Who you gonna call?

If there’s something weird
And it don’t look good
Who you gonna call?

If you see a ghost, you may be thinking Ghostbusters… but if you have digital issues you call Captureforce. I recently worked with the amazing photographer duo The Morrisons and QuickBooks shooting stills and video for their current ad campaign which included shooting Annie Potts and Slimer from Ghostbusters. The entire job stretched for more than a month and we were shooting at the Sony Studios in Culver City as well as on location in Atlanta, LA, and London. 

For any haunted digital issues, its Captureforce to the rescue! 🙂
Esben // Captureforce

Pro Tech Tips

Clients often wonder what type of work-station is optimal for their job. Going with either a laptop or tower configuration is based on the location and the specifics of the job, but if we’re using an external monitor we almost always suggest using a 30” monitor because the pictures present with greater details and a 30” monitor will always have that ‘Wow! Holy mackerel!’ impact on the client when they see the pictures enlarged up on the big screen.

2.   Retouching and Photoshop comps are often a crucial component on product shoots. Instead of explaining things with words, a comp can easily show the client what the final picture will look like. A well-made mock-up that shows the different options will help make the client sign-off with confidence and with peace of mind.

3.   We rarely talk about hard-drives, but the client hard-drive that you buy can sometimes be of more importance than just getting the cheapest one. Solid State Drives are hard-drives that transfer data 4-10x times faster than regular hard-drives. If you just need 1 drive at the end of the day then a regular drive is fine. Your Tech should already have been backing up everything, and you can leave the studio once the shoot is done. However, if the last scene of the day was a crushing 1000-2000 raw files and the client is asking for everything to be processed out and delivered on multiple hard-drives, then there will be a bottleneck because it takes a longer time to process and transfer this amount of data onto regular hard-drives. The cost of SSD drives is higher, yet may be more practical when compared to waiting around the studio after a long shoot or the costs of location going into overtime.

4.   Always hire a crew that has everything under control. If the client senses that there’s panic, it’s difficult to get that smooth sailing atmosphere back on set. The Digi Tech should know his/her role. Hiring people that have been working in the business for many years and with big clients is essential. Keeping some the technical conversations from the client is also often to be preferred. 

5.   Bring backups of everything possible: cameras, lenses, cables (they will eventually go bad), power adaptors, extra computer, extra monitor. Be prepared for every worst-case scenario. Back-ups will ensure that even if the equipment gets dropped, the shoot will continue.

6.   Lithium batteries. We all need them and depend on them, but we often neglect to maintain them properly. The simple rule is that they prefer to be in a charged state between 20% and 80%. Topping them off at 100% will unnecessarily put a toll on them. Slow charging vs. Fast charging? Slow charging is better unless you’re running out the door for a shoot and need the batteries right away. Remember, if that’s the case, don’t forget to give us a call.

Happy Shooting,
Esben // Captureforce

Winter shoot with Cooper Tires // BTS in Lake Placid

Is there a more exhilarating way to start a week-long job, than to leave the city on a road trip that takes you to a breathtaking landscape of frozen waterfalls and the sun setting behind snow-covered mountains?

Like a Mission Impossible movie, everyone was arriving from somewhere else. Our photo crew came from NYC, the photographer from Munich, the car crew from Florida and an amazing precision driver from Atlanta. All the cars were transported from Florida and were each selected for their look and ability to display the tires in action in the icy winter surroundings. We had five long action-packed days and weather that for the most part cooperated nicely for those unique moments required to capture the pictures. We got it all wrapped on time and we have the pictures to show for it. 

The Future According to Epson

We recently worked on an interesting project for EPSON shot by LA photographer Glen Wexler. The idea was to show how the world would look like in the near future with the help of technology from EPSON.

The project started out in NYC and continued for two weeks in Tokyo. The job was brought to life by an excellent team of video and still professionals consisting of creatives and assistants from the US as well as our local kick-ass team in Tokyo. Working with a local crew and on multiply locations in a foreign country is no news. Things went smooth, but with a daily doses of funny bone moments. Captureforce has years of experience working in foreign locations including Asia and east Asia, Russia, South Africa, Europe, and in most of the states within the US. Large projects like these can be resource draining and there’re always an element of surprise, but you’re also met with new people who will help make things happen and it’s rewarding to look at the finished outcome and know you’ve been a part of it.

On the tech side, we were shooting with the Hasselblad H cameras and a Phase One IQ 80Mpix digital back to create the unique files needed for the final composites. We were shooting after sunset when the energy of the city visualizes against the night sky. The final images were created by shooting around thirty 80Mpix files in a multi row cubic panorama formation, keeping the camera at its own nodal point, to create one large file. This process and the amazing retouching / CGI animation done by Glen Wexler’s own in-house post production department made the project incredibly special and we’re looking forward to share more EPSON moments with you in the future.

Best wishes,

Esben // Captureforce

Director: Glen Wexler

Client: EPSON America

Campaign name: Where there’s business there’s EPSON

[The theme of the campaign is to show a glimpse of how the world could look like in the near future with technology from EPSON computers, printers, projectors, robotics and industrial equipment. The 30 second commercial use imagery from the NYC downtown skyline and incorporate green screen footage together with CGI content and animation.]


There has always been a gap between DSLR and Medium format digital cameras, but that gap has now been narrowed, first by the Canon 5DS R and since the Nikon D850. We have been using both cameras side by side with high-end medium format digital cameras. The autofocus hit-rate is considerably better and the cameras are overall snappier. You get a lot of camera for your money, but keep in mind that shooting with the Canon 5Ds R or D850 requires that you step up your technique. In other words, the subject blur and camera shake that sometimes would be unnoticeable when using a lower Mpix camera will reveal itself immediately when using a 50+ Mpix camera. We now only recommend MFD to our clients when they need the outmost in image resolution and file integrity.
Another issue we recently noticed occurred during a shoot that included 2 rented cameras from a local rental house. Both cameras back-focused about 3” leaving the model’s eyes consistently out of focus. Technical issues always involve a bit of playing catch-up especially when you’re on set. They’re difficult to correct on the fly, and before you realize the problem and deem it serious enough to use time on, you could be an hour or so into your shoot. That’s why we always recommend renting cameras and lenses from us. We simply know our cameras and have already ironed out all the kinks.

How to buy a lens and avoid getting a lame duck!

We know better. We have been hand picking our lenses for years. That’s how we ensure our lenses are meeting your expectations. Our practice has been to buy as many as possible of each lens and then to compare their performance. At times, the results are surprisingly equal, but at times, some lenses are far apart in regards to image quality. Our suggestion is to test the lens you’re buying… it’s the only way to get the best performing lens for your camera.

The above picture shows 6 lenses compared agains each other at 100%.

Have questions?

Please feel free to call.

Flash sync!

Do you know the accuracy of your PocketWizards or how much power you loose when you shoot at a high shutter speed compared to an old school pc sync cable? We tested each and compared them all.

The images above illustrate the power coming from a ProFoto flash head shot at the same power setting, but at different shutter speeds. Ideally we would like to see the same output throughout the test, but what we can conclude is that the shutter speed does influence our flash output. When looking at the images to the right, you’ll notice the decrease in brightness when working with the PocketWizards and even more so with the Elinchrom SkyPort.

Images above are exposed respectively @ 1/125 sec, 1/250 sec, 1/500 sec, 1/800 sec.

News from the set cart: The Harman Job

The Harman job might sound like a 70ties gangster movie about the perfect heist. It is not!  But, it started with a phone call from a client. The question was how to best approach the creative layout that the client had presented?

I met up with the photographer and we had a chance to look through the high-res CGI prints delivered from the ad agency. The idea was clean and simple; they wanted 25 razor-sharp images, all extreme close-ups of products that could be blown up to 6×20 feet and viewed from arms length. I’ve worked on other jobs with focus stacking and knew that focus stacking could solve the problem with very narrow depth of field. To make the perfect image, we needed a high resolving camera with which to shoot between 100-150 plates for each image. Each plate would later be rendered into one perfect, tack sharp image. Getting this close to an object, with the intention of blowing the image up to 6 x 20’ (feet) large prints for in-store use demands the most heightened attention to quality in every aspect. The sharpest lenses were called for, as well as a Phase One 80 Mpix digital back, perfect lightning, and a seamless team of professionals that know exactly what the client is asking for and how to deliver. Captureforce delivered the digital equipment while at the same time handling all the post-production including the retouching and focus stacking.The result is visible in the new Harman Kardon flagship store located on Madison Avenue at 54th Street.


Splendid photographs / Perfect technique.


Links to examples of retouching performed by Captureforce CFX.

CFX Beauty / Fashion,  PDF 11MB  [click here]

CFX Harman Kardon,  PDF 5MB  [click here]

CFX Harman Kardon,  PDF 3MB  [click here]

CFX Radeberger,  PDF 4MB  [click here]


The world of 4K raw Video

Shooting raw video with cameras, such as the Red Epic or the Canon 5D mark III with the Magic Lantern firmware upgrade, or 4K with the Sony A7s II, offers some appealing advantages. For example you have the ability to color-grade the video footage the same way as when shooting raw with your still camera.
In addition to shooting your job in raw, you now have the ability to shoot in 4K or higher with new cameras such as the Sony A7s II. Capturing 4K is most likely not the resolution at which you’d like to deliver your next job, but it gives you the ability of texturing, shading, lighting, and stabilizing your footage, and it allows you to crop into the frame without losing visible resolution. When done editing, you can down-res your project to HD format, for final delivery. This workflow offers much better results. Cleaner look and a sharper image = professional product.
We have the equipment and the know-how required for your next job: cameras, lenses, new Mac Pro workstations, dailies, post color-grading for broadcast or web.

 Comparison between footage shot in Canon’s H.263 stock mode vs. Magic Lantern’s raw video mode: youTube
 Example of what the Canon 5D mark III is capable of with the ML firmware upgrade: Vimeo
 One more example of the Canon 5D mark III and Magic Lantern: Vimeo

Lucozade Sport ‘Evolution’ – Filmed in the Ukraine

10 Canon 1D mark III cameras // 4 days // 99,767 frames

Friday morning, I received a call asking whether I was available to do a job for director Tony Kaye. He needed 10 Canon 1D mark III cameras the following Monday at the Ukrainian north shore of the Black Sea.

This is how it went down: First things first, I had to locate 10 Canon 1d Mark III’s and the lenses needed for the job. This was a slightly difficult accomplishment, even here in New York City. When it comes to equipment, I never take anything for granted and prefer to have the items in my sweaty hands before confirming a job. By Friday evening, I was able to get everything confirmed and all the insurance issues ironed out.

Less than two days to the shoot: Saturday I packed my MacPro and 24” Eizo monitor together with my two 17” MacBook Pros. But how do you pack 10 bodies and 20 lenses as carry-on items – plus the laptops?! Thanks to the cold, I was able to take my huge North Pole expedition coat, empty out the trash and stuff every pocket with equipment – I think I must have gained 30 lbs. Airline restrictions at the time were one carry-on case and one personal bag which couldn’t even begin to hold everything. Unfortunately, there was no other way then to check the rest as cargo, nothing I could do besides make the cases look as anonymous as possible.

Arriving in Kiev: It was cold and the airport was tiny. I’d been told to look for a man in a black leather jacket and blond hair, who was going to walk me through the back door of customs. He was a special hire from the Russian mafia. While walking thru customs, I got some very long, nervous looks from the customs officers. Everything felt like slow-motion. We all knew what was happening. This was the real thing. Well, at least afterwards it was funny- but while it happened, it was nerve-wracking, especially thinking of what the consequences could be as a foreigner in a foreign country. Thankfully, the rest of the day was business as usual, a connecting flight to a town near the Black Sea and then a two hour drive to Alushta. I finally arrived around midnight.

Call-time the next morning was 3:30 AM. My main responsibility on the shoot was to supervise the production of stills used for video special effects (VFX motion). 11 assistants were assigned to help me set up and control the cameras and whatever else what was needed on set. The first day went fine. The raw footage came in and everyone seemed very happy. Besides the logistical problems of setting up cameras in the middle of nowhere [see pic gallery], my job was to color-grade, backup, and archive the enormous amount of data, and make it available to the people working on the VFX.

In the week that followed, the crew of 50-60 members and I put in at least 21-hour days. My jet-lag was converted into Lance Armstrong-like determination. I can only presume the cameras felt the same way.

The commercial was to be created with video and still images from digital cameras post-processed to moving images. A total of 99,767 still frames were used and mixed with footage from old Arri hand-cranked 35mm and 16mm film cameras, as well as a digital Arri D21, a slow motion Weisscam, a Lynx, and many other cameras all flown in from 2 continents. The amount of footage recorded was mind-boggling. It would take weeks to organize and look through just the film and digital video footage.

It was an amazing job and working with the large crew was incredibly fun. No doubt I would jump on another plane to the middle of nowhere again if I got the chance. In the end, more than 100 VFX sequences were created and the commercial shows a glimpse of one of the hottest trends in Hollywood right now, not the HD movie function of digital cameras, but simply using digital stills for motion.


Best wishes,


Esben // Captureforce


Director: Tony Kaye (American History X)

Client: Lucozade Sport

Campaign name: Lucozade Sport ‘Evolution’

[The theme of the campaign is to show the evolution of sports alongside the evolution of Lucozade Sport. The 60 second commercials use imagery of world famous athletes from different eras in competition against each other during decades that span from the 1920s to the present day]

Total budget: £2 mill.

Behind the scenes web gallery [click here]