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How a Hasselblad ‘Olympic champion’ helped Logan’s run

25/07/2011 The event itself may still be a year away but one Olympic winner has already crossed the line, according to top commercial photographer George Logan.

Following a ‘big-budget’ pre-Olympics advertising shoot for a unique BP ‘Fuelling the Future’ biofuels TV, press and poster campaign, multi-award-winning, north London-based Logan is convinced that Hasselblad’s ‘astonishing resolution’ H4D-60 camera really is the best medium format camera in the world for this type of shoot.

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Working with a special creative team and The Pro Centre’s Didgeridoo digital hire and production service, Logan’s brief was to help create awareness of BP’s renewable energy strategy with a series of images of both Olympic and Paralympics athletes, photographed in ‘a different style’ and embracing some unusual locations.

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Said Logan: “I needed to show our best British athletes in training mode, but with a twist. So with each shot there was a subplot that would only be revealed in the finished advertisements. For example, we had 110 metre hurdler Will Sharman doing his training in the British Museum and amputee sprinter Steff Reid running through a field of crops used to produce biofuels. We had heptathlon star Jessica Ennis running along a beach – but we encountered challenges both with the light and with the diktat that she wasn’t allowed to run too much on sand. We got over it by employing a massive broncolor lighting set-up. We also had another athlete running through a school to underpin the client’s ongoing education campaign.”

He added: “This was a perfect brief for me. Frankly, it was a photographer’s dream. We didn’t want to do that stereotypical shoot scene where people are running hard and then you have to shout ‘OK, now STOP’.  We instructed them to run at full training speed, so they were all running flat out past my camera without stopping or even slowing down. The H4D-60 proved to be a supreme partner for this. I could sync it at an 800th of a second, prefocus and have the flash set at 2000th of a second. It just froze the athletes perfectly in time.”

Before the shoots started Logan researched the capture market to track down the perfect camera for the job. He revealed: “I discovered that a DSLR would only sync at 250th maximum. The H4D-60 can sync at an 800th. As soon as that fact hit me I stopped researching and went straight to Hasselblad’s Union Walk, London Pro Centre and hired the full, latest specification, package – camera, laptop and expert digital operator Steve Moulsher. You can’t beat this deal - it makes the entire shoot so painless.

The camera itself was outstanding. I think some of the files ended up at something around 20 gigs so its ultra high resolution was ideal. We also shot at quite wide angle which makes things a bit tricky because there is very little scope to pan too much...you have to prefocus and then resort to a last minute camera move. But our success rate was phenomenal – we hardly lost a frame. And that success rate meant I was able to concentrate on directing the athletes and their body positions and expressions without worrying about getting it sharp. Steve was brilliant all the way through – because although I have shot a lot of action at high speed this had to be absolutely spot on. He was there to help me through the extreme teccy bits.”

Logan added: “Everyone, including the BP creative team, just loved the Phocus iPAD app which enabled me to shoot and have the image come straight through to an iPAD. This meant that instead of the team huddling around my camera they could all be sat just off set and study the images as they came through on the iPAD. A true godsend.”

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Steve Moulsher, The Pro Centre’s digital team supervisor said: “We were delighted to help George on this very important shoot. We knew the H4D-60 with its 60 Mpixel 40x54mm sensor would deliver the ultimate level of image detail that he needed and the additional bron lighting kit would be perfect. Our ‘Didgeridoo’ solution ensures that we can take care of any logistical and shoot challenges and leave the photographer free to craft the project.”

For more information on the Pro Centre and the Digeridoo Services, please click here