I received the Nikon School DVD from Nikon Mall on Monday. The DVD, in a shrink-wrapped hard plastic case, was mailed in a thin white card box from somewhere in Illinois.

Inside, there are the DVD and a 4-page booklet titled Fast Track to Advanced Wireless Lighting with Nikon Speedlights. The booklet describes step-by-step how to setup Nikon flash units as a master speedlight unit, or wireless remote unit. It also shows you how to setup your Nikon DSLR cameras to commander mode. On the back page, you will find a collection of speedlight DVD glossary.

The DVD is approximately two and half hours long and it is recorded in 16×9 widescreen format. The DVD has two main sections: Lighting Basics, and In the field. In the first part, Lighting Basics, Bob Krist, starts the video with a brief introduction to the contends of the DVD, followed by an informative discussion of the importance of light to photography and light characteristics, such as color, direction, and quality of light.

Next he shows you some fundamentals of lighting techniques using Nikon speedlights in a studio setting, with a pretty model, some light stands, a few speed lights, a background, bounce panels, etc. Instead of showing the best arrangement of these lighting equipments right away, he starts with a single flash mounted on the camera and the head pointed directly to the subject. The result is obviously not great as you can expect. Bob then walk viewer through some gradual improvements to the lightinng setup. With each change to the lighting setup, he shows you how the lighting is improved, why, what are the things that can be further improved, and how. Step-by-step, he teaches you how to setup the lights to get great studio portraits.

After the great quick-start guide on how to get the perfect lighting setup in a studio, Bob goes back to other basics of lighting, such as flash sync speed, how to color-correct fluorescent light, and how to setup Nikon speedlights and cameras, etc. There is also another example where he shows viewer how to setup table top product shots for online auctions using DIY diffuser and bounce panels. 

If you watched all the way here, you probably wanted to get your hands on some lights and start shooting. Bob shows you what he use in his portable lighting kits, which all fit in a carry-on bag.

In the second section of the DVD, Joe McNally now leads the show with Bob as a helping hand. They go through a few more practical real-world shooting scenarios, shooting young dancers at a ballet school, a bride makeup session in a hotel room, the bride’s outdoor shooting session, and a fisherman in his workshop and next to a boat on a pier. From indoors to outdoors, from day to night, They never just show you the best, final setup but gives you the complete process on how to evaluate the shooting situation, place the speedlights/light modifiers, adjust light angles/exposure compensations, etc, until they get the perfect shots. There are tons of tricks on how to get the best shots using the powerful and versatile Nikon Creative Lighting System. However there are really no magic formula except you learn from the experts like Bob and Joe on how to see the lights, how to use the natural lights, and how to get the flash lights to work with nature lights.

Great DVD!

Where to get it

Posted in: Review on November 20th, 2008. Trackback URI
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