August 9, 2015 Fundamentals pracs

The “Practicum” is the time to demonstrate your understanding of what you have learned, from Posing Levels, No-Nude, Grooming, Location and Environment, Clothing, Audio, and Lighting SDLP’s you have consumed so far.

You will shoot a real model, on location, and capture a range of images and video segments that meet our requirements for every shoot we release. This is not a full abbywinters.com solo shoot, it’s perhaps 20% of what’s required for a full shoot, so this media will not be released, and the model will not sign a Release form.

Your work on this prac day is incredibly important! Prepare and plan carefully to extract the most benefit from it, and ensure the effort you’ve gone to so far is not wasted.

There’s no need to work towards the Solo Assessment Areas (you’ll officially learn about them next), “Additionals”, or the formal Shoot Preparation process at this stage.

If you demonstrate the necessary understanding of our Fundamental principles to an acceptable standard, you’ll proceed to the Solo assessment areas – you’re roughly half-way through the training at this stage.

If you do not demonstrate the understanding we expect, before you can proceed you may be asked to:

  • Re-do some of the Practicum components
  • Re-do the entire Practicum
  • Consume the relevant Technical SDLPs

Preparation and planning

Print this web page. It is essential to have on-set when shooting the Practicum, to ensure you shoot what’s actually required! As there are sometimes small changes to the requirements of the shot list, print it as close to the shoot day as possible.

Print and review the Summary of Technical Assessment Areas. PDF Summary of Technical assessment areas. We hope you’ll agree, it’s pretty basic, obvious stuff. Review it to know what we expect from shoots technically, and work towards a “3” assessment for each area on this set of pracs. If you have questions, ask them now.

Print each Fundamental “Fact Page”, in colour. These contain the essential info to keep in mind. For each of the Fundamentals areas (Posing Levels, No-nude, Grooming, Must Have shots, Location, Clothing, Lighting 101) we linked to these on the SDLP pages. They will be handy to refer to on-set when shooting the Practicum.

Print the Grooming Checklist in colour, have it on-hand to guide you through the process for the Grooming component. It’s no problem if the model for the Practicum actually has poor grooming, we’re assessing how well you identify the grooming issues present (however, when you produce real shoots for the site, the model’s grooming is very important, and may affect if the shoot can happen or not!).

Organise a model. Naturally female, 18+, comfortable with Insertions-level posing, understand that her material will not be released (no Release form required; the media is only used for your training purposes), and available for – we estimate – 5 hours. She does not have to be an “on-paradigm” model for these pracs. We have an email you can send to a prospective model – ask your AW contact.

The model will need to bring some clothes to assist in the no-nude component – you know what to suggest to her, right? 🙂

If you are not able to source a suitable model on your own, connect with your AW contact – we can assist.

Organise a location. Select a location that has plenty of space, ideally a bedroom 4m x 4m (12 feet x 12 feet) but larger is much easier. It can be a lounge room instead. Outside is more complicated, and so not recommended for this prac. True-white walls and ceiling is recommended (to assist with bouncing light to create a large, colour-correct source). Ensure it is in a quiet place (eg, no construction work, traffic or aircraft noise, not near a school or playground).

Of course, the location should reflect – or be set-dressed to reflect – our needs for Location and Environment.

The location should be clean: a young woman is getting naked and will be doing sexual things, and it’s reasonable for them to expect a clean place to do that in (an exception is, if you’re shooting in her own home). The standard we expect includes freshly vacuumed and mopped floor, freshly cleaned sheets (ie, that day), no dirty dishes in sink, emptied bins, and lack of pet hair on posing surfaces. Don’t forget to have a spotless toilet! Imagine your cleanest and most judgemental friend is visiting, and aim to impress them.

The location needs to be private from other people seeing what’s happening. It’s not appropriate to have an assistant, to have a friend “drop by”, take a delivery, have someone else in the house.

The location should be warm; 22°C (72°F), but take the model’s feedback on that. A comfortable model is a happy model, and happy models make good shoots!

Provide helpful directions to the model so she arrives on time, and establish SMS (or similar messaging service) contact in the days before, so she can message if there’s a problem. Make sure the address works correctly in Google Maps. Let her know that she should message if she feels lost. Include recommendations on bus / train route numbers, and stop numbers.

Prepare to treat your model with respect. Touching models is strictly not appropriate (also, do not ask to touch the model – also not appropriate!). There are two exceptions:

  • A handshake at the beginning / end of the day
  • If the model is injured and bleeding, you may apply pressure to the wound (with her permission)

Some situations you might think might to be ok to touch the model (regardless of her clothing or posing level), but are not:

  • Moving hair off her face. No.
  • Moving an item of her clothing to one side. No.
  • Removing some lint from vulva, anus – anywhere. No.
  • Moving model physically into a pose, or adjusting a limb. No.
  • Supporting a limb in a difficult pose. Noooo.
  • Offering your hand to a model to stand up from being on the floor. Nope.

That is to say, do not touch the model.

It’s not appropriate to masturbate in front of a model (or to reference your genitalia in any way). Do not sexualise the situation, and where necessary, refer to customer satisfaction (never your own personal satisfaction). It’s important to give positive feedback to models during a shoot – we all like being told we’re doing a good job!

Good: That’s a really tough pose, good job!

Bad: Umgnh, <whisper> that’s so hot…

It’s your responsibility to behave professionally. While it’s not ideal we know that you can’t really control these things: if you get an erection, deal with it discreetly. Don’t draw attention to it. Do not touch it! Make an excuse, go to pee, check on some gear, change batteries, re-position a light. Over time, you’ll come to focus on the technical details – not what you find personally arousing, and the most erotic stuff you’ll still be thinking about the best way to capture it for our customers… unless lighting really floats your boat. 😉

We need models to feel comfortable referring their friends to us. What do you need to do to a model tell her friends, “I felt like the Shoot Producer was super-well trained, sensitive, and considerate to my comfort”?

Ensure minimum of equipment is available, prepared, and in working order. It is essential you shoot this Practicum with this equipment at least (this is not a complete list – you can see that on our Recommended Equipment page – but should be considered a bare minimum):

  • Modern stills camera, 18mp, RAW / DNG / CR2
    • Shoot at f8, ISO100
  • Stills camera lens at least 50mm, 70mm preferred (capturing frames from the video shoot is not acceptable!)
  • Modern video camera, shooting 1080p video (not a DLSR or Digital Cinematography Equipment – here’s why!)
    • Aim to shoot at f8; gain of 0dB
  • Directional good-quality microphone (not the built-in mic on the video camera!)
  • Flash equipment for stills (not on-camera flash)
  • Diffusion tools to create a very large, soft source (for both stills and video). At least, 3m x 3m (10′ x 10′), larger is better.
  • Video lighting equipment (HMI’s recommended, but redheads, kinos, LED or similar are all acceptable) Every shot at f8 or higher!

Do not proceed with your Practicum, unless you have all this equipment in good working order. If you need to make substitutions, they may be ok, but discuss with your Trainer beforehand.

Review our recommended equipment page. We have a detailed page on our Recommended Equipment. Consider that this prac is intended for you to demonstrate to us that you know what you’re doing! Excuses will not make you look good.

Plan on using a DSLR for video? We really do not recommend it. Please read our notes on that first, then discuss with the Creative Director, before proceeding.

Ensure comfort with equipment. If this is the first time you’re using any piece equipment, allocate time to be comfortable with it before the shoot day. There’s a lot to consider on this shoot day, and learning new equipment makes that even more complicated.

Models are expecting to work with a professional content creator (certainly, you have presented yourself to us as being so), and are sensitive to people being flustered with gear. However, being less-familiar with the specific AW requirements is to be expected and is no problem. Consider the 5-P’s.

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
― Abraham Lincoln

Ensure you will not be rushed or distracted. Do what’s necessary to ensure the day can proceed without feeling rushed or stressed. Have charged batteries. Consider turning your and the model’s mobile phones off. Ensure the model knows what she’s expected to do beforehand, and that the power at the location is working. Ensure there is plenty of time to do what needs to be done, plus a few hours extra just in case.

Models are sensitive to your mood, so being calm and having a solid plan will improve their performance. Bunching things up in a rush final half-hour is never preferred.

Re-read the Practicum requirements. Described below. Carefully assess each Practicum requirement, and ensure you understand clearly what’s required. It may be helpful to bring along visual aids you prepare yourself (for example, example images for poses for each posing level).

Consult your Trainer if anything is unclear, before beginning. Mistakes during the Prac will cost you a lot of time in the future – you may have to re-shoot the whole thing!

Common to all shots

Common to all shots for this Practicum

  • Correctly exposed
  • Model (or, relevant areas of model) in focus – consider f8 a minimum aperture, more is required for some shots
  • Model engaged in what she is doing (ie, not bored!); eyes to camera or on herself – never to you
  • Frame out tattoos where possible, per our grooming guidelines
  • Observe the “rule of thirds” for all shots where appropriate
  • Have a very large source of light (unless specifically directed otherwise)

Common to all stills images specifically

  • Lens length for stills: 70mm minimum (assuming 35mm sensor)
  • Stills ISO at 100 max
  • Prefer to frame still shots as landscape, not portrait (that is, frame as landscape, unless portrait mode is required for the shot)

Common to all video shots specifically

  • Full wide on a video camera – never zoom in. On a 35mm sensor, at 28mm or so
  • Video gain on 0dB max (or, ISO100 if using DSLR or similar stills-based camera for video)
  • Camera in landscape orientation, with very limited Dutching / tilting
  • Model moving provocatively for all video shots
  • Camera steady for all video shots – camera moves are not required for any shots in this prac. Tripod (or similar) may be used for some shots, at your discretion.

Tips

Many people have completed our Practicum. After they have completed their Prac submission, we sometimes ask them for tips for newbies like you! Here’s what they have said:

  • Make sure you have the right lights!
  • Make sure you have a simple list combined written down of ALL the shots you have to get for both photo and video (the list they provide is ok for this, but I should have re-written it, to help me understand and remember)
  • I think spending more time shooting at each [posing] level, to explore a greater depth/understanding of a variety of poses at each level would have helped.
  • Doing some of the verbal/emotional warm-ups would have been good to break the ice some more, made the model and I feel more comfortable
  • The f8 minimum is a great idea! Wish I had done that…
  • I wish I had of put more time into setting up my lighting correctly
  • I wish I had of shot at f8 or higher (f11)
  • I wish I had of given the model clearer instructions when directing her into shot poses
  • I’m such an idiot, I cropped out the model’s feet in many many shots. I will write 100 times on the blackboard “foot fetishests are easy to please – crop feet in frame for full body shots!”
  • My tip is: Make sure the room is large enough to set up your lights and create an appropriate light source for the model
  • Continuously account for the weather and changing natural light sources from the windows throughout the shoot – affects exposure, WB, and the “style” of the light
  • I wish I had figured out any unfamiliar equipment like video camera and mic attachments
  • If you’re planning to shoot over lunch time make sure you stop for a break! The five hour shoot duration makes it too easy to want to keep pushing through, but energy levels will plummet as a result. Have some snacks available!
  • Check back through your video clips in full (scrubbing through). I checked everything, but I just went off thumbnails so I didn’t spot that two clips I’d accidentally buttoned off rather than on.
  • When I shot the must-haves for video, the model was static, so my 10-second video shots were kind of like still images – useless! After I got my review back, I remember, this is mentioned in the must haves training video… I just forgot to do it!
  • I wrote out all of the required photos in full with small descriptions next to them. Even if it doesn’t get used I feel that this was extremely beneficial in just making sure I understood the requirements of each posing level. Ticking these off made sure that things weren’t missed. I think also something to consider would be how you would instruct someone to achieve the pose that you have in mind. I’m a bit of a bumbling Hugh Grant type and “if I could just get you insert the dildo a little deeper” definitely didn’t sound right coming out of my mouth for the first time on set. Need a bit of a practise there.
  • We put music on while we were shooting the stills which helped alleviate tension a fair bit.
  • They really are not kidding about the 3m x 3m [10′ x 10′] diffuser… I should have done that!

Meeting the model on the morning of the Practicum

This tends to be a bit awkward, but does not have to be! A bit of preparation helps, as always – of course, before anything, the model is a person, so be sure to treat her normally! Maybe write down a few bullet points – some ideas to get started (consider re-wording into your own “voice”):

  • So, tell me about the shoots you have done with AW in the past?
  • What do you do for fun?
  • What are some good books you read / movies you saw / places you visited recently?
  • Let me tell you a bit about my background… [make it brief, and relevant to the Practicum]
  • When I work with models, I like to… [describe your approach]
  • Can you show me your ID? [check she is over 18 today]
  • You’ve been booked for an insertions level shoot – that means, you’ll be inserting your fingers deep inside your vagina for some shots (though, most shots today will actually be at lower posing levels)
  • I’m still learning about making shoots for AW, so what we’re doing today, is…
  • We’re not making a full shoot today, just a bunch of specific parts of a shoot.
  • We will not sign a release form today, as what we shoot will never be released – it’s only to demonstrate my skill-level to my Trainer. They’ll give me a bunch of feedback, then we’ll permanently delete the media we made today.
  • If you’re not comfortable with anything I ask, let me know – we’ll find a better way. It’s no problem!
  • We’ll be shooting stills and video today, but at separate times. For the video, it’s best to either look directly into the lens (connect with the customer), or at what you’re doing – never at me, even if I am talking to you – this makes it easier to edit.
  • I’ll tend to use the anatomically correct terms for your body parts. Maybe you can tell me what words you use instead? 🙂
  • We’re going to start with… then… [brief overview]
  • We’ll have a break every … or so, but if you want to take a break at any time it’s fine, just say so!
  • We’ll stop for a lunch break at around …
  • Is there a time you MUST leave by today?
  • I expect we’ll finish by… [add 2h, just in case!]
  • How do you feel about that plan?
  • Got any questions, concerns, considerations?
  • Let’s turn our phones off!
  • Show me what clothes you brought today? [Select clothes for shoot]
  • You can get changed into them in here… [private place]

Fundamentals Practical requirements

or, What you need to shoot for the Practicum!

Lighting 101

Capture still images that clearly illustrate the concepts in the Lighting 101 SDLP:

  1. “Bad” examples shot list (correctly expose each image!)
    1. A model lit with flat light, with a large source (never what we want in an abbywinters.com shoot, but demonstrate you can identify it)
    2. A model lit with off-axis light, with a large source, shot too far off axis, too contrasty (again, not what we want, but show how you can identify it)
    3. A model lit with specular / harsh light, showing why it’s not suitable for our shoots (again, not what we want, but demonstrate you know it when you see it).
  2. “Good” examples shot list
    1. A model lit for our needs (form and texture), only with daylight. Higher ISO is acceptable for this shot. Use a large natural source (door, window, outside), and be off axis from it. Do not allow any artificial light to influence this shot – turn them off. Model can be clothed, and this can be in a different setting if necessary.
    2. A model lit with a very big source, shot appropriately off-axis, that’s perfect for our needs (think: form and texture). Of course, most of the Practicum will be shot using this setup!
  3. Capture a few wide angle images that show how you made a large source (that meets the requirements of how we define a large source). If you have a small room that your lenses will not cover, consider using your camera phone in panorama mode.

No-nude

Capture a still image of each different No-nude level (Safe, Pushing it, and Extreme), that push the limits of each. Ensure technical requirements are met. Of course, it’s no problem if you shoot more than this, but you’ll only submit the best one for each required shot.

  • No Nude stills shot list; each shot full body; push the limits of each
    • No nude Safe
    • No Nude Pushing it
    • No nude Extreme, Nude
    • No nude Extreme, Open Leg
    • No nude Extreme, Explicit
    • No nude Extreme, Insertions

Capture one video segment (15 to 20 seconds) of each No-nude level (Safe, Pushing it, and Extreme – OL), that completely meets all the requirements of each No nude level.

Ensure the model is moving in a sexually provocative way in each video shot. Ensure technical requirements are met. We strongly recommend to “button-off” (pause recording) between each segment, this will make media organisation much easier for you later.

  • No Nude video shot list; each shot full body; push the limits of each
    • No nude Safe
    • No Nude Pushing it
    • No nude Extreme, Nude
    • No nude Extreme, Open Leg
    • No nude Extreme, Explicit
    • No nude Extreme, Insertions

Posing Levels

Posing levels are especially important when working with models, as some models are not comfortable with higher levels (so, directing a model only comfortable with Open Leg level to do an Explicit pose, risks offending her!). The model for the Practicum has been booked for an Insertions-level shoot (but you should re-confirm that). In this component, you will demonstrate you know where one posing level stops, and the next begins.

Push the limits, but do not exceed them!

Stills

Capture one still image of two different poses at each Posing Level (Nude, Open leg, Explicit, and Insertions), that completely meet all requirements of each posing level. Work under the assumption that for each shot, that is the model’s highest posing level for this shoot (ie, when shooting the Explicit images, do not capture the model doing Insertions).

  • Posing levels for stills shot list. One shot each. Full-body.
    • Nude, pose 1 (meet all requirements of posing level; no clothes).
    • Nude, pose 2 (meet all requirements of posing level; no clothes).
    • Open Leg pose 1 (meet all requirements of posing level – anus visible).
    • Open Leg pose 2 (meet all requirements of posing level- anus visible).
    • Explicit pose 1 (meet all requirements of posing level).
    • Explicit pose 2 (meet all requirements of posing level).
    • Insertions pose 1 (meet all requirements of posing level; do not cover vulva with hand).
    • Insertions pose 2 (meet all requirements of posing level; do not cover vulva with hand).

Video

Capture a video segment (between 5 and 15 seconds) of a pose at each Posing level (Nude, Open leg, Explicit, and Insertions), that completely meet all requirements of each posing level. Again, work under the assumption that for each shot, that is the model’s highest posing level for this shoot (ie, when shooting the Explicit images, do not capture the model doing Insertions). They can be the same, or different from the stills poses.

  • Posing levels for video; shot list. One shot each. Full body.
    • Nude, pose 1 (meet all requirements of posing level; no clothes).
    • Open Leg pose 1 (meet all requirements of posing level – anus visible).
    • Explicit pose 1 (meet all requirements of posing level).
    • Insertions pose 1 (meet all requirements of posing level; do not cover vulva with hand).

Grooming

How models look – wholesome, neat, clean and healthy – is important to our customers. Demonstrate you can identify grooming issues our models present with on the morning of a shoot.

Use the printed Grooming checklist to ensure nothing is missed.

Assume the model has just arrived for her Explicit posing level shoot, and you’re doing a pre-shoot grooming check.

  • Grooming shot list (stills only)
    • All shots correctly lit, exposed, white-balanced
    • Capture four wide images of the model, full-body, filling the frame, nude, from the front, each side, and back
    • A shot of her hands showing fingernails
    • A shot of her feet, showing toenails
    • Her face
    • Pubic region, sitting, legs wide apart
    • Shoot close-ups of any grooming problem areas you identify

(It’s fine if this model’s grooming is not actually acceptable for an AW shoot, so long as you identify each grooming issue she has during the media submission process – the Practicum can still go ahead).

Must-haves

Ensure the Must-have flip-book is present on set – it is essential to making this media. Refer to it several times for every shot!

Capture the stills and video Must-haves for the Nude and Open-Leg posing levels (20 shots for video, 20 shots for stills). Video shots should be around 15 seconds each, and ensure the model is moving a little (slower and smaller moves the closer the shot). Shoot both mediums in the same order as the flip-book. Button-off between clips when shooting video.

Ensure the exposure and white balance are correct. Use the lighting practices established in Lighting 101 (big source, off-axis). Follow the framing and composition guidelines in the must-haves Flip-book, and ensure other technical requirements are met.

  • Must haves shot list. Framing matters!
    • Each Must have (20) for stills (refer to flip book for each shot)
    • Each must have (20) for video  (refer to flip book for each shot), ensure model is erotically moving a little

You’re done shooting! 😀

Media and notes submission

Back at your desk, once the Practicum shoot media is all captured, download this 10-page 308Kb MS Word file, pre-formatted to enter notes in. Described within are details on the required folder-structure for media submission, and there are fields for notes on aspects of the media captured.

Email this to the Trainer all the notes are typed up, as MS Word or similar PC-compatible format (ie, not PDF). Handwriting is not acceptable.

Most media formats are fine for submission, so long as video files play in VLC. Preferred media formats and dimensions are:

Stills: JPG around 1Mb per image, 2000px on longest edge, with no post-processing at all. No RAW / CR2 / DNG.

Video: MP4 around 4000Kbps, 1920×1080 px, with no post processing (eg, exposure, colour).

Please consider that we have dozens of Contract Shoot Producers in-training around the world at any one time, so to assist in the rapid assessment of your Practicum:

  • Only use the folder structure indicated
  • Do not provide more media than is requested
  • Do not crop any media, or otherwise post produce (exposure, colour, etc)
  • Ensure images and video files are named as indicated in the notes template
  • Do not handwrite, or include notes in an email – everything we need to read must be on the template, please
  • Name the parent folder with your name, for example
    • John Smith AW Practicum
  • Submitting media components by WeTransfer, Dropbox, Google Drive or similar is fine (but, Google Drive is preferred share with your Trainer, and garion.hall@abbywinters.com).
  • Zipping is not required or preferred, but is acceptable if submitting by WeTransfer or similar

What’s next?

Typically, your Trainer will respond with their feedback within 7 days.

However, before feedback is provided, you may proceed with the first of the Solo shoot assessment areas, Pose variety and exploration depth at highest level. This is linked from the Essentials page.

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