Technology, Photography and I just Shipped my Pants

I spend a lot of money on technology.  At any given time, I carry two laptops.  Five iPads.  Three Internet hotspot cards (two Verizon and one Sprint).  My iPhone.  And then we get to all my camera equipment.

You know you have a lot of gear when TSA looks at you and says, “Holy crap! What do you do?”  This as you’re heading through the known traveller line, with the man in back of you indignant that you took the lap tops out of the camera bag, and sneeringly says:

“You know, you don’t have to do that in this line.”

“I do unless you want them to stop, pull my bags, swab everything, and then they’ll get to you.”

Glare.  Withering stare.  I shrug.  “Or, I can pull out the computers so the x ray can see the other 9000 electronic things in my bag and I’ll be on my way.”

Technology is great, and in many ways it is my business.  Creating successful green screen photo executions without technology is almost impossible: it’s required to be connected to high speed Internet, certainly a necessity to have back up everything, and the gear just piles up.

I shipped $1200 worth of equipment to and from Nashville last week.  I don’t mean the gear was worth $1200, no — put a few more zeros on that — I mean the FEDEX Ground bill was $1200.  And, honestly — I could have used a few more items.

You spend all this money on technology, and then, boom, it doesn’t work.  Internet won’t connect.  Computers decide to revert back to the days of dial up.  Cameras won’t click.  Lights blow up like fireworks.  You think, “If I spend the money it will work.”

So you spend the money.

And it doesn’t work.

But you CAN’T let that discourage you.  All you can do is revert to Plan B, and then C and D.  If you’re going to be on the cutting edge, know that sometimes the edge is going to cut your feet.

But when it works: Nirvana!  Is there anything like the feeling of pulling off something someone hasn’t done before?  Of looking over at your satellite dish wedged next to the dish for ESPN and NBC Sports?  Of having another photographer say, “WTF!?  How do you do that?”

This past week I rolled out Pic Motion, a new concept marrying a still foreground photo with a video background.  There are some advantages of working in video — the hot social networks now leverage video.  People will stand around and watch a video loop, again and again.   This is off topic but the perfect story:

The heat was blazing in the Honda tent at Fan Village, and Jeff proudly showed off his non-iPhone.  Some Galaxy thing that he loves, but I, of course sneer at.  Whatever.  He wanted to show me a Kmart commercial.  Unsure how excited I could get over a Kmart commercial, I played along.

“I just shipped my pants!” said an older lady into the camera, playing on Jeff’s phone thanks to You Tube.

“I just shipped my pants and it felt good! 

Of course, shipped sounded like another word, far less innocuous.

A small crowd formed around us, all laughing at the commercial, like 10 year old boys.  “I just shipped my drawers” / “I just shipped my bed” / “I just shipped my….”

“I have to play that again.”  And we watched it again.  And again.  And a fourth time.  Laughing harder with each playing.  And, I even remember it was for Kmart.  When is the last time you wanted to watch a Kmart commercial, let alone on a loop? Isn’t that why God invented HBO?

I love photography, but the play on words, the marrying of sound and motion is pure video.  And there are few things that can hold a person’s attention for hours on end like a smart, creative video.

I thought: there must be a way of marrying what I do — green screen photography — with the power of video.  From that Kmart commercial grew my idea for Pic Motion.

Besides, it gives me an excuse to buy even better gadgets.  I can’t wait to pull those out at TSA, and when the guy in back of me complains, I’ll laugh and suggest he just ship himself.

Sorry, that just slipped out.

If you are feeling like a 10 year old boy, here’s a link to one of those Kmart videos.  This isn’t nearly as (well, I don’t even know the words) but here’s an example video for Pic Motion.