Need tech training on Mac? Our macOS Core Essentials course is for you

Need tech training on Mac? Our macOS Core Essentials course is for you

If you’re deploying Mac in your business, but your tech team are more Windows whizzes than Mac management maestros, it always helps to get a bit of guidance on how the new system differs, in the form of technical training. 

So we’ve developed our macOS Core Essentials training course just for that. Run by our friendly systems engineers, who have bags of real world experience managing Mac in business environments of various size, it’s the ideal way to make sure your tech team understand the core functionality behind macOS, how best to manage it, and how it compares to similar Windows environments, so your business can get the most from your system.

Who’s it for? Our macOS Core Essentials training is for helpdesk teams, technical co-ordinators, service techs, ICT technicians etc who are deploying macOS for the first time. It’s designed to help technicians who are familiar with Windows systems to master the key functionality of macOS and understand Apple’s technical terminology where it differs from Windows standards.

What does it include? The training will include demos of Apple hardware and software, plus a deep dive look at supporting macOS devices delivered by a senior systems engineer from Jigsaw24. If you’re managing your Apple devices using Jamf Pro, we can also provide an overview of how these will work to manage your devices, and what you need to know to get devices profiled, managed and working with your other internal systems.

As well as being accredited by Apple, our engineers have practical experience designing and supporting mixed platform enterprise environments, so can advise on how to address real world issues you’re likely to find in your environment. You can see the full course curriculum here.

Who’s running it? It’s all delivered by our senior systems engineers. As well as being accredited by Apple, our engineers have practical experience designing and supporting mixed platform enterprise environments, so can advise on how to address real world issues you’re likely to find in your environment.

Where does it happen? This is an all day session, and can be held at our Nottingham or London offices (where we’ll provide lunch), or at your place (in which case you’ll need to bring sandwiches).

How much does it cost? £350 per person (minimum booking three people).

– Want to book your team onto our macOS Core Essentials training course? Get in touch on the details below… 

Want to know more about our Apple training? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306 or email solutions@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Need iPad technical training? Check out our Apple iOS Core Essentials course

Need iPad technical training? Check out our Apple iOS Core Essentials course

Getting a new device and learning its ins and outs is an exciting time! However, setting it up correctly first time is important and makes or breaks the overall experience – especially if you’ve never worked with Apple iOS and iPad before. 

First of all, you need to get yourself familiarised with the key functionality and terminology, the benefits of mobile device management (MDM), and integrating the new devices into your existing infrastructure. While there are reams of technical documents and lengthy YouTube tutorials that can guide you through, but a helping hand from someone who has real world experience in such matters is always more useful.

So we’ve developed our iOS Core Essentials training to do just that!

photo_education_training

Who’s it for? iOS Core Essentials is designed specifically for helpdesk teams, technical co-ordinators, service techs, ICT technicians and anyone who’s deploying iOS or requires a deeper understanding of how to leverage its potential. If you’re familiar with PC-based systems, it’ll help you master the key functionality of iOS and understand Apple’s technical terminology where it differs from what you may already know.

What does it include? The training will include demos of Apple hardware and software, plus a deep dive look at supporting iOS devices. If you’re managing your Apple devices using AirWatch or JAMF Software’s Casper Suite mobile device management (MDM) solutions, we can also provide an overview of how these will work to manage your devices, and what you need to know to get devices ready, managed and working with your other internal systems. You can see the full course curriculum here.

Who’s running it? It’s all delivered by our senior systems engineers. As well as being accredited by Apple, our engineers have practical experience designing and supporting mixed platform enterprise environments, so can advise on how to address real world issues you’re likely to find in your environment.

Where does it happen? This is an all day session, and can be held at our Nottingham or London offices (where we’ll provide lunch), or at your place (in which case you’ll need to bring sandwiches).

How much does it cost? £350 per person (minimum booking three people).

Want to know more about our Apple training? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306 or email solutions@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Avid launch Media Composer floating licence five packs (with up to 50% off!)

Avid launch Media Composer floating licence five packs (with up to 50% off!)

Great news for smaller post or production houses: Avid have announced their Media Composer Floating Licences are now available for purchase in packs of five. Even better news: they’re currently offering 15% off new licences, or a massive 50% if you convert your current Media Composer licences across the entire floating licence range. 

Avid’s floating licences enable you to purchase packs of shared licences to deploy across your entire facility using a single system ID. This means multiple editors can use Media Composer simultaneously on any number of workstations when the licences are available (not actively in use).

Once you close your Media Composer application, the licence is automatically returned to the pool of available licences on the licensing server. All you need is a Windows server running Windows XP SP3 or Later, Windows Server 2003 SP1 or Later, 32 or 64-bit OS.

Avid Media Composer floating licences on Jigsaw24

Why choose floating licences over standalone licences?

Going with Avid Media Composer floating licences over standalone ones has many benefits. For example, it lets you:

Maximise your investment. Licences are only consumed when in use and returned to the server when not, so additional editors can connect when licences become available.

Use licences outside your facility. Floating licences give you the ability to ‘check out’ licences – ideal for projects that need to be completed on the road or at home for an extended period of time.

Save time. Save countless hours of activation, installation, and upgrade time using Avid’s Floating License Server software and your existing hardware to establish a single, centralised licensing server – just activate a pack of licences, tell Media Composer the server address, and the system will automatically request licences from the server on the internal network.

Save money. Save money and gain more operational flexibility over purchasing individual seats of Media Composer that often go unused when a designated editor or system isn’t working.

Save up to 50% on floating licences

You can now buy new or conversion licences in packs of 5, 20 or 50 for Media Composer, NewsCutter Option, Symphony Option and Production Pack. You can buy these in any combination, with no minimum order required, and five packs can be added to your existing floating licences at any time.

Avid are currently running an offer until 30th September 2016 whereby you can trade in your current Media Composer licences for a floating licence and save 50%, or buy a new Media Composer floating licence and save 15%! You can buy new floating licences from us at the links below, but if you want to convert your current floating licences, please get in touch with the team on the details at the bottom of the page.

Avid Media Composer floating licence, 5 users – Save 15%!

Avid Media Composer floating licence, 20 users – Save 15%!

Avid Media Composer floating licence, 50 users – Save 15%!

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

How does Backup24 stack up against other backup services?

How does Backup24 stack up against other backup services?

If you’re looking for a way to look after your digital assets, and get the peace of mind that your work is protected against human error, air conditioning failures, hardware faults, computer viruses and the like, a hosted backup service is the way to go.

We offer our own service called Backup24, which is durable, reliable and – crucially – affordable. But how does it compare to some of the other solutions out there? One popular option is Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), part of Amazon Web Services. But there are a number of reasons we believe Backup24 is more suitable than Amazon S3 for users who work in the creative industries and have large digital files.

Simple pricing

Taking a look at Amazon’s pricing structure, you can see it’s rather complex, with charges for number of requests, type of request and the duration of data being held (Standard, Standard Infrequent Access and the more long-term Glacier package). Backup24, on the other hand, is priced on a simple £40 per TB stored per month model. As part of this, we provide help with restores should it be required, or there is also a self-service option available. There are also no bandwidth costs.

For larger businesses, we can also provide dedicated connectivity, which gives you a secure VPN connection to the data centre with ring-fenced bandwidth for your backups and restores, at £500 per 100Mbps dedicated connectivity per month.

Fully managed

With Backup24, one of our engineers will check your backup each day. With Amazon S3, the onus is on you to check that your backup has worked each day. You also need to complete online training on Amazon Web Services, whereas you don’t need to learn anything with Backup24 – we set it up, run it for you and will perform restores for you (or we can show you how to do this for yourself).

Designed for creatives

We’ve designed Backup24 specifically for creative users, whereas Amazon lead on being backup for business customers. And because creative work like video, audio and image files are high capacity and very valuable, we price our service per TB, rather than per GB.

Customer-focused

As with all our services and solutions, we like to put you, the customer, front and centre, and make sure we talk to all our customers regardless of size. You get a dedicated point of contact for your account, plus engineers available on the end of the phone during normal business hours.

They can advise on all things backup and storage, check in on the state of your backups and help you find files too. With Amazon, only the largest customers have someone to speak to about the service.

And the rest

As well as all that, here are a few of the other benefits of choosing Backup24 from Jigsaw24:

Someone on the end of the phone to give you advice and guidance, and to see how your backups are doing.

No file recovery costs so there’s no limit to your file access.

Fast, simple retrieval of your mission-critical data – if you lose your data, we should be able to retrieve it.

Secure connections initiated by you, making for safer transfer of data.

Live mirror copy of your existing data structure.

Daily snapshots of data, so any version of a file can be retrieved.

Physical checks of the integrity of the backup every day.

Physical pre-stage of data. Imagine you have 20TB of data – to get that into  cloud backup over the internet would take forever, so this eliminates that.

Restore of data onto physical drives if required (at an additional cost).

Want to find out more about Backup24? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306 or email solutions@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

What went down at our Expand Your Brand with Video event

What went down at our Expand Your Brand with Video event

If you want to engage new customers and strengthen your brand, video production is a great way to go. To that end, we held our Expand Your Brand with Video event down in Soho on 6th July to show companies how to get started and bring video in-house. Thanks to everyone who came down and enjoyed a drink or two over some video chat – for everyone else, here’s what went down…

Laurie Castelli on video

First up, we had Laurie Castelli (former Creative Producer at Facebook, acclaimed director/producer and brand communications expert) giving a great presentation on why video is so important, why you should be making it and what factors you should be thinking about before you take the plunge.

He also stressed the critical thinking behind video – why you shouldn’t just be producing it for the sake of it, but really thinking about why you’re doing it to make sure you’re constantly producing the best content with the best finish quality, and achieving your objectives.

Expand your brand 1

Lewis Brown talks video kit

We also welcomed Lewis Brown from Atomos, who presented on a more technical aspect of taking video in-house. He spoke about the basic kit you need to get started, the spectrum of kit available and other considerations, from back-end storage through to the actual production kit. He also touched upon the role of brands as the new broadcasters.

Expand your brand 2

Pizza and Euro 2016

Of course it wouldn’t be a Jigsaw24 event without a few drinks and a bite to eat while ‘networking’. We also stuck Euro 2016 on our big screen to see Wales unfortunately crash out in the semis and end their heroic run to eventual tournament winners CR7 and co. Sad times.

– If you’d like to know more about expanding your brand with in-house video, check out our Infographic: The Power of Producing Video Content here. Or if you’re ready to start creating your own content in-house, take a look at our full range of video production solutions, or speak to one of our experts on 03332 400 888 or broadcast@Jigsaw24.com

Jigsaw24 Events

Want to know more? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.comFor all the latest news and tips, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Why choose Jigsaw24’s Apple training courses for business?

Why choose Jigsaw24’s Apple training courses for business?

Whether you’re a whizz with Mac computers and iOS device deployments, or a complete newcomer to Apple hardware and software, a little training (or a quick refresher) never goes amiss. So we’ve put together a catalogue of Apple training courses designed for end users and tech admin staff within businesses – all hosted by Apple-accredited trainers and certified Apple technicians – to make sure you’re up to speed with the latest versions of Apple operating systems, and the techie stuff behind it all… 

How do these benefit my business?

Our Apple training programmes are tailored for every business type and every level of staff, from executives to sales staff to technical teams. If your end users are just making the move from PC to Mac, we have introductory courses that will get them acclimatised with the user interface culture shock, and user experience workflow including iCloud and the like, as well as get them moving from Microsoft Office apps like PowerPoint to using Apple’s own powerful Keynote software.

For technical staff, we’ll take the guesswork out of iOS and macOS, going deep into how to manage devices using mobile device management (MDM) solutions like Jamf Pro, and all-round support for IT staff, including everything from troubleshooting to cross-platform integration.

As each of our training courses are run by experts with years of training supporting Apple systems in the wild, you know you’re getting relatable real world advice and support (all from a friendly face). In essence, each course will help you:

– Get the most from your Mac, iPad and iPhone, receiving the full Apple experience.

– Learn best practice at the same time as colleagues, leading to safer, more uniform IT usage that stays in line with company policies.

– Mitigate the dip in productivity that usually happens when you switch to a new system.

– Remove the need to hire new support staff, as your in-house team will already be clued up on the key technical aspects of Mac and iPad.

– Ensure you get advice on real world scenarios from our experienced engineers, rather than generic training from someone who’s not in the field.

– Get to grips with MDM, VPP, DEP and Jamf Pro.

Sharan Matharu, Assistant Principal at Sidney Stringer Academy, had this to say about our Apple training: “A week after the training, people are still coming up to me saying, ‘Thank you. I was really apprehensive about the training initially, I used my iPad for email and that was it, but now I feel much more confident.”

Sidney Stringer Apple Training 2

What courses are available?

For end users…

User experience: This is designed to help end users get the most out of their existing Apple devices by getting everyone familiar with the latest features in iOS and macOS, as well as teaching people to sync devices, set up iCloud, and work on iWork and Office documents on all their Apple devices.

Moving to Mac from PC: If you’re introducing Mac computers into your organisation for the first time, this training will show end users how to perform all their day to day tasks on a Mac, familiarising them with the UI, key functions and key apps.

Keynote for iPad or Mac: In this course, you’ll get to grips with using Keynote for iPad or Mac, and why it’s so perfect for business. Learn how to create visually engaging, clearly organised and personally expressive presentations, and develop strategies to share and collaborate.

iPad or Mac skills for business: This course is all about developing iPad or Mac skills specifically for a business environment. You’ll identify and explore the fundamentals and features of your iPad or Mac, and learn how to personalise iPad or Mac settings and use built-in apps for business.

For tech teams… 

iOS core essentials: This course is for small groups of helpdesk specialists, technical coordinators, service technicians and others who support iOS users. It is aimed at ICT technicians who deploy and manage Apple iOS devices. We can also offer specific training on your organisation’s chosen MDM solution, such as Jamf Pro.

OS X core essentials: This training session will be conducted by a Professional Services System Engineer from Jigsaw24, and has been designed to ensure attendees understand the core functionality behind macOS, how best to manage it, and how it compares to similar Windows environments. These features will be referenced where this helps comparison to the macOS support and client management experience. We will include specific reference to the market-leading MDM solution Jamf Pro, plus OS X Server Profile Manager features.

Introducing new iterations: Before you move the office onto the next version of iOS or macOS, this course gives them the chance to work on updated machines and learn the new lay of the land. We’ll cover the changes, their benefits and how to troubleshoot them if anything goes wrong.

See full details of our Apple training courses here.

How much does it cost?

Our courses range from three hour sessions for cracking Keynote, to half or full day sessions for the more complex courses aimed at tech teams. Most can be taken either at our place in Nottingham or Soho (usually with a lunch and refreshments, as well as takeaway documents, thrown in), or round at yours. They can also be tailored to different numbers of candidates, from one user up to a group of ten. As such, pricing differs slightly, so please get in touch for a quote on our Apple training courses today!

Want to know more about our Apple training? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306 or email solutions@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Check out your new Vidcheck software UK reseller

Check out your new Vidcheck software UK reseller

Well, check us out – we’re now an authorised reseller for the UK for Vidcheck, meaning you can come to us for the full lineup of all their fantastic software solutions for post-production, broadcast, content distribution and archive.

Who are Vidcheck?

Vidcheck provide, in their own words, “unique and advanced software applications to automatically check and correct video and audio in file-based digital video, focusing on the requirements of the broadcast industry, at a cost-effective price.” Their main solutions are Vidchecker and Vidchecker-post (designed for the lighter user).

There’s also their new product Vidcheck OnDemand, the OPEX licence model of Vidchecker. This is burst-capable and public or private cloud-compatible. Like Vidchecker, it is fully scalable, easy to operate and integrate, and conducts automated QC and error correction to industry specifications.

Benefits of Vidchecker and Vidfixer include:

– Thorough checks of file, video and audio parameters as well as video and audio quality, legality and correctness.

– Not only checks video and audio, but also intelligently corrects out-of-spec video levels and audio levels including loudness.

– Highly cost-effective: full-featured QC at a price that the smallest post production companies and broadcasters can comfortably afford, and fully scalable using the Vidchecker Grid for enterprise installation with very high file volumes.

– Supports sub-SD, SD, HD, 4K and mixed workflows.

– Four levels of checking: information, warning, fail on error and correct on error.

– Supplied standards templates including DPP and Netflix plus ‘1 Click’ auto test template from known good media.

– Built-in media player to play the video at alert points by clicking on the alert thumbnails.

– Easy workflow support: use multiple watch folders with filtering, automatically send reports, move files on pass/fail/correction.

– Comprehensive online Help.

– API web services for full integration with production and broadcast workflows and media asset management systems.

Want to know more about Vidcheck’s solutions for post, broadcast, distribution and archive? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Adobe Creative Cloud 2016: What’s new?

Adobe Creative Cloud 2016: What’s new?

It’s hard to believe that a year’s passed since Adobe unveiled Stock, Artboards and a whole load of cool new features in their desktop and mobile apps. Now, they’re at it again, with the 2016 update to Adobe Creative Cloud for teams. This comes replete with a whole arsenal of new creative tools and improvements across Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere Pro, After Effects and more, as well as always-welcome performance improvements.

Our pick of the new features

With dozens of new features available for desktop apps as well as mobile and Adobe Stock, we’d be here all day talking about every one, so we’ll concentrate on the main apps that our creative team use day-in, day-out (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere Pro and After Effects, mainly), and some of the tools and workflow improvements they’re most excited about.

Photoshop. With every new iteration of Photoshop, there are always one or two big crowdpleasers, and this time round is no different. The Content-Aware tools were a real game-changer when they were originally released, and the new Content-Aware Crop, which fills in the gaps when you rotate an image or expand your canvas, looks very handy indeed.

The one that we’ve had the most fun with so far, though, is Face Aware Liquify, a very clever tool for detecting and magically making adjustments to facial features in images. Graphic designer Liana had a play with an unsuspecting subject’s face below, and had this to say: “On first play, it’s really good, detecting faces straight away and very accurately. You can use the sliders or grab the various facial features, and to be honest I wasn’t expecting there to be so many options, eg eye tilt or distance. Obviously these examples are the extremes, but I think this would be very useful in making subtle changes.” Cheers, Li…

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 15.10.49

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 15.09.23

Another new Photoshop feature of interest is Match Font, which identifies Latin fonts in images. “It’s recommended to get a straight-on image, so I did a quick Perspective Warp because the photo was at an angle,” Liana said. “It did seem a bit hit and miss (just nudging the box along could make it come up with different results even though the text was still in the box). But even though it didn’t find the font that we’ve used here, it did come up with similar suggestions. I love the fact that it searches Typekit too, which is obviously really handy. I think this is a good tool to get a similar style font and various options, but maybe not if you really need ‘that exact font’.”

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 15.42.37

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 15.42.25

Illustrator. No silly faces in this one, unfortunately, just cold hard workflow improvements. The latest update for Illustrator features Fast Export of assets and artboards. When you need an icon scaled for multiple screen sizes, instead of exporting each size configuration individually, now you can export the icon across all the required size configurations at the same time with just one click, which is going to make life a lot easier for our design team.

Premiere Pro and After Effects. Earlier this year at NAB 2016, Adobe made a big announcement about upcoming updates to their core Creative Cloud for teams (CCT) video apps. They promised VR video capabilities and faster than ever media ingest and editing workflows in Premiere Pro CC, as well as a more responsive After Effects (as well as the usual performance and stability enhancements across all the Adobe video and audio applications). And with this update, they’ve made good on their word.

New Virtual Reality features have been added to Premiere Pro, including a ‘field of view’ mode which makes it easy for editors and filmmakers to preview media and see what the viewer will see. Then there’s the new Character Animator in After Effects, which makes it easy to match an animated character to a real-life actor’s speech and movements in real time. If you’re a Simpsons fan, you’ll be interested to know that this latest update was recently tested by The Simpsons’ animation team when they used it for Homer Simpson’s live Q&A session in the 15th May episode.

Creative Cloud Libraries. Creative Cloud Libraries was a big hit with our design team when it first came out, meaning easier access to key tools, colours, fonts and more. And now it’s even better, with read-only library collaboration, followable Libraries with a Send Link, an updated Libraries panel for Photoshop CC, Dreamweaver CC (Beta), Adobe Muse CC and Animate CC, and new asset type support for InDesign CC, including gradients, colours, styles, tints and swatches.

When can I get them?

As always, if you’re a current Creative Cloud for teams subscriber, you get all new updates immediately for free. A notification should have pinged up in your Creative Cloud app. If you don’t currently hold an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription though, you can of course get in touch with us, as the UK’s leading Adobe reseller, to get it all sorted.

– Want to get the most out of Adobe Creative Cloud? For tutorials, tips and other resources, check out our Adobe Creative Cloud Hub

Want to know more about Adobe Creative Cloud for teams? Give us a call on 03332 409 251, email sales@Jigsaw24.com or pop your details in the form below. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Get a Sony FS5 or X70 camera with upgrade and save up to £100!

Get a Sony FS5 or X70 camera with upgrade and save up to £100!

Among Sony’s many exciting announcements at NAB 2016, their 4K RAW upgrade for the PXW-FS5 and MPEG HD upgrade on the PXW-X70 (two of our favourite cameras) were probably pick of the bunch. So now we’re bundling the upgrades together with the cameras, meaning you can get up to £100 off when you buy the FS5 or X70 along with the upgrade. Aren’t we good…?

What are these upgrades?

The RAW upgrade on the PXW-FS5 offers 4K RAW up to 60p and a 240fps slow motion in 1080p, allowing greater flexibility in post-production, and making the FS5 ready for just about any production, be that corporate, events, fashion, music videos, drone, rigs, online, you and your dog’s talent show submission tape, or whatever. And the MPEG HD upgrade on the PXW-X70 is perfect for anyone who wants to maintain a consistent workflow with existing broadcast, MPEG HD infrastructure.

Why are they so great?

4K RAW output. RAW is lightly compressed (3:1), 12-bit 444 signal. The firmware also enables true DCI 4K (4096 x 2160) RAW over the standard UHD, at 23.98, 25, 29.97, 50 and 59.94p. This means infinite creative possibilities for grading or correcting in post. It’s based on a well-known RAW system (the same as for NEX-FS700 (SDI & HXR-IFR5)), and internal HD recording is possible during 4K RAW output.

4K and 2K super slowmo. Over-crank and shoot genuine slow motion in RAW – the upgrade gives you infinite creative possibilities in post, in super-slick slow-mo! Shoot 2K (continuously) up to 240fps at 100, 120, 200, 240 fps, and DCI 4K RAW (4096 x 2160) up to 120fps (in a 4 second cache).

MPEG-2 4:2:2 50mbps recording. With this upgraded codec, the X70 becomes a unique palm-sized broadcast camcorder, integrating into the professional broadcast and documentary environment. It optimises your existing workflow for Full HD takes without having to shell out for new editing systems or updates.

Easy to upgrade. There’s no need for a hardware upgrade – you just buy the camera/upgrade bundle from us, and perform a simple firmware update.

It’s just important to remember that, while the firmware enables the RAW output, you do need something to capture that output, and because it’s such a large amount of data, only a few solutions are qualified. Great options include the Atomos Shogun Inferno or Shogun Flame – both are High Dynamic Range (HDR) monitor/recorders, enabling accurate on-set monitoring when shooting in RAW.

Sounds good. Where do I get them?

You can get both the special camera and upgrade bundle deals from Jigsaw24 for a limited time by clicking on the links below (or giving the friendly sales team a tinkle, of course)…

Sony FS5 on Jigsaw24

– Purchase the FS5 with the RAW upgrade at the same time and save £100!

Sony X70 on Jigsaw24

– Purchase the X70 with the MPEG HD upgrade and save £50!

Want to know more about Sony camcorders? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Chasing auroras: An interview with photographer Jamen Percy

Chasing auroras: An interview with photographer Jamen Percy

Jamen Percy is an international, award-winning photographer, designer and Adobe Stock contributor (check out his Stock portfolio here). He’s also got a bit of a thing for the Northern Lights, winning Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015: Aurorae Category and setting up his own Arctic Circle photo tour group, Aurora Chasers (see more on Jamen’s Instagram). We quizzed him on his photography workflow, selling for stock services and why you shouldn’t get between a mother bear and her cubs… 

Jamen Percy

How did you first get into photography? 

I was at the ripe old age of 26 when I was in need of a fresh change in my life, so I relocated from my home town in Sydney to London. There I soon became addicted to travelling abroad and this gave me that extra reason to invest in a proper SLR camera. The two went in hand, and it was wanderlust at first sight.

What kind of work and styles do you specialise in? 

I cover quite a variety of subject matter – I started with travel, specialising in the Aurora Borealis up in the Arctic circle, but then branched out as my lust for wildlife and nature adventures exponentially expanded. I would then do small studio shots in my London home for technique practice, which also helped pay for all the gear I ‘just had to have’ for my next trip.

Jamen Percy Aurora Borealis

What’s been the hardest shoot you’ve been on?

Every subject is hard – if it’s easy, then it’s not worth it. You can bet many other people have done the same if it’s too easy. When it gets hard, you know you’re on to something good. It’s also when most people give up. In terms of stock photography, a unique picture is key. I love shooting wildlife and, although it’s not as profitable for stock as other subjects, I enjoy it so much it never feels like work to me.

Jamen Percy brown bear

The hardest shoot so far would have to be brown bears in the forests of Finland. Their behavior is so unpredictable; you can’t just come out of your hide and give them some creative direction. They are tough models to work with! Although they aren’t aggressive if they do see you, if you come between a mother and her cubs you won’t come out on top. It makes toilet breaks outside the hide interesting…

Jamen Percy brown bear and cub

You’ve shot some amazing pictures of the Aurora Borealis too – how was that?

Very cold! It’s extreme conditions and it can be very hard to chase them as the weather seems to be against you 95% of the time. But, that 5% is always worth it, even if you can’t feel your toes or hands and it’s 4am. It’s never the same and always awe-inspiring.

Do you have a photography Moby Dick you’re still on the hunt for?

Yes, there’s a list! Working with wildlife is a game of patience and persistence. I have a project in Central America photographing one of the world’s most elusive predators – wild jaguars. It’s been going for three years now, still with no shot yet, but I know it will come. And when it does…

So what’s in your kit bag? And what non-techy item are you never without on a shoot?

I’ve gone from owning every lens possible to having just the bare essentials. For day to day use, I have a super wide-Carl Zeiss 15mm lens, then an all-rounder Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L II, followed by the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L II. This gives me a full range and I rarely need anything else unless it’s really specific – telephoto or fisheye, for example – and for that I would hire the lens out. In terms of non-tech, I always have a soft cloth for cleaning the lens and a chocolate bar to keep my energy levels up. If you get tired and hungry you can’t focus and get lazy – photography can be surprisingly physical.

Jamen Percy

Can you describe your workflow for us?

I load my images straight into Lightroom, where I do a quick pass marking the ones worth keeping and deleting the rest, which usually reduces the collection to 25% of the original amount. From there I apply an overall lens correction and adjustments, then I go through each image and make local adjustments and tweaks to the lighting. By then I can usually spot the favourites and I keyword and export them to be uploaded. I try to avoid uploading similar images to keep my portfolio to a high standard.

Do you use any other editing tools such as Photoshop?

I only use Photoshop to do studio shoots where I remove infrastructure and tools used to position the subjects, combining images or changing colours of objects. Most of my photos stay in Lightroom though. It now has so many more features that I don’t need third party software for panoramic and such like I used to. I also use Adobe After Effects to compile timelapses.

Jamen_Percy_Aurora

You do a lot of stock imagery work – how do you decide what to give over to stock services?

If I think it will sell on Adobe Stock, then I will submit it, otherwise the photo will sit on my hard drive and cost money rather than make it. However, context does apply to stock – some images will sell at high prices as art prints but never sell at all on Adobe Stock – these tend to be more creative visions which are too abstract to sell commercially but highly prized as unique in the art world. It’s all about finding the right audience for each image.

Jamen Percy

So is there a balance between what you think will be commercially successful and still retaining your style?

No never, but I seem to always get some of my style in each photograph, regardless of the subject matter. I will photograph anything that will sell, as soulless as its sounds – the image selling industry has become so hardline for making money you cannot afford to exclude anything and often the subjects people don’t want to photograph are in demand because of this. You can always use different aliases to separate your portfolio into styles with most stock libraries however. Also, having a good variety of work will increase your opportunities. Every subject matter is a challenge and has lessons to learn.

What kind of thing do you receive the most interest in?

My timelapses and photos of the Aurora Borealis have always outsold any of my other work. To get all the conditions right for a good shoot can take many seasons to crack, as well as the aurora coming in 11-year cycles of strength, so for 5 years there are almost no chances to photograph strong activity – which adds to its rareness.

Do you have any advice you can give to up and coming photographers?

Always be unique if you want to sell. If you don’t, you’re just adding to the pollution.

Check out more of Jamen’s great work on his Instagram, and over in his Adobe Stock portfolio.

Want to find out more about Adobe Stock? Head on over to our Adobe Stock page to take a look at the full feature-set. You can also give us a call on 03332 409 259, email adobe@Jigsaw24.com or pop your details in the form below.