No Fuji S6? S5 Discontinued?

I can’t get a straight answer from my friends at Fuji if a Fujifilm S6 will ever come about.  My guess is that there will be no Fuji S6.  There are several things that lead me to believe this.  The first of which is that I can’t get any confirmation from Fuji.  Also, a fairly recent reorganization of the Fuji USA job titles and departments would indicate they are no longer supporting a ‘professional’ line of camera hardware.

Fuji USA, isn’t the same as Fuji, Japan.  Fuji, USA is really just a distributor of the product.  They tell Japan of their wishes and hope that they agree to produce something.  I know that the Fuji S5 didn’t take off like Fuji thought it would, but sometimes these things take a little time.   It has only been about 2 years since they announced the Fuji S5 and they are already out of stock at many stores.  Calumet and many medium sized stores show that it had been discontiued and no longer have any in stock.

This is too bad as the barcode feature made it a great camera for school photographers.  I heard rumors that Canon was testing barcoding features in one of their cameras.  Also, the barcode feature in the Fuji S5 was kind of a ‘hack’ in the firmware.  Originally the barcode reader port in the body adapted from Nikon by Fuji was designed for gps.  Fuji added the capabilities through camera firmware to accomedate the barcode reader.  Perhaps some third part company will make a firmware hack for Nikon’s gps inputs that will do the same thing.

For the record, everything in this post is completely speculation based on rumors and conversations with people within the industry.  I’ll keep you posted if I receive any facts either way.

Bulk Green Screen Package Production

Our companies have started putting ImageMatch’s Green Screen Version 2 through it’s true paces.  We had it in several companies’ workflows last spring.  The algorithm to remove the green works great!  It wasn’t until the fall season hit did we find out the true optimizations that we had to make.

We have customers throughout the U.S., Canada, England, and Ireland using Green Screen through ImageMatch.  It turns out that everyone has many different workflows from one another.  Some of their workflows include:

  1. Package units straight through our render engine to a printer or image
  2. Package units through DP2 lab productions
  3. Images on a proof with several different backgrounds
  4. Upload Images with backgrounds for proofing online
  5. Yearbook and School Administrative CD Images with a standard Background
  6. Bringing Images from third party software to ImageMatch for Green Screen rendering, back to ImageMatch

The cool thing about ImageMatch is that it is very flexible.  Therefore, it can accommodate all of these workflows and more.  The trick was  getting ImageMatch to accommodate the workflows with green screen.  We had several of our top staff and engineers working on it for the last few weeks.  In that time, we have created 63 different updates.  The good news is now it works in all of those work flows.

Some things to consider before using green screen in volume:

  • Exposure and consistency from image to image are critical
  • Lighting is key
  • Not all green backgrounds are equal
  • Rendering green screen takes more time
  • Requires at least double the storage space
  • Requires more time taken for image corrections

With the proper tools and planning all of this can easily be dealt with:

  • Mr. Gray makes a perfect tool for controlling your exposure, white balance, and consistency right at the camera.  It is software available as a one time purchase through PhotoLynx.
  • Here are a couple of lighting diagrams that we recommend.
  • We recommend Rosco chromakey paint to paint over old canvas backdrops or Denny chromakey green canvas Backdrops.
  • Plan for twice as much time per job.  This includes actual rendering time and time taken for image corrections.
  • For rendering, we take advantage of dual and quad core processors.  Each core will shorten the processing time for your images.  A dual processor will shorten the render time by half, a quad core processor will shorten the render time by 75%.  It is also recommended that client workstations and render workstations have at least 3gb of memory.  It takes almost 1gb just to open the green screen viewing window in ImageMatch.
  • To help make corrections minimal, place some verbiage on your flier stating something like “Reminder: We are photographing using green screen technology.  Although we can accommodate for green clothing, we suggest not wearing anything green, if possible.”
  • We suggest not to offer background choices to those students who don’t order.  This will save you background input time and offer an incentive for orders.
  • Charge extra for backgrounds other then your standard background.

Portable Laptop Computer Stand

I saw this at Walmart and then again, the same day, at Big Lots.

This stand looks perfect for using with Laptops while photographing on site.  It runs about $70.00 at Walmart.

Promotional Material

I have a CD full of Photoshop files of some what outdated “leave behind” sales flyers that can be customized for your studio. If you are interested, drop an email to Michael@PhotoLynx.com requesting the CD and I will mail you one for free. Additionally, you can purchase flyers from Marathon press to be passed out to each student to advertise photography day and to be used as leave behinds when presenting to schools.