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Sports Traditional Sports, as well as Dance, and other organized activites which involve human bodies in motion.

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  #1  
Old September 27th, 2006, 07:58 AM
Nill Toulme Nill Toulme is offline
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Default A RAW workflow for sports shooters...

I shoot high school sports, and I shoot RAW. If I didn't, I'm not sure how I'd get along, as I'm frequently shooting in difficult lighting conditions, and I also tend to make a lot of dumb mistakes where a jpg would be toast but RAW saves my bacon. (Hmmm, sounds like breakfast...)

Many people seem to think that while RAW may be fine when you're intending to do a lot of post-processing work on just a few shots, it's just not practical when you have a LOT of shots to process, such as from a sporting event. But that's simply not true. It's not too hard or too time-consuming to shoot RAW unless perhaps you have to upload immediately to meet a publication deadline or you're selling on-site and don't have the time to do anything other than let your customers see exactly what comes out of the camera. Otherwise, assuming you're even going to go to the trouble to crop and level your shots (and if you're not, why are you bothering to shoot at all?), then you can do it, and in my opinion and experience, do it better, in RAW.




This time of year I shoot several thousand RAW frames a week. My workflow is very quick and straightforward (or I would go nuts and my wife would shoot me... she's pretty close to it already). I'll typically shoot 500-1500 RAW frames per game, depending on this that and the other.

I dump to the computer using a fast Lexar card reader and Breeze Downloader Pro. That's a big leg up right from the start. To see why, see this link.

Then I cull the shoot down to keepers, or maybe keepers, very quickly with a full screen sharpened view using BreezeBrowser Pro. For details on how I do that, go to this link.

Then I convert the keepers using Capture One. A few more usually find their way to the trash bin at this stage. In the conversion I will crop, rotate if necessary to level the horizon, and adjust the levels. I shoot auto WB and it is extremely rare for me to do any color correction at this stage or any other for that matter. Default saturation, default sharpening, and only the very slight noise reduction that Capture One applies by default. In other words, all I'm really doing is crop, maybe rotate, and levels. That's it. (But note that an easy trick at this stage for masking a LOT of high ISO noise in night game shots is to raise the black point enough to block up the shadows and backgrounds.)
[UPDATE: Since getting the 1D Mark IV I have been forced to update to Capture One v5.1. It's absolutely terrific. The Highlight and Shadow adjustment sliders are amazing, and the Clarity adjustment is pretty wonderful too. Took a bit of getting used to the new interface, but not as much as I feared, and I really like it better now. Highly recommended.]

[FURTHER UPDATE: As much as I like many things in C1 v5.1, including its workflow, I have not been happy with what its noise reduction does to high ISO Mark IV images. The default approach is extremely aggressive, losing massive amounts of detail, and I find it very difficult to control and to get acceptable results. Mind you, I'm talking about ISO 5000 and up, and very difficult images like underexposed shots of dark skinned players. But all the same, I have not been pleased with it.

Enter Adobe Camera Raw v6.1 beta. This is the same RAW conversion technology found in the Lightroom3 beta. It's simply amazing what it does with these images. I'm going to have to make some adjustments in the workflow, at least for very high ISO images. I might even have to learn to use Lightroom.]
Then I feed the converted keepers to BreezeBrowser Pro again to produce my html web gallery. In doing so it applies some default USM to generate the jpg's, and of course converts them to sRGB. That's it... I'm done. Dump the new gallery to my web server, add a link to it from the appropriate index page, and go to bed.

From 1000+ frames shot to 150 chosen, cropped, adjusted, converted and up on the web... usually about an hour and a half if I keep my concentration up, maybe two hours if I woolgather.




For print orders I use Qimage. The only times I open Photoshop any more are very occasionally to apply NR (Noiseware, and that only for some prints larger than 4x6), and even less frequently, some cosmetological or other retouching.

Strictly from the standpoint of the RAW conversion part, the key to this is Capture One. Once I got used to its somewhat non-standard interface, it's allowed me to process RAW images at least as fast as I could process jpg's in Photoshop probably faster.

For further reading, Don Cohen has a very nice article about RAW workflow here.

Nill
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Last edited by Nill Toulme; May 29th, 2010 at 04:36 PM.
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  #2  
Old September 27th, 2006, 10:44 AM
Nikolai Sklobovsky Nikolai Sklobovsky is offline
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Nil,

I'm with you on this!
Unless, as you said, there is a need for on-site selling or a need to burst 100-200 pictures at 5fps in a row (very tight and very long peleton in bike races?), RAW will do more good than bad.

Cheers!
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  #3  
Old September 27th, 2006, 10:53 AM
Nill Toulme Nill Toulme is offline
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Thanks Nik, and thanks also for the link to a very nice description of your use of alternative tools to accomplish similar goals in a very similar manner!

Nill
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Old September 27th, 2006, 11:02 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Nil,

There's such a lot for me to say for this post!

First it is well written, useful, practical and a great contribution. We need a number such reports like this. Workflow is the gateway to a peaceful life and the best images!

Next, that picture of the girl with hands at her sides is so full of attitude! An iinteresting shot in itself.

I love that you select carefully the pictures you show. It is so important to selct for the viewer not overwhelm them. Show your best work. This is a good lesson. Just enough pictures to illustrate. It allows the mind to put a great deal of attention on both your writing and maybe one of your several pictures.

Asher
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  #5  
Old September 27th, 2006, 11:10 AM
Nikolai Sklobovsky Nikolai Sklobovsky is offline
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Nil,

my pleasure!
I also like to see how other people achive the similar goals in a different way.
I guess, it's called freedom:-)

Cheers!

PS

And I agree with Asher: that #9 shot is a beauty:-)
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  #6  
Old October 5th, 2006, 01:09 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Nik,

Only problem with #9 is that I didn't take the picture!

and the RAW workflow is a problem for Mac users as Breezbrowser Pro is a PC program! I guess Photo Mechanic would do the same things.

Asher
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  #7  
Old October 6th, 2006, 04:57 PM
Scott Bennett Scott Bennett is offline
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Nill,

Thanks for sharing the work flow. Do you know if Magne Nilsen's profiles for Mark II also work with Mark II N?

Thanks.
Scott
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  #8  
Old October 6th, 2006, 05:56 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Scott,

First welcome to OPF! Introduce yourself either here or in the Intro forum so people can get to know you!

I believe the Magne's profiles are fine for the MarkII N since the optical path and sensor are the same.

Michael Tapes will now for sure.

Asher
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  #9  
Old October 6th, 2006, 07:53 PM
Nill Toulme Nill Toulme is offline
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From what I have read here and there the Mark II profiles work very well with the IIn, but they are not "perfect," and new IIn profiles would be ideal. But from forum traffic on Magne's website, it appears there are some issues between him and Phase One that are holding these up.

Nill
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  #10  
Old October 7th, 2006, 10:39 AM
Marian Howell Marian Howell is offline
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my workflow is almost identical! except, as a mac user, i use photo mechanic where you use breezebrowser. and i agree 100% about magne's profiles with c1 - the best! the only time white balance bogs me down is with ice hockey shoots, where the lighting can be (and usually is!) a bit dicey. again, in ice hockey, i often shoot at iso 1600 so a batch action in photoshop to run them through noise ninja is done.
the most critical part (and the hardest for me!) is culling the keepers. sometimes i get multiple good shots of the same moment (8 fps-itis!) and have to force myself not to overwhelm the viewer :))))
marian
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  #11  
Old November 22nd, 2006, 11:00 PM
Jeff Mims Jeff Mims is offline
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I know this is a little late, but I really liked your post on sports settings. Images were Great, as well.
Now if only I could have read this back in August, as this was my first year shooting highschool (Friday night football)
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  #12  
Old February 15th, 2009, 02:40 PM
Shawn Avants Shawn Avants is offline
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I realize this post is a few years old, but I was curious to know if you still use this same workflow (to a degree) considering new RAW converters, etc...

In reading your post, I feel this is what I should have been doing for the past few years and willing to give a try, provided it still meets your current requirements :)

Thank you for your time!
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  #13  
Old February 20th, 2009, 08:58 AM
Ian L. Sitren Ian L. Sitren is offline
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For a number of years I shot on assignment, the larger amateur and professional bodybuilding competitions around the country, typically 25 or so per year. Along with my client, I pioneered the concept of shooting and then having the photos uploaded for the viewing audience within a few hours of the end of the show. For the first few years all of the other magazines never beat me even when they deployed teams of people to get it done, brought in full desktop machines and even a T-1 line. For me it was myself and a guy pulling overnight duty back in Idaho to do the actual galleries and getting them online.

My first secret was actually simple, I did my absolute best to nail my exposures and to get my photo right every time I pushed the shutter button. And although I might be shooting 500 or more frames during a show, the other photographers around me were shooting 2000+. And all those extra frames were a huge time burn in processing and uploading.

The next part of my secret was PhotoMechanic, simple the fastest tool for editing photos by a long shot. I would shoot in RAW, cull out the few rejects in PhotoMechanic and then use the 'extract jpg' feature, run them again to size for online use and convert to sRGB. And then upload a zipped file to the servers in Boise. The other guys were trying to use Bridge, PhotoShop and other misc programs and while they were slaving all night with it, I would be kicking back, maybe having a drink in the hotel bar.

My third secret was logistics. I would always make it a point to stay in hotels with the fastest internet service. Typically for me this was Marriott with their 'iBahn' service, very consistent and fast across the country. Other hotels would struggle along with limited DSL upload speeds while my stuff was flying out. And then for big events where 8000 people would be leaving trying to get a shuttle bus or cab back to their hotel, I would have a limo waiting for me.

That is the way I did it. In the last two years it has changed somewhat but that was also something I started when I uploaded the first photos from a show while it was still going on by using wireless WiFi to the T-1 line for our video broadcast.
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Old February 20th, 2009, 11:18 AM
Ron Morse Ron Morse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian L. Sitren View Post
For a number of years I shot on assignment, the larger amateur and professional bodybuilding competitions around the country, typically 25 or so per year. Along with my client, I pioneered the concept of shooting and then having the photos uploaded for the viewing audience within a few hours of the end of the show. For the first few years all of the other magazines never beat me even when they deployed teams of people to get it done, brought in full desktop machines and even a T-1 line. For me it was myself and a guy pulling overnight duty back in Idaho to do the actual galleries and getting them online.

My first secret was actually simple, I did my absolute best to nail my exposures and to get my photo right every time I pushed the shutter button. And although I might be shooting 500 or more frames during a show, the other photographers around me were shooting 2000+. And all those extra frames were a huge time burn in processing and uploading.

The next part of my secret was PhotoMechanic, simple the fastest tool for editing photos by a long shot. I would shoot in RAW, cull out the few rejects in PhotoMechanic and then use the 'extract jpg' feature, run them again to size for online use and convert to sRGB. And then upload a zipped file to the servers in Boise. The other guys were trying to use Bridge, PhotoShop and other misc programs and while they were slaving all night with it, I would be kicking back, maybe having a drink in the hotel bar.

My third secret was logistics. I would always make it a point to stay in hotels with the fastest internet service. Typically for me this was Marriott with their 'iBahn' service, very consistent and fast across the country. Other hotels would struggle along with limited DSL upload speeds while my stuff was flying out. And then for big events where 8000 people would be leaving trying to get a shuttle bus or cab back to their hotel, I would have a limo waiting for me.

That is the way I did it. In the last two years it has changed somewhat but that was also something I started when I uploaded the first photos from a show while it was still going on by using wireless WiFi to the T-1 line for our video broadcast.
That is very interesting. Do you still use photomechanic?
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Old February 20th, 2009, 11:38 AM
Ian L. Sitren Ian L. Sitren is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Morse View Post
That is very interesting. Do you still use photomechanic?
Yes I do, but I stopped shooting front row press pit shooting at these shows. So my needs are not the same.

I now use PhotoMechanic if I want to quickly look at a shoot, rename an entire shoot, generate really fast previews etc. No other program is nearly as fast as PhotoMechanic.

For most of my work I have pretty much settled in on Lightroom, but there are features I like in Aperture and Capture One. Sometimes I will just use Bridge for that matter.
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  #16  
Old February 20th, 2009, 05:20 PM
Shawn Avants Shawn Avants is offline
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I just downloaded photomechanic and gonna try it out. From what I have heard, should be well worth the money, but I try before I buy when possible :)
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  #17  
Old February 20th, 2009, 08:47 PM
Ian L. Sitren Ian L. Sitren is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn Avants View Post
I just downloaded photomechanic and gonna try it out. From what I have heard, should be well worth the money, but I try before I buy when possible :)
Believe me Ron there is nothing I hate more than new software, I don't buy anything unless I try it first and seldom will I even try anything!
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  #18  
Old March 22nd, 2009, 12:06 PM
Nill Toulme Nill Toulme is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn Avants View Post
I realize this post is a few years old, but I was curious to know if you still use this same workflow (to a degree) considering new RAW converters, etc...

In reading your post, I feel this is what I should have been doing for the past few years and willing to give a try, provided it still meets your current requirements :)
Sorry guys I've been MIA. The answer is yes, it's still exactly what I do in fact I'm still using not only the same software but even pretty much the same versions of it. (I tried Capture One v4.x briefly and couldn't get my arms around it; I'm still on v3.7.8.)

Mind you, I don't have instant deadline upload requirements like Ian did. You absolutely have to shoot jpg to do that, and what you have in the camera is what you have, and what the client gets.

I'm shooting for different needs and a different audience, so I have the luxury of much heavier editing. The workflow I'm using is obviously more work-intensive than simply uploading what you have on the card, but I'm simply not, and fear I never will be, good enough with the camera to get to the point where I would be willing to do that. (And don't I wish I could! Right now, in the thick of the spring sports season, I'm shooting about 5,000 frames a week. And on top of that I've gone back to having a day job...)

Nill
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  #19  
Old March 30th, 2009, 06:42 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Default For Event Photography, Does Photomechanic hold the edge on Lightroom?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian L. Sitren View Post
For a number of years I shot on assignment, the larger amateur and professional bodybuilding competitions around the country, typically 25 or so per year. Along with my client, I pioneered the concept of shooting and then having the photos uploaded for the viewing audience within a few hours of the end of the show. For the first few years all of the other magazines never beat me even when they deployed teams of people to get it done, brought in full desktop machines and even a T-1 line. For me it was myself and a guy pulling overnight duty back in Idaho to do the actual galleries and getting them online.

My first secret was actually simple, I did my absolute best to nail my exposures and to get my photo right every time I pushed the shutter button. And although I might be shooting 500 or more frames during a show, the other photographers around me were shooting 2000+. And all those extra frames were a huge time burn in processing and uploading.

The next part of my secret was PhotoMechanic, simple the fastest tool for editing photos by a long shot. I would shoot in RAW, cull out the few rejects in PhotoMechanic and then use the 'extract jpg' feature, run them again to size for online use and convert to sRGB. And then upload a zipped file to the servers in Boise. The other guys were trying to use Bridge, PhotoShop and other misc programs and while they were slaving all night with it, I would be kicking back, maybe having a drink in the hotel bar.
Here's the issue: photograph and event, select the best, correct, crop and upload jpgs for clients to order.

What's your solution? Is iview Media Pro, a.k.a., Expression Media by Microsoft, part of the plan?
what's the link between your software and your FTP site?

Who still relies on Photomechanic for the exceptional speed advantages Ian Sitren praises? So has Lightroom simply wiped out this advantage?

I've cross posted this here for wedding and other social event photographers who might miss this important thread started by Nill Toulme, here, in the sports forum.

Asher
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  #20  
Old April 1st, 2009, 06:02 PM
Shawn Avants Shawn Avants is offline
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Nill,

Thank you for coming back to comment on this thread. I know what you mean about having a day job... that is why I have not thanked you earlier. I need to get out and shoot some events to truly test your processes, and that starts this week :)
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  #21  
Old April 1st, 2009, 08:21 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Shawn,

Good luck on your new work. Did you download Photo Mechanic? I hope everything goes

Asher
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  #22  
Old April 4th, 2009, 05:00 AM
Jeremy Lawrence Jeremy Lawrence is offline
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The reason why PhotoMechanic was so much faster than other Browsers is that it used the emebdded jpegs within RAW files to show photo and no rendering needed. Now both Aperture and Bridge can do the same thing, they can be just as quick for your initial sift. But Bridge CS4 is so much faster at rendering RAW images, I never use the embedded images preview. This also means I see my RAW files as they actually look rather than as the camera developed them. I can also set a preset development for them as they are opened in Bridge. - You can choose what ever default setting you want for your RAW files in ACR. Or just apply a particular look you have saved, en masse. You can do a similar thing in LR, but LR is simply not as quick as Bridge, so if speed is of the essence, Br is better.
File Browsers can be quicker than Databases as no importing is needed before you even start.
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Old April 4th, 2009, 10:54 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremy Lawrence View Post
The reason why PhotoMechanic was so much faster than other Browsers is that it used the emebdded jpegs within RAW files to show photo and no rendering needed. Now both Aperture and Bridge can do the same thing, they can be just as quick for your initial sift. But Bridge CS4 is so much faster at rendering RAW images, I never use the embedded images preview. This also means I see my RAW files as they actually look rather than as the camera developed them. I can also set a preset development for them as they are opened in Bridge. - You can choose what ever default setting you want for your RAW files in ACR. Or just apply a particular look you have saved, en masse. You can do a similar thing in LR, but LR is simply not as quick as Bridge, so if speed is of the essence, Br is better.
File Browsers can be quicker than Databases as no importing is needed before you even start.
Hi Jeremy,

Imagine now that you make a selection of pictures to be made available to those who might need them. Now these others, (e.g. designers and web managers and PR), need to select and annotate the images. What would you then use for the common catalog that is made? Bridge or iview media Pro (Microsoft Expression)? What needs to be done is the classification of images by name, event and other characteristics according to their own needs.

Asher
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