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1.2 What You Need

In this lesson you will learn what you need to follow along to produce some fantastic looking 2D transfers of your very own. Now the parts and pieces you pull up a project like this are fairly simple you need a platform to hold your art work or your photos stable. You’ll need some lights to light up your photos and your art work. You’re going to need a camera to capture your images. You're going to need some kind of remote trigger to make sure that your camera doesn't move during capture. And you're going to need some kind of stable camera support system so that you can get your camera in the right orientation and get it aligned properly. So in terms of specific pieces of gear, there are a lot of different things that can work. Let me go over the specifics of my kit here, and then you can make a decision whether you need to get something different or whether you can use the tools that you already have. For my camera platform, I'm going to use this DIY vacuum photo copy stand. Basically this is a box, on the top of this box is a piece of perforated aluminum, and I can create a vacuum with fans that are around this case here. And the idea is I can place my artwork or my photos on this platform and I can have them sucked flat. This does two things, one it takes out any kind of minor variations in the flatness of the photos, and also makes them very very still so that they don't move around any. So it makes placement and alignment very very easy. Now you don't have to use a vacuum photo copy rig, but it does make things quite a bit easier for placement. If you're not going to use one, you just need kind of a stable platform to put your photos, something you can very easily align and get level. I'm going to go over how to get it level and how to get your camera and your platform aligned coming up in another lesson. You're also going to need a basic lighting kit to light up your rig. I'm gonna show you a very inexpensive setup that uses compact fluorescent lamps with a very high color quality in some 30 inch octoboxes. I'm gonna go over how to position those using a light meter coming up in a future lesson. Now when it comes to cameras, you have just a ton of options. Any camera that has a variable focal length lens, including a camera with a fixed lens and manual controls. Should work very very well. What this means is that you can use a high end DSLR, all the way down to a pretty nice point and shoot camera with a variable focal length lens. Now variable focal length lens means a zoom lens. And the reason why you want a zoom lens, is because once you get your rig set, it's going to be most convenient to kind of change the size that your shooting with the lens, rather than kind of re-adjusting your rig. True, you can readjust the rig, but if you change the focal length of your lens at least a little bit, that's going to be very very handy for filling the frame full of your arts or your photos, which is going to give the most amount of detail captured. Now, I'm going to be using a Cannon 70. Which is an APFC sized DSLR with a Sigma 17 to 50 zoom lens. Now this is an F2.8 optically stabilized lens. It's a pretty good lens. I've had pretty good results with it. But the great thing about this project is I'm gonna show you how you can use just about any lens. Because the best results are going to come from stopping your lens down to something like f8 or f11 and at those apertures, even an inexpensive kit lens will yield very very good results. So you can use a consumer level DSLR. It doesn't even have to be a current generation DSLR, I'm very, very sure that I could get very good results with my Canon 300D, which if you don't know, that is the very first digital rebel ever produced. Now you don't even have to use DSLR, you could use micro four thirds camera, any kind of mirrorless camera. The main point is that you need a camera with manual exposure controls, so aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. And it will be very helpful to have at the very least a lens that can do a little bit of variation in the zoom. So get a little bit wider, get a little bit tighter. Now when it comes to lenses, you want to use a lens that does not have a lot of distortion. Because yes, I know you can correct for this in post production, in Photoshop, in Lightroom, in photos, and any other image editing tool. I know you can correct for that. But all of those corrections bend pixels. They move pixels around. And when you move pixels it distorts the image. It takes something that was sharp and distorted, and makes it less distorted and also less sharp. So the more we can get things aligned, flat, level, and not distorted in the real world, the better your results will be In the digital world. So you may want to do a little bit of research, look into the lens that you have and find some reviews on it to find where the optimal sweet spot is for lens distortion. On this particular lens, at its widest, 17 millimeters and in that general kind of wide range. This lens and many, many other lenses will have a fairly good amount of lens distortion. On the opposite side, when it gets to the tightest that this lens can go, 50 millimeters, there's also some lens distortion. So I believe that right around 35 to 45 millimeters is the sweet spot for this particular lens. But that's something that you're gonna want to look into for your particular camera and your lens. If you have a camera with a fixed lens, an easy way to test this is to take a picture of something with a very consistent pattern, like a brick wall, or maybe print yourself out a grid, or the side of the house with very, very even siding, at different focal lengths, and look at the one that's the least amount distorted. You should be able to very clearly see this on the edge. What I'm guessing is, at the widest and at the tightest, it's going to be the worst, and somewhere in the middle, probably more towards the 75% of the focal range in the direction of tightness, you're going to get the best results. Now, it's also going to be very helpful if you can remote trigger your camera with something like this basic wired trigger right here. Or another option. I'm gonna go over a few options in another lesson. But that's something you're gonna want to look into as well, whether or not your camera has the capability to be triggered remotely. It's also gonna be very handy to have a light meter, although it's not 100% necessary this will make your life a heck of a lot easier for setting exposure, positioning your lights and making sure you have a very even field of light across your shooting platform. Now finally let's go over your camera support system. Now, this does not look like a tripod, and indeed It is not a tripod. This is a C-stand with a sidearm here with a grip head, with a mounting plate here with a five-eighths baby stud, and a three-eighths road, and a ball head with a camera quick release plate. This is what I'm gonna be using for this course. I like it a little bit better over a tripod because it gets the tripod legs completely out of the way. It gives me a lot of space under here. I don't have to worry about knocking it. Because any way you set up a tripod over a table, you're going to have either one leg in your way or two legs in your way. If you're not gonna go with a setup like this, you're going to need tripod legs that are tall enough and wide enough to clear whatever kind of table and shooting platform you're going to be using. Now if you setup on the floor, most tripod legs designed for photography should be able to work just fine, but if you're gonna setup in a more convenient kind of system on a table, you're going to need pretty tall tripod legs. So that's something you're gonna need to look into. The only other thing that I wanna mention about your camera support system is that use a head that will allow to orient your camera in three axises, so pan, tilt, and roll. This is going to be important in aligning your camera and getting it level with your shooting platform. So you want to look for heads that are designed for photography, so a ball head is a good option. A pan tilt head for photography is a good option because those usually have a pan, tilt, and roll. Even though they're called pan tilt heads. And also a gearhead which is basically a geared version of a pan tilt head, which allows you to make very precise adjustments to the positioning of your camera. But the most basic thing to keep in mind is that you need control over pan, tilt and roll so that you can get it oriented properly. Probably the easiest thing to do is start off with a ball head. And make sure that you have one that can support your camera's weight when it's tilted all the way down. Sometimes if you have a heavier lens they work fine when they are kind of up like this, but the more you get them tilted down, the more kind of torque that puts on the head and they don't stay in place so well. So make sure you have something that's going to hold the weight of your camera and the lens, and you'll be all set. So that about wraps it up in terms of the essential pieces of gear you need to follow along in this course. There are a few more bits and bobs that you may find handy to have, you're gonna see some of those along the way, and I'm gonna go over a few more at the end of this course. But for now it's time for you to move on to the next lesson. Where you're going to learn how to get your shooting platform and your camera support system flat and level and that's coming up next.