"On the other hand," he continues, "there's a certain look you get from film." He wouldn't be surprised, however, by software developments that will allow digital to emulate film's look more closely.
Red Kite's photographers were pleasantly surprised by the artistic flexibility enabled and inspired by the digital system. "I don't think that people typically think of a digital camera as a creative tool," Spataro comments. "But, it is. We're not just shooting small products. From the start, we were actually producing creative images incorporating the camera software with conventional view camera techniques."
The Sinar digital camera system's versatility allows the photographers to capture a wide range of subjects, says Spataro. "[The camera] features a four-shot mode, as well as a single-shot mode," he reports, contending that four-shot exposure results in better color, compared with the standard three-shot mode usually used to shoot stationary images.
A consistent light source is additional insurance for quality color from a multi-shot system, Spataro remarks, noting that Red Kite counts on Sinar Bron's Broncolor lighting.
For images that require enhanced color and image manipulation, Spataro and his colleagues learned Adobe Photoshop. "We felt that we were better equipped to perform certain tasks, like unsharp masking," Spataro explains, "so we had computer experts and printing experts come in and train us.
"We also realized the importance of calibrating our monitors to our proofing device, an Epson 5000 with a Fiery RIP," he adds. He recommends that any photographer planning to go digital invest in color management and a good proofer. "If you give a client a CD of images without a visual reference, you can leave those images open to outside interpretation or manipulation," he points out.
Once Red Kite had its infrastructure in place, it began using digital for live jobs. Initially, the studio ran parallel workflows to give clients a safety net. "We'd shoot film, then roll in the digital camera so clients could do their own comparisons," Spataro recalls. "Before they saw the results, some clients worried about lower quality, but we told them to keep in mind that [the digital camera] is basically a drum scanner."