We’ve compiled the various links into a summary for tech and equipment we use and recommend in the other articles here, just so it’s easier to find:
The AOP have issued their latest update in light of restriction easing in England from 19th July 2021. Link here.
Maureen M Evans
Kim Myers Robertson
Marks & Spencer
Harpers Bazaar India
Harpers Bazaar UK
Marie Claire UK
Vanity Fair US
World Of Interiors
Sometimes we’ll get asked to provide extra monitors, wireless viewing, remote viewing and location monitors on set to help the client/art director see what the photographer is shooting. Here’s a brief summary of the way we can do that.
Many years ago (mainly pre-covid) it was common for clients and art directing teams (plus glam and styling teams!) to be crowded around the Digi-station watching the images coming in from the camera on a monitor. As stills shoots started to take a lead from video/film teams we began to incorporate a separate monitor away from the Digi-station when budgets afforded a second or third monitor. Then covid mandated more social distancing and we borrowed the video team technology to wirelessly stream the images to multiple monitors and iPads or even remotely to clients off-site.
For remote viewing Capture One offers this capability for viewers to be in different parts of the world and watch and rate the images in real time.
For clients and art directors on set we can prepare a monitor with either wireless or wired connections. We’ve set up wired monitors up to 30m away (more could work, we just haven’t been used for this yet) and this has the advantage of not being susceptible to signal interference or lots of solid walls blocking the signal. Alternatively we can use wireless connections which work well outdoors or where cabling isn’t practical and these can work up to 500m depending on the location.
With our location batteries we don’t always need power where you want that monitor which opens up more possibilities.
It’s always best to have this conversation about what extra monitors, wireless viewing, remote viewing or location monitors you need on set before the Digi turns up on the day!
What’s the difference between USB 3, 3.1, 3.2, USB 4 and TB 4 and why not Gen 3.2 2×2 in terms of speed for accessories to Macs? We’ve come across some confusion with back-up drive requests on shoots with questions over which drive to use to get the fastest copy times.
Tom’s Hardware has a clear explanation and we’d add the following to make it relevant to photography and Mac users:
- The fastest and most affordable backup external drives work at USB 3.1 Gen 2 (also called USB 3.2 Gen 2) which is 10 Gbps. Anything less and you may encounter a longer wait for backups.
- Macs don’t use USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 which works at 20 Gbps unfortunately so buying drives that have that higher speed doesn’t do us any good.
- USB4 is here but as with all things tech, it’s taking a while to get the hardware that works at this speed at a decent price. Backing up lots of data will be quicker but the some USB 3 speeds will do until then.
We try and keep on top of data backups through the day so no one’s waiting around for long at the end of the shoot!
The Fuji GFX100s produces large image files suitable for anything from online to billboard use whilst being lightweight and easy handling and having used it extensively since it’s launch we have added a body/lens kit to our hire list.
The GFX100s has been a real game changer with it’s offering of 102 megapixels in a lightweight body that handles as easily as 35mm small format camera would. The image files are beautiful for both portrait and still-life use. We have plenty of experience working with all the popular cameras such as Canon, Nikon, Hasselblad, Phase One and Contax but after using the Fujifilm camera we’ve been impressed with it’s versatility. The large pixel count facilitates images being cropped in a number of different formats whilst still maintaining large enough dimensions for any print or online use. It shoots quickly for capturing movement sequences and for such a large format camera tethering speed is good too. The photo quality is great in low light with little loss of image sharpness until going above ISO1600 in our opinion.
We’ve disposed of the need for a location generator (the infamous noisy and smelly petrol ‘genny’) and are proud to be able to supply enough power in the form of mobile batteries that have been recharged with solar power for all day photography monitor and computer use!
We already had plenty of batteries for laptop power but traditionally running a monitor without mains electricity has either required using smaller moving-image monitors or using a smelly, noisy petrol-powered generator. Now we can get rid of the noise and smell and occasional power spikes that can blow equipment and run off a stable battery system. And the best thing is that this is all solar powered as we can recharge them in a day without any environmental damage. The solar power recharge station also allows us to charge all photography equipment with this clean source and helps shoots to run carbon-neutral.
[update] We forgot to mention that the pack we’re using is the Anker 555 Powerhouse!
We’re delighted to have upgraded the equipment cart to an Inovativ Voyager 36 and it’s not available to hire. 3′ x 2′ of felt soft workspace on 2 levels with sturdy wheels allow the cart to operate equally well in studio and on location. We’ll usually rig the cart with a monitor and computer plus transmitters when they’re needed plus it can carry all the tether cables needed, camera equipment and even back up power supplies.
The Inovativ Voyager is incredibly well made and adds a refined professional look to the photographer’s workspace that many clients comment on. It also allows us to keep everything nicely organised on hectic shoots and self contained rather than having to rely on ad-hoc table clearing. This is much nicer than work off a trestle table! Photos will be added to the equipment page soon.
The New MacBook Pro M1 Max is in the kit bag and ready to go with top specs – we’ve tested it and it’s super fast! Amazing battery life, faster processing of RAW files both for preview rendering and processing, runs quietly, colour accuracy on the built in screen, fast SSD to handle data in and out.
Wondering how to connect all those devices to your computer – here are the best hubs. With a special Apple event scheduled for Monday and rumours about the new laptops everyone’s hoping will be announced, speculation is also rife about which ports the new computers will feature.
Since the introduction of the Thunderbolt/USB-C ports for input/output including power, hubs become a necessary addition to kit lists. Too few peripherals had, or still have, usb-c interfaces so hubs became a way of attaching old devices and increasing the number of peripherals we could attach. On photoshoots these days it’s common for 3 back-up drives, 2 monitors, a printer, power input plus of course a tether cable to be attached at once to the computer as a basic set-up. That’s more than the 4 ports any MacBook Pro allows and even a Mac Pro could be maxed out so hubs are essential. Here are some of the best hubs to use with your computer that Digi-techs use and recommend:
- CalDigit TS3 Plus Thunderbolt 3 dock – the no.1 choice for Digi’s
- CalDigit Thunderbolt 4 Element Hub – newer, faster, smaller
- Satechi Multi-Port V2 adapter – when there’s no mains power
There are plenty more available which are both cheap and cheerful but we don’t recommend skimping as hubs are real workhorses on set.
The price of reliable external drives that use SSDs has really fallen over the last year. You can read more about the drives digiK usually works with for client data backup and provision here. They’re all good brands with warranties provided for peace of mind. But if you’re keen to keep the cost down and want to make a portable SSD drive for your images, music, movies or other data files then it’s not difficult at all. A large drive can allow a number of recent jobs to be carried easily in case anyone needs access to data quickly while on the go.
Simply pop a PCIe NVME SSD into an enclosure and you’re good to go. A size like M.2 is thin and slim and there are plenty of enclosures that fit that form factor. Just make sure you get one with decent heat-dissipation qualities as they get hot in use! I’ve included some Amazon links for ease below. These are components I’ve tried and tested myself for making portable SSDs:
At the end of the shoot we’ll make sure that there’s a hard drive to take away with the shoot session on it plus any requested processed files or storyboards. That drive could be for the photographer, agency, retoucher, client or all 4! Below are some of the best hard drives that we regularly use for data backup.
1TB is usually enough for a day’s shoot, 2TB should cover a week’s shoot. While we can use any drive you supply, we recommend a faster drive as there could be a lot of data to copy from our computers to the drives throughout the day.
The Sandisk and Samsung SSDs are an good choice for this and don’t cost much more than the much slower but frequently used Lacie Ruggeds. There are plenty more manufacturers but we’ve used these drives plenty of times for data backup. We’ll be in touch before the shoot to check your requirements so that we can bring along a suitable drive on the day but If you want to buy and supply your own, here are some well priced options on Amazon for quick delivery:
- Sandisk 1TB ssd hard drive
- Sandisk 2TB ssd hard drive
- Samsung T7 1TB
- Samsung T7 2TB
- Lacie Rugged 1TB
- Lacie Rugged 2TB