Can you guess the lighting?

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by nataliaborecka, Apr 22, 2011.

  1. Can you help me figure out what king of lighting (modifiers included) is being used in this series of images? http://modelsinspiration.blogspot.com/2011/02/natasha-poly-h-spring-2011.html
    I'm fairly confident that this was taken in-studio, and the sky was inserted in post. A giant octabank was used behind, above and slightly to the right of camera (key), with a gridded softbox low down to camera left (fill). The background was blown out, and a black v-stand placed to the left of the model (?). Does that sound right? I'd love to hear what you think!
    Thank you warmly,
    N.
     
  2. I think it is a lot simpler than that == maybe a large white fill panel to her left, and I think that either a collapsible parabolic reflector ( the large silver PLM from alienbees.com if you are on a budget, Broncolor Para if you are not ) or a large diameter fresnel spotlight http://www.k5600.com/products/bigeye/index.html is the main light.
    Don't forget the wind machine!
     
  3. Haha! Of course, how could I forget the wind machine? :)
    Thank you so much for linking me to the big eye (I want one!). That definitely looks like the more probable light source.
     
  4. You don't even need a Fresnel spot for this or a reflector (well a panel anyway) My guess is that it was shot on a white cyc and the cyc itself used for the fill light.
    For this shot, I just used one head in a standard 7" reflector (much higher angle than the shots referenced above) for the main light and two lights against the background. Note that the shadow outlines are nice and crisp and that is due to the fact that the light is not close to the model, which hardens the light and also ends up rending more even light overall as well.
    00Ybww-350831684.jpg
     
  5. This could easily be done outdoors with an AB800 and umbrella.
     
  6. This could easily be done outdoors with an AB800 and umbrella.
    I look forward to seeing your examples with that set up.
     
  7. John, that's a beautiful example! Truly amazing that you can get something like this with one light source. But in the example images I provided, I noticed that the shadows on the models legs don't always go in the same direction as the shadows on her face. So there must be at least two lights.
     
  8. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qYL5Ntn9-U&feature=watch_response_rev
     
  9. And the backstage
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJ4Ij7PH41k
     
  10. Believe me, two light sources don't make sense. You would see the two conflicting in some areas and I don't see that--at least not in the few that I did open up larger. It just isn't something you generally are going to see done when you are trying to imitate the sun. Because the light is so low, it would be closer and as such, there can be some slightly different directions. But two hard lights would be very noticeable in the shadows and secondary shadows would be created--it is just physics and you can't segregate them in something like this. You are just seeing angles of the head and such--also maybe a light a bit closer, so angles move a little.
     
  11. Igor and John FTW
    (watch Igor's bts video link, it will tell you a lot)
    Even before watching the video, I *don't* see two lights...and I see little or no fill. The "filled" areas that I see look like illumination is simply reflecting from other areas of her body, or shining thru the slightly sheer fabric.
    I see one small hard light quite a distance from the subject. I mention the distance because a closer light would not give as even (and therefore "sun-like") illumination from head to toe.
    And there is no question the background is shopped in...you can't get that span of sky and that perspective of model at the same time...it's two different focal length lenses...the perspectives don't match. On top of that, one of the model's poses is duplicated in the 3-in-1 shot.
    After watching the video...yeah...there she is, standing against a *blue* background. Makes sense.... (It's not because it's special chromakey blue) Remember, you can be sure that these shots are all carefully preconceived. Using a background color close to the shade of the sky that they plan to drop in later gives them a much easier job of compositing, and a cleaner result with zero noticeable fringing. Also, blowing out the background would have eradicated the fine blowing hairs.
     
  12. I see one small hard light quite a distance from the subject. I mention the distance because a closer light would not give as even (and therefore "sun-like") illumination from head to toe.​
    Jeff, thanks so much for your reply! It's very helpful. How far do you think the light source is? And, more or less, how big do you think it is?
     
  13. It doesn't have to be that far away, my light was about 11 feet up in the air and on a boom so it could be more overhead. In the shot above, it was probably 8-9 feet from his head +-. As I said, I used a standard 7 inch reflector.
    It isn't totally clear in the video, but they do seem to have a light set pretty high behind the model to the right of the set behind a silk and appears to be pointed at here. It might simply be set to very low power and there to help reduce any blue blowback from the background. It certainly isn't strong enough to provide any sort of rim or hair light--it may only be there to provide the subtle secondary highlights you might get from clouds on the skin and hair--set so low as to not affect the actual lighting on the model.
     
  14. John...that's a nice shot you used as an example. However, respectfully, I disagree with your analysis regarding distance....
    Remember, key rule of light: Power diminishes with the square of the distance, i.e., if you double the distance, the light is 1/4 power (2 stops).
    The tracksuit guy's hunched-over pose doesn't show fall-off very well (his torso is shadowed, etc.) and the punchy contrast also makes it hard to read the lighting purely by looking at the photo. So, let's just go by physics: The light is 11 feet up, and let's assume the light is 8 feet above his head (that means his pose is 3 feet high, right?).
    So....the light on his head is 8 feet away, and the light at his feet is 11 feet away....therefore, his feet are about 1.4x farther away from the light than his head. 1.4 x 1.4 = 2.....so his feet are getting half the light his head is (one full stop less).
    (Yes, I'm rounding heavily, but I don't feel like getting out a calculator)
    Let's use a hypothetical example.....let's say Natasha Poly is 6' tall. If the light stand is 12' tall, the light on her feet is twice as far away as her head...meaning her feet are getting 2 stops less light than her head.
    Sure, that's assuming the light is directly above her head....in our real Natasha Poly shoot, it's not. Check out the bts video again...if you try to get all the knowledge from the vid, you'll be lost...it just simply doesn't tell you everything, although there are some good tidbits. Look at :09, 1:40 and 2:10. However, one thing is certain: they have the luxury of a huuuuuge studio...just check it out, they have some big-ass stands everywhere. The other certain thing is they're working with the same light everyone on planet Earth is...physics is not different for them.
    Okay, so you have fall-off due to light-to-subject distance....BUT you can also have fall-off due to the light not being a perfect circle of even edge-to-edge illumination...of course it depends totally on what kind of light modifier you have, but in general, you get a pool of light that is brightest in the center, and fades in intensity to the edges. When you pull the light further away from the subject, the "sweet spot" gets bigger, and therefore it looks more even on the subject.
    Also, the two kinds of fall-off are related, but I don't wanna complicate things. Bottom line is, your strobe is not the sun, which is 93 million miles from Earth; with pure sun, everything within a given scene will be evenly lit. So if you want to make your strobe look like sunlight, you have to deal with fall-off...and the best way to do that is to get some distance.
    When I get a new light (or modifier) sometimes I like to take it in a dark studio and shoot it against a plain white wall at a pre-determined distance, to see what kind of "spread" it has.
    So, how far away does the light need to be? LOL jeez, I dunno...this is a great shoot to learn from, but if you want a takeaway formula from me, forget it. If you want to replicate this lighting, take a look at your resources...do you have a smallish studio? If so, can you get away with faking it? For example, graduated filter in post to even out your exposure...nothing wrong with doing that. Another way you can control fall-off is to point the light slightly downward...e.g., point your sweet spot at her legs.
     
  15. Jeff, my studio ceiling was 13 feet high, so allowing for the fact that I didn't have the light pressed to the ceiling, 11 feet, maybe 12 would be all the higher the light could have been! You are right about fall off, however, but you aren't taking into consideration that the light was also in front and to our left a bit as well. From the position of the light, the distance to his head might have been a bit more than 8 feet, but the distance to the dragging foot was probably not quite 11 feet. But I do think we can see that that foot is not as bright as the forehead and then, as you say, where is the hottest spot and I can't tell you that. This was one of more than 100 shots we did with the models that day--all with the same set up. When I this sort of thing, I not only take readings for each shot, but also shot Polaroid (this was film). (by the way, if you want to calculate a light's fall off, a quick reference would be to just use the f-stop scale. Something 8 feet from a light will get two stops more light than something 16 feet, just like f8 to f16--so your calculation of 8 to 11 feet is, in fact, 1 stop just like f8 to f11. A very useful tool to remember)
    In the images the OP links to, the light is higher than the head but way in front so that the shadows are relatively small (so relatively not much higher than the face). Probably 10-12 feet or so. The angle of the light will cause some fall off down her body, but not as much as you might think between her face and her feet.
     
  16. Jeff, my studio ceiling was 13 feet high, so allowing for the fact that I didn't have the light pressed to the ceiling, 11 feet, maybe 12 would be all the higher the light could have been! You are right about fall off, but you aren't taking into consideration that the light was also in front and to our left a bit as well. From the position of the light, the distance to his head might have been a bit more than 8 feet, but the distance to the dragging foot was probably not quite 3 feet more. But I do think we can see that that foot is not as bright as the forehead and then, as you say, where is the hottest spot and I can't tell you that. This was one of more than 100 shots we did with the models that day--all with the same set up--some standing and some crouching and many in between. When I do this sort of thing, I not only take readings for each shot, but also shot Polaroid (this was film). (by the way, if you want to calculate a light's fall off, a quick reference would be to just use the f-stop scale. Something 8 feet from a light will get two stops more light than something 16 feet, just like f8 to f16--so your calculation of 8 to 11 feet is, in fact, 1 stop just like f8 to f11. A very useful tool to remember)
    In the images the OP links to, the light is higher than the head but way in front so that the shadows are relatively small (so relatively not much higher than the face). Probably 10-12 feet or so. The angle of the light will cause some fall off down her body, but not as much as you might think between her face and her feet when positioned like this.
    (Here is another from that same shoot with the model slightly to our left of the light. Again, not much visible fall off with the black pants showing good detail even though they are probably 3 feet from his face. Remember that there is also light bouncing around off the white seamless than can factor in to the amount of actual light falling on a lower area of the model--note he is a bit further back from the light source as well--shadows not as long)
    00YcLU-351231584.jpg
     
  17. The light position does change slightly from shot to shot, but it's fairly centered, sometimes it's slightly off axis to camera right or left and slightly above the model and aimed down . It may be a standard reflector shot through a scrim or some other diffusion material, either way it is ONE hard light source, and it does not look like there is any fill, other than light bouncing around the room, off the background etc. The light is not as high as in the examples posted, with relation to the model. In the examples posted, the light is way way up, and no light is hitting the subjects eyes, where as in the HM shots her eyes are fairly well lit...My 2 cents...
     
  18. Well, John's shots are very well lit, too....nice examples of dynamic, hard lighting that complements the subject quite nicely.
    However, I would in no way spend so much as a split second wondering if they were shot in sunlight. If we placed a cloudy sky behind John's models, it would be a very unbelievable effect. The fall-off is simply too apparent.
    By contrast, the H&M shoot is a very convincing illusion. The studio they're using is huge...and they're using all that space. The difference in intensity from her head to toe could not be more than a 1/10 of a stop.
     
  19. Look at the shadow below her nose. It's almost nonexistent, but shadows on the dresses draping over her thighs are angled more. Just draw an arrow from the bottom edge of the shadow to the corresponding edge of the dress/blowse edge. This should give you positioning and distance. Her head could be leaning forward to change the shape of the shadow under the nose.
    I suspect that the light is closer than most realize because of the difference of the nose shadow compared to lower portions on the body, but I'm not sure because I'm not a lighting expert.
    I see one light used as John suggests.
     
  20. i'm with jeff regarding the distance... i watched this video about 10 times or something :)
    check 11s - there you can see pretty much whole setup they've used; right on the left side you can see big light stand and i'd bet that it's the very one that the key light comes from - to me it looks like it was 4 maybe even 5 meters away from the model and with this distance, judging by the angle of light it would be about 4/5 meters up, so the distance to Natasha is probably around 5/6 meters (converting to imperial = 18ft or so).
    on the right side you can see two lights that were used to lit the background (later on - 2m 8s - you can see the same set up on the left side) - i guess they are a few stops below the key.
    right beside the background lights, around 1 meter over the model there is some diffusion screen - maybe for subtle fill (it's angled towards Natasha's head)...
    what i'm wondering about is why are there 2 power cords (?) on this light stand on the left - i can't see 2 lights used as a key even though there are some techniques where you do it....
    my 2 cents....
     
  21. Shooting two heads through some diffusion screens perhaps?
     

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