Lexar + PhotoMechanic = Supercharged Workflow!

Waiting is the worst.
Waiting for your media card to read/write after shooting off a burst of shots, or waiting for your media card to load into your computer after, so you can edit.
We have 2 main issues with waiting:
1: the frustration about losing a shot because your card was still writing your previous shots;
2: after returning to your computer, waiting for the images to load, so you can edit, and post process, and share.
After shooting an assignment a few weeks ago that happened at night, the client wanted to get a selection fast for social media, so that meant that night. A late one.
Now with a Lexar Hub, you can load all of the cards to a single file on a hard drive, but it is a bit laborious. At this time, Lightroom, my main asset management program, won’t let you load in multiple cards concurrently, only consecutively.
There had to be another solution.
Based on conversation with some fashion week shooters, I had tried software called PhotoMechanic a few years back. Primarily spoken about as an editing solution at the time, but I felt it was just another step.

Nikon D810, 70-2000mm 2.8 lens, Lexar 32GB 2000x SD cardSXSW 2016 day 58301

SXSW is one of the best overall festivals of the year, and with the amount of events happening there, it’s the perfect place to do real world testing of photo gear, and try a new workflow.
You are shooting Music in large and small venues, Keynote Speakers, Street Scenes, so a large variety of shooting situations, compressed into one event. Heck, I’ve been been hired to shoot a book signing, BBQ event inside a local meeting hall
Long, long days, and awesome. It’s a 10 day affair so you get to know gear/software results pretty fast. I’ve been shooting there for 8 years, and kinda knew the run of the show, so a great place to try something new.

OK, let’s get to it.

The cameras are: Nikon D810, for primary shooting of music and speakers, Fuji Xt-1 for more discreet shooting with a compliment of lenses, and Fuji 100T for walk around (best street shooting camera, but that’s another review)

First the read/write buffering issue:
The media cards I use are Lexar, CF & SD, super fast read write, and reliable as hell. I always carry the cards in a ThinkTank Pixel Pocket Rocket for security and ease of operation. Clip it to a belt loop, and put the wallet in your pocket for easy access. With speeds of 2000X, the waiting issue with media cards is solved

There are a few key elements to the sped up workflow:

First of all is the Lexar Hub 2: this is a media card reading tower, that has modules you can switch out depending on your card situation (CF, SD, MicroSD, XQD, and even a hard drive to back up things, right in the tower. I had 1-64GBSD cards, 2-32GB SD card, and 1-64GB CF card, and this has room for 4 modules.
The key on this is the Thunderbolt connection to the computer, in this case a MacBook Air. That connection is another step in the speed process.

Honestly, there is a bit of bulk on this unit, as the Thunderbolt requires a good sized power source. Worth it.

Then comes the magic software thing it all together: PhotoMechanic.The main elements on this program are the ability to ingest multiple cards or hard drive concurrently. Not consecutively. Huge time savings to start.
The speed with which it ingests the files is incredible, and 4 cards all loaded in about 15min!
I was ready to edit!
SXSW 2016 day 7 Fuji 9060
In the picture: Left to right: Olloclip Studio modules with Olloclip lenses (always in my bag) Apple watch charging cable, Lexar Hub 2, 4 Input USB 3.0 (bus powered), 1TB hard drive, MacBook Air, ToughTech Duo RAID drive, business cards, LensPen, and you can barely see the earplug case, but if you shoot music, a good idea when you are shooting at the stage. And yes, MOO business cards. People still use them.

When you ingest the files, I always recco a RAID and a separate hard drive, so 3 back-ups to start.
This program gives to all of those choices to select your target drive. Plus, you can rename all of your files as the come in, and add a sequence start so on a long gig, you are clear and things are in order.
In the edit process, you can go to a single large image, and the speed with which you can fly though them, without waiting on a load-up will astonish you.
I know, LightRoom can do these things, but not with the speed, and that was the point of this whole workflow upheaval.
I went with a star system, and just gave the heroes 5 stars. You also can a color code.
Now that have done your initial super fast edit (you can go back and fine tune later), select the edits and drag to Lightroom OR you can set it up in PhotoMechanic to export directly.
I still am hooked on Lightroom for my post-processing, so I send the select folder there. And all of the select markings are intact. 5 Stars in PhotoMechanic shows as 5 Stars in LightRoom.
Here is a great overview on the editing system using Lightroom, by Matt Kloskowski, and may help you see if this is for you:

It’s about the speed.
I would say that every night I gained about 1.5-2 hours of extra time=sleep.
Coming into the hotel at 2-2:30 AM, then up again at 8:00 AM , you need all you can.
And if you shot right, your initial post processing should be fast.
I know that I’m a bit late to this party: fashion week shooters, wedding photogs all use this system, and as the rest of us music/event photos gathered in front of various stages, the discussion went to workflow and sleep. Some of the photographers were already there. As a noob, I was singing its praises.

Here are some of the workflow screen shots from the company:

PM-v5_Contact_Sheet-3

PM5w-Ingest

All I can say is, if you shoot a lot, the Lexar Hub2 is a must have. Make sure you have the fastest cards that your camera can handle. And if you need the edit speed (who doesn’t?), Check out PhotoMechanic. If you are a member of a few of the photographer organizations, there is a discount on the software. Lots of youtube tutorials, so you can see if it’s for you.
There is a 30 day trial, which is what I did, and near the end, if you are satisfied, you can purchase, and not lose any of your work or presets.

And how did all of it get powered?
SXSW 2016 day 7 Fuji 9073
Here was the “charging station: Using a Watson Dual Charger, with a variety of plates for each camera I had. Just put labels on each plate. And there you also see a Re-Fuel go-pro handle (so much easier than changing batteries on the run, and one of their battery blocks for the phone. And a Photive AC powered USB 3.0 charging hub. There is a Ventev charging cable (1 of 3, I always carry) and, yes, a Jawbone bluetooth speaker, because music is my girlfriend.
All charging items, and cables are stashed in Muji mesh bags so I can see what the heck I have. Now the Fuji’s burn through batteries so have a handful always. Nikon D810 is a much better on battery life, but there are times that discreet and silent will get the shot.

Some images from the event:
Nikon D810, 70-200MM 2.8SXSW 2016 3-121234
Fuji XT-1, 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8Obama SXSW 20160542
Nikon D810, 70-200MM, 2.8Obama SXSW 20162937
Fuji 100T, 23mm, 2.0IMG_9070
Fuji 100T, 23mm, 2.0 SXSW 2016 day 7 Fuji 9250
Fuji XT-1, 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8SXSW 2016 day 7 Fuji 9735
Nikon D810, 70-200MM, 2.8SXSW 2016 day 58473

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