Episode 120 – Product Photography with Chris Nielsen

Chris Nielsen is a photographer and videographer from New Zealand. Hear about his day job as a product photographer, how the iPad is used in his work training motorcyclists at IAM Roadsmart, his process for capturing and editing black and white photographs, and how he shoots and edits motovlogs! We also towards the end of the episode dive into journaling, mind mapping, task management, Apple Music lossless, and a few other little topics.

YouTube Version of the Podcast

Links and Show Notes

Equipment list

  • 2015 MacBook 12” (dead battery and dodgy USB port, now permanently connected to power, monitor, keyboard and mouse)
  • 2017 iPad Pro 10.5 (lightning port model) with mark 1 Apple Pencil (see photo for what it looks like after my puppy chewed it lol)
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • Apple Watch series 0
  • All OS versions are current shipping versions, I no longer do betas.
  • DJI phantom 4 drone
  • Nikon D500 DSLR.
  • Motorcycle: 2016 Suzuki GSX-S1000
  • Helmet mounted GoPro is currently broken so no new videos for a while, I’m saving for a new camera. Maybe 360 cam.

Links

Apps

  • Halide
  • Apple Photos
  • Metapho
  • Affinity Photo
  • Pixelmator Photo
  • Flickr
  • Instagram
  • 500px
  • Astrophotography
  • TPE
  • PhotoPills
  • Astro.
  • LE calculator
  • Cascable
  • Filmic Pro on iPhone
  • LumaFusion
  • Keynote
  • DaVinci Resolve on Mac
  • Affinity Designer
  • Epidemic Sound
  • YouTube Studio
  • OmniFocus
  • Mindnode
  • Google Maps
  • Kindle
  • Student report editing: built in preview w/apple pencil.
  • Calimoto on iPhone

Head-Fi (high end headphones)

Equipment:

  • DAC: Schiit Bifrost via lighting to USB A adapter.
  • Amp: Schiit Lyr 2 (using stock tubes now as I dropped a heavy object on the nicer tubes I had lol)
  • Headphones: Audeze LCD-2 Classic (had Sennheiser HD600, miss their warm sound so I’ll be getting some again)
  • Apps: currently just Apple Music – I didn’t have a source for high res files until recently as HDtracks won’t sell to our region, if they did I’d have been using a dedicated player app called Neutron. The new lossless files in Apple Music play through my dac in high res mode and sound significantly better. The Headphone amp I’m using will push an enormous 6 watts into the LCDs and they just soak it up and crank lol

Entertainment

  • Reading: Kindle app. Apple Books app
  • TV/Video: Apple TV+ app. Other TV shows and movies stored on iCloud Drive with VLC
  • Podcasts: Apple Podcasts and Overcast
  • Social media: FB, reddit (Apollo) and WhatsApp for our rider training group. Slack for joining some podcast discussions
  • Audiobooks: Audible
  • Book tracking / social : Goodreads
  • News: Reeder

Notes/writing.

  • Drafts for random capture
  • Bear for notes (long term fan of Markdown)
  • Pages for longer documents and Numbers for spreadsheets.
  • Scrivener, for when I pull finger and do some longer writing and also for scripts for my YouTube videos
  • PDFPen for editing/signing PDFs
  • Diarly for journalling

Drone

Dji go 4 and Autopilot apps to control drone
AirShare app from NZ CAA for flight planning

Languages

Duolingo on iPhone – I’m learning Russian, German and Spanish. All at once. Because I like to make life difficult for myself!

Other

NZ Covid tracker app
WEMO for the switch on my heater coz I’m lazy
Shortcuts app and Toolbox pro
X-Plane flight sim
Paprika for cooking
Apple maps for navigation when in car

Workflows

Photography
Fine art long exposure black and white shot from beginning to end

• Set dslr up on tripod and compose, grab meter reading then use LE Calc on iPhone to calculate 15 stop filter time, attach filter and hope for the best lol (note: now I have Cascable I will be using that for remote triggering and long exposures)
• Import photo onto iPad using apple sd adapter.
• In photos, use a shortcut in the share sheet to send the raw file to Affinity
• Set exposure in develop persona but leave everything else so I can do it non destructively
• In photo persona, remove hot pixels and other unwanted crap in the shot with inpaint tool. Add black and white adjustment, and depending on the image, gradients, vignettes, clarity, white balance, HSL, selective colour, multiple layers of curves, LOTS of dodge and burn and more. Add high pass layer for final sharpen and optionally put white border around image.

Motovlogging
Shoot and edit motovlog, start to finish

• Record from multiple GoPros (helmet cam plus one facing back toward me), plus dslr and drone. Depending on my setup I often record helmet audio on a Tascam instead of in camera
• Once all gopros and Tascam are running, beep horn or clap to allow easier sync in post.
• When finished recording, use Apple USB adapter plus SD reader to pull files off cameras and voice recorder. Need to run mains power in for this.
• This is where a Mac is easier, FCPX and Resolve have Multicam editors that makes multi cam editing a breeze but LumaFusion doesn’t. I’ll be first in line for their Multicam add on.
• Multi cam in LF is a pain, keeping multiple cameras and audio in sync and then cutting between them is gnarly.
• Drop in music from Epidemic Sound (subscription) and build any graphics I need either inside LF or inside Keynote and bring across (there is a trick to that)
• Play back at least 17 times until you nail the edit lol
• If heavier duty Color grading or motion tracking is required, it’s possible to package up the project and send it to my Mac where I can grade it in Resolve.
• Upload directly to YT from LF
• Export still frame to Designer and build a thumbnail, bring that into YT as a Custom thumbnail.

Biography

45, single. I have a fluffy white lapdog that i dote on. Live in Hamilton, New Zealand. That’s 90 mins south of Auckland and 40 mins west of Hobbiton.

I got into aviation in the 90s, got my private pilots license just after 9/11. That led to a job working in aircraft manufacturing where half the staff had motorcycle licenses. So I got one too, the same year I switched to using Macs (2004) and eventually got a job in the motorcycle industry as product photographer and image specialist for Whites Powersports, NZ’s (and Australia) largest motorcycle parts and accessories distributor (bits4bikes.co.nz).

I have been using the iPad since the early days, inspired by Federico Viticci I have made it my mission to try to push the iPad as far as I can and get the absolute maximum utility I can out of it. Which is why the app list above is so extensive…

We have excellent government sponsored motorcycle training here, I am now a trainee advanced riding coach myself, and qualified advanced car driving coach, with IAM Roadsmart (IAM.org.NZ) and I use the iPad for as much of that as I can..

I’ve been making motovlogs (Vlogs shot on motorcycles) off and on since 2015. My action cams have all died so I’m saving for a new GoPro but I do have a few years worth videos under the channel Black Sheep Biker.

I love my iPad, I take it absolutely everywhere (except dog walks) and use it for as many things as I can.

I’m a massive fan of the GTD (getting things done) system and use Omnifocus to run my entire life off the iPad

I have a medical condition causing chronic fatigue, which might explain why I prefer to sit back with an iPad after a long day at work – using a desktop machine seems too much like being at work!

Learning fine art photography since lockdown last year and I use Affinity Photo on iPad for all of it.


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