Roller Derby workflow: an alternative.

Over the years I've honed and tightened up my workflow to minimise the time in post-production.

Getting good clean sharp images on the day means less time in front of the computer the day after. Getting ready for a shoot always starts the night before. Charging batteries for the 1dX and 1d mk iv. Batteries for these two bodies are interchangeable and so I only take one spare. The battery life is good enough to see me through the day and far surpasses what Canon says you can get out of them. The spare is just for security. I also clean off the memory cards before settling down to a good night's sleep.

The camera bag is also packed the night before. I now carry two bodies, the 1dX as my primary camera, sporting a 135mm f2 and the 1d mk iv as my secondary, with the 200mm f2.8. This effectively makes it a 260mm on the 1.3x crop body.  This gives me the option of shooting the turn as well as across track. I also pack a 1.4 EXII extender to turn the 200mm in to an effective 364mm f4 on the mk iv, useful for getting tighter portraits.

The camera bag packed, ready to go.

The type of camera bag is important to me. I now use a shoulder bag. The depth on this type of bag means I can throw my gear it in without fear of it rolling out and when I pick it up everything will stay in without the need of fastening the cover. It also allows me to have lenses lined up ready to go for the final shots and I'm not so fearful if the lens caps are not firmly secure.  The lens hoods on both the 135mm and 200mm are also the less pretty than those on other lenses, non-petal type, but are beneficial as I can stand the camera on them when not in use.

Also packed is the 16-35mm f2.8 mk II for wide angle shots and depending on the venue I may pack the Zenitar 16mm f2.8 fisheye (modified) and the 24mm TSE f3.5. Usually, if the venue is new to me I'll Google it to see if it affords any interesting angles where I can employ these lenses.

I also pack a light meter to manually check the levels and a range of CF cards, enough to last me for the day. If it's an all-day shoot, such as the World Cup this means around 120 GB of CF storage.
On the day it's important for me to have a good breakfast, some decent coffee and arrive early so that I can catch up with my contact(s) and check out the venue. More coffee and a chat with friends is also beneficial.  It all makes the day go smoother. It affords me time to check out the light levels and shooting angles.  For a double header I usually shoot about 48 GB of RAW files. On the way home, if I'm catching the train, I will go through the files and delete any on the camera that are out of focus or the composition says nothing.

As I always shoot ambient I do not have the extra gear to worry about that comes with using flash.  It also means I can travel light which is a bonus.

The editing desk at the first Roller Derby World Cup. USB 1 ports made backing up files a real chore.

The next day I'll back up the RAW files the computer. I have recently changed all my devices so that I can take advantage that USB 3 download speed affords. On my computer I already a have pre-defined folder structure set up so I know which cards to copy to each folder. This helps to streamline my workflow and keep the files organised.

Editing in Capture One.

I do 95% of my editing in Phase One's Capture One.  I grade and process photos as I go through them, setting up an initial recipe on an image that looks 'average' for the look and feel I am trying to achieve.  I copy this to the selected images as I go through them and maybe tweak the setting if required and add a 'star' rating so I know which I've selected.  I also process them at this stage before moving on to the next image.

I tend to just rotate, crop, adjust exposure, and bring out the details in the blacks and that’s it. White balance will also be corrected if needs be. I don’t have a set process as I find it varies between venues and the time of year depending on how much naturel light there is.

The editing desk.

This allows me to go through and process a double header in about three hours, 1 ½ for each bout.  I aim to get a round 80 images from each bout as a reflection of the day to post on Facebook. If for my own use, I'd probably narrow this down to around 20. I will say again, that getting good, clean, sharp images on the shoot really does help minimise the amount of time I spend in front of the computer. Over the past few years this has reduced incredibly. Only images that will withstand printing at A3 or larger are kept.

If the shots are from a major competition I will go back and review the files a few weeks later so the distance of time can make me be more reflective.

Onec all the images are processed they are batched through Photoshop to reduce them in size for Facebook.  Once uploaded, I rely on skaters to tag themselves and friends to disseminate the images.  I keep an eye on the metrics so that I can see how far reaching each set of images go.

I then back up the RAW files on to an external hard drive and the processed Tiff files on to a separate one. This allows me some redundancy in case of a hard drive failure.

A couple of days later I will return to the Tiff files, again, using the Photoshop's batch facility, export them as hi-res Jpegs ready for burning to disc to send out to teams. I will also, if I remember include the lo-res Facebook files on the disc as well. Generally, I will print a couple of images off to check they print okay, and include them in the package as well.

The last step in the process is a trip down to the nearest Post Office (it's like something out of Little Britain) to send the images on their way.  Then it's time to get all the gear cleaned off and ready for the next event.


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