Hywel

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  • in reply to: Becky Perry in Party Girl… #27417

    Hywel
    Keymaster

    Thank you! That means a lot 🙂

    Cheers, Hywel

    in reply to: New Archive request #27325

    Hywel
    Keymaster

    Hi Viktor,

    I just scheduled this for 1st April (which is the 16th birthday of RestrainedElegance.com)

    Cheers, hywel

    in reply to: Lauren Louise by Candlelight #27317

    Hywel
    Keymaster

    P.S. all of which reminds me I should probably start taking wide shots of the whole room for behind the scenes so we can see what lights are where- useful for me and hopefully interesting for others! Will try to remember to do that from now on as a matter of principle actually… Not always possible to do 100% (the dungeon will defeat me for example) but worth aiming for.

    in reply to: Lauren Louise by Candlelight #27316

    Hywel
    Keymaster

    HI Andrew,

    Glad you liked the set! I’ll try to reconstruct from memory… IIRC this one required quite a bit of fiddling around to get the lighting right, so I’ll have to try to distinguish between what I remember setting up first and what I finally ended up with!

    I had warm fill from LED panels down on the floor, and a cooler light coming in from over Lauren’s shoulder to camera right (her left). I wanted the candles to register and I wanted the light to stay looking very warm, so I set the white balance to daylight. That’s why the bedside lamps have gone very yellow (they are warm white LED’s- about the same colour temperature as Tungsten, but with a green spike which means they register as yellow rather than orange, intensified by the yellow lightshades).

    I shot wide open with f/1.4 lenses for the shallow depth of field, at ISO100 to keep a silky smooth look without grain or noise in the shadows. That required a shutter speed of 1/40th of a second which would normally be out of my ability to hand-hold… but the lens and sensor stabilisation of the Sony A7RII and 85mm/35mm lenses dealt with that fine.

    I *think* this was before my new Arri lights arrived, so I probably used the old Kelvin tile LED panels. Probably two together to give the warm fill. And I think I used a flash as the “white” key light off camera right, which will have encouraged me to be brave with 1/40th shutter as it would at least freeze some detail. For the later shots I turned the flash off, turned the ISO up, and the shutter speed a bit shorter because I couldn’t rely on that flash to freeze any detail.

    To answer your specific questions:
    1) Nope, no tripod. I hate them. They are necessary for astrophotography, I barely tolerate them for landscape photography, and I totally cannot be doing with them for people photography. They slow me down too much and slow the photo taking down as well, which is in general a bad thing when the clock is running with a tied up model. I probably should have used one for the later shots without flash.

    In the days of film the rule of thumb was shutter=1/focal length, so with a 50mm lens you can hand hold at 1/50th of a second. In theory one can do much better with modern image stabilisation systems, but that’s counteracted by the MUCH higher detail recorded by a 42 megapixel sensor compared with fuzzy, grainy, forgiving film. So I try to stick to 1/125th where I can or even 1/200th in the ideal case. But the IS is really good on the 85MM GM 1.4 so I felt brave and it seems to have worked OK, especially with the bit of flash to freeze some crisp detail. One still needs really good technique to hand hold, and you have to beware of subject movement as well.

    2) Autofocus was OK-ish. Fast lens and reasonable amount of light from the LED panels. It would lock on reasonably well, but not always lock on to the correct thing- one flaw of the Sony (and in all honesty all camera systems I’ve tried except the latest Canons with dual pixel focussing in live view) is that if the camera does pick the wrong thing to focus on, it’s very difficult to override.

    Tips: only use f/1.4 if you want a headache and are willing to shoot more than you need and throw shots away. The eye focus feature of the A7RII works well when it works at all- I have it set up for the “AF/MF” button on the back of the camera. I use AF-C rather than AF-S in really challenging situations too as it shows you exactly which PDAF point on the sensor it is using to focus. Overall though I’d say my number one complaint with the A7RII is the difficulty of nailing focus when shooting wide open.

    3) The colour was adjusted afterwards because I shot in RAW as I always do. I will have dragged the colour temperature slider around to get a nice warm look without losing the “Correct” white of the flash- which I know from memory is around 5000K. Then I will have set the tone curve to a more S-shaped curve to lighten highlights and darken blacks, probably upped the constrast a bit too. Perceptually that will increase apparent saturation but I probably dialled in a bit more saturation and possibly vibrancy. I always do a little dance between colour temp, saturation, tone curve, and vibrancy to get it where I want it.

    But I committed to the very warm look deliberately at shoot time, choosing very warm light (probably 2800K or so) for the fill panels, plus the candles, and really the post-processing was just applying my usual “stock look” and fine tuning it- it wasn’t anything unusual, most of the look was right there in the in-camera JPEGs. I find it useful to shoot RAW + JPEG with the Sony as it gives me a starting point for the look and reminds me what I was thinking of when I shot it originally.

    The one tip I have for colour on the Sony is that red tone curve greatly benefits from pulling up the reds in the mid-tones just a little. I usually add a point in the middle of the curve and drag it up a few percent. That just seems to give nicer skin tones to me with my default RAW processing software (Aperture). Other RAW processors will have different default renditions, but I like to pull the red mid tones up a bit in Capture One on the Sony too.

    So basically I built the look on set, fine tuning the light using the JPEGs on the back of the camera at the time, and just fine tuned it in post.

    Hope that’s of interest!

    Cheers, Hywel

    in reply to: Dying from pride… #27286

    Hywel
    Keymaster

    Hi Alex,

    Of course you are welcome to post Flickr and Fetlife links!

    Cheers, Hywel

    in reply to: Spankado #27284

    Hywel
    Keymaster

    Consider them a teaser 🙂

    Hywel

    in reply to: Site download #27281

    Hywel
    Keymaster

    As far as I know, most downloaders should work OK with RE. But I’ve not actually tried it recently myself- I’d be interested to know what people are using and what your experiences are.

    Cheers, Hywel

    in reply to: Metal Bondage Safety Video #27262

    Hywel
    Keymaster

    Absolutely agree, very good advice!

    We bulk-bought padlocks which use the same key. Doesn’t help with the sundry metal bondage gear which comes with built-in-locks but is a brilliant simplification and safety measure for everything else. Should have done it years sooner than I did.

    Cheers, Hywel

    in reply to: Collecting Fluff about a new DSLR #27099

    Hywel
    Keymaster

    Argh, slip in the mental arithmetic. At those pixel pitches it should be fine- as I said the A7RII doesn’t seem to have a regular problem but the Hasselblad does with (looks it up carefully this time to be sure!) 6.8 micron pitch. Of course, that explains why Nikon have left AA filters off the latest range of APS-C 20+ megapixel cameras. And why no-one is talking about it as an issue on 100 megapixel backs.

    Serves me right for opening my mouth on a thread about Nikons when I know damn all about them, and not bothering to check my quick division in my head! Apologies!

    It was interesting to think what I would buy/have stuck with if this was still my hobby rather than my job. The answer came surprisingly easy: a 5D Mark II, which I’d now be thinking of upgrading to a 5D Mark IV. To my mind you just can’t beat the versatility and bang for the buck of those mid-range dSLRs as all-rounders. I’m sure the Nikon equivalents have that same great value proposition.

    The only reason I don’t own one is that my professional needs cover little bits of that capability a little better than the 5DII/IV. The Hasselblad is a sharper, higher resolution, better studio/sunlight camera, the A7RII is a better low-light camera and light-weight camera for the mountains, and the RED and Panasonic GH4 are a bit better at video. But a general purpose middle of the range dSLR can do all of those things very capably. I probably ought to pick up a lightly-used 5DII or 5DIII as owners are probably switching to the IV, and I have a sack of Canon lenses!

    Cheers, Hywel

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by  Hywel.
    • This reply was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by  Hywel.
    in reply to: Collecting Fluff about a new DSLR #27097

    Hywel
    Keymaster

    I noticed the change going from the 13 megapixels of the Canon 5D mark I up to the 31 megapixel Hasselblad, as you’d damn well expect from a system that cost that much.

    The step up to the Canon 7D at 18 megapixels was much less marked, especially as those pixels were smaller and so the noise performance wasn’t so great.

    The difference between the 5DI (13 megapixels) and 5DII (21 megapixels) was very noticeable. The difference between the 7D (18) and 5DIi (21) was negligible so long as you had enough light and decent lenses.

    So to be honest I doubt you’d notice the difference between 21 and 24 megapixels. My guess is that you’re more likely to start noticing the limitations of the lenses and the rest of the system rather than the pure pixel count. The D500 is very well-regarded as far as I can see (although I admit my ignorance to matters Nikon is almost total, it’s well-spoken of).

    I’d be wary of camera with no AA filter (which I believe the D7200 lacks, is that right?). I find it a bit of a pain with the Hasselblad- it gives bad Moire on some fabrics. It’s not such an issue on the Sony because of the slightly higher resolution (and the fact that I often shoot the Sony with shallower depth of field, which limits the Moire just to those bits of fabric which happen to be in focus). People I know with higher res medium format say it’s largely a non-problem for them. So I think there may be a particular “sour spot” around 31 megapixels MF, which is quite close to the pixel pitch of the D7200.

    I’d take 21 sharply-focussed megapixels from a camera with good ergoonmics over a 24 megapixel image from a camera with lesser focussing and ergonomic niceness, myself.

    Of course I’m incapable of actually making that choice when there’s 42 megapixel IBIS monsters like the A7RII around (despite atrocious ergonomics). But of course this is my business- I’d probably make very different choices if it was still my hobby.

    Cheers, Hywel

    in reply to: Kardashian Robbery #27096

    Hywel
    Keymaster

    P.S. Sablesword I am with you on the “celebrity/politician” fiction. I’m not a big fan even of slash fic with someone else’s famous character put into a sexual story. I know Kirk-Spocking has a long an honourable history, but some years ago I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t happy doing this to other authors’ creations.

    Which is why I stopped doing things like the Star Trek and Tomb Raider inspired sets we used to shoot in the early days. Pragmatically, I don’t want to get sued, but more importantly I don’t think it is fair to the original authors/actors/etc. to presume to cast their creations in stories which might horrify them.

    So I’m trying to stick to original characters and original storylines (allowing for a dash of inspiration/Picasso-style creative stealing now and then).

    Cheers, Hywel

    in reply to: Kardashian Robbery #27095

    Hywel
    Keymaster

    Don’t feel bad! It is undoubtedly true that what happened reads very like the storylines we shoot here on RE. It would be disingenuous to pretend there is no link between these things happening in reality and the storylines we write- clearly, the two are connected.

    One of the things Ariel and I have in common is that when we were growing up, we didn’t have access to any sort of BDSM erotica or even know that such things existed. We therefore fixated on scenes in mainstream media- including real-life events on the news.

    The very best thing about the internet for me is that it has made it unnecessary to do that. We can now access romantic fiction (whether written or visual or auditory) which lets us enjoy and even act out these fantasies without having to have the confusing and conflicting guilt about finding a story that we know intellectually was horrible for the real people involved kinda hot.

    It’s that that lies behind my determination to keep RE going even if the UK censors try to shut us down (they’re on to the next phase now BTW: mandatory age verification. Which sounds fine until you realise that that means handing over your identity every time you want to even browse something 18-rated. A government mandated list of all the porn everyone in the country has ever watched? What could possibly go wrong?)

    I don’t want to go back to the dark days of having to find stories like this hot, because there’s no longer a source of cheery, romantic bondage fantasies online.

    It’s an important point, I think, so don’t feel bad about having pointed it out!

    Cheers, Hywel

    in reply to: Kardashian Robbery #27089

    Hywel
    Keymaster

    I’m afraid this crosses my line for fantasy vs. reality, sorry. Non-consensual is only OK in fantasy and I’m sure this was terrifying and horrible for the people involved. I’m glad no-one was seriously hurt. Whether or not the facts of the case are as reported, it’s not something we’ll be doing.

    Cheers, Hywel

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by  Hywel.
    in reply to: About these shackles #27083

    Hywel
    Keymaster

    P.S. just found this, UK prices and they say they’ll ship world-wide. Not quite as nice a range of colours (raspberry in particular is missing) but still pretty good:

    https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/213199816/mfp-bondage-rope-14-6mm-for-shibari-or?ref=listing-shop-header-3

    Just ordered a roll of orange, I’ll report back on how it is to tie with etc. once it arrives.

    Cheers, Hywel

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by  Hywel.
    in reply to: About these shackles #27082

    Hywel
    Keymaster

    Hi,

    No idea if it was a 12m or 15-20m, sorry 🙁 Think it was more likely to be a 12m as I don’t have very much of that blue.

    Hywel

    in reply to: About these shackles #27079

    Hywel
    Keymaster

    Hi,

    Yes, we favour the 6 mm rope. or 1/4″. The stuff I have from Rainbow rope was described as MFP solid braid rope.

    Lengths… I usually have 3 m, 4.5 m, 6 m, 9 m, 12 m in most of the colours. We have a few longer ropes, maybe one in each colour, for elaborate rope webs etc.. I’d guess they are in the range 15 – 20 m, but they get progressively more and more annoying to tie with. So the 12 m is my longest standard length.

    Cheers, Hywel

    in reply to: About these shackles #27076

    Hywel
    Keymaster

    Sadly not, all the coloured rope I have came from them.

    If you find a decent supplier, let me know!

    Hywel

    in reply to: Some of work over the years! #27074

    Hywel
    Keymaster

    Hi,

    To post pics here you either need to have them hosted on some web-space already, so you can post by giving the URL of the JPEG file itself.

    Otherwise, please feel free to email pics to me at webmaster@restrainedelegance.com and I can post them on your behalf.

    Cheers, Hywel Phillips

    in reply to: About these shackles #27073

    Hywel
    Keymaster

    Hmmm, you are right, looks like Rainbow Rope has closed down. No activity on their twitter feed since 2013, and the website is dead. That’s a shame, they were definitely the best suppliers of colourful rope.

    In reply to the original poster, the shackles are from https://www.sm-factory.com
    He has a queueing system to be able to order them now as he’s semi-retired, they are all produced by hand to your exact measurements.

    I think our regular cuffs and collars are the 30 mm, we have one set of 40 mm but don’t use it very often as I think the more petite set looks better on girls.

    Cheers, Hywel

    in reply to: Archive request #27072

    Hywel
    Keymaster

    Hi,

    I’ve scheduled the Hannah WPC sets for you later on this week.

    Cheers, Hywel

    in reply to: A Warm Summer's Evening, Tea on the Lawn… #27068

    Hywel
    Keymaster

    Hi,

    Yeh, getting feet and face in focus for a hogtie is a constant battle and one which I don’t always win- depends on the settings, the physical space etc.. I try not to faff around with lighting once the model is tied if I can possibly avoid it, so I fall back to “shot focussed on feet, shot focussed on face, shot focussed on shoulder in attempt to do poor man’s hyperfocal technique, then move on.

    I also prefer everything on the girl being sharp, or at least pretty close to sharp, where possible. But as you say, when it comes to available light it is a case of embracing necessity and trying to tame the worst excesses. I try not to shoot at f/1.4 unless I REALLY need to, for example.

    I don’t often decide to go specifically for a few shots in a set with shallow depth of field. More usually it comes about because of a change in the lighting or the composition.

    If the ambient light level suddenly drops (sun goes behind a cloud, which happens in Wales a lot!) I’ll open up to compensate.

    If I decide to see how the scene looks with less light, by turning off some strobes, ditto.

    But probably the most common cause of shallower depth of field is moving to a longer lens and getting further away from the model- the net visual effect tends to include making the background blur more pronounced. If I’ve been shooting a set at 35 mm and swap to an 85 mm lens this can be a very pronounced change in the images at that point in the set. (Or on the Hasselblad swapping from the 50 mm to 120 mm lenses).

    When shooting outdoors, I very rarely use pure sunlight on its own. Even with the high dynamic range on the Sony sensor, it is dicing with burnout.

    Most commonly I use the studio flashes and a shoot-through white umbrella to add fill (definite benefit of the powerful 1200 J flashes from the battery powered studio flash units). I use a white umbrella because it gives a fairly softened light without loosing too many stops of power (a softbox loses a lot more for example). And also because umbrellas are cheap to replace and the outdoors can be a bit hard on kit.

    With Canons and Sonys, this limits my shutter speed to 1/160th or 1/200th respectively.

    Which is why I *really* like the Hasselblad for this scenario- because with the leaf shutter I can sync up to 1/800th of a second. That gives a lot of control over the ratio of fill to sunlight, and lets me underexpose skies for saturation etc..

    If there’s an extra body around, I’ll use a sunfire gold reflector for fill. This is a bit hard on the model (she’s effectively looking straight into a reflection of the sun) but looks absolutely gorgeous, so is worth the trouble to shoot that way. Then I can have the shutter speed as high as I like, but have very limited control over the ratio of sunlight to fill. The nicest variation of this is the sun as backlight, under a little bit of shade, and the reflector whacking in as key light.

    I can’t honestly remember how I shot the Cobie set- most likely with studio flash turned right down as fill.

    This was definitely shot using flash to fill (again with the sun as backlight):

    Whereas this one was shot with a reflector as fill:

    This Silk Soles shot is a reflector as key, I was standing in a pool of sunlight bouncing the light in while Philippa shot from about 45 degrees away:

    Whereas this one is entirely flash lit (but I was trying to recreate the feel of the gold reflector shots):

    Cheers, Hywel

    in reply to: A Warm Summer's Evening, Tea on the Lawn… #27060

    Hywel
    Keymaster

    F-stops and depth of field … duly noted. Sounds like a great idea for a tutorial.

    Short answer:

    The is no such thing as the “right” depth of field for a shot. The mood changes considerably as depth of field shifts, so it is often a case of finding what works.

    I have three starting points:
    1) Shallow depth of field. I’m going to intentionally focus on selected parts of the image and using depth of field to throw the rest out of focus to de-emphasise. One achieves this with an open aperture, but don’t necessarily rush straight to the lens being wide open. You might end up with the fabled “eyelash in focus, eyeball out of focus” problem. Anything wider than F/4 is shallow on medium format, f/2.8 on full frame, f/2 on crop sensors. I think I shot this set around f/2.8 for the most part, on medium format, with a slightly telephone lens. Hence the nice background blur- helped by a decent physical separation between Cobie and the bushes behind her.

    2) Girl in focus, background mildly out of focus. This is my default setting because I think often people would like to see most of the girl and the bondage in full length shots and for it to be mostly sharp. I aim for f/8 on medium format, f/5.6 on full frame, f/5 ish on crop sensors. Most of what I shoot is traditionally from f/5.6 to f/11.

    3) Deep staging, where for some reason I want a much greater depth of field. Can be very effective to place the girl into the background setting rather than separating her from it. Anything wider than f/11 MF, f/8 FF, f/5.6 ish on crop sensors. Some smaller sensors eg GoPro, phone sensors can ONLY do deep staging- with wide angle lenses on small sensors, effective focus is like 1m to infinity. (Which is why there’s no focus ring on a GoPro).

    To achieve shallow depth of field you may need to cut down the light- this set was shot under trees in daylight, if I’d wanted the same thing in direct sunlight I’d have needed a neutral density filter to achieve it.

    Cheers, Hywel

    in reply to: Penny Lee in scarves and black and white… #27059

    Hywel
    Keymaster

    Glad you enjoyed it!

    Hywel

    in reply to: From member Mike #27037

    Hywel
    Keymaster

    And another couple…

    in reply to: Try winning the Grand Prix from THERE, Missy! #27026

    Hywel
    Keymaster

    … now fixed, apologies

    Hywel

    in reply to: Barefoot video and customs #26910

    Hywel
    Keymaster

    I prefer stills too, Sablesword. I enjoy making videos, for sure, but my heart is in stills and it is also what I consume from other websites, too. If ATVOD had closed us down on video I’d have given it a go running RE just for stills (even if it meant it had to go back to being my hobby). But recent consultations have made inevitable worrying moves towards censoring stills too, of course.

    Stills sets are cheaper than video. Maybe as much as a factor of four cheaper, depending on length and complexity.

    Stills are generally quicker to shoot. We reckon on one hour to shoot a stills set, one to two hours for short videos, ranging up to all day for some of the longer custom videos (and several days for the Elegance Studios custom videos like Pony Girl 3).

    Stills are also quicker to post-process. Stills use CPU time prodigiously but this can be batched whereas video uses a LOT of skilled human time making editing decisions to put the thing together. Ariel can get through four or five short videos in a day of editing. I can get through eight stills sets in day, so long as I’ve done the most CPU intensive stuff the night before. I need to grade videos after the rough cut is done, but on most videos that’s quicker than assembling the rough cut.

    Customs are generally more expensive and time consuming to shoot than non-customs.

    We can shoot our own ideas faster because we can make snap decisions as to what looks best or how the story should go, without having to second guess the customer or trawl through a long email exchange to find guidance. We also often need to source props, costumes, bondage gear and all manner of other production tasks for customs, not to mention sometimes having to arrange shoots with multiple models (which can lead to a many-month lead time).

    But of course someone else is paying for the production expenses when we’re shooting customs 🙂

    Cheers, Hywel

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 7 months ago by  Hywel.
    in reply to: Fi Stevens #26892

    Hywel
    Keymaster

    Sadly Fi has retired now, but we have lots of great stuff of her in the archives, I’ll make sure I post some more of her soon!

    Cheers, Hywel

    in reply to: Post Processing Tutorial #26890

    Hywel
    Keymaster

    I really wish I got on with Adobe products. They are one of the few companies actually in the software business, they release a constant stream of updates and they’re much less prone to suddenly drop a product than hardware companies like Apple.

    BUT… I just can’t get on with their user interfaces. A gnomic, microscopic icon in light grey on medium grey, stranded in the corner of a huge monitor with an even smaller disclosure triangle to click to access even more mystifying icons.

    And in Lightroom the unforgivable software sin of exposed modality- organising images and editing images is done in a different mode, essentially a completely different bit of software, WITH DIFFERENT KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS. (And different image development tools which don’t carry over to the develop module properly).

    I honestly don’t think anyone at Adobe has tried editing a thousand images in their products. They’re great for editing single images, but for mass production they suck so much.

    I know I’m at one extreme end of the Adobe vs Apple interface design philosophy, but I just don’t think there’s any justification for modal keyboard shortcuts.

    It’s a shame, because Lightroom is the obvious successor to Aperture, on paper. But in practice I can get better results, more quickly and in batch using Capture One.

    And Aperture is so good that I’ll likely keep all my current Mac production hardware on Yosemite just to keep using it.

    Cheers, Hywel

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 7 months ago by  Hywel.
    in reply to: Post Processing Tutorial #26880

    Hywel
    Keymaster

    Hi Sablesword,

    Let me know if Gametime can sort it for you. I temporarily stopped the annual option for new signups after the ATVOD tap on the shoulder. I HATE not delivering what I’ve promised; I didn’t want anyone signing up for a long-term membership in case I had to make big changes on the site right away.

    I was just thinking I should reinstate the annual membership as it doesn’t seem like anything drastic is happening under the new regime at least for the moment. Let me know if you can’t get your existing membership renewed and I’ll bump up my plans.

    Best regards,

    Hywel

    in reply to: Post Processing Tutorial #26877

    Hywel
    Keymaster

    Ah! Apologies, I didn’t know that, thank you! The last version I have of Photoshop is CS4, which still used the RAW processing preload system. Good to see Adobe making improvements.

    (I still hate their user interface designs with a passion though, hence the lack of Lightroom/Photoshop in the tutorial 🙂 )

    As you say, the BIG difference between photoshop and the parametric image processors like Aperture, Lightroom and Capture One is the ability to cut-and-paste adjustments between different images, which produced a time-saving of at least a day a week for me when these programs first appeared.

    Cheers, Hywel

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