Traveling Through Digital Waters
Balint and his team have guided Magellan’s through the relatively new waters of digital production. The catalog images—product shots and live models—are captured with MegaVision’s S3 digital camera by Richard Salas, an early adopter and strong proponent of digital image capture. “Richard Salas, as a photographer, costs more per hour than the fellow we had running film through a 2 1⁄4-square camera years ago, but the speed and the accuracy [is better]: I can’t say that we have ever had to go back for retakes, for a reshoot on any of the clothing shots because we saw [potential mistakes] right there,” McManus says.
The ability to preview images and make changes, all in the same day and all before the models go home, saves not only production costs but significant time that translates to significant revenue. “We can get products photographed and [processed] at a date much closer to production than a lot of catalogers,” McManus states, explaining that having new products in the marketplace first gives the catalog a lift.
The Next Best Thing to Being There
A recent addition to the digital workflow is the use of virtual background images from Shot On Location (www.shotonlocation.com). A stock photo company of sorts, Shot On Location specializes in digital compositing images to enable print producers to leverage the blue-screen technology so adored by the cinema industry.
The time and resources required to move the personnel and equipment overseas for location shots is prohibitive. So when Balint discovered digital backgrounds, McManus realized that Magellan’s location problem was solved. “The virtual background gives the flavor that we are dealing with travel here, far more than we could ever do with regular sweeps and backdrops in the studio. We’re quite pleased with it.”
Although in principle digital backgrounds are as easy to work with as drag-and-drop, achieving a seamless effect is more complicated. First, Balint chooses a handful of backgrounds that he feels will be appropriate for the look and feel of Magellan’s, and he outputs them to a Kodak DCP9000 digital color proofer. For each target image, he and Salas work through a preparation checklist to ensure that the models will blend effectively into the background: