| 2011 August
chicago architectural photographer, photography, architecture, photographer, interior design, furniture
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August 2011

We have three projects in post-production with deadlines THIS week.  Meeting tomorrow with K.L. to discuss her coming on board as Producer / Studio Manager.  Scouting at IIT with Mr. Barile and Cumberland at 4 for our Thu/Fri shoot and about to begin pre-production on our first national release TV commercial.  Then gotta coordinate getting the Epic and its bits purchased for our shoot in DC later this month.

We’re gonna need more coffee over here!


We often find ourselves shooting product on white sweeps.  The images typically need to have a clipping path drawn around the product so that it can easily be dropped onto any background.  I normally farm out this sort of retouching but Erik at Eye Pop Imaging (who is AMAZING!!!) is so backed up from all the shooting we’ve been doing for HM that I decided to do the newest work in house.

As long as I had these all nicely outlined, I thought I’d have a little fun with them…


After much… and I mean MUCH hemming and hawing, I have finally settled on a set of lenses for our Red One.  The problem (and benefit) with PL mount cinema cameras is the endless parade of lenses you can mount or adapt to them.  Everything from ancient BNCR cinema glass to still photography lenses from Nikon, Leica, Canon, etc to the latest digital formula lenses from Red, Schneider, Zeiss and others.  In fact, several threads have gone up over at RedUser.net detailing all the possible lenses one might mount on the new Epic camera.

Initially I considered the Zeiss Compact Primes.  They’re inexpensive (comparatively), have real Cine housings with built in gears and a common front diameter.  They tend to be slow on the wide end and lack a common maximum aperture and happen to be exactly the same optically as the Zeiss ZF’s of which I already own a couple.  Hmm… moving on.

Next up are Red’s own Pro Primes.  From all reports these are great lenses and not too much more expensive than the Zeiss CP.s.  They are said to be very sharp, well built and extremely neutral with a feel similar to Zeiss’ higher end Ultra and Master Primes.  Also, at T 1.8 these are very fast for the money.  A top contender for sure.

Another set I was considering were Schneider’s new Cine Xenar series.  These cost a little more than the Red’s, are about as big and heavy as them but feature 18 blade irises and a look that is described as a bit warmer than Reds and Zeiss.  I thought I was all settled on these until early testing reports uncovered some mechanical flaws as well some optical issues.  Since Schneider’s strength is really in still lenses (which I own and love) I decided to pass.

Then I decided to investigate Cooke’s re-development of their venerated Panchro line of lenses.  The Cooke ‘look’ is not only renowned but coveted by many top DP’s.  The look has been described as creamy, warm, luscious with excellent sharpness while retaining beautiful bokeh and falloff.  Something dreamy, romantic and with a quality that no one seems to be able to tangibly describe really appealed to me.  I thought they might both soften the hard edges of so much of the modern architecture I shoot as well as add a surreal quality to the film that I was planning to shoot with Jennifer Reeder.  I was totally sold.

I’ve had the set a few months now which includes 18, 25, 32, 50, 75 and 100mm lenses.  They’re all T/2.8 and I tend to shoot them wide open.  How do they look?  Add me to the set of cameramen who adore them without being able to actually describe why and have a look for yourself…

A few shots of Katherine from our new short film.


About 5 or so years ago I shot a project in Grand Rapids for Perkins Eastman’s New York office.  It was the first time I’d worked with them but the shoot went really well and we all had a good time during the process.  When it was all done, they went back to New York, I went back to Chicago and that was pretty much that.  Fast forward to 2011, they’ve recently completed a great project in Milwaukee and remember the work we’d done in the past.  Having left my old studio 3 years prior, any contact info they had for me was obsolete.  Don’t you just love Google?  Long story short… I got an email from them via this website and we got together to make some photographs of their building on the shore of Lake Michigan.  Isn’t it nice to be remembered?


We took this past week off to catch our breaths a bit.  Yes, the summer has been crazy!  Tomorrow we’re back at it again, heading up to Herman Miller for the week.  That’s the first of 5 shoots to complete by the end of the month.  Yikes!  Well… when it rains…

Shot on my front porch yesterday with the Red cranked up to 100 frames per second… which only makes me want the Epic (and its 300 fps capabilities) more.


I’m putting together a proposal for a film shoot in DC and the client asked about the possibility of grabbing stills during the shoot.  Sure, I said, we could just set up the 5d2 or the Arca once we’ve got a motion shot all set up.  Hell, maybe we could even just grab stills from the Red footage.

Still pictures from a motion camera?!!





Here are a few samples of retouched stills from my Red One. Which has JUST enough resolution for print work.  We just might have our Epic-M by the shoot date, too!  Even better!!!


There’s a lot of discussion over at RedUser.Net about what nomenclature to use when describing our profession (as a Photographer/Cinematographer) now that the Red Epic is blurring the lines between deliverables.

One suggested new term was “Motion Photographer”

“MoPho” for short.  I like it.

-Christopher Barrett, MoPho


So often I walk into a new project that I’ve just been commissioned to photograph and feel absolutely blessed.  That was definitely the case when I laid my eyes on these interiors designed by Gensler Chicago.  We worked with Jason Hall whom I’ve know for several years.  Jason always plans out REALLY rigorous schedules on all of our shoots, trying to capture as much of the space as possible.  We are always left completely exhausted, but the results are worth it and Jason’s one of my favorite people in the world.  And now, the pictures…