The Human Face of Big Data – The Book & the Film…


I got an email this afternoon reminding me that ‘The Human Face of Big Data’Rick Smolan’s look at how the rapid emergence of digital devices is affecting our lives…will be airing tonight at 10:00PM Eastern on PBS (check local listings). And that reminded me that I actually did one of the shots that was featured in the book. Rick had me shoot Josh Koppel, the CEO of ScrollMotion…an App developer that has created mobile content for most of the world’s largest publishers. ScrollMotion basically ‘teaches’ Old Media how to use New Media. The funny thing is that when you enter their offices, it’s like going to a museum of Pre-Digital Technology! Every single inch of the wall space is filled with magazine cover, record albums, movie posters and newspaper clippings…



…and especially Josh’s office…



My mission was clear…show what the place was like and the rest would fall in place. We figured that couch with the wall full of Nostalgia behind it was the place to start. Since Josh lives on his iPad, I wanted to play that off the wall of old printed material. But I needed to make the iPad the hero. It kind of had to be the focal point of the photo. It had to shine…and I had just the right thing…my little battery powered Morris Mini Slave units…


The Mini Slaves are small…really small…and if he held one in his hand at just the right angle it would appear that the iPad was lighting his face while also giving me a nice halo-glow. This is how we set it up…


I did a lot of cross-filtering with CTO and CTB tells to add to the mood. The Ring Light and Mini Slave were both wrapped in blue, while the beauty dish had a full CTO to warm up his skin and the wall behind him. There was a huge wall of windows on the left side that also let a lot of cool, blue light in. My first test was kind of right on…


Once we added Josh to the shot, all we had to do was get him to master holding the Mini Slave in the right place…



Here’s the final image in the book…


So anyway…you should check out the documentary tonight…watch the trailer here:

Josh Koppel - Chief Creative Officer, ScrollMotion


2 thoughts on “The Human Face of Big Data – The Book & the Film…

  1. Wow, Brad, I didn’t know the Morris Mini Slave is still available! I have a couple from “I don’t know when” that still get used periodically.

    As usual a great informative blog. Thank you for sharing:)

    Best, Ian P

    B&H still has a few, but I think the company is gone. I’ve had mine for decades… BT

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