Zombie Lighting

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by jhphotography|1, Mar 23, 2010.

  1. Hello all!
    In two weeks I will be doing a photoshoot for my friends band. They want to go with a sort of zombie theme, so my question to you is if you have any good ideas for lighting the scene?
    I currently have 3 strobes, and possibly 3 or 4 yellow work lights.
    if anybody has seen some cool 'zombie' looking stuff or has any great ideas it would help a lot!
    I came across this in my popphoto magazine, but if you have other/ better ideas i would really appreciate it!
    Thanks again!
  2. Assuming you and I are on the same wavelength, you want to light and pose your subject creating the illusion of a monster.
    That's OK with me, Hollywood has been doing this for years. It would do you no harm if you rented a few old "B" monster movies. While you and your friends are watching them, between bites of blood pudding, take a gander at the techniques used.
    OK, too much to ask? Here are the key points. Lighting is harsh, no diffusers or umbrellas or softboxes. The idea is to cast distinctive shadows. The main light or key is set low. If the key light is far below the subject's eye level the shadows it makes point upwards. This lighting falls into the category of weird. This is true because people are almost always seen by light coming from above. If the key light is low, you create the illusion of a monster. Maybe you should watch Frankenstein or the Night of the Living Dead.
    Now one key light casts shadows that are too dense meaning the shadows will be void of detail. We fill these shadows with a fill light. The fill is mounted at lens height somewhere along an imaginary line drawn lens-to-subject. In other words the fill is on axis with the camera lens.
    The fill is set subordinate to the key light. In keeping with your desire to create a monster, the fill is set three f/stops subordinate (weaker). If the key and fill lamps are equal (same wattage, same reflector), this is accomplished by measuring the key-to-subject distance. Multiply this distance by 2.8. This calculates the fill-to-subject distance. This establishes a 9:1 ratio (theatrical). Should this be too harsh, use 2 as the multiplier instead; this is 5:1 lighting (contrasty).

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