As videographers, we tend to concentrate on editing software, and maybe an effects or compositing application like Boris Red or Adobe After Effects. But after a very short time editing, it's a good bet that you'll run into something that requires the use of a digital imaging program. That's where Adobe Photoshop CS comes in.
Adobe Photoshop has long been the "industry standard" program for photo retouching and the creation of bitmapped graphic imagery. Adobe's latest version, Photoshop CS, expands on the already impressive capabilities of this program, making it a must-have addition to your software arsenal.
The CS in the name stands for Creative Suite, and indicates that this version of Photoshop is revamped to work in close harmony with the other CS graphics products in Adobe's desktop publishing and design arsenal, such as Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, GoLive, and Acrobat. Used together, these products provide incredible power for any graphics professional to create and organize work; prepare it for print, video, or the Web; and coordinate with others either locally or via the Internet. Photoshop CS comes bundled with another CS application, ImageReady, especially designed for getting images in proper format for the Web.
In Any Event
Let's look at some of the ways that an event videographer can use Photoshop CS. While some of the tools we'll look at have been around in previous versions, I'll try to highlight the new features of CS that make the videographer's job easier than ever before.
The "growing up" montage is offered by most wedding videographers, either as a part of their service or as an add-on package. You find similar sequences in the honeymoon photo montage, or in a video "scrapbook" or life history. All of them have something in common: They consist of a series of still images. Those images may have motion added, and there may be fancy transitions between them, but they all started out as a stack of pictures, or a CD full of picture files.
Let's say you have a stack of pictures from a client. You could put them on your flatbed scanner and scan them one by one. But there's a quicker way with Photoshop CS. Lay out several photos on the scanner bed, leaving at least 1/8" of space between them. Scan the whole bed as a single large image. Next, use the File>Automate>Crop and Rotate Photos command to detect the individual images automatically and create separate files for them.
Photoshop offers a host of tools for retouching photos, and whole books have been written about them, so I'll just say a couple of things here. First, you can set up frequently used commands as Actions, and use them to process a whole batch of files with a single mouse click. For example, you could use Auto Levels, Auto Contrast, UnSharp Mask, and NTSC Legalize on a whole directory of files.
Another great tool is Shadows/Highlights. With this, you can bring out hidden detail in over- or under-exposed areas without affecting the rest of the image.
There's a new color balance matching feature in Photoshop CS that lets you match lighting and color levels between images. This makes it easy to make images taken at different times and locations, by different photographers, and with different cameras and settings look as if they have all been created from the same source.
Speaking of color balancing, Photoshop CS has a new histogram palette. You can keep this open all the time to get an interactive view of your black level, midtone content, and highlights.
The Healing Brush has been available for the last couple of versions, but it's also a frequently used tool for correcting scratches, tears, and smudged areas. The Healing Brush addresses not only areas of physical damage to the original photo, but also simple blemishes on a face. In either case, the Healing Brush can be used to retouch the image.