How Pro will you go? Tethered shooting primer: Part 1

While shooting a model a while back, we found that the constant looking, or “chimping” at the LCD was a distraction, both for us and the talent. Couldn’t help it.
In the days of film, you shot a bunch of polaroids to confirm your strobes were firing and lighting the way you wanted them to. Then you picked up the camera and shot away.
Now, a look to the camera back gives you a decent idea of what you had.
But being able to put it onto a much larger color corrected monitor, and perhaps triple back it up all at once, was a proposition that was a workflow speed-up, and a way to see a much larger image than the 3″ LCD.
So the tethered realm was explored.
And honestly, not too tough other than the software and very long USB cable.
Our research began into finding the best solutions.
But we have found that with every door opened, another 3 present themselves with more info and nuances to improve the process.

Such is the case with tethering.
First of all, we needed a proper stand and base to support the laptop and accessories. The TV tray, while nice, wasn’t going to do. Nor would the worktable that was really just too far from the shooting action.
Enter TetherTools.
After much research, we discovered this one company dedicated to the tether cause and had all of the right elements.
A phone call with their friendly sales dept explaining our methodology, came up with the right package of materials:

Platform with connector hub, mat to protect surface of computer give some grip, and SecureStrap to hold down laptop to table (notice it runs the length of the table and across the laptop.

Ext. hard drive holder ( notice round connector: works with tripods, lightstands, and Arca Swiss ball heads

JerkStopper set (below) 3 part proprietary set up-

This part stays on camera. Pretty small so doesn’t seem to get in the way

With cable connector in place. 2 part slider secures USB in one pace so even a jerking motion, won’t rip it from the camera.

All together, attached to camera. We added a right angle USB connector for our own piece of mind.

Avenger Stand to hold all. (wheels optional) We actually went with a slightly different one, but their recco is solid.

OK, so that set-up allowed us to shoot inside, with the laptop easily accessible, the cables safely secured so no pop-out situations could occur, and all images were mirror backed up to our lovely ToughTech RAID array. This is the one you want: 2 x 2.5 hard drives, RAID 1 or 0, temp gauge, portable.

This set-up was used with a 15″ MacBook Pro and as you can see, left us a little room on the table to add things. Like the regular stuff you put there. Maybe a card wallet, gum, iPhone, lens, etc.

Look simple? Thankfully, yes.
It is solidly made, designed to do exactly what we needed it to do, and it all packs up in the included carry case.
Yes, all of it.

Which brings us to the next part:

What about on location?

OK, then switch out of the roller stand and get back to a reg. 3 legged Manfrotto stand.
AND (we love this part) , bring on the super cool and useful Pixel SunScreen from ThinkTank.
Packs this small:

And then pops open to sit perfectly on your TetherTools table.

The pop-up tent gives you protection from the sun, so you can see the images on your screen, and it becomes a sweet workspace.

On either side of the unit are velcro’d flaps so the tether strap still secures your laptop to the table and all cabling can get to the proper port.

The interior base has a squiggly rubberized line deal that also helps stop your laptop from sliding.
Too much sun?
Need bit more “dark”? or perhaps a wee drop of rain has begun to fall, and your not stopping?

The included extra screening/rain guard comes in handy for your working pleasure.

The products from these 2 companies just seemed like the perfect marriage.

We highly recommended TetherTools, for their product quality, and customer service.

Oh, but there is more to this tethered deal.
Look we said, every door opens and leads to 3 more.

Like this situation: Your clients have been crowding the computer at camera and you’d like them to be able to view but with a little distance for both theirs comfort and yours.
Gee, wouldn’t it be great if they could have their own screen?
Like an iPad or an iPhone?
They can.

We’ll open this door in the next segment.

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