I’ve been planning – and promising – to write about the iPad for quite a long time now. But something has always gotten on the way. But – here we go.
This essay discusses an application called the ShutterSnitch and how it is integrated it into my daily workflow. Then – hopefully in my next post – I try to offer a bit more in-depth look into the iPad as the possible savior of our daily print – a thought the majority of the publishers seem to cling on – and I personally have hard time to swallow given the present situation. But, that’s next time…
Been playing with the toy (iPad 64gb w WiFI+3G) now for a week. No, I am not that impressed – but: that is only because I am totally used to Apple always delivering really what they promise. It is smooth, it is slick, it’s totally intuitive. I gave it to my six-year-old daughter, and within seconds she was browsing thru my images – with no guidance from me.
I got it for several reasons, all of them related to studying, photography and all things visual.
Most importantly, I needed a real platform to test the stuff I do in multimedia. No simulations anymore, but the real thing. If I write something, develop an approach or a workflow, I want to see how it performs in the iDevices (iPhone I have been using for a long time already). Because: the future is in these devices, that is obvious.
As a photographer, the second reason was simply one single application: the ShutterSnitch. I’ve tested it twice now in real life situation – i.e. somewhere else than my study – and as the saying goes in Finnish – it works “like the toilet in the train” (our perverse way of saying it is smooth, reliable, robust and very easy to use – I guess from the times when the toilet was still just a straight tube through the floor…).
Basically what it does, is that within a LAN you either have or create you can transmit images from the camera to the iPad with extreme ease, i.e totally automatically or with a single push of a button. Fast as well, as the delay is only 2-3 seconds. Once you have it configured, you really do not have to touch the settings anymore.
Yes, there are tons of apps related to photography and videography for the iPhone/iPad – some of them really rock – but let me just briefly discuss this one, as I really see it making a difference in some situations – and I’d say it justifies this toy by itself to me personally.
My ShutterSnitch Workflow
The initial set up takes a while – especially if you are not used to setting up networks. Rob Galbraith has an excellent and very extensive article on this (a big “Thank You” to Rob) and I will not repeat it here. In case you are interested, it is absolutely worth reading (but it is loo-ong…).
Let me just pinpoint couple of the most essential features which I learned setting up my system. One: you have to use static addresses in your LAN. In that way, every piece of equipment you use has a unique name which you know – and which remains the same even after you power your gear off and on again.
Second: you need a router to establish a infrastructure network. Yes, you can do ad hoc as well, but it is a tedious and time consuming effort and definitely not a very robust set up. In addition, I cannot really conceive how one could use several cameras in an ad hoc configuration – and to have it go smoothly.
The Gear Set-Up and a Typical Shoot
I typically shoot with Canon EOS 1D mrk4 or Canon EOS 5D mrk2 equipped with a WFT-transmitters, set to record both RAW and s/m jpeg. I set the transmitter to FTP-mode, button transmission. I have a MiFi 2352 router in my pocket, preconfigured with a static IP, so it is basically a one button operation.
I switch on the iPad, open the ShutterSnitch app, open a collection (or create one); flip the router on – and we are all set. The whole setting up process including the cam, iPad and the router takes c. 10-15 seconds – because all are preconfigured.
Now, when I shoot something, the moment I want to show it to the client, subject or the AD – or I want to check the image myself – all I need to do is to push the button in the camera and within 2-3 seconds (about) it is displayed on the iPad 1024×762 screen. With essential EXIF-data and histogram, zoom and pinch possible. No hassle, just one button. You can analyze and discuss lighting, your set up… that is, if you want to, some people (myself included…) do not easily like to have other people telling how they should or should not do their thing…
Curiously enough, during my brief testing period I found out that lots of people who are not used to being photographed actually relax, when you show them what you can do with professional lighting, how good you can make them look, even when they themselves thought that “I am always so bad in pictures…” etc.
Naturally, what you display is a jpeg – directly from the camera. Presently, Canon offers no way of cropping or enhancing your pictures in the camera as a post production process. But there is a shortcut – when it comes to tones, contrast, and other exposure settings: you can use the proprietary software which came bundled with your camera and create custom profiles – and then call up these profiles when needed. In that case your image transferred will have the qualities/tones/properties you set up beforehand in the profiles – and you still have your RAW-image on the card on which to do your edit when you are done with the shoot.
Slick – really slick. Naturally, you can take it further from there, transmit the pictures further to the web or to your client for approval; share them in the social networks etc. – but that is basically the same stuff you could do – and would rather do – with a laptop, so I won’t get into it here.
In addition, the iPad can be used to see the images in a remote camera – or used to control that same remote – or several of them. You could even set a secondary transmitter (an EYE-FI card) into the SD-slot of the 1Dmrk4 – seems scary, I know, two transmitters in the same camera – and you’d have one channel for transmitting the pictures and another one for controlling the camera. Haven’t tested it myself – I doubt I will either – but Rob seemed pretty assured that it constitutes a robust system as well.
I won’t get more into remote set-ups here, as that would merit an article of its own. See Rob’s article for details, if you are interested.
But, as a photographer doing what I do: definitely my thumbs up for the iPad. Absolutely worth it.