Whatever did we do before drones? I think all exterior photography was impossible until their invention.

....Oh yes, I remember. We found tall buildings and shot from the roof tops.

This is a project we did for the Austin Chamber of Commerce a while back. The art director for the Chamber's ad agency wanted to show off the city scape and also show some representative people sprinkled amongst the downtown skyline. ( A skyline that is much, much more crowded today)>

We scouted a location that would give us a view of Congress Avenue, looking north toward the state Capitol building. We ended up shooting from the top of the Embassy Suites building, just south of the river. The Chamber of Commerce seems to open many doors in Austin so we had no trouble securing the location. We shot in the late afternoon with a Nikon D2x camera and one of the unheralded, great zoom lenses of the time, the 28-70mm f2.8 Nikon. A great lens. Incredibly sharp at f5.6 and f8.

Once we had the skyline shot "in the can" we move on to casting and then photographing our talents. We had a big ink jet print of the skyline that we referred to in the studio for positioning the people.  Everyone was shot against a white background, clipped out and composited into the piece.

The image was used as a double truck ad in magazines but another important use was on big, fabric show dividers in the convention center in Austin. The repeating dividers were ten feet tall and sixteen feet wide. At the time the D2x was the highest resolution camera made by Nikon and we worked hard to make sure that we were working with optimum technique. That meant: Always on a tripod. Always at the sharpest aperture. Always at the lowest ISO.

The images on the big, fabric dividers looked great. I'm not sure how much more actual quality a 24 megapixel camera would have bought us. After all that's only a linear increase of 20% in pixel resolution...

Fun with advertising. I remember those years as the transitional years between print and electronic media. Going forward I think we are resolutely in the electronic presentation decade. Yes, there are still corners of the business where people work with prints, and there will be printed magazines at least for the foreseeable future, but....


Jeff said...

Before drones, I recall we strapped ourselves to a lawn chair with balloons attached and floated up to the correct height.

Michael Gatton said...

Drone shots are cool now, but they will quickly become the new cliche, I suspect, if they haven't already.