% sensitivity of the chip to blue. S0 -No Blue and No Blue. Junk in, junk out and no amount of PhotoShop magic will create color that was never there on two counts. First, compare tungsten (below, left) with 6500K daylight (below, right) 

Now compare CCD sensitivity. Go to Kodak's great resource on this subject- http://www.kodak.com/go/ccd and print out any of their PDF files that strike your fancy, but especially the sensitivity curves of Kodak's so called "extra-blue" CCDs. Look at the sensitivity curves with and without the IR blocking filters.  Which brings us to-

REASON Two: The invisible HEAT of tungsten distorts CCD imaging. The CCD is 10 times more sensitive to Infrared (aka: heat) than visual light. Tungsten visual spectrum is only 7% of the supplied energy, and the balance of the 93% is anti-imaging infrared (aka: heat) that travels out to the subject with the visual spectrum. Take a look at the IR in tungsten output at: 
http://www.osram.com/service_corner/glossary/popups/17.html 

Carefully compare the Kodak CCD PDFs you downloaded above for CCD sensitivity with and without the IR blocking filters - heat is a big problem. IR filters help somewhat, if properly designed, but IR "cut-off" filters also cut out tungsten's already crippled visual spectrum in the red.

From the book "Lighting Technology" by Brian Fitt, Focus Press, 1997 - "The tungsten lamp is a heat generator from which we can get a little light. The conversion of total electrical energy produces only 6.5% light and 93.5% wasted heat."  The author further notes that that heat travels with the spectral makeup of the light to the subject and back to the camera. Heat entering a digital camera distorts the entire RGB visual response (study the Kodak charts) but especially in the already weaken blue channel - hence, shadow noise, bad dark greens, grays and silvers without balanced RGB. 

REASON Three: SLOW Cycle. Tungsten only cycles at 60 times per second. Meaning tungsten is brightening and dimming 60 times a second. Bad for hi-res scanning, bad for digital cameras using shutter speeds above 1/60th and bad for 30 "fps" digital video (DV) at shutter speeds of 1/60th of a second or higher. (We are speaking here about tungsten driven by AC current, not DC.) Compare 60 cycles per second of tungsten to 25 to 39 THOUSAND (kHz) cycles per second with the electronic ballast of fluorescent or HMI. So again, for emphasis, tungsten light (aka: quartz halogen, incandescent) matched with digital imaging, not film, but digital imaging, is the worse continuous light you can recommend. Better is high frequency daylight fluorescent driven by electronic ballasts, such as Scandles below or KinoFLO, Videssence, Balcar and Lowel Fluo-Tec or the more expensive HMI (more expensive to buy and lamp replacement is even more expensive) - my favorite HMI, Gilles' - K5600

Cool Continuous 5500K: These are the reasons for the creation of cool fluorescent SCANDLES 5500K DAYLIGHT (meaning equal amounts of Red, Green and Blue), no heat, no UV, fluorescent that works and looks like a studio strobe head, designed by Gary Regester, made by Lowel Lighting Brooklyn, USA. Watt for watt, it is arguable that daylight balanced fluorescent is 8 to 10 times more efficient for digital imaging than tungsten.  Alternatively, check out our "Trilite" for less money in D65.

Scandles variations

The new "Camera Movements": So your client gave you his advertising print work, then his web shots, now he asks if you can shoot a web movie for the website. Enter DV (digital video). Most advertising photographers will not immediately go out and invest in the large DV cameras, but the smallest and cheapest DV or MPEG cameras available. (Remember,  the digital camera you bought six years ago for $30,000 that was obsolete one year later.)  So for the cheapest $700 DV or even $300 MPEG camera, what can you buy to smooth the motion and add some interest to your webcast-  a $1000 Steadicam Junior or the NEW $189 Plume Handi-Cam??  Handi-Cam balances and pivots off its own monopod to create easy pan, tracking and boom shots.   Available from 2003 PMA onward.

Go to:  http://www.plumeltd.com/handi-pod.htm

Handi-pod open, closed

Environmental lighting- In the last several years, the working environment of imaging (formerly called "photography") has shifted from color judgments made of reflective prints at CIE D50 (5000K) to color judgments made of images viewed on CRT and LCD monitors. Logic follows that the environment (aka: "ambient","base" or "room") lighting standard now shifts from Kodak's somewhat artificial 5500K "Daylight" standard for viewing reflective prints to the new ICC, sRGB (Microsoft, HP), SMPTE-C and NTSC "white point" Daylight Standard of 6500K used by the monitor engineers. Consider Plume's 65K EnviroLight - to illuminate the work space with 6500K light and look good doing it. Switches between 40 watt and 100 Watt level - lumen equivalent to 400 Watts of tungsten. 85 CRI. List price $200. 

Reference: from Tony Johnson, ICC's Technical Secretary-   ISO 3664 recommends ambient light should be D65 or a lower colour temperature (with the assumption that it will not be below that of D50) and that the monitor white will be set to the chromaticity of D65. It also recommends that the overall level of the ambient light [at the position of the monitor] should not exceed 64 lux.  Compare with ISO/DIS 12646 on viewing hard copy under D50.

close this window