West Image
Leaf Aptus-II 10R

"We are probably one of only a few companies creating 3D clips for naked eyes using live shooting (instead of 3D computer generated graphics). The feeling of being a pioneer is so exciting and motivating!”

West Image is a cutting-edge photography company working out of Boulogne, France- right outside of Paris. Founded more than 15 years ago by French photographer Philippe Grandperrin, West Image is a leader in commercial and advertising photography for some of the world’s most luxurious brands. In addition to their still-life work, West Image has pioneered a process in which they leverage Leaf digital backs to shoot images which are later used to create 3D movies.

West Image’s innovative, eye-catching work has earned them a strong following amongst high-end, luxury brands like Giorgio Armani, Dior, Louis Vuitton and Cartier. Guillaume Bruneton, West Image’s Technical Director commented: “Luxury brands are always expecting something better than the best, and we always try to go further than our clients’ expectations.” To further this end, West Image employs a large number of Leaf backs ranging from Leaf Valeo to the Leaf Aptus-II 10R to shoot their commercial jobs and to create their amazing 3D clips that do not require 3D glasses.

“We mostly shoot large format for advertising, so we can use the tilt & shift which is very useful. My favorite platform for studio work is a Sinar P2 with Rodestock/SinaronHR Lenses and Aptus II-10R.Shooting with the Leaf Aptus-II 10R on large format cameras is the perfect combination to capture sharp, close-up images with a really high resolution; for jewelry or cosmetics for example. The large-format camera also gives us the time to think about our image, to bring our RAW shots as close as possible to our idea of what the final image is supposed to look like; this way, the digital work on Photoshop is either for creative purposes or for some enhancement. We try to never go in the direction ‘ok, let it go, we'll fix it in Photoshop’ when we are shooting.”

“What I like most about the Leaf Aptus-II 10R is the rotating CCD sensor inside the back; as I need to take so many different POV shots, the rotating sensor ensures that I avoid dust and other noises. 56MP sensors produce extremely high resolution images which are very useful on close-up shots; color rendering maintains sharpness and contrast while still being realistic. The one thing I always make sure to do while shooting with Leaf digital backs is to choose accurate lenses – like Sinaron Digital HR 120mm Macro - to ensure that I get all the capacity off the digital back.”

With offices and studios that immediately convey a feeling of cutting-edge technology and tasteful design, West Image combines the latest photographic equipment and computer displays with icons and imagery from the earliest days of photography; old-fashioned wooden crank cameras compete for space with early Kodak advertisements, 3D television displays and the latest Apple computers and monitors.

West Image employs a staff of 10, including professional photographers and digital techs. “Our strength is that every photographer is always paired with the same digital tech, as a team. This way the workflows become really efficient.”

West Image made the transition to digital photography between 1999 and 2000. “It seemed to be the perfect solution for integrating all the graphic workflow from capture to color proofing and retouching. We chose the Leaf Digital back because it was the best way to work with strobe lighting and because it has the best image rendering for the type of subjects we shoot. Over time, we’ve upgraded frequently from Valeo to the Aptus and Aptus-II series.”

West Image uses their Leaf Aptus-II digital backs to keep them at the forefront of technological innovation. “We are always looking for new technologies to offer our clients – our latest implementation leverages Alioscopy displays. These displays have an amazing capability of displaying 3D content that you can watch without special glasses. We’ve reached a point where the clips we produce for the displays can almost replace the actual work of art in an exhibition!”

To create their breathtaking 3D clips, West Image’s team takes 8 different shots of each subject. “The process to produce this kind of 8-point-of-view content was quite difficult and heavy to built, but now it is totally integrated to our workflow. We take videos and photos in 3D and for the photos we use our Leaf Aptus-II 10R on large format cameras. The 8 different POVs require millimeter/pixel precision for each shot as we mix them into Photoshop and After Effects. This is much, much easier to do with the large format camera and a digital back full of pixels! More precision means that we get much sharper images. We are probably the only company creating 3D clips for naked eyes using live shooting (instead of 3D computer generated graphics) in Paris and probably in France. The feeling of being a pioneer is so exciting and motivating!”

West Image is a photographic studio based in Boulogne close to Paris, France. This studio specializes in still-life photography and works for world famous luxury brands such as Giorgio Armani, Dior and Louis Vuitton. The staff is composed of photographers and digital technicians who are always looking to combine the best of traditional photography and cutting-edge technology.
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