Posts Tagged ‘Dirk Fletcher’

The title of this post says it all – calling all Not-For-Profits that are in need of Photography!

Harrington College of Design’s Social Practices in Photography (or PHO269) is seeking new, start-up or underfunded not-for-profits who are in need of professional photographic services. This class offered through  Harrington College’s renowned Photography program is hoping to provide images to organizations that have not had the means to afford a professional photographer in the past.  In order to qualify for this program, images must be used in printed collateral sometime in the remainder of 2011 and carry the student’s credit information.  The student should receive copies of the final printed piece for their portfolio materials as well.

By shooting for a real client, the goal is to provide a real world experience for our Harrington photography students while helping them understand the power or value of an image outside of its commercial value.

This two-part course is part of our new four year Bachelor of Fine Arts in Commercial Photography (BFA) program, which adds social service and global awareness to the technical foundation students receive in the first two years of the program.

If you are interested in receiving photographic services or know someone who might please get in touch with Dirk Fletcher, Department Chairman of the Photography Program at Harrington College of Design at dfletcher@harringtoncollege.com.

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Last night, Harrington College Photography Alum, Casey Miller, unveiled the premier of his film Montgomery. Casey shares the process of making his film below…

“I’ve always been drawn to photography and film, but it wasn’t until I took the multimedia class at Harrington College of Design that I really got to explore my love of film. It was an incredible class taught by the head of Harrington’s photography department, Dirk Fletcher, learning all about the parts of movies, the different tools of the trade, and of course Final Cut, made the class one I always looked forward to. I quickly became obsessed with the exercises; making commercials using Final Cut, filming with the Steadicam, and then finally making my own promotional video. I couldn’t get enough, when the class ended I wanted more. So when the opportunity arose to work one on one with Dirk Fletcher to do my own project, I leaped at the opportunity.

Writing this now, I realize how unsuspecting I was. I actually though that I would be able to write, produce, cast, film, direct, and edit my movie within a semester. I was crazy and inexperienced. I now know that making a movie is an enormous project. Even in its simplest form, filming and editing, both are hugely important and in need of incredibly detailed attention.  If I hadn’t taken the multimedia class both of these things would have turned out horribly. The seemingly most simple things would have been overlooked had Dirk not helped me see them.

I was lucky to have such incredible actors, my friends and fellow students sacrificed so much of their time to help with this project, I’m eternally thankful. Even more so because they had to deal with me contacting Dirk every hour to help me fix something I was doing wrong.

But through it all: missing memory cards, learning lines, fixing lighting, finding locations, replacing actors, losing assistants, designing props, wardrobe, adjusting sound, filming during actors finals, reshoots, etc., I have a finished film I can be proud of, and to say I’m wise from the experience is a HUGE understatement. I will always appreciate the help Dirk Fletcher gave me when filming and editing the movie, and the help Harrington and student government gave me with putting together the showcase.

I am Casey Miller, I am a Photographer, and after four months of filming, over 200 hours of editing, and lots of help, I am also now a filmmaker.”

HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to you Casey for all your hard work – judging by the responses last night, it certainly paid off. Can’t wait to see all that you do in the future!!

Photo courtesy Casey Miller


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On Friday, January 28th, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation‘s 14th Annual Grand Chefs Gala and Jean Banchet Awards took over 500 guests on a journey down the yellow brick road at the Fairmont Hotel in Chicago. The fundraiser included tasting stations from more than 40 Chicago chefs, pastry chefs and bartenders.

From delectable food to stunning Emerald City décor, the event featured premium silent and live auction items and presented Jean Banchet Awards to Chicago’s outstanding chefs, restaurants, and catering companies in their respective categories. Also present at the black-tie event was a stunning display crafted by a team from the Harrington College of Design!

For the “Emerald City” theme, a team of students from Harrington built a life-size poppy field display with a replica of the gates of Oz. They also created matching centerpiece decorations. Check out a glimpse of the making of the display (recognize the room??) and the final piece at the event!

Special thanks go to Harrington’s Andy Conklin and Dirk Fletcher, who donated work for the silent auction, and Demetra Vartzikos and John Martin-Rutherford, who led this project, and all Harrington students who helped:

Annie Davies, Amanda Hines, Brian Naglich, Natalie Malik, Elizabeth Campbell, Emily Wiegel, Jaclyn Moser, Joanna Peterson and Shauna Schurman.

Photos courtesy Harrington Interior Design instructor Demetra Vartzikos

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Article courtesy Dirk Fletcher  

This feature is continued from yesterday…

The AV jack on the Canon 5D Mark II sends a composite signal, so I tested this signal on a 1DS Mark III and a 40D by feeding it into an LCD monitor and it worked without a hitch. On to step two: The obvious choice of using a finder from a Canon XL-series video camera was squashed by its inputs. All the XL-series finders have a component input, meaning red, green and blue signals are separated then fed into the monitor instead of a combined or composite signal, such as the 5D’s output. The Canon XL finder would cause an additional challenge that wasn’t necessary.

After consulting with a top Hollywood camera and Steadicam operator (my brother) it was learned that if you are concerned with focus and framing, a black-and-white, 1.5-inch CRT (little TV tube) finder was preferred over an LCD or Liquid Crystal Display. The contrastier image of the CRT makes critical focusing easier.

Perfect – I located a JVC professional CRT monitor on eBay, new in the box for less than $250 bucks.

Constructing the bracket took a little design consideration and some elbow grease. Due to its size, I decided the best approach would be to mount the finder vertically on the 5D’s hot shoe and spin the eyepiece backwards 45 degrees. This allows you to hold the camera much as you would hold a Hasselblad with a 45-degree prism in your hands.

A crude ‘break’ was used to bend the flat aluminum stock around the finder after using a mill to create a dovetail to match the finder’s receiver plate. A plastic hot shoe was used as to not risk shorting the pins on the cameras hot shoe. I finished the mounting bracket with glossy black epoxy paint and added an accessory shoe to the top for mics or wireless accessories.

I did employ the services of a professional video repair facility to properly identify the pinout on the din cable that needed to be converted to a RCA signal input and 12-volt power input.

Power can be served through a variety of sources, ranging from a wall transformer, car plug, 8 AA holder or my preference, a 12-volt, 5Ah battery from Batteries Plus, which is available for about $30. This same battery can power my location LCD monitor.

This article is not intended to be a how-to but should be used as a source of inspiration and jumping off point for the chronic equipment dabbler and mechanically inclined.

Article originally published in The Digital Journalist Camera Corner by Dirk Fletcher, January 2009. See Dirk’s update to this article at his blog here.

Interested in finding out more about Dirk and reading another one of his articles? Simply type in “Dirk Fletcher” in the search feature at the top of this blog to hear more!

Photos courtesy Dirk Fletcher 

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I always enjoy sharing the articles that Harrington faculty are writing out in the field… I came across this gem written by Digital Photography Department Chair and instructor, Dirk Fletcher, back in 2009 who actually has a book  coming out soon this December. Enjoy!

Article courtesy Dirk Fletcher

Having been lucky enough to see an early sample of the new Canon 5D Mark II in early 2009, I, like others, quickly began to realize the potential and meaning of this remarkable camera. As the lines between the still and motion world have long been converging, this camera is the single step that may blur the lines beyond recognition.

Canon’s efforts to serve the photojournalist’s need to provide both still and motion from the same event inadvertently changed the face of the independent filmmaker. Suddenly, the marvels of Red Camera’s Scarlet, and the affordable CineAlta Sony EX-1 seem overpriced and unnecessary. A camera with the ability to use the fantastic top shelf and readily available ‘L’ optics coupled with affordable and equally plentiful media, this sub-$3,000 camera packs a punch that we will all be reeling from for some time to come.

This isn’t being written as a praise piece for this camera (couldn’t tell, right?) but as a source of inspiration for all. After handling the camera for only a few minutes (under the watchful eye of a Canon technical guru) it was apparent that one of the largest factors keeping it from being truly embraced by the independent production world is its lack of a decent or real finder. Others will argue the focus modes will be problematic but the real issue is one of the same: using a decent finder, one should be able to focus while filming without issue.

So, while waiting for my new 5D to arrive started out as a test of patience, it has turned into a pretty fulfilling design challenge. In order to shoot video, the mirror flips up and the camera’s live view engages and the photographer (operator, cameraman, whatever?!?) views the scene on the vertically mounted 3-inch screen. Not quite ideal from an ergonomic perspective.

Enter the challenge: the adaptation and installation of a professional video finder.

Keep reading tomorrow!

Article courtesy Dirk Fletcher

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