More Light Control, Just Grid It! | Transcription
In this video, it is all about more light control via the grid. Now, if you’ve been paying attention to this chapter, then you’ll realize that we started the chapter with a modifier that has basically no light control, the umbrella. It allows light to essentially spill everywhere into a scene, while placing a little bit of emphasis, giving more light to where essentially the flash is focused, or where that umbrella is pointed. But still that light kind of spills all over. With the Apollo strip and the Apollo Orb that we showed you, these soft boxes. They give you more light control. But again, they’re still going to have some spill around the edges. They’re going to open up. That’s where we essentially get more control. We can add these modifiers and then get additional light control by adding grids onto them. We’re not going to go to far in depth on this course, because again we expect you to already know this from Lighting 101. But what does a grid essentially do? It just cuts off the directionality of light. So essentially when I turn the grid just a little bit, you’ll see that I disappear and I reappear.
The grid essentially prevents light from spilling out wide. It just funnels that light forward. The difference between a grid versus a snoot is that a snoot can throw light a further distance than a grid can. But essentially they’re doing a very similar thing. They’re controlling and they’re pinning that light to one specific area of the image. Let’s go over the shot here on the right. Let’s talk through what we did here. We did this awesome Triumph tribute shoot. I love doing style sessions or style shoots because they’re just really fun. It is a chance for me to play around. To really fall back in love with photography. This was a style shoot that I wanted to do for a while. This is just in a local park. Just a local park, for crying out loud. We’re shooting in the morning. For compositional attributes, what I wanted was F1.4 for 1, a shallow depth of field, that natural lens vignetting and also the bouquet effect that we get over that backlit trees and the stuff in the background. The fog and everything in the background.
That looked really cool, shallow and really created great separation on the subject. We are working in the morning, so this is actually a sunrise shoot and while we got up for sunrise, we ended up having a little couple of snafus. Every shoot has a couple things that go wrong. We didn’t start like 2 hours past when we actually wanted to start shooting. We think … Initially in the morning we had the perfect amount of light, that we could have shot this without any neutralizing filter or high-speed sync. By the time we started shooting we had too much light, so we actually needed to get at least a 3 stop neutral density filter. But here is the thing. At the time I was actually shooting with my Singh-Ray filters, my Singh-Ray neutral density filters, which are great filters, by all means, but for the price … Again I can’t recommend enough the Tiffen filters, because for the price and what you are getting. You’re getting equal if not superior optical quality for a far smaller price.
I had a 3 and a 5 stop stingray, and the 5 stop was the one that actually had good optical quality, so I opted for that one. Even though in this scene, you really only need a 3 stop ending filter. Because we are dealing with overcast and fog and that kind of stuff. It’s not hard midday sun. It is softened already. We had that taken care of with our 3 stop ending filter. We’re shooting wide at 1.4 with the 3 stop. Our shutter speed at 1/100 and ISO 200. We get to aim the light at that nice, dark enough point. What is my exposure for ME? You can see here on the left side. This is with the Sigma Art at 1/100th of a second, F1.4, ISO 800. This is the 5 stop ND at 6000 Calvin. This is at F1.4 and ISO 200 and the 5 stop ND. So basically we have the same shutter speed, we have the same aperture, but this is 2 stops darker in ISO. You can see how much more dramatic it looks with that 2 stops.
I don’t want to go so far that we get lots of dark colors up here, because then we lose the branches and that bouquet effect if we darken down further than that. But 2 stops was adequate, to really make that fog pop. To get him into this darker range, where we can add light and create a great split light look. This is the choice of ambient exposure and from here we just need to add our flash. What do we do with the light direction and quality? We place our 3 Phottix Mitros into our brackets. We have our 3, our triangle bracket that we place into a Wescott Apollo Orb. The orb is the larger soft box of the orb and the strip. Then we place the diffuser over the softbox and also the grid on the outside of that. Now we’re basically preventing the light from spilling out. Remember that a grid will absorb. It will cut down light. In addition to funneling light, it does reduce light as well. You need to be in a scene where you have enough light power. Because we are diffusing and we are gridding.
Those 2 things cut down quite a bit of light. Which means that even in this kind of a scene where it is not midday sun, we still have to bring the modifier. We still have to bring the light source very close to our model. The light source is being held, just to camera right. Why did I select that angle for the shot? Again, if you notice his pose and his placement. This is very deliberate. I’ve placed the sun over on this side of the frame. Why? Because it is going to light up the razor fog that we’re adding to the scene, and also it creates a rim light on the left side if his face. If I were to light from that side, it really would … If I were to light from the left side, not only would we have an issue with distance to the subject, but then it also really would de-emphasize that entire rim light. I go opposite of the sun, so that way we create this create this light there, and the rim light creates a beautiful edge on the other side if his body to create depth and dimension and add shape to his face and his form.
What do we do with that light? We bring it off to the right significantly. Why? Because we want to create a very dramatic look and we’ve achieved that by split lighting his face. What we can do here is, we can split light by having him look into the camera. But if I had him just bring the chin over to the left and look towards the light source we can get a Rembrandt light. It is a nice little direction there where we can kind of just use the models position to adjust how … What kind of light pattern we get onto the face. The test shot was with the model looking at the camera. The flash emulight was solid. It looked fantastic and then from there we just start basically shooting. Our light color, white balance, was at 6000 Calvin. I love shooting scenes like this with a bit of warmth to it. I’ll add and I’ll shoot 6k or 6000 degrees Calvin, just to give it that warmth and that look. As far as the posing the frame in the shot. We placed the motorcycle there so that the sun would light it from the side.
And so we get these rays. Notice we use the rays as leading lines. This entire shot has purpose behind it. Our rays come in, there are leading lines that bring us right into our subject right here in that right piece of the frame. We end up with this beautiful composition. Nothing is unintentional. This is not by accident. This is all deliberate. I want you guys to get used to that. Get used to posing and framing and using the natural elements of the scene to add to your image. The last thing to mention here is that we actually added our own fog, and we did that with a Rosco mini-V. I originally had the Rosco 1900, I think, and that thing was so ridiculously powerful that I ended up just trading it in and getting the smaller one, the Rosco mini-V. When I brought the mini-V out to the scene, I was like; It might not be enough power. It might not be enough fog to fill this entire scene and I surprised myself, because that thing going full blast it is definitely enough fog to fill a scene like this.
The only trick to that is that you need to make sure that you have an assistant or someone there to open up that fog, because there is going to be wind. Even the smallest amount of wind, which is always present is going to be constantly moving and shifting that fog around. What we want to do is get a nice even fog spread around the entire background, so that way we have the opportunity for these light rays to come through. When the fog is poofed up into these cloud type shapes, we don’t get that kind of a look and it doesn’t look very even. It doesn’t look natural. It ends up looking like someone added a cloud of smoke to the shot. I actually had our assistant, Logan, who is … Well, he is more than just an assistant. He’s actually manning the cameras here. He is one of our just impeccable production crew that does camera work, that does everything, and he is a master fog wafter. He was wafting fog like nobody’s business. With his reflector out there, just wafting the fog, and he got a perfect, even spread across the shot.
As soon as we get those spreads, you know they only last for about 5, 10 seconds. When you get that fog in just the right spot, you have to be ready and you have to shoot. Because it is very short lived and then you have to again play and move the fog into the right position. That’s that there. Again, with each shot, with each adjustment, the pose, we’re analyzing the highlights of the rim light, we’re analyzing the shadows, making sure that everything looks good. The Apollo Orb is the perfect light source for this shot. Because it is a little bit bigger and it helps us to light a little more of the area. Lights a little bit more of the motorcycle and everything. Because we have the subject over a larger area. But we are using that grid to prevent it from basically spilling onto the ground and other places in the shot. We end up with this light that looks just fantastic, because we are not ruining the dramaticness of these shadows and we pin the light to exactly where we want it in this final image, and it looks fantastic.
That’s how we moved from this, basically this shot with just ambient only. With just the fog, just expose for skin, over to our shot right here. We’re exposing for what we want we ant the ambient to be, with that darker look, over to the final shot where we’ve now added our light via the 3 Phottix‘s, the firing through the Wescott Apollo Orb. By the way, as far as power settings for this type of a shot. You’re going to be anywhere between 1/4 to full power, to get enough light onto your subject. Especially given that we’re using 5 stop. The only reason that we have a little bit, we might be able to adjust that maybe 1/4, 1/2 power, is because we have the ISO boost a little bit. We are also at F1.4. we’re allowing a little more light in, but that 5 stop is cutting down a lot of that, and we are also using a diffuser and a grid on top of it too. Which is cutting out more light.
Get your light source placed close to the subject and make sure that you have enough power coming out of it and you will get really great images like this one. Last thing, as far as power goes, remember that your pocket strobes have limitations. With a shot like this, we’re working in overcast type conditions that aren’t super bright, and we still have the flashes at 1/2, 1/4, even up to full power in that range. With 3 of them going through that modifier. Placed very close to the face. You’re going to have to remember that, because when it gets to midday light, we’re just not going to have enough power, so you want to work within the limitations of what you got. Don’t be surprised, once you’re adding a 5 stop on there. Once you start adding diffusion and grids, your pocket strobes are just not going to be quite enough. Be ready to take them up to full power. Use 3 of them if needed. Once you are going to get to midday light, then we are going to need to convert and use medium strobes.
Either that or you just get 10 pocket strobes and just put 10 of them up and then do that. But that gets a bit cumbersome frankly.