SWCVI: What I Want to Do, Part One

Mary Franklin | August 20, 2012
 Mary Franklin Self Portrait

Mary Franklin Self Portrait

Each Celebration, while working on the programming for the show, I come up with a mental list of what I would do if I were coming to the show as an attendee rather than as part of the production.

Don’t get me wrong – what I do is really fun. I can’t think of any job I would rather do, nor really of anything I would rather do than be behind the scenes at a Celebration. But if I could sneak away from responsibility for a bit here’s where I would go:

At the top of my list would be Joel Aron’s class at 1:00pm on Friday in the Star Wars University (W300):
Street Photography. Joel has subtitled this: “How to take better candid pictures when you walk the convention floor or to your hotel.”

Joel Aron Self Portrait

Joel Aron Self Portrait

Joel Aron, the VFX Supervisor for Star Wars: The Clone Wars is an incredible photographer. I’ve had the good fortune of seeing some of his photographs from his travel, and I would love to learn a few tips from him.

From the description on the Celebration VI mobile app: “This is the course you’re looking for. I will explain the art of capturing the ‘decisive moment.’ I will also go deeply in to what that means, and where it came from. I will discuss the art of the snapshot, and how to know your camera so well, that you will never even know you’re holding it. Even better, I will go over how to use your camera so that no one knows you have one in your hand, even after you took their picture. I also will cover how to take a street photo when the subject knows you’re taking their picture. This is a more hard core class on photography, so I will also discuss the mental state that street photographers and photojournalist put themselves in, to be able to get the shot.. and not ever look at the back of your camera to see what it looks like till you’re having a coffee or beer afterwards. I will talk about what to shoot, how much to shoot, and the most important, what to keep and how to process the image and present it to the world.
I will cover:

  • composition
  • lighting composition
  • light shapes of contrast
  • the cinematic aspect ratio
  • what lens to use
  • color tone for feeling
  • the softness of light
  • film and digital
  • Star Wars lighting, and what George has drilled in to my head
  • post processing and cleaning up a portrait
  • presenting your work”

I so want to take this class!

After the class, Joel is offering a bonus class (“No need to sign up, just show up!) immediately following on Street Photography: Street Photo Crawl.

“Let’s go shoot something! After the Street Photography class, anyone that would like hard core training can join me as I walk the floor and outside of the convention center as we put our training to the test! I would like to keep this group small (no more than 10 people). If more people are interested, I can schedule a second tour on Friday!”

Here’s what Joel and those lucky ten people will do in their Street Photo Crawl:

  • one-on-one sessions
  • a watch, learn, and try-it-yourself photo workshop
  • critique on shooting styles
  • critique on images (for digital) after the session

I suppose it would be bad form if I cut in front of Celebration attendees and took one of those spots.

Joel will be teaching another class on Sunday at noon in the Star Wars University: Classic Portraiture : how to capture a portrait of anyone, and make them look like a model, as well as how portrait lighting applies to the characters on The Clone Wars.

Clearly, based on my self-portrait, I need this class.

“This course will be taking you through the process of not only setting up to shoot the portrait, but how to use light to match the personality of the subject. I will also discuss the mental process of using your social skills (and building them) to be able to connect with your subject as you’re shooting their portrait. I will cover the basics of classic portrait lighting by pulling up members of the course to sit as the subject. I will then pull up well known images from all Star Wars movies, and The Clone Wars, and break down how those images were lit, and attempt to replicate that lighting, as this is something that I do on a daily basis as lighting supervisor on the show. I will also cover the post process phase, and how to take what is a mediocre image, and turn it in to something stunning.
I will cover:

  • studying for inspiration before the shoot
  • what lights to use, and what they do
  • what camera to use, and how to use it
  • the equipment to use
  • film and digital
  • how to pose your subject
  • what to say to your subject
  • changing the lighting mid shoot
  • Star Wars lighting, and what George has drilled in to my head
  • post processing and cleaning up a portrait
  • presenting your work”

How fortunate for the people who get to take this time with a master photographer! Maybe I’ll get to stick my head in the class, but for those of you who can take it, enjoy!

Star Wars Celebration VI is coming to Orlando, Florida on August 23-26. Join the party that brings together fans of all ages to celebrate the pop culture phenomenon that is Star Wars.
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