For me AU finished with another Ted Boardman session. With the focus this time on lighting he took us through the setup of an exterior scene using standard lighting and an interior scene with radiosity. Again the emphasis was on “painting with light” to achieve a great image rather than technically accurate lux measures. Ted pointed out that although the lights are very accurate what you do with material setup has a huge effect on the resulting image anyway.
I was interested he recommended setting contrast to get a good “black level” then brightness (exposure) to lift the white levels. Many years ago a TV video engineer told me this is the correct way to set up a TV. With the normal room lighting on you turn all the picture controls down to minimum then lift contrast so that the white test pattern blocks are just visible in the blackness. Back off a little then lift the brightness till the whites are white but not washing out the black. Then lift the colour using colour bars and a skin tone as a reference. This usually results in a much dimmer image than the common factory presets but is a much more realistic image. Ted applied the same technique to the exposure settings in Viz.
I have just spent some time transcribing notes from my appalling scrawl to a Mindmap and it was amazing how much material Ted covered in a few hours. If you can get training from him I’d recommend it. This was the last session of AU and it was a great way for it to end.
I spent the afternoon visiting some of the Casinos then went in search of my latest favourite toy. On the flight over I sat next to a lady with some Bose Quiet Comfort headphones. I’d read about them and she kindly let me try them and nearly didn’t get them back!
The difference was staggering. Aircraft roar is reduced to a gentle hiss but conversation is still quite intelligible. I was listening to my Minidisc and with its standard bud earphones needed to have the volume up near 100% to drown out the roar. With the "BQC’s" removing all the ambient noise the same music level required less than 20% of the volume range. They are expensive (usd$300) but so good I immediately decided I had to get some for the trip home. A 12 hour flight with no real sleep convinced me!
There is a Bose store in the Las Vegas Outlet Center so I got them there and also did a bit of gift shopping. A nice surprise was a “free” Bose portable CD player that was an Xmas offer. The Outlet Center was packed as people chased bargains for Christmas. Virtually every major brand from every category was available there.
After getting some dinner I returned to my room and got a call from Mike Burke. Even though he was wearing an All Black shirt and I was mostly in Warehouse logo shirts somehow we had managed not to meet during the entire AU week – still can’t really figure that out but we did have quite different class schedules. Thanks to Beau Turner for getting a message to him!
I was just heading out the door to a show so arranged to meet for breakfast on the following morning. We were both on the same planes that afternoon so would have plenty of time to catch up – I thought...
The show was comedian Rita Rudner at New York New York. She was another BFM "Slightly Silly Show" regular. It was a great show except for one thing totally beyond her control. I was sitting in front by the stage next to a man from Manchester. We chatted a bit before the show and he said had been out late the previous night after flying in the day before. About ¾ through the show he fell asleep doing the nod & wake just before your chin hits your chest thing! I was sure she noticed and spoke to her signing books, after the show & sure enough she had. I suppose its not uncommon but it was a bit distracting!
I then wandered down to the Venetian (photo) as hadn’t got that far earlier in the week. I was interested to see it as years ago watched a documentary that followed the construction. I think it and the Bellagio are the more “tasteful” casino's if anything in Las Vegas can be considered tasteful! The scale and level of craftsmanship seems higher in these two.