Setting Up a Tethering Workstation


Tethering: Why It’s Important and Why You Should Do it


Lesson Info

Setting Up a Tethering Workstation

So over time through a lot of trial and error I've developed what I believe is to be the most efficient and mobile workstation for tethering, in the studio. This workstation allows me the freedom to move around, move around a workspace and sort of always have my eye on what's going on. And it allows the client to always have an eye of what's going on. So it always starts, of course the first thing is, I use a MacBook Pro, this is a 2.5 gigahertz, Intel Core i7 with six gigabytes of DDR ram. It's one of the 2015 models I believe. And then I use Capture One Pro to tether and raw process and color. I love Capture One. I did used to use Adobe Lightroom and I found it to be a little clunky and slow. And I transitioned to Capture One Pro and it's been an absolute game changer for me. It's very fast software. So we're gonna continue to build this, this mobile workstation right in front here. And I'm gonna show you everything that is required to, what I've developed into the workstation I use ...

on everyday sets. It all starts with this, of course the MacBook Pro, and this Avenger roller stand. So this is just your regular C-stand, I'm sorry, regular roller stand with a folding base. And it's not that tall, you know this thing is not that tall compared to like a lot of C-stands, so. Really at the end of the day I only need to get about this tall. That's about the maximum height of what I get, so. It's not a big C-stand by any means, you just wanna make that when you're rollin' around the studio of course, that you have it secured with some sort of sandbag. So I like to wrap this sandbag around there and then bungee it off so that it has a lot of counterbalance. And you'll see why. Because I use a ViewSonic VP24, I'm sorry VP3268 4K monitor. So this is a monitor that is brand new, it's awesome. It's super reasonably priced and affordable. What I love about it is the fact that it has edge-to-edge screen and it has this IPS technology, which if you view this from any angle, it looks the same. So with a lot of monitors you know you like, if you look at it from above or you look at it from the side it has that weird diminishing contrast and can really diminish the image. So this monitor actually prevents that. So it's kinda huge, I'm gonna put it on here, there we go. Raise this guy up. All right. So next is we have the Tether Tools Aero Master. So this is the tether table. So this is as you've seen probably in the studio roamin' around we have all these tether tables. This is a pretty standard table, that I use. And I like a big table because it allows me to honestly use it as a desk as well. It's a great resource in case I wanna put stuff on it. On top of this is the Tether Tools ProPad. And so under this it's like, it's got this metallic finish and a laptop can slide off it pretty easily, so this ProPad prevents that. Next on the bottom we have this Tether Tools it's called a XDC. And basically this is a drive bay so that you can store a hard drive. Just right there, plop it in there, plug it into your laptop there and so it's just an extra addition that you can put on your tether table. And of course we have the cup holder, which is a necessity. You have to have a cup holder (laughs). So rewinding to the back of this guy. We have this mount which is also from Tether Tools. This mount goes on top of this C-stand, the top in this pin right here, and this is what mounts the C-stand to the monitor. And it just screws in there really easily. All right, gonna shift this over here. Next we have the Tether Tools StrapMoore. So what this does is allows you to secure things like a MacBook charger or secure anything that you need, to the actual C-stand. So, what I like to do is wrap this about right there, and this is gonna hold our MacBook charger once we get this all rigged up. Next is of course, one of the most important facets. A tether cable. I'm using a Canon 5D Mark III today, so it's USB two. And I like the high visibility orange because if you use a black cable it can easily tripped over and you do not want that. I have a funny story, my intern will get mad if I tell you this but, I'm gonna say it anyways. So we were being filmed on, for like a reality TV show one time. It was a Lifetime show and I was actually in the show, because I was photographing one of the subjects of the show. And so I was like, hey guys, hey team, we gotta get together ya know, these people will try to like exploit what we do ya know, they're gonna try to break through everything we do. They're gonna try to find failures and we just gotta be as efficient as possible and really be as awesome of a team. And of course the first thing that happens is my intern trips over the tether cable and the camera goes flying across the ground (laughs). And I was like, oh man, but anyways. So, having that high visibility orange is really helpful, so that people don't trip over it. And then of course as you can see here, I use a secondary extension cable 'cause these cables are, I think like, I don't know how long they are, but not long enough. And I use an extension cable and extension hub here which connects the two together. Next on the list is we have this little toy, which is called the tether block. And so a lot of you have probably seen or heard of jerk stoppers that Tether Tools makes. This is a new device called the tether block which I prefer, and I'll tell ya why. Is because when you're plugging in a tether cable to your camera, ya know, what holds it in place is this small little metal piece there. And that doesn't really provide much security. What a jerk stopper does is prevent that from jerking, but that's it. It doesn't necessarily prevent it or it doesn't really keep it in the port. And so, I've had several of these cameras and I've had to replace the main board three times because this part right here, the USB two port just becomes destroyed because of these things not staying in properly or they just don't work. So what the tether block does is secures this in a way where this entire section of cabling is just not disrupted whatsoever. And so you basically run through, let's set this here, run this cable through just like that. I know you can't, guys can't hardly see that. You just run it through like this and then you're just gonna connect that of course with a handy multi-tool, to the bottom of your camera. Screw that guy in, and so that way that section of that line of cable, just won't be disturbed whatsoever. Just like that, and so this is just not disturbed. You can still have a jerk stopper on it, but honestly it's useless at this point. So that's why I love this new, this new system that they have developed called the tether block. And then of course we have the extension block, which that basically prevents any sort of jerk of the cable. So inside here, which I'll take it apart and you can see, inside of here there's the extension hub, and so having this in here just locking that two together, really prevents that from coming apart. Pull that together a little bit. There we go. All right, the next step in this process is the SuperClamp here. You gotta have your SuperClamps. I have too many of these things. We geek out with SuperClamps all the time. So you gotta have your SuperClamps. I love SuperClamps, they're super handy. And the SuperClamp basically attaches to this little guy. Which is a Tether Tools Rock Solid Sidearm. And so the sidearm is what's going to attach the C-stand to the tether table. And so I'll show you how that all kinda comes together. So you basically wanna slide this guy into this port right here. All right, once that's in you attach this, I tend to like provide at least a couple of feet between the top of the monitor and the tether table. So that allows enough space for, not only this screen to swivel, but enough space to where the tether table can swivel freely as well. And there's no obstruction from the laptop monitor. So you gotta make this guy's real tight. Just like that. All right now we take this tether table, this big guy. And we have this pin right here which just goes right into this port here. It just drops right in there, and we screw that tight. Boom. All right so, it's kinda what we're lookin' at now. I might provide a little bit more room on that, so what I'm gonna do is raise this up. And then I'm gonna drop this tether table down, about right there. And it's whatever, like however tall you are, whatever feels comfortable. I generally drop it cause I'm like six one so I generally drop it a little lower. About right there feels good. All right so once we have that kinda going, now we're gonna get some cabling going here. I got my MacBook capture one pulled up. Let's get this charger rigged up on this StrapMoore. Just like that, so that StrapMoore basically holds that charger perfectly. And we've attached just a power strip on the bottom of this C-stand, which is basically what I do in my studio. I usually have some sort of power strip or something attached here or on the foot or on the legs of the C-stand, or the rolling base. So that I can plug in both the MacBook charger and the ViewSonic monitor. And so that's exactly what we're gonna do. So do we have any questions before we move on here? Let me check with these folks. First of all it's so awesome to see you put this together step-by-step. But really we have not had this on CreativeLive before so this is awesome. Cool. Let's see, can you, the monitor itself, this if from William Dyson, can that monitor be calibrated? I'm presuming that it Yes of course. Yeah so I use what is the i1DisplayPro from X-Rite. And that is the calibration software that I use. Now the cool thing about ViewSonic is that they actually provide their own calibration software that is an i1DisplayPro. So they've partnered with X-Rite to develop this calibration software and calibration program that's really easy to use and really awesome, so yeah. And that's very important when shooting editorial photography's because you know of course most of my work goes to print. So I have to make sure what I capture in camera is what I'll see on the pages of a magazine. All right so, any others? We're good. Oh, we do have one. Yeah man. My question would be in a situation where you're going on location or maybe you're in, would you bring any power source? Yes that's a great question. And is clean power a concern of yours? So I use battery banks on location. There's a lot of options out there. I use, there's solar banks they use from Anker and there's also from a company called Paul C. Buff. They make the Vagabond Minis which are really handy to use. And they'll give you a nice charge on a MacBook and can power a monitor. So yeah I use those battery banks but honestly if I'm like out in the middle of nowhere, because if that's the case then usually it's a production so we have generators or something like that to power stuff or we're just running and gunning. That case then I'd ditch the monitor and just rely on the MacBook on this tether table and setup on a tripod. A real mobile system and that's what we did in Cuba. We just had the MacBook on a tether table with some sort of sun shield and it's setup on a C-stand or a tripod and that's really what I use for on location if it's like out in the middle with no access to power or it's a lower budget production. So movin' right along the next step is this guy. It's a total secure strap. And so, we've got the ProPad here which is gonna prevent that. Prevent this MacBook from falling off the table, but I want that extra sense of security, so. This just goes over the MacBook here to secure, to have that added security feature for your laptop. We're gettin' down to the trinkets now, so. These are aero clips, which I love to use. And so you can set all sort of stuff and they just clip on right to the tether table and I had these to hold the cabling. They also hold various whatever you want. Tape, Spike Tape or anything really, within reason, if it's not too heavy. But mostly I use them to hold my tether cable when I am not using it. And then of course we got some A clamps. And I use A clamps mostly just cable management as you can see here. So like this cable here could be a hazard. So what I wanna do is sort of tie that up and clamp it so that it's just secure and it's not gonna like you know, have any issues of people tripping over it whatnot. Then of course we've got this little guy, which this is a A clamp with a jerk stopper thread on it. And so what this will do, which is pretty cool, we're gonna take it over here, and so I'm gonna run this cable, I'm gonna try not to fling my camera everywhere. This is always the worst part. Plug this in to a USB port and we're gonna run this cable right across this, and then secure it with this clip there. And so that's gonna prevent that from coming out of the MacBook in case somebody does trip over it. So your MacBook won't go flying everywhere. It probably won't with this secure strap but you just never know (laughs). I'd rather be safe than sorry. So anyway, that's pretty much it. So before we dive into this I wanna make sure that this is all going. I will setup this to be basically my what I see, this is my world. And then this world will be client. So I create under window, what I'm gonna do is go to viewer and then I will just drag this viewer over to this monitor. There's some stuff on here, some dust. And so that, the benefit of this system is that I can always see the technical sorta stuff like all the settings and all this stuff. And what my client sees is just a clean preview of the images. Now the benefit of this system as well is that now this mount allows me the opportunity to swivel this and so my client can't see what's happening here, they only see what I'm feeding them here. And that's great, so. A lot of times you'll see that this monitor will actually be this way and my client is standing behind me, or to the right of me and I'm seeing what's going on in capture one, and they're seeing a preview of that. So it's a really handy tool that gives them that preview. And gives me option of working with that creative team and going through all that collaborative effort with ease. So, with that said, I think that we're gonna get runnin' here and start shooting. We do have a couple people including Photo fa and J Andrew Studios who are wondering about wireless tethering systems. Is there not something that could eliminate some of the cables. And then specifically have you ever used the tether tools Case Air. Yes, so the Case Air is a very similar product to the CamRanger which I talked about a little bit earlier. Very similar product. You know the reason why I had to step away from that was just my, the demand for the caliber of clientele I was working with, needed to see the imagery quickly and efficiently, and I've found that wireless tethering can be a little clunky sometimes, stop working. There's a lot of variables that go into this and this is the most efficient solution that I've found in the studio. Now the benefit of using Capture One though is that they have a system called the Capture One Pilot, which I use a lot actually when there's multiple art directors, creative directors, hair, makeup, all these teams of people. Capture Pilot is actually a system that takes the image from Capture One on your MacBook or your laptop and sends it to a wireless device or mobile device, such as an iPad. So you can have three viewing platforms, I think multiple, yeah I think you can have unlimited platforms or ways of viewing the images through Capture One Pilot. So it's a pretty cool system. So I don't have anything against wireless tethering. I think just for what I need it for, I just needed something that was a little bit more of an efficient system or a little bit more grounded, if you will. And you know it's always good to have these extra A clamps for cable management. You know it can be some cabling, but these A clamps can be huge for cable management and organization, for sure. Especially when you have a setup with all these chargers and what not. Especially on location like when we'll have like a cart, like a tether cart on location, we'll have speakers, blue tooth speakers and we've got all sorts of stuff hangin' off our cart and A clamps are like the most useful tool, next to a multi-tool. But the most useful tool when it comes to tethering for sure.

Class Description

Tethering; it has a stigma of being arduous, annoying and inconvenient. When photographers think of the process, it’s usually followed with a big “sigh” or overbearing anxiety. Yet, most professional photographers can be seen day-in and day-out attached to a laptop or workstation. The world is moving more quickly every day which is decreasing the amount of time photographers have to deliver the final product. The tethering process is a crucial attribute to maintain efficiency and provide a head start on making the impossible deadline, possible. In this exclusive course, editorial and advertising photographer Clay Cook will show why tethering is critical for the modern day clientele and how to successfully and seamlessly implement it into your workflow.



I have been wanting to add tethering to my workflow for quite sometime, but it seemed so daunting and expensive. Clay Cook walks you through every tiny detail and tool, in a buildable, step-by-step process. And as an added bonus, watching him shoot with a model was really cool and informative. He brings an inspiring energy with him as an instructor who has worn many hats in the creative industry. I highly recommend this course!