New, Extended Dave Hill BTS Videos

UPDATE: After a small outage earlier today, Dave Hill's website is back on track...

Nashville-to-L.A. alt-shooter Dave Hill has done a major refresh on his website, with lotsa new pics and a half dozen behind-the-scenes videos -- some of which are nice and long.

Hit the jump for two BTS's and links to the photographer whose post-processing volume control knob goes up to "eleven".

(RSS/email readers may have to click on the post title to get the movies, depending on your reader.)

Kudos to Dave for giving the BTS camera loose rein. He just lets them roll, catching a lot of useful info for people who like to watch over his shoulder.

In fact, just about the only thing he doesn't show you are final shots. But if you are interested, you can find those with a little quick dig through his portfolio, linked below.

The first vid (above) from a shoot of Martha MacIsaac for AP magazine, is a good 4-minute lesson on how to control and shape sunlight in the foreground without losing consistency with the background.

He silks it to smooth out the harshness and put the subject in shade, then builds it back up by firing a huge octa through the silk. The light mimics the natural light in direction, but the quality is much better. He also can now totally control the relative light levels between the subject and the background, as her ambient is below that of the buildings in back.

Add a right-back rim and his ever-present ring/fill (which Dave recently had surgically attached to his left hand) and you are good to go.

The "Adventure Girl" BTS is a magnum opus, clocking in at 11:24 mins. It's worth a watch, however, as you get several shoots and a lot of non-lighting stuff (like, when shoveling dirt on your subjects, be sure to tell them to close their eyes and their mouths...)

He uses a lot of VAL'd lights in this one, with the idea being that you do whatever you need to do to get the light wherever it needs to be.

These vids both serve in HD, so click over to that format if you are running them full screen.

Big ups to Dave for all of the rich content on the new site. Be sure to check out his new portfolio to look for finals from the above. And you can watch several more videos, here.


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Anonymous Michael Yip said...

Wow, beautiful stuff. Loads of gears involved though, but definitely picked some interesting points from it. :D Thanks for sharing

July 06, 2009 12:31 AM  
Anonymous Aaron Van Dike said...

Pretty happy to see his new stuff, it's been to long since he's posted anywork!

July 06, 2009 12:49 AM  
Blogger Abba said...

David - have you seen this? - congratulations!!

July 06, 2009 1:02 AM  
Anonymous Michael Sebastian said...

Anyone else having trouble getting Dave's site to load properly? Granted, I'm checking it out on an old iMac, but....

Good video, those. I notice that Dave is shooting with a Mamiya 7ii in the Martha MacIsaac video; and the "personal" photo info I was able to view shows some images shot with a Leica M6 also. Sounds like Dave is going filmo-retro now that he's all west-coasty.

What's old is new again?

July 06, 2009 1:27 AM  
Blogger Sam said...

So, anyone identify the film camera he is shooting with in the second half of the first vid?

July 06, 2009 1:48 AM  
Anonymous Simon Keitch said...

I was interested to see the personal galleries on Dave Hill's new site; clearly a very definite effort on his part to move into a different - less processed - style. I did read an interview with him some time ago where he mentioned he wanted to do something different but clients obviously go to him for the Dave Hill Look so he'd kind of dug himself into a hole.

July 06, 2009 4:23 AM  
Blogger Photo Curber said...

sam: i think its a mamiya 7, as michael sebastian pointed out.

July 06, 2009 4:37 AM  
Anonymous Rich Hinton said...

Looks like all of the extra traffic from strobist readers has taken down his site!

July 06, 2009 6:03 AM  
Anonymous christopher said...

Oh no, David broke the site whith his traffic ; )

July 06, 2009 6:06 AM  
Anonymous Fotografi said...

I t seems that dave site is down...
Really interesting and nice. I believe that all photographers appreciate.
I saw a black Mamya loaded with film in the first video, did I?

July 06, 2009 7:00 AM  
Blogger Bryan said...

take a look... he uses Cybersync triggers! nice.

July 06, 2009 9:06 AM  
Blogger Silencio said...

Film....that's awesome!

July 06, 2009 9:54 AM  
Anonymous wongers said...

its a Fuji GW 670 III Medium Format Camera or something similar...

July 06, 2009 10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow... crappy day for Dave Hill's site to not be on-line.


July 06, 2009 10:17 AM  
Anonymous Andi Popescu said...

His site doesn't work.

July 06, 2009 10:30 AM  
Anonymous Justin Trapp said...

yea i cant get to it either

July 06, 2009 10:48 AM  
Blogger Scott said...

Wow -- he has some major Photoshop skills! Adding the rain, etc to the "Adventure Girl" series by the ocean, etc... just so cool!!

I thought Dave used a bunch of lights, but I counted only 2-3 most of the time.

Which ring flash is that?

July 06, 2009 11:32 AM  
Blogger Ken said...

Wow..Dave Hill shoots film?!? I thought I saw him chimping it too. LOL. Weird.

What kind of ring flash is that? It looks pretty shallow...

July 06, 2009 11:49 AM  
Blogger Karthik Sudhir said...

whoa!!! i just looked at the site last nite when david posted the post and now the site wont load!! lol......its def. the traffic!!!

July 06, 2009 1:19 PM  
Blogger sggdwiyuniarti said...

really happy to see new things, to make my knowledge

July 06, 2009 1:55 PM  
Blogger Glen Goffin said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

July 06, 2009 3:31 PM  
Anonymous said...

mamiya 7 II rangefinder, awesome camera, sharp as it gets

July 06, 2009 5:56 PM  
Anonymous Rowell said...

I'm picking up some great tips from these videos. It would be awesome to see how he works in post-production.

July 06, 2009 6:30 PM  
Blogger Mario Rodriguez said...

Haha nice the guy that is climbing in the second video is my buddy. He's actually a photographer too check out his site.
neil visel

July 06, 2009 6:48 PM  
Anonymous Jay Rodriguez said...

dayam... you broke DH's site!

July 06, 2009 7:35 PM  
Blogger Pedro said...

The site is back up... at least I got to see the Portfolio...

July 06, 2009 7:48 PM  
Blogger christopherbautista said...

is that ryan flynn assisting him?

July 06, 2009 8:57 PM  
Blogger Guy Montag said...

Wow, looking at the difference between the behind the scenes video and the finished picture for the adventure girl shot is mind blowing! There's so much compositing that he could easily get a job as a Hollywood SFX matte painter! I knew he used photoshop heavily, but I didn't realize it was to the point of being as much a painter as a photographer! The added rain is really impressive. Talk about serious skill :D

July 06, 2009 9:30 PM  
Anonymous MyRon said...

Wow from this to that Amazing
I think he uses a little Photoshop or something like that.
Fantastic Imagination and Production

July 06, 2009 10:13 PM  
Blogger FERDYMAN said...


July 06, 2009 11:44 PM  
Blogger David said...


Check that caps lock button, Holmes...


July 07, 2009 1:25 AM  
Anonymous Chris said...

His personal work is looking so much better than all the other stuff he is doing !

July 07, 2009 5:17 AM  
Anonymous Leon (Singapore Photographer) said...

Wow! Excellent stuff! Lots of hard work involved in setting up every shoot.

July 07, 2009 5:39 AM  
Blogger Corinne Fudge said...

Holy Smoke - love that processing!
Don't suppose you can talk him into a tutorial about it, even if we did crash his website ;-)

July 07, 2009 5:49 AM  
Anonymous MASilva said...

He is counting out his shot, because I'm guessing he can't see through the rangefinder with the ring flash in the way ... that's my theory anyway.

July 07, 2009 11:45 AM  
Blogger benw said...

It is kind of interesting to see that he goes "1..2..3.." and click once - unlike most where they take 15 shots a second. He must be very confident that he gets a good shot.

July 07, 2009 3:13 PM  
Anonymous Lennard said...

So many nice photos-they really rock! (The post processing too). But imo the flash page get really on my nerves. Cant see all photos (without blackened out), long loading time, difficult to navigate, crab. Please Mr. kick your webmaster & make a portfolio that is worth to display the great artwork you do.

July 07, 2009 4:15 PM  
Blogger Levy Carneiro Jr. said...

Hello David Hobby,

I was wondering if you could point us to some good newspapers and news websites out there, with photographers that use creative lighting, so we can all feed ourselves from a good diet on photography daily... :)

Thanks a lot for Strobist!

July 07, 2009 9:30 PM  
Anonymous Greg said...

What's the deal with the dual mounted cameras? He mentioned something about a 3D setup.. I would love to see the effect without all of the post

July 08, 2009 1:16 PM  
Blogger Barry said...

Hey David. Looks like you're going to have to extend David Hill's range ... Nashville to L.A. doesn't cover it with those incredible pics of Nick Sabin and the Crimson Tide in his portfolio!

July 08, 2009 1:57 PM  
Blogger David said...

To the commenter at 10:12am, GMT-5:

You launched a snarky, anonymous rant against Dave Hill, his website, and a coupla other things, and then finished it with:

"Just an honest opinion, so I hope the comment makes it on!"

Not even close. If you will read (and follow) the comments TOS, which is conveniently placed right above the area where you enter your comments, you will stand a much better chance of being moderated in.

Just a thought,

July 08, 2009 2:17 PM  
Anonymous Ed Z said...

FYI the film camera is a Mamiya 7 - I shoot with a 6, and it looks virtually identical to mine. At first I thought it was a 6, but then I saw him rotate it into portrait orientation, which you wouldn't do with the 6 (it's a 6x6) whereas the 7 is a 6x7.

it's an absolutely superb camera, with the added bonus of a 1/500 sync speed (Leaf shutters ftw!)

July 08, 2009 3:05 PM  
Anonymous iWantiPhone said...

That guy has got some serious serious photoshop skills. I'd love to see the RAW images he gets and be a fly on the wall during retouching. It must take hours.

His set up, even though it's pretty pricey, doesn't look too complicated - I can replicate that with my reflector (covers off) and a homemade ring flash. Put my spare sb600 on a lightstand behind and I'm cooking with gas.

nice article David.

July 08, 2009 4:18 PM  
Anonymous Watch Free Online TV Unlimited said...

Haha.. Looks like a satellite dish to me.

July 08, 2009 7:02 PM  
Anonymous Dean said...

Am I right in guessing that the ringlight isn't actually a ringlight? I'm not seeing it light up during the shoot.

Could it just be polished metal that catches the backlight, and pushes forward a small amount of fill from the backlight?

July 08, 2009 7:43 PM  
Anonymous Andrew said...

Stunning to see what he is working with and the finished product on the monitor right beside me. Just amazing.

I love things like this because they show the imagination that and vision that goes into the setup, photo, and post to produce a final work.

July 08, 2009 10:08 PM  
Blogger David said...


It is a working ringlight. It is just firing between frames on the video, for the most part. You miss almost all of the flashes when you shoot video, unless you are using the multi-pop CLS type stuff.


July 09, 2009 12:10 AM  
Anonymous webay said...

yea i cant get to it either

July 09, 2009 2:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Definitely nice to see the personal gallery, makes David's work look more approachable and it's not as fake looking. I think his photographs look a bit too much like animations. I get the lighting and the photoshop but I loose the sense that any of the images are actually 'real'. Even well lit photographs still leave you thinking the subject is perfect that way; his sometimes makes you wonder if any of it is real. I guess that's just his style though....the personal stuff seems a little too simple but I like it much better.

July 09, 2009 3:15 AM  
Blogger Diego Lorenzo Jose said...

Wow. Dave Hill's work is awesome! Thanks for sharing.

July 10, 2009 12:30 AM  
Anonymous Matt N. said...

I love that he's using alienbees cybersync triggers. just goes to show that even pros in high demand don't always have to use the best of the best!

July 10, 2009 7:53 PM  
Anonymous Rebecca said...

WOW - that adventure girl series is simply inspirational. Love it!!! The site isn't loading the full images for me - I can see the thumbnails, but with the larger ones I'm only gettin 1/3 or 1/2 images. Enough to see what awesome work he does, though! My mind is still spinning. :)

July 11, 2009 11:51 PM  
Blogger AlexH said...

I loved seeing him thumbing that film advance lever, kind of a strange contrast the heavily processed very 'digital' look he's known for.

July 12, 2009 12:45 AM  
Anonymous Patrick Love said...

I also noticed that he was using Alien Bees Cybersync radio controllers. I use them to, and think they are awesome! Got tired of waiting for Radiopopper Jrs.

July 13, 2009 12:01 AM  
Blogger TheShape said...

Thanks for the links! He does awesome work. I too would love to watch just one of his post processing sessions.

July 14, 2009 1:16 PM  
Anonymous T. C. Knight said...

What caught my attention more than anything is the power the lights were sucking. Did you hear the generator lugging to catch up after each shot? Lights, lights, lights, lights, camera, action. :>)

July 15, 2009 3:58 PM  
Blogger Adam Paul Holtrop said...

Repeating a question a few people have asked earlier - does anyone know what ringlight he's using?
seems to be nice and big

July 20, 2009 10:24 AM  
Blogger Max! said...

The ring flash (at least during past shoots, was a profoto "Acute" D4 ringflash..

July 22, 2009 9:29 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

I wish I knew how he made his colours look like a movie. It's one effect I'd like to use one some photos.

July 23, 2009 9:05 AM  
Blogger Zachary W Sarette said...


That just gave me a great idea!

How about a frosted shower curtain, and two poles that you'd use to hold up a backdrop!

I can get one of them for under 5 bucks!, I already got the backdrop stuff!


August 17, 2009 3:17 PM  
Blogger Larry said...

Thanks for the alerts on Daves site and new videos. I've been a little out of the look since my daughter was born. Dave Hills Stuff is incredible, and I am glad to see he is "trying" to get out of the hole he dug,The illustrated look he's known for. Glad to see your still around David.

November 01, 2009 2:44 AM  

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